Lots of open houses with few visitors. Those that do visit wear their poker faces that scream, "Meh!"
Welcome to Buyer's Market 2019 where the competition is fierce for the precious few serious buyers willing to buy now rather than wait for the market to soften like the Spring thaw.
It is always easy to sell, and to sell quickly. Give it away! Lower the price until some bargain-hunting, scum sucking, bottom feeder finally bites. We offer an alternative; a more strategic approach that will ensure better results. Sellers must attract buyers with quality product and a strong demonstration of value (marketing), prove that their property offers a unique fit to a buyer's particular needs (sales), and leave no money on the table (negotiate like an assassin).
Pre-Marketing - Preparing a property to be placed on the market
You wouldn't try to sell a car without first washing, waxing, detailing it, repairing the nicks and cleaning the interior. The same attention to detail is required to sell a home. Repair the leaky faucet, make sure windows and doors open and close properly, replace discolored or cracked grout around bathroom fixtures. Consider a fresh coat of paint, neutralizing, decluttering, and replacing stained carpeting. Wash and clean a home so it sparkles, and remove all eyesores. Closets that are too crowded send a message - that there isn't enough closet space.
First impressions are critical. Make it pretty. A small investment in staging a home, including art and properly sized and scaled furniture and furnishings, goes a long way.
There's only one opportunity to create a great first impression; don't blow it!
How can sellers attract attention and stand out from the crowd?
Identify the competitive advantages. How is this home different and better? Why should a buyer be willing to pay a premium for a particular home? Is it the layout, view, finishes? Photograph it and describe it in the web copy.
Make it memorable. When inventory is high, and buyers typically view 6 properties in a day and 20-30 properties before making a decision, what lasting memory are you leaving? Is it, "the one with the great kitchen" or "the one with dishes in the sink"?
Every property has a story. Good marketing tells that story to potential buyers to attract them and make them want to know more. You can tell a story with photos, video and words. Use all tools at your disposal to create an emotional bond between a potential buyer and a property.
Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer was a master marketer. He stood out. In a sea of reindeer, his red nose was distinctive and memorable. And his catchy jingle makes people smile.
The most critical element of marketing is the price. Buyers can smell an overpriced stinker from miles away, especially in this competitive market.
Pricing is a strategy. The price sends the following messages:
1. How motivated are the sellers?
2. Are the sellers being realistic or are they being aspirational?
Is a property priced to sell or is it priced to sit?
In the good old days, you couldn't underprice a home, because there would be multiple bids immediately to bring the price up to market levels and beyond. Those frothy days are over. Similarly, if you overpriced a property, the market would catch up with your aspirational price eventually and the property would sell. Today, an underpriced property may generate offers, but low ones; everyone wants to negotiate and wants a deal. An overpriced property generates nothing - no traffic, no energy, no offers.
Where should the pricing be? It depends on the needs of the seller. A seller testing the market who doesn't really need to sell will price differently than a couple in a studio apartment pregnant with triplets.
Pricing should be consistent with a property's value. We recommend to price "realistically"; low enough so the target audience will see its value and consider it, but not so low that a serious buyer presumes there is a problem. Pricing, especially in a shifting market, is an art that requires strategic and deliberate consideration and analysis.
If a home doesn't sell within the first 30 days, you may be looking at multiple price drops and several months before attracting a buyer. In a buyer's market with falling prices, time is a seller's enemy because they're going down. Selling sooner rather than later is better. Lead in a weak market, or risk a price race to the bottom which you don't want to win.
An effective salesperson bonds quickly with a buyer and understands his or her needs. The salesperson then demonstrates how a particular property better meets those needs than other properties under consideration. Understanding personality types, utilizing effective communication techniques, asking great questions, and knowing the market are critical skills used by the best salespeople.
Be open minded and negotiate all offers. Welcome even low ball offers; they represent the beginning of a conversation.
Buyers are likely to make numerous (low) offers. Their initial offer is not their best offer. They're likely taking the temperature of the sellers to ascertain motivation. Be strategic. Send the right message with your response.
Remember that an offer is more than just a number. Consider timing, contingencies, financial qualifications of the buyer and any other relevant circumstances.
Ask questions. What is the buyer's motivation? Why did they choose your home to bid on? Will they make it to the contract signing portion of the transaction and ultimately to the closing table?
How can you creatively structure a deal that will be a win-win for all parties?
Winning the sales game requires razor sharp skills, especially in today's challenging market. The DIY days of 2014's frothy market where everything sold are long over and sellers need the professionalism and skills of a seasoned veteran to successfully sell for top dollar. A strong buyer's market? Bring it on!