What’s really important to buyers?
By Kathy Schmidt, Broker/Owner, Schmidt Realty Group Inc.
Time to sell? That means it’s time to really understand what’s important to buyers.
They say the only constant is change. Nowhere is that more true than in real estate. The market is always moving. In the spring of 2022 bidding wars were the norm with the resulting sales prices frequently being well above asking… this makes sense when you consider that there was such a scarcity of supply! Fast forward 6 months and inventory has increased. This means that buyers now have more choice and it’s much less common to see a multiple offer scenario. What does this mean for you if you’re thinking about selling? It means you’ve got to understand what buyers are looking for so that you put your best foot forward for your best chance to get your best price.
Here are 5 key things to be aware of to ensure that your house is the next one to sell and that it sells for the best price possible.
- Understand the second question buyers ask.
No matter what the market is doing, the first question any buyer asks is.. “What’s the asking price ?” second question they asked is.. “How long has it been on the market?” You can change your strategy when it comes to the first question. You can adjust your price if you decide that makes sense based on the feedback you’re getting after showings. However you can’t change your strategy when it comes to the second question. Your house has been for sale as long as it’s been for sale. Those facts don’t change. Even if you change your price the days on market have continued to accumulate. Nothing gets buyers more excited than hearing that a house has only been on the market for a few days or maybe a week. Once it’s been on the market for a month or so, buyers believe they have time to sleep on it. The sense of urgency is gone. Urgency and price are closely correlated. The more urgency a buyer feels they need to act in order to quickly to secure your home, the better the price you will get. The only way to strategically impact the answer to the second question is to make sure that the answer to the first question is one that makes sense to buyers. In other words pricing your home in the right range impacts both questions one and two.
Takeaway: Price your property properly.
- Give buyers a “thank goodness” moment!
What do I mean by this? When showing clients a lot of homes it quickly becomes apparent that many sellers don’t go the extra mile to prepare their properties. What this means is as Realtors we frequently have to take our clients in to homes that are less than clean. In extreme cases, buyers regret taking off their shoes! More typically they just have to walk around clutter and ignore crumbs on the counter. Give buyers a break and have them associate a feeling of relief and respect by preparing your home so even your mother would approve. Trust me, buyers stay longer in clean houses.
Takeaway: Preparation builds goodwill.
- Don’t fall into the mini maxi trap.
This is what I call it when sellers minimize the cost of repairs needed and maximizes the value of the day-to-day maintenance they have done. Here’s an example: Painting your house after 10 years of daily living doesn’t mean it’s suddenly worth market value plus the cost of your paint job. The paint job was maintenance. On the flip side, a long list of minor plumbing repairs will likely become a stumbling block to buyers. Many sellers view this simply as the cost of homeownership. To a buyer it can create questions about how the home has been maintained overall. At some point that list of minor plumbing repairs will create a roadblock in the sale. Whether a buyer notices a dripping tap during a showing, or whether it comes up on inspection, trust me, the buyers will notice.
Takeaway: Spend the time and money to do the small fixes. And don’t overvalue the cost of routine maintenance expecting the buyer to pay for it.
- Buyers need what they need.
Don’t sellers need what they need as well? Of course they do! You have your own goals in mind. And so do the buyers. Just like you, they want to make sure they’re making a wise financial decision. Just like you they may be getting tons of “expert” real estate advice from friends and family. Just like you when you bought the property, they want to see it a few times, take some measurements and ask lots of questions. Don’t get bugged by buyers who want a lot of information. It’s actually an indication they’re seriously considering your home! If they want to come back a few times, make sure they know they’re welcome. Then clear out and give them the space they need to imagine the house as their own. You won’t mind that extra pizza dinner out if it means you get an offer.
Takeaway: Remember what it was like when you were house hunting.
- It’s never just about the money.
Sure, all buyers want to get a good deal. But a good deal doesn’t just mean a low price. It means they’re getting value. Cleanliness is value. Working with a gracious and helpful seller adds value. Starting with a price in the right ballpark adds value to the negotiation as it shows the buyer that you’re market aware. And getting a house that’s not been on the market for months and months adds value because everyone wants to feel like they purchase something that everyone else wants.
Takeaway: Never underestimate the value of making the process as smooth as possible for buyers. Buyers who are treated respectfully from the time they cross the threshold are much more likely to give you what you want most too.
What’s the BIG TAKEAWAY in all this? Helping buyers get more of what they want will ultimately help you get more of what you want in your next sale!
Questions? Contact us any time at 780-437-2030 or Info@SchmidtRealtyGroup.com