A few short years ago you could sell anything in the hot markets. Before you finished putting the sign on the lawn you had multiple offers in your hands. Competition for properties was so fierce that it wasn’t necessary to spend money or waste time fixing up a house because the buyers didn’t care. My, how times have changed.
Talk about a pendulum swinging the other way! Today you have so much competition when you are trying to sell a house. You have to compete with both retail sellers and bank foreclosures. With such a glut of houses for sale it frequently takes more than price to sell a house.
Standing Out In A Crowd
In any competitive sales environment, real estate or otherwise, your product needs to stand out. In this case the product is the house you are trying to sell. Put yourself in the buyer’s shoes, why should he or she buy your property instead of one of the many others available? If you can’t easily answer that question it’s time to get to work.
It’s common knowledge that your typical homeowner is often emotionally attached to the house they are trying to sell. To them it is unique and therefore more valuable than other homes on the market. They have a tendency to get offended when someone points out that competing homes are in better shape or that they are asking for more money than the house is worth. Unfortunately investors frequently have this kind of tunnel vision as well.
Make It An Easy Choice
When a potential buyer walks in to a home they immediately begin looking for things that need to be repaired, replaced, or otherwise changed. A retail buyer will be looking at the cost of changes and an investor will be thinking in terms of both money and time. An investor needs to know how long it will be before the rent starts flowing.
By doing things to make a home ready for a homeowner or tenant to move in you are tipping the scale in your favor. Taking care of all the little repairs, painting, cleaning or replacing the carpet can make a huge difference. I learned this lesson on one of my earliest rehab projects. A couple walked in to look at the home and the wife remarked that she wouldn’t have to do a thing. They put in a purchase offer and ultimately bought the house. There were several homes for sale in the same price range, but it was the move-in condition that made the sale.
Many sellers today are offering incentives to entice buyers to consider their property. You have the standard things like paying for closing costs or offering seller financing for all or part of the purchase. What about offering things like a gift certificate to an appliance store or furniture store? How about a weekend getaway for the lucky buyer? A new home is a big deal to most people, how about arranging for a caterer to throw a house-warming party for the purchaser? The point is that it is a difficult market. Thinking outside the box may be just what you need to stand out in the crowd.
A house is not a home unless it contains food and fire for the mind as well as the body. – Benjamin Franklin