Did you know that choosing the right advertisement to sell your home can increase your chances of engaging buyers by up to 1,300%?
No? Well, your real estate agent most likely doesn’t know either.
Did you know there are people who are 70% more likely to schedule a showing for your home? Do you know who they are? Do you think your agent knows?
There is something that real estate agents have tried to cover up for many years.
The Secret Why Some Homes Sell and Others Expire
You have probably heard them all: The empty promises real estate agents make to get your listing.
Unfortunately, every year thousands of people who need to sell their home fall for these empty phrases and the scripted sales pitches.
Most real estate agents are great sales people. They can talk you into selling your home almost better than a car-salesman can talk you into buying a car.
But selling your home has nothing to do with sales.
Wow. Wait a second! Selling has nothing to do with sales? Is that even logical?
Back in the day, the “Wolf of Wall Street”-type agents were very successful because selling a home actually involved talking people into buying it.
But times have changed. Nowadays, buyers have already made a decision before they even contact a real estate agent.
And that is the little secret that real estate agents try not to talk about.
Unfortunately, real estate agents typically have no marketing education. The required education for real estate professionals doesn’t include a single hour of marketing.
Now you might begin to understand why so many homes expire every year.
OK. But you still need to get your home sold. Right?
So if selling by owner is not a smart alternative and real estate agents are not educated in marketing, how do you get your home sold?
No worries, there are agents out there who will be able to sell your home.
There are agents with degrees in marketing and advertising (aka communication sciences) or with professional experience in the various fields of marketing.
And while it might take a little bit of time to find these rare agents, it’s worth it because the alternative could be loosing 6 months when your home expires.
So your ideal agent will have a degree in one of the many fields of marketing and most of them are an outstanding qualification.
The above fields of marketing are an ideal qualification for your real estate agent to sell your home.
There are other fields that are not ideal but where you can assume that the agent will have a general understanding of marketing. These include public relations, online reputation management, graphic design, event management and market research analysis.
If you can find an agent who has a degree and/or professional experience in one of these fields, you’re in very good hands.
If you cannot find an agent with these qualification there are other indicators you can use to know whether an agent will be good at marketing your home.
What Is Your Agent Offering?
Beware of phrases like “30 day marketing plan” and anything similar. There are dozens of websites offering prefabricated plans like that for free.
Instead, look at the forms of advertisement an agent will use to market your home.
Some of the Best Forms of Advertisement to Market a Home:
Facebook Video Ads
Facebook ads are great because you can target specific audiences who are likely to buy and already show interest in homes for sale in your area. Video Ads are excellent because they are much more engaging than normal text or image ads are.
These ads follow people online who already showed interest in your home. They remind buyers to schedule a showing for your home.
Buyers who see your YouTube ads are actively searching for homes for sale in your area. That makes them a great target group.
Google Adwords lead people who are actively searching for homes in your area directly to your listing.
There are many more forms of advertising and many tricks you can use in advertising but these are some very good ones right now. So if you see one of these on an agents “Sell” or “Sellers” page, that’s a good start.
Your future agent should also offer a video walkthrough and maybe even Virtual Reality videos. Professional photography should be a standard by now.
And an agent who understands sales psychology and how to implement that into a listing “is worth his weight in gold”.
An agent’s website is their business card to the world. If they cannot take care of their own public “listing”, how well do you think they will take care of yours.
Beware though, that many agents will buy an out-of-the-box website. Just check the very bottom of the page for phrases and brands like “Powered by…”, “Design by…”, “Agent Image”, “Rock Paper Simple”, “Easy Agent Pro” or “Real Geeks”.
Nonetheless, a great website is a good indicator that an agent realizes the importance of online marketing and actively works on improving their online presence.
Market research is a critical part in determining the right price.
Many agents get lazy and do a simple radius search of sold homes but that’s not good enough!
A 0.5 mile radius can include different subdivisions with completely different price ranges.
It’s crucial to only go by comparable sold listings within the same subdivision. If that’s not possible, your agent will have to research comparable subdivisions based on average sold prices in the past 6-12 months.
Another factor are price fluctuations in the overall market and within your subdivision. Just because homes sold for a certain price in December doesn’t mean they have the same value in May.
Your agent should be able to create market statistics specific to your subdivision.
Keep in Mind the Appraisal
When a home purchase is being financed, whether it’s VA, FHA or conventional, an appraisal will be ordered by the mortgage lender.
The appraiser will determine an accurate value for your home and the mortgage lender will only finance the purchase based on that appraisal.
That means that if you overprice your home, even if you get an offer for it, you will have to lower the price to the appraised value because otherwise the purchase will not be financed.
The opposite strategy is to purposely price a home lower than it’s value. In this strategy you are trying to get multiple offers and create a bidding war.
Psychologically, people want to have what other people want. It creates a sense of competition.
In such a scenario the logical part of the brain shuts off and buyers might offer much more than the actual value of the home.
The third option is to price the home as realistic as possible. This way you’re not running the risks of a low price strategy but you’re still reaching all potential buyers as opposed to a high price strategy.
Real estate agents will advise their buyers on their offer price, based on comparable sales data.
If your home is priced realistically, it will be easy to receive a full price offer or higher. Similar to a low price strategy, there is a good chance that a realistically priced home receives multiple offers.
Think Like A Buyer
Many home sellers bring too much emotion into the sale of their home. Personal history and memories will make a home worth much more to you than what it really is.
While that is a perfectly normal behavior, it’s not beneficial to the selling process. Instead try to see things from a buyers perspective.
Buyers only have one concern:
“Can I afford that home?”
Most buyers are already pre-qualified/pre-approved and know exactly how much they can afford.
Buyers shop in price ranges
Price ranges can vary. For example, someone looking to buy a home under $100,000 will most likely think in $10,000 increments whereas someone looking for a $500,000 home might rather think in increments of $30,000 or more.
With that in mind, it would be better to price a home at $400,000 or $425,000 rather than $407,000 (if possible).
Another point to take away from price ranges is to price homes at an even number.
From a sales psychology point of view it would be better to list your home at $399,999 instead of $400,000 because it “feels” like a lower price.
However, while all buyers who search for homes up to $400,000 will see your home, all buyers who search for homes $400,000 and up will never find your home on the MLS, Zillow, realtor.com or any other property website.
Buyers don’t care about what you (or your agent) think
I know that sounds harsh but that’s the reality.
They don’t care how much you paid for the home or how much money you want to make from the sale.
In a buyers mind, the only thing that matters is if the home is worth the price you’re asking.
There are many things you can do before you put your home for sale in order to sell faster and for a higher price.
Pre-Inspection: Saving You Trouble and Money
When a buyer purchases a home, they will hire a professional inspector.
Professional inspectors are trained to find even the tiniest thing that could be wrong or needs repair.
Once the buyer receives the inspection report, they will typically ask of a credit based on the necessary repairs.
That means you will pay for some of their closing costs in the amount of the repairs.
While the purchase price stays the same, you are still paying money for those repairs through the credit.
Usually the price for the repairs is estimated much higher than what they really are. Even when the buyer sends a professional to give them an estimate, they will usually ask for the highest possible number.
When you have your home under contract, you will feel the pressure and will most likely give in to the demand for a credit.
That’s why it’s a smart move to think about the inspection before it even happens.
You already know that the professional inspector will find it anyways, so why not have an inspection done before you even put the home on the market?
With your own inspection report in hand, you have the opportunity to compare different estimates for repairs by different companies.
When you’re under contract and you have inspection contingencies and deadlines you don’t have that time.
Like I mentioned before, estimates are usually given on the high end of the price range. So if you get repairs done before you put your home for sale, you also have the chance that the repairs are going to be on the low side of the estimate.
Even if you don’t want to do repairs, you will already have the lowest estimates ready to negotiate a lower credit with the buyer.
You might even be able to fix issues by yourself or with the help of a handy friend.
Knowing the issues of your home before you put it on the market puts you in a much better position for negotiations, might save you large amounts of money and allows you to act smart and not on impulse.
Improvements with the Highest ROI
The National Home Improvement Survey by HomeGain analyzed different home improvements and their cost as well as return on investment (ROI).
Clean & De-Clutter
The easiest and cheapest way to increase your home’s value is to clean and de-clutter it.
From easy DYI cleaning and organization to hiring professional cleaning services, this investment pays off.
- Start by getting baskets, bins, hangers, storage boxes and even an ottoman to store and organize your personal belongings.
- If you haven’t used something in a long time, consider getting rid of it.
- De-personalize your home. Take any pictures of family and friends down and replace them with neutral pictures of landscapes. You want to make it easy for the buyer to picture themselves living in your home.
- Clean all curtains, drapes and blinds.
- Give special attention to the entryway of your home and everything you can see from the front door. This is the first impression for every buyer, so it needs to be a great one.
- Get air fresheners for the entire home. However, keep it to a light and fresh scent, like fresh linen and stay away from intense scents like vanilla.
- If possible, hire a professional cleaning service for a deep cleaning before the listing.
Lighten & Brighten
Going hand in hand with cleaning & de-cluttering is this part on the home improvement list.
- Clean all windows inside and out to let more light in.
- Keep curtains and blinds open and turn on enough lights when you’re expecting a showing.
- Replace existing light bulbs with high lumen light bulbs.
Electrical & Plumbing
Ideally, you’ll have a professional pre-listing inspection done to uncover potential issues.
- If that’s not possible, make sure all drains are clean and free flowing and all toilets are in working order.
- Clean up or paint old plumbing fixtures.
- Make sure all faucets are working.
- Make sure smoke alarms, doorbell and sprinkler systems are working.
A study by the Department of Horticulture at Virginia Tech pointed out which landscaping factors had the most influence on the perceived value.
That includes foundation planting plus island plantings, shade trees, curved bed-lines and adjoining beds.
The second most important factor was plant size with 36%.
The least important factor was the diversity of different plants with only 22%.
If hiring a professional is not possible, start with a few simple DIY tips like placing a fresh vase of flowers on the dinner table or a bowl with fresh fruits on the kitchen counter.
Some new white towels, folded on the edge of the bathroom vanities or a decorative soap dispenser can enhance your bathrooms.
It should be obvious but make sure that your beds are made when you have showings.
Potpourri in a bowl is usually a good decorative item for most rooms (even the bathrooms)
Set the dining room table as if you had a dinner party.
If you’re already thinking about buying decorative items for your new home, why not buy them a little earlier and have them help improve the appeal of your home for sale.
Selling your home is most likely the most important transaction you will ever handle. Don’t take it lightly.
Take your time with the decisions you make.
Be smart. As exciting as it may be to sell your home, this is a financial transaction which should be based on logic and not on emotion.
Don’t let anyone talk you into making a rushed decision. Anyone trying to do so only has their own best interest in mind and not yours.
Use what you learned in this guide to help you make the best decisions.
It’s an exciting journey to sell your home and I wish you the best of luck and good success.
Benjamin “REALTOR® Ben” Bodenschatz
- Space Coast Multiple Listing Service
- 2016 NAR Profile of Home Buyers & Sellers
- ATTOM Data Solutions
- NAR Field Guide to Real Estate Statistics
- Department of Horticulture, Virginia Tech
- American Society of Home Inspectors
- HomeGain National Home Improvement Survey
- The Smart Home Inspector
- Fortune Lords
- Mainstreet ROI
- VHT Studios
- Budget Dumpster
- Real Estate Staging Association