People often ask me how we sold our home the first day it was on the market.
Whether it's a seller's market or a buyer's market, there are ways to tilt the odds in your favor.
As a real estate writer for more than a decade who toured and wrote about homes for sale, I've learned not only what staging techniques work, but what property descriptions sell.
A few months ago, I helped a family friend sell her home during this down housing market in North Carolina. She got an offer before the house was even officially on the market.
Another friend just listed her house in Arizona. She got responses immediately after her house was listed on various real estate sites on the Internet.
Writing property descriptions that sell
Just because a person is a Realtor doesn't mean he or she is a gifted writer. I think it pays to ask a writer friend or relative to revise the property description that is used for the Multiple Listing Service (MLS) listings.
It's unlikely your Realtor will be insulted. It's making his or her job easier.
When revising my Arizona friend's property remarks, I made sure the first sentence described the "magnificent view of the Catalina Mountains," which is why the home can command a higher price. I also wanted to reach the prospective buyer's emotions by mentioning the "relaxing fountain."
To close the deal, it's important to use wording that motivates a person. Insiders call it "NLP" or neuro-linguistic programming techniques but it essentially involves writing or saying something in a way that will create receptivity instead of resistance.
Writing the right property description can make the difference between having zero showings or dozens of showings.
Staging the home, twice
My Arizona friend realized some of her photographs used for marketing the home were not as appealing as she had expected. Her solution was to stage the home for a photo shoot and then re-stage for showings. She didn't spend thousands of dollars for the staging. It was just a matter of moving around furniture and adding flowers and decorative touches that resulted in better photographs. Without the right property description remarks and photographs, a person won't make the appointment to see the home.
When we staged our townhome that we sold in one day, we staged the home to put the prospective buyers in a more emotional state. We tapped their sentimental sides by setting up a board game in progress on the kitchen table and having a few nostalgic décor items. Even baking homemade chocolate chip cookies can stir up nostalgia.
Real estate experts often advise their clients to de-personalize a home before putting it on the market. Although taking down family photos and removing anything too personal is smart, it's important to make the prospective buyer feel important. Invite them for a "personal showing" of the home. Make a little spa-like goodie bag that is attached to a paper copy of the listing that includes photographs of the property.
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