Studies show that the longer a home sits on the market, the lower the offer will be when the seller finally receives one. That is why you really need to do everything you can to make buyers fall in love with your home once it’s listed. You may feel that your home will sell itself, but that can be a costly presumption if you’re wrong. If there are other homes for sale in your area, you need to be competitive. The best thing to do is to form a clear plan of action and execute each step to make sure that nothing gets overlooked.
In this article, I’ll give you a “big picture” overview of the most important steps to take to get buyers to fall in love with your house before they ever see it in person. Home buyers are often highly emotional shoppers. It’s important to get their attention right from the beginning. If a buyer falls in love with your house before seeing it in person, they are much more likely to emotionally attach to it when they view it in person. Emotions cause buyers to feel a sense of urgency and excitement, which in turn encourages them to submit a good offer to increase their chances of getting it accepted.
Your goal as a home seller should be to win as many buyers hearts as possible to solicit the highest offers possible. This will be determined by your ability to get your home ready and your Realtor’s ability to market the property. If you and your Realtor are both performing at your best, your home will most likely sell faster, and for higher dollar than the other homes in your neighborhood.
Here are 4 steps to take to win home buyers hearts before they ever see your house in person.
Properly "Restore" Your Home
I show a wide variety of homes every month. After years of walking through houses with buyers, it’s easy to know what buyers want and don’t want. In Colorado Springs, the #1 thing that I see keeping many houses from selling is the overall condition of the home. It’s a lot of work to get a home ready to sell and some people will try to cut corners. Maybe your dog chewed some of the edges of the carpet and you don’t want to fix it, so you put a rug over it. Perhaps you have been living in the house for 20 years and don’t realize that your picture covered walls make it hard to tell what color the paint is. From dingy light switch plate covers to well loved flooring, living in a home tends to take a toll on the condition. You may not notice it, but a home buyer will.
For whatever reason, some sellers try to avoid the work of “restoring” a home back to it’s original condition. It may be the expense or the time needed to do it properly. The bottom line is that this HAS to be done to sell for top dollar. This is one of your most important roles in selling your house. If you want buyers to love your home, it’s going to have to be in better condition than the other homes on the market. Otherwise, your home is simply being used to sell other listings that are in better condition.
Evaluating the repairs and restoration to be done before listing can be complicated if your house is very large and/or you’ve been living in it for many years. This is something that your Realtor can coach you through. If you can get the interior and exterior of your home in great show condition, your going to win buyers hearts when they find your home online.
Minimize Your Presence in the Home
It’s important to minimize your presence in the home to maximize interest online. Buyers have a hard time imagining themselves in a home if it is covered in someone else's stuff. To do this you need to act as though the home is no longer yours, and pretend that you are just temporarily staying there to take care of it for the next buyer. This is a very effective mindset.
Remove all of your personal pictures from the walls and use minimal decorative items throughout the house. If buyers can't tell whether or not you live there, you’ve done your job well. A house for sale does not usually need as much furniture as a house you are living in. Consider renting a storage unit and moving as much stuff out as possible to make your house appear larger. Get rid of stuffed bookshelves, unnecessary furniture, and anything that can be stored until after closing. This will help your house look clean and ready for a new owner.
This step is harder for some people than others. If you are a minimalist by nature, then your house is going to be easier to get ready. If you are a borderline hoarder (joke) and you have stuff everywhere, I would suggest enlisting the help of some friends to get your home ready. They will help you save time by objectively deciding what gets packed up and what stays. If you can get all of your personal belongings off of the bookshelves, walls, and exposed areas, it will dramatically help buyers emotionally attach to your home and fall in love with it even before seeing it in person.
Study & Beat The Competition Online
There is no better way to know how well your home is going to do than to study the local market. Pretend that you are a buyer looking for a home in the price range, size, and area of your house. Then go online and try to find 3 to 5 homes that you think are the best homes available. Go view them in person with your Realtor, if you can. This will give you a great idea of what your competition is like and help you determine the best price and condition that your home should be in to properly compete.
Notice how much of a difference each $10,000 increment makes in the amenities of your competition. The higher in price you go, the harder your home will be to sell. Study your competition and determine what price range would be competitive and fair. Also, notice if your competition is offering common upgrades or amenities that your home does not, then adjust by adding those amenities/upgrades or dropping the price to better compete. This is one of the most important steps to marketing your home to get buyers to love it. Pricing it correctly in the beginning is crucial.
The hardest part of evaluating your competition is being honest with your situation. Are you objective enough to determine whether your house is better or worse than your competition? Chances are more likely that you are not, which makes it wise to ask your real estate agent (or an objective 3rd party) to help you be honest with your situation. It’s easy to lean towards whatever will help justify selling for the highest price. Pricing a home too high is the most common mistake homes sellers make. Too often sellers will hire a Listing Agent simply because they assure the sellers they can get an unrealistic amount for their home. Be honest and objective when studying your competition. You’ll end up causing buyers to fall in love with your listing because it outshines the competition in your proper price range!
Market The Most Unique Features
When you study your competition and pretend to be a buyer looking in your home’s price range, what features does your home have that others do not? These are very important to point out because they make your home special. Many times, these features may not be noticeable in the pictures, or may get lost in the property description. These days, it takes more than a clever property description and average photos to sell a home. I highly recommend using video marketing to sell your home. With video, you can be sure to display everything that you want to be conveyed about your home. Here’s an example:
Notice how this video gives you many extra details about the fireplace, construction, and features of the home that you would never get from the property description text. This is a powerful way to sell your home and make buyers fall in love before they ever see it.
Once you have “restored” your home to show condition and have studied the market to determine a strong sales price & upgrades, you’ll need to hire a Realtor who is a pro with marketing. The worst thing you can do is hire a sub-par Realtor who is a friend or relative out of obligation and have them destroy your hard work with bad photos and old school marketing.
Spend some time researching and find a Realtor who markets with video well. It can be the #1 thing to help your home sell for top dollar in the least amount of time. The way your home is presented online will make or break your whole home sale. I see new listings every week of beautiful homes that have terrible pictures, no videos, old school virtual tours, and barely any marketing efforts. Whatever you do, DO NOT let this happen to you!
If you are selling your home, it’s highly likely that you will be buying another one. Spend some time looking at homes online and notice what gets your attention. Notice how homes with bad marketing are harder to figure out and emotionally attach to. Then notice how you find yourself emotionally attaching to homes with beautiful pictures and great marketing. Also notice how few homes are using video to market their lisitngs. That’s the advantage you have if you and your agent choose to use it.
If you can accomplish all 3 of the steps above, you will be ahead of your competition and stand the best chance for success. I’ve seen it work many times. The benefits are: less time stuck on the market, and higher priced offers form buyers. With benefits like those, how can you afford not to take these simple steps? Find a great local Realtor who can help you accomplish your goals and make the process easier. A good Realtor can make all the difference!
Hi! I'm Andrew Fortune, the founder of Great Colorado Homes and the creator of much of the content on this website. Thanks for taking the time to read this article. Please feel free to share this article with someone who might benefit from it. I appreciate your time here on this site and am always open to suggestions and ideas from our readers. Feel free to leave a comment in the box below.
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