Real Estate Investing Basics

Think Like a Buyer: Foolproof Tips for Selling Your Next Property, Fast

Expertise: Personal Development, Business Management, Real Estate Marketing, Real Estate Deal Analysis & Advice, Real Estate Investing Basics
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The house is finally ready to sell. You put in all of the work to make the house ready, from new fixtures to a complete redesign of the kitchen and bathroom… not to mention all the time and marketing dollars it took to land the deal and the unexpected issues that came up during escrow. Now you are about to put your newest flip on the open market. At this point most investors have the same question: “How am I going to make my house stand out from everyone else’s in the neighborhood?”

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The answer to this is actually simple — you want your home to make the best possible first impression for buyers and appeal to their emotions. After all, buying a house is largely an emotional decision for most, and you only get one chance to make a first impression, so do it right. This guide is mostly going to focus on some of the smaller aspects of getting your house ready for a retail sale that make a big difference. I am going to assume all the major cosmetic upgrades and structural repairs have been made and the home is priced right.Chris Feltus Realtor

Related: How to Determine What Your House is Worth in 10 Easy Steps

How to Appeal to a Buyer’s Emotions

Set the Stage

  • Consider recording an HD video of your home. Show off the different features and upgrades of the home. Do a stunning sweep showcasing the home’s exterior; do a slide showing the home’s new top grade granite countertops.
  • Showcase the amenities of the neighborhood. This is especially true in luxury real estate, but applies to all price points. When someone buys a house, they don't just get a plot of land and a roof over their head, but they also inherit a lifestyle. Does the neighborhood feature an award winning HOA, is the property located by a private golf course, is the neighborhood gated, what are the schools like and what kind of shopping is nearby? It doesn't have to be extravagant, but should show off the features of the area and should be displayed in your marketing materials.

Fort Worth

Home Exterior Impressions

Don't neglect the exterior of the home! I see it quite often, where both real estate agents and investors will spend a great deal of time and effort on the interior of the home — and do nothing or the bare minimum outside. Even in a competitive market like DallasFort Worth, where house inventory is very low and buyers are eating up homes, these small improvements can make a big difference! So don’t make this mistake.

Curb appeal is incredibly important in real estate. Put yourself in the buyer’s shoes — you are looking for a new place to call home, and you drive up to random house #8… what is going to be there to impress them? Well, for starters, the exterior better look nice because that is the first impression they will have of your home. Remember, you want to help them “mentally move in” to the home. Create a space that they themselves can imagine living in and raising a family. You can do this with small improvements.Dallas

For example:

  • If it’s during the fall season, make sure the front and backyard are not littered with leaves. If during the summer, the lawn might need a little more watering than usual to prevent the grass from dying and turning brown.
  • Make your lawn pop. A little extra spending here and there can go a long way, especially investing in some brightly colored flower beds near the front of the house. You want your house to have that fresh, manicured look that gets buyers excited. Keyword there: “excited.” Remember, we are trying to appeal to buyer’s emotions. Also make sure to store away any garden accessories, trash bags and or tools that may be strewn about during showing times.
  • How does the mailbox look: is it all dinged up, battered and bruised? If so, this can be a cheap replacement that can make a big difference.
  • How does the front door look? This is one of the last things a buyer will see before they enter the interior of the home, and I think a lot of people overlook this. If the door has weather damage, then even a new coat of paint won’t fix it. If needed, invest in a new door.
  • Make sure your windows are nice and clean; no streaks marks.

Related: 6 Ways to Sell a Home FAST!

Home Interior Impressions

  • Make sure the house is completely spotless from the rehab. One thing that you have to watch out for is painting around outlets and things of that nature — sometimes contractors get lazy; they don’t market it off correctly, and you can see smudges of paint here and there. If needed, have professionals come through and thoroughly clean out and perfect the interior of the house for showings.
  • This might sound like a funny one, but what does the house smell like? Are there any unpleasant odors? If you flipped the house, chances are you put in new paint and carpet anyway, so that should take care of any lingering smoker or pet smells. Even if there is no smell, a lot of Realtors swear by using fragrances, such as warm apple pie.
  • Consider staging. A lot of investors and home sellers alike scoff at the idea because they just view it as an extra expense. What they don't see is that proper home staging is an investment. It can significantly reduce the time on market (holding costs) and help you sell your home for top dollar and many times encourage a multiple offer situation. Again, appeal to the emotional aspect of buying a home. Nothing will help a buyer visually move in more than staging a house. They can see where their family will congregate or where their couch is going to go.
  • There is a reason eggshell tones are very popular for homes. When you flip, you typically don’t want to use outlandish bold colors. Eggshell tones are neutral and can work well with most spaces. We want the family envisioning themselves living in it, and that’s easy to do if the colors are neutral, but that’s not the case if you decide to paint your living room walls red. Most buyers DO NOT want to paint before they move in, so make this easy for them. 

These little tips may seem small and insignificant compared to completely overhauling the kitchen, but trust me: when viewed collectively, they add up and make a significant difference.

What are your best tips for appealing to a buyer’s emotions — and selling a home fast?

Leave a comment below!

Chris is an active real estate investor who buys and flips houses in the Dallas real estate market. He enjoys helping others along on their journey. I...
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    Dan Shaker from Warren, Ohio
    Replied over 5 years ago
    At the end it will always be all about the appearance of the house that actually matters because as you have mentioned you would want to get the emotion of the buyer you would like them to envision themselves living in that house. Opening up their imagination will be your best way to market that house and be ahead of the game. You should be able to create a connection between the buyer and the house you’re selling.
    Chris Feltus Residential Real Estate Agent from Fort Worth , Texas
    Replied over 5 years ago
    Hey Dan, absolutely you got it. Couldn’t have said it better myself.
    Donna Florio Flipper from Birmingham, Alabama
    Replied over 5 years ago
    Great bathrooms, great kitchens, and little touches that don’t cost a lot really help my houses sell fast. The four I’ve sold since last summer have all been total renos, so being able to tell the buyers the electrical, plumbing, appliances, and roof are all brand new is a huge plus. I work really hard to make my bathrooms and kitchens stunning, even when using affordably priced products. For example, I wanted really stylish vanities for a higher end house I was re-doing, and I scoured the internet to find them. I got real travertine tile from a closeout place for $1.88/ft. I used a cabinet maker who does excellent cabinets for less than I would pay at Lowe’s or Home Depot, and they can be advertised as “custom,” which they are. And I went online for a $299 wine fridge that had excellent reviews–it really added a huge pop for just a little money. I think it’s all a matter of stylish, top quality work that looks more expensive than it is. The buyer wins, and so do you.
    Chris Feltus Residential Real Estate Agent from Fort Worth , Texas
    Replied over 5 years ago
    Hey Donna, thanks for stopping by. You are absolutely right, all the small details you mentioned really do make a big difference. I have seen >$20,000 rehabs where the didn’t even bother to update some of the fixtures. Buyers notice stuff like that, and its not very costly, and it can really add that extra wow factor to get people interested in the home. Also love the idea on the Wine Fridge, I think that is a really clever idea and a feature that will surely help differentiate your house from anything else on the market.
    Mindy Jensen BiggerPockets Community Manager from Longmont, CO
    Replied over 5 years ago
    I cannot endorse staging enough. There was a house in my area that was flipped in an 8-month period. They did a nice job on the flip. If they spent $10,000 on the entire thing I would be surprised. It really looked like they painted everything, maybe refinished the floors and new appliances. They sold it almost the minute it came on the market for full asking price (more than $100,000 above what they paid for it 8 months previous). I believe they got top dollar so quickly because it was staged so well. It looked like a model home. The tiny kitchen – without staging – would have turned off most buyers, but they showed that a table would fit in and make it an eat-in kitchen. With no dining room, this was a great idea. Staging doesn’t have to be a huge expense. If you use the same color scheme over and over, you can purchase relatively inexpensive furnishings and use them over and over. I saw a great staging tip for beds on a tv show once – instead of mattresses, get a headboard and blow-up mattresses. Make the bed like a real bed and they will only know if they sit down on it. Less to store when you don’t have a house on the market.
    Chris Feltus Residential Real Estate Agent from Fort Worth , Texas
    Replied over 5 years ago
    Hey Mindy, thanks so much for sharing these tips with us. Especially the one about using a blow-up mattress and headboard, that is a really clever idea! Yes I agree with you on staging as well. The problem is most investors just see it as a cost to their bottom line not an investment. A good staging can greatly reduce the time on market, holding costs, generate more traffic, generate stronger/multiple offers etc.
    Alan Mackenthun from Prior Lake, Minnesota
    Replied over 5 years ago
    Make sure all the little projects are finished. You want the retail buyer, not someone seeing it as a fixer. Eggshell colors are nice, but they can’t be everywhere. Neutral is ok, but you want someone to love the home. Everyone may tolerate it, but everyone is not going to by the home – someone is. Think about all the senses. Smell, sight, taste, sound and touch. Taste hopefully doesn’t apply, but all the others should be satisfied. Consider the season in decorating even if only a bit. Try to get at least the sense of competition. Hold an open house or two and advertise them so you have people there the whole time. Talk to the people and get them to compliment the property. Others will hear and if they sense others desire it, it will be desirable to them.
    Chris Feltus Residential Real Estate Agent from Fort Worth , Texas
    Replied over 5 years ago
    Hey Alan, thanks for stopping by. Sorry I didn’t mean to imply eggshell should be all over the home, there needs to be variation, accents etc. and like you said it depends on the neighborhood and what your competition is and what home buyers find exciting in your local market. Also, agreed on appealing to the senses and holding open houses.
    Jake White
    Replied over 4 years ago
    My wife and I are about to put our home up for sale, and I’m glad that I read this article. It would be really nice to increase our property value. After reading this, I realized that the interior could definitely use some renovations to make a better impression. Thanks for sharing!
    Georgia B
    Replied over 3 years ago
    Thanks for mentioning the front door! It’s something people often don’t think about or take for granted, but front doors can really bring a house to life! I have a neighbor that is always changing up the color of their front door, and I’m amazed at how it makes the house pop with every new shade. If done right, this is also an inexpensive way to make a house look fresh and trendy.
    Annika Larson
    Replied over 3 years ago
    Unexpected things happen in life, and before you know it, you\’re moving half-way across the country– at least that\’s what my husband and I are experiencing right now. When you\’re desperate to sell, it\’s hard to not just lower the price. These tips will help us get the sell we need without compromising price. I especially appreciated the tip about home exterior impressions. There are some quick and easy fix up we can do outside that will certainly boost the curb appeal. Thanks again for sharing!
    Jade Brunet
    Replied about 3 years ago
    It is good to know that if you are trying to sell your home in the fall, you should make sure that your yard is not littered with leaves. I did not realize that the exterior impression was so important. I have also heard that it is a good idea to seek help from a realtor who has experience with staging houses.
    Bobby Saint
    Replied over 2 years ago
    I like that you provided some tips on how to sell your house fast such as making your lawn pop. One of the first things a potential buyer will notice is the appearance of your lawn. Hence, it’s recommended that you create a good first impression by making sure it is clean and properly maintained before conducting a staging of your home. This way, you would be able to catch the interest of your potential buyers and help convince them to buy your property. Also, it’s best to invest in some tools that would help in cleaning your lawn such as a lawnmower. This would definitely save you a lot of time in clearing out those unwanted weeds. If I were to sell my property and purchase tools before staging my home, I would make sure to keep this in mind. Thanks.