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6 Ways to Make a Good Impression to Make More Money in Real Estate

by Anson Young on November 16, 2013 · 13 comments

  
Make a Good Impression

As a real estate entrepreneur, I’m sure you have heard of the ‘elevator pitch‘.

Its your chance to pitch your business to someone in the length of time it takes for an elevator ride. What a stressful proposition, only 30-60 seconds to sell someone on your ideas enough for them to want more information or say yes? Crazy. Makes me a little anxious just thinking about it. Well, flippers, we are doing this every time a buyer looks at our property, and we have even LESS time to do it in.

Think about this: some stats say a buyer forms a lasting opinion of a home within the first 7-10 seconds.

That’s easily 10 times shorter than an elevator pitch, and we aren’t even there to defend our product! You will have to win them over with an indirect style that even Dale Carnegie didn’t know about way back when he wrote his influential “How to Win Friends and Influence People“. Can you sway those picky buyers? Can you woo the battle-hardened real estate agent? I propose that yes, indeed you can. You have a few chances to make your flip stand out and win over both buyers and agents on your side.

“When dealing with people, remember you are not dealing with creatures of logic, but with creatures bristling with prejudice and motivated by pride and vanity.” – Dale Carnegie, How to Win Friends and Influence People

6 Ways to Make a Good Impression and Make More Money

1.) Your pictures must be amazing

I had to sneak this one in there. Your pictures tell the beginning of the story. I do know this: if 90% of buyers start their search on the internet, this is your FIRST and sometimes LAST chance to pull them in. Great quality and a plentiful number of photos is the goal, if they are hooked on their Realtor.com search, they will blow up their agent’s phone begging to see your house. If the rest of the below are in order, you are well on your way to getting buyers through the doors of your awesome flip.

2.) Landscaping

What does a buyer see in those first 7-10 seconds at your home? The exterior, or the overall curb appeal of your home.

71% of buyers polled said curb appeal was important. Lawn, trees, shrubs, exterior paint colors, shudders, and roof/gutters. So, before they even get out of the car and jaunt up the driveway, they have made a decision on the property! If you clean up well on the outside, you can draw them inside easier. If your flip looks like crap outside, you better believe it will hurt your bottom line.

3.) Staging

Confession time! I used to bash staging left and right as a waste of money, then I noticed my competition was staging and getting top dollar for their flips. I started digging into it, and the numbers are crazy. Check this out: Staged homes sell for 17% higher than un-staged homes (HUD), Staging provides a 586% return on investment (NAR survey), and Staged homes spent 83% less time on the market than non-staged homes (homegain.com).

Now, those are impressive numbers, and they may or may not be true for your market (I think they are a bit inflated for mine, but still swing positive). Buyers like to SAY they have an imagination, but in my dark times as a buyers agent, its a total lie. If they cant get around wallpaper in one room, how are they going to envision living in your house enough to make an offer? They need help, and you can be the one to influence their decision process.

4.) Work is Quality

This should be obvious, even an inexperienced buyer can spot shoddy work. And certainly this will come up in inspection if you cut corners and just all around did a poor job. This will net you less money in the long run, as buyers first impressions will be bad, which will lead to the property sitting on the market longer. If your work is consistently good, you will get a good reputation among local buyers agents, and they will know that your houses are always quality when they bring their next buyers for a showing.

5.) Finishes are appropriate to the neighborhood

$5000 worth of appliances in a $125k ARV house? Yes, I’ve been in that house. Marble counters with golden faucets and a built in wine cooler in that same house? Yep, they went there. Its OK to be one of the nicer homes in the neighborhood, but you don’t want to be the most expensive. And you certainly don’t want upgrades that do not appeal to the types of buyers in that area!

6.) 1-2 extra small upgrades that help you stand out

Every investor can spot a flip from a mile away. I could be driving by a house at 70 mph and KNOW its a flip. How do you set YOUR flips apart from your competition, at the same time wowing your potential buyers? I like visiting remodels that are 1-2 steps above mine, price wise and take great pictures and notes. I’ll walk the $400k flips and take 1-3 small design elements that nobody in my price bracket is doing. It used to be glass tile accents in the bathroom. Now everyone is doing that. Now its things like vertical long edge tile for the shower, a unique dining room light fixture, or an intricate tile pattern that just classes the joint up a notch or two (and is still widely appealing to most buyers). Go find what is working in the higher end neighborhoods, and take small pieces and incorporate them to set your house apart.

Conclusion

What does all of this have in common? Your product is an extension of you and what will become your reputation. If all are quality and above board, you will not have any problems hooking buyers at your flips. You want to speak to buyers in their language by showing them that even though the home is extremely pretty and shows well, that the quality is there and they can feel good about paying top dollar for your refinished home. You simultaneously have to speak their agent’s language, that you are easy to deal with, your product is worth building your reputation on and that you stand behind your work. All non-verbally, and like most things, your actions (product) have to speak louder than your words.

Good luck, and Happy Flipping!

“Only knowledge that is used sticks in your mind.”
Dale CarnegieHow to Win Friends and Influence People

 

Photo:NancyHugoCKD.com

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{ 13 comments… read them below or add one }

John Thedford November 16, 2013 at 5:42 am

Awesome! Thanks for the excellent information.

Reply

Anson Young November 18, 2013 at 3:14 pm

You are welcome! Thanks for reading!

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Carol November 16, 2013 at 9:41 am

Excellent article. Great tips.

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Anson Young November 18, 2013 at 3:18 pm

You are most welcome!

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Chris Music November 16, 2013 at 12:09 pm

Thanks Anson, Great tips! The pictures you post online are crucial! Sell the house right online and buyers will be knocking the door down to see it in person.

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Anson Young November 18, 2013 at 3:15 pm

I always say “price sells all”, but great online pics is probably a very close second.

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Alison November 16, 2013 at 1:58 pm

“I could be driving by a house at 70 mph and KNOW its a flip.” I am still laughing out loud at this one! IT IS SO TRUE! Most of the time I can even tell you who did it, based on design elements!

The antidote that cookie-cutter look is what you suggest in #6 – tour the houses a price point or two above and adopt some design elements. Thanks!

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Anson Young November 18, 2013 at 3:16 pm

I’m not THAT good, but you certainly can figure it out in .05 seconds. Beige, white trim, red door, new windows, etc. :-)

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Erik Hitzelberger November 17, 2013 at 7:47 pm

Nice article. I particularly like the tip of checking out homes 1-2 levels above yours for upgrade ideas.

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Anson Young November 18, 2013 at 3:17 pm

Its a great thing I started doing a year or so ago after helping a friend find a house in the $400k range. I took little details and incorporated it into a $175k flip. Went very well. I’m thinking of experimenting with the ceramic tile that looks like wood flooring next in a bathroom. Hmmmm… we will see how it goes.

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Annie Udofa November 18, 2013 at 2:49 pm

Great tips on appearance and things that will sale a property. Thank you.

Tell us next how to fund our deals. Most private lenders lead found on privategold mine turn out not to be good. Do you know of a good and reliable source that you can share?

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Anson Young November 18, 2013 at 3:20 pm

You are welcome! I’ve never used privategold mine, I had to find all of mine the old fashioned way: pull records on lenders in the last 6 months, if its a NAME or an LLC, its likely a private/hard money source. Use the white pages or 411.com to look them up and start calling or mailing them. Usually just say “I see you lent on 123 main st, I have a similar solid deal with great numbers, you ever consider lending on our projects?” and go from there. We found 2 guys we still use today using that method.

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Josh November 19, 2013 at 9:54 am

Great article. The only thing I would contest is staging. I find that staging is only necessary in a buyer’s market. In a seller’s market, where there are few properties available, buyer’s sort of have the pressure to make a decision very quickly or else it will be snatched by the next person.

It is also very difficult to guess people’s tastes, and as flippers that is exactly what we do. We make renovations that appeal to the largest buyer pool. Cutting corners will always be caught in the most unlikely of places.

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