Carol George's Blog
It’s a competitive selling market and we all know how difficult it can be to entice buyers with your home.
There are a number of ways to highlight the best features of your house. From staging to great real estate photos, marketing your home is a key aspect to ensuring a sale.
However, sometimes sellers miss out on opportunities to give their home a competitive edge in the housing market.
In today’s post, we’re going to talk about some of the features in homes that are major selling points for today’s average buyer. That way, you’ll be able to update your listing and materials so that everyone who looks at your home knows exactly what it has to offer.
1. Location and convenience
Odds are you can find some major location selling points for your home if you think about it. Is your home near grocery stores, hospitals, parks, or major highways? Does it lack the rush hour traffic that other neighborhoods have?
Just because you’ve gotten used to the convenient location of your home doesn’t mean it won’t be appreciated by your potential buyers.
2. Low upkeep and utility costs
If you live in a newer home in your neighborhood, there’s a good chance it will beat out much of the local competition in energy efficiency and maintenance costs. If you’ve recently upgraded energy-related parts of your home (think windows, HVAC, insulation, etc.), you should highlight these upgrades in your listings.
This is also a good time to show off your utility savings. Many utility companies show you how much you spend compared to your neighbors. If your home is energy efficient, don’t be afraid to show off in your listing.
3. Storage space
Ever notice how self-storage facilities seem to be popping up just about everywhere? Storage space is a huge concern for homeowners and buyers alike.
Make sure your photos and listings reflect the amount of storage your home has.
4. Major upgrades
If you’ve recently replaced the septic system, roof, windows, HVAC or other major upgrade, be sure to list the date and cost of the system in your listing. They can help assure potential buyers that they won’t need to make any costly upgrades or repairs anytime soon.
5. Pet and smoke-free
If your home is free of any odors or signs of pets or cigarettes, it will likely be a plus for buyers who are only focusing on homes that are clean and move-in ready.
6. Natural lighting
If your home has a lot of windows or skylights, be sure to include them in your photo and listing. Natural lighting can dramatically improve real estate photos, and it will make your home seem more spacious and welcoming.
Although location is one of the most important factors that will impact the marketability of your home, it's not the only thing prospective buyers are thinking about.
If they're organized, focused, and serious about finding the right property for their needs, they've probably developed a detailed checklist of "must haves" and a "wish list."
In all likelihood, those who are working with a real estate agent are being shown properties that conform to their requirements and many of their wish-list items. A comprehensive list would include everything from the number of bedrooms and bathrooms they want to square footage and the quality of the school district.
Many people also have specific preferences about features like floor plans, amount of storage space, the size of the backyard, architectural style, and the availability of a fireplace, patio, porch, deck, eat-in kitchen, two-car garage, and privacy features. Some are even looking for the traditional white picket fence in front of the house!
While your home can't be "all things to all people," it is highly recommended to target the widest possible audience. Your agent, a home staging consultant, or a home decorator can provide you with valuable tips on how to achieve that outcome.
Stand Out and Get Noticed
Just looking good on paper, though, is not always enough to attract motivated buyers. Prospects need to love what they see and be inspired to envision themselves living in your house. Doing what you can to create irresistible curb appeal is one vital aspect of making a great first impression. A manicured lawn, a fresh coat of paint (if needed), and some strategic home staging -- inside and out -- can make all the difference in your results!
Curb appeal is vitally important because that sets the stage, so to speak, for creating high expectations in your prospects. Once you get them in a positive frame of mind, they'll be more inclined to notice all the positive aspects of your home. If your house meets all or most of their requirements and is arranged in a way that's pleasing to them, a purchase offer and negotiations may be right around the corner.
One of the most crucial hurdles to clear in getting prospects to consider buying your house is to help them imagine living, relaxing, raising a family, and pursuing their interests in your home. Your real estate agent can help you effectively stage the interior and exterior of your home to make it inviting and appealing to the widest range of potential buyers.
You can support their sales and marketing efforts by making sure your home is always clean, fresh smelling, and ready to be shown at a moment's notice to house hunters. Doing your best to eliminate clutter, keeping counter tops neat, and making sure pets are on their best behavior (or happily frolicking at the local "doggie daycare" center) can play a key role in winning over interested buyers and successfully selling your home!
When you're ready to choose a realtor, there are several easy methods to go about finding the best one for your unique needs. You will want to choose a realtor with the experience; personality and "savvy" required to ensure a smooth and problem-free transaction. While It is a temptation to use a real estate agent who is a family member or friend, remember if your "Cousin Carlos" or "Aunt Agnes” has not been specifically trained in your market, lacks knowledge in short sales or does not have the experience to negotiate on your behalf, it will be really awkward when you have to fire him/her when they fail to perform. Ask yourself; do you want them privy to your personal financial information? To save embarrassment and to prevent hard feelings, ask for a referral to a seasoned firm. In many situations, your friend or family member will receive a referral fee.
Not all selling agents are licensed or have the same training. The National Association of Realtors advises, "The term "real estate agent" is generic and refers to a sales agent, who is responsible to a real estate broker and who is licensed by his or her state real estate commission to assist the broker in the business of buying, selling, exchanging, appraising, and managing property. A Realtor is a real estate agent who meets all these requirements and more. " Members of the NRA actively participate in ongoing seminars, workshops, and certification training to keep stay current in the ever-changing volatile market. They actively participate in community activities and neighborhood organizations, building a network of satisfied clients.
Seek a selling agent that is a member of the National Association of Realtors (NRA). Only members of the NAR may call themselves Realtors, a distinction that sets them apart from non-members. Realtors are held to high standard of ethical practice and conduct and agree to follow the NAR Code of Ethics and Standards of Practice in all transactions. Reputation is paramount. Select a realtor with good online reviews and excellent word of mouth recommendations. Check references and ask if the real estate agent has been involved in litigation or sanctioned by the State Board of Realtors. If so, was the matter resolved to the satisfaction of all parties?
Request recommendations from family and friends who have sold their homes in your area. It is comforting to know that someone you trust has entrusted the sale of their home to an agent that successfully guided them through the real estate transaction with a positive outcome.
Look for a realtor that specializes in selling your type of property, in your price range. The majority of seasoned real estate selling agents focus their time and energies on a particular market. If the real estate agent you are considering specializes in downtown lofts and condos, although experienced, they are unlikely to have many customers for your family home in the suburbs. Pick a selling agent that is willing and ready to commit their time and resources to selling your home.
Ask questions. What's happening with new construction in your price range and how will it affect the sale of your property? Is the local real estate market falling, level or rising? Is there any issue coming up within the community that will affect the sale of homes, such as commercial development, announcements of major company relocations, an increase in taxes or a change in zoning? Quiz the selling agent about your neighborhood, making sure they are familiar with the characteristics and amenities that make your property attractive to a potential buyer. Select a realtor who is up-to-date on what's happening in the marketplace, detail orientated and motivated to sell your home for all it's worth.
Interview several agents, inquiring into their sales background. Ask agents how many homes they have sold in the past six months and if they work at real estate full time.
If a potential selling agent only sells real estate part time, you will only receive a part-time effort.
Determine if the selling agent has a marketing plan for your property. In order to sell your home quickly, it is imperative that the property receives maximum exposure. Where will the home be advertised? When will your home be included be in the national multi-list service? Will the sale of the property be promoted via the Internet? How often will the agent conduct an open house? A selling agent that cannot readily answer these questions is likely only seeking the listing and does not have your best interests at heart. Pick a real estate selling agent with a REALTOR e-PRO ® designation which certifies that they are a professional with current training to harness the selling power of the Internet.
It's wise to choose an agent backed by a professional team to assist you in achieving your real estate goals. An experienced realtor will suggest a knowledgeable and efficient title company, a reputable home inspector and any contractors or service providers you may need in readying your home for sale. Analyze the answers you receive to all your questions, and then narrow the field to two or three agents. Trust your intuition and choose a realtor with whom you feel comfortable and in whom you have confidence.
Choosing a real estate agent comes down to two main considerations; pricing the property correctly from day one and the negotiating skills of the agent. Pick a Realtor that puts the client before the commission.
- The age of the roof: There are a lot of variables, when it comes to the life expectancy of roofing materials. With harsh weather conditions -- including sweltering summer days and annual ice buildups -- Mother Nature subjects your roof to a lot of wear and tear. If it's been more than 20 years since your roof was last replaced, the shingles are probably starting to show visible signs of deterioration. That's definitely not a selling point for prospective buyers. What house hunters do love to hear is that the roof is relatively new and has been replaced within the past five years. Although prices vary and can run higher, roofs typically cost at least $10,000 to replace. Many potential buyers would be turned off by the prospect of having to shell out that kind of money after they close on the house. Others might use that as a bargaining chip to get you to lower your asking price. In either case, an old roof puts you at a disadvantage.
- Completed remodeling projects: Although some home buyers thrive on the idea of renovating a property themselves, most would prefer an updated home. Recently remodeled bathrooms and kitchens will make your house much more appealing and marketable to would-be buyers. If those closely scrutinized rooms look dated or poorly maintained, you can be sure that will negatively impact the selling price and/or the amount of time your house stays on the market.
- Mechanical and electrical upgrades: People like to hear about improvements like a new central air conditioning system, a furnace replacement, or an upgraded electrical panel. These can all be major selling points, especially among prospective buyers who have had trouble with any of these vital systems in the past.
- Miscellaneous: Other features that could help sell your house may include energy-efficient windows, new flooring, lighting, security systems, room additions, a new driveway or walkways, a finished basement or attic, basement waterproofing, new siding, fencing, patios, porches, and landscaping improvements.