Monday, May 21, 2012

Marketing your Albuquerque Home for Sale - not toilets

My biggest question lately is - Why do consumers settle for so little when it comes to marketing their home?

Every morning my first line of business is to open up the MLS and see what is on the market fresh and ready to show to my buyers. If I see a listing with no photos, or a toilet photo...I can't help but think that someone just doesn't care. But is it the listing broker? Is the seller? Not sure, but when your home hits the market for sale, it has now become a product. A product that should be ready to sell, spit polished and offered in it's best light. 3 photos with a toilet shot just doesn't cut it. Or, 10 photos if the MLS offers 25, just doesn't cut it.

I see it every day - a home goes on the market and hits the MLS as a live/I'm for sale/buy me now listing. There are no pictures. Why? Not sure - but no pictures, so what do I do as a buyer's broker? I move on...I'm thinking so do my buyers. Since 90% of home buyers shop for their next home via websites, why would you launch a new listing with no photos? Camera in the shop? Not good at photography? I'll get Round Tuit?

Or, there's a photo, or three. Just three. One of the front, shot with the smart phone through the windshield.

My favorite - one of the toilet with the lid up.

Maybe one of the empty living room.

If the MLS offers a maximum of 25 photos, then you should be demanding that your listing broker post multiple, good quality, representative marketing photos of your property and have them ready when that listing hits the MLS. Not just a few photos that show a few rooms, as many as it will allow to show lots of features of the home. I pay extra to have my listings photographed by a professional photographer, who knows the angles and the lighting and the best way to shoot a room. The listing isn't presented to the market until those photos are ready to be entered into the listing data before it hits the market. I don't like down time.

Stop your broker from selling your toilet and get them to sell your home.

Friday, May 18, 2012

Houses aren't hamburger!

I've often said this when I'm helping people buy or sell a house - don't look at the square foot price and think it's the final answer on what a home is "worth". Alot of factor go in to what your home will sell for, or what you should be paying for a home.

First of all, it's the APPEAL. How did that property make you feel when you walked in the front door? Does the home have a feeling of calm, of good workmanship, good colors, layout and has the house been loved? I go into homes every day where I feel like running out the front door as fast as I walked in. The home hasn't been taken care of, or the carpet is soiled, stains on the walls, laundry on the floor - or no landscaping. It smells. If it makes me feel bad, it is certainly going to make a buyer feel bad. As a seller, you must do work on your home to make it feel good to a buyer. It must feel loved.

As a home buyer, don't just look at the price per square foot on a home and think that because the neighbor's house is priced $10.00 per square foot less, that this is a reason for making an offer $10.00 per square foot less..and I say this with confidence. I just finished consulting with an appraiser, and he said that the price per square foot of a house is not as relevant as you think. He confirmed that when he goes into a house, and his first impression is 'wow, nice', that feeling stays with him as he is assessing the value of the home. The amount of 'wow' that he experiences has a direct influence on his valuation model, as it should. If this wasn't true, then how can 4 tract homes on the same street, with the same floorplan, and priced differently not all sell at exactly the same time and for the same price? It's because one of them stands out - and if it's not just bought by the principle of what I call the 'bargain trigger' (the home is just so low priced that the above factors are overlooked), one home wins out because it just has an amazing appeal.

Sometimes it's landscaping - bringing the outdoors "in" as living space. This can be done by having outdoor flooring that is like indoor flooring; beautiful patio furniture, fresh flowers, and sometimes even a ceiling fan or outdoor music. Sometimes it's by having one or two custom lighting fixtures, or exceptionally upgraded countertops. I recently saw a home that was a simple, inexpensive tract home that sold because the owners had installed a high-end Wolf range in the kitchen along with other high end appliances. It was the 'wow' of the home that made it exceptional.

I recently brought a buyer to a 'wow' home. When we looked at the immediate area, the homes were priced all over the place in price per square foot, and had various floorplans. This home, which had been lived in by these owners for over 30 years, was a 1940's bungalow that had a wow factor even though they had not updated the home. In fact, that was the appeal. It was vintage, and sparkling clean. The wood floors had been refinished and the original cabinets were like antique treasures. The grounds were exceptional, with fruit trees, plants and gardens that knocked your socks off. When she saw the home, she knew she had to have it. It was priced reasonably, but high if you looked at it with the "arm chair appraiser approach". The actual appraisal came in higher than the purchase price.

I also just listed an amazing home that gave me a 'wow' when I walked in the door. It was clear that the owner had loved her home, and had taken exquisite care of it. The colors were warm and soft, her furnishings were superb. The neighborhood was an average, tract home neighborhood in a modestly priced area. Nothing exceptional about the location. But when you walked into that home, and through the back door, the wow didn't stop. The back yard was beautifully landscaped and the views were great. The patio furniture was perfect. The whole of the experience was exactly as you would want every listing to be. We priced it at the high end and sold it in 2 weeks for full price. The buyer said 'wow' and had to have it.

Houses aren't hamburger.

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