We recently had an experience that caused quite a bit of conversation and introspection. What came out of the experience was a short list of “things that sound sexy to a Seller, but do not serve them.”
The experience that had us looking at how different strategies work and how what worked before, is not working now was this. I have shortened the story down to give a quick idea of what transpired.
We priced out a home, along with about 4 other agents. When we discussed pricing, the price we gave was higher than the other agents. The Seller asked about our thoughts on “bidding wars.” Our response was some homes are still selling above asking, however, if the strategy is to list the home at a price of $100,000 or more under market value, the chance of getting Buyers to bid offers up to market price may not happen. The Seller chose to work with an agent who suggested a list price $140,000 less than we determined the home was worth. During the first week of marketing, a similar home came for sale. In end the home we had priced sold for about $40,000 less than we suggested, and the similar home in the neighborhood sold for $100,000 higher than the home we looked at. The strategy sounded sexy, however the results, in my opinion left money on the table.
Some things that sound “sexy” yet really don’t serve Sellers can be;
- Listing the home with a Toronto agent will get more Toronto clients interested in the property. The truth is, we all use the same MLS system so agents in Toronto or west of the city have access to the information. MLS will draw a certain number of Buyers, however, targeted marketing in areas where Buyers may originate from will bring qualified, serious interest. Also, a local Realtor will know how to effectively market the home to local Buyers. Local Buyers are still a large buying group.
- Virtual tours help to sell homes. This is a statement that needs to be broken into pieces. When a 3D virtual tour along with professionally taken pictures are used to market a home, they can be a powerful tool. There are virtual tour companies that, instead of doing a virtual tour, offer basic slide shows of still pictures. These two tools sound the same however Buyers spend more time on 3D tours so they can walk through and get a feel for the home.
- Open houses are a way for the neighbors to look at your home, not Buyers. Sellers have shared with me that they have been told that Open Houses are not an effective way of marketing homes. With Sellers having to have the home show ready and be inconvenienced leaving for Saturday and Sunday afternoons, it is much easier to just opt for no open houses. I have found that with many Buyers coming from the west end of Toronto (Mississauga and Brampton,) weekends are the only time they are available to tour. Open Houses are, in this market critically important.
- With so much online marketing, expensive colour brochures in the home are unnecessary. When you think about how people tour homes, many drive from home to home following an Agent. Most of the time between homes they are looking at the information they have. By offering brochures, they can keep the excitement alive by looking over the pictures. This helps to highlight the property if they are seeing many in a single outing.
Over the past year, I have seen some of the most bizarre ways of presenting homes and marketing them to prospective Buyers. From properties jumping up and down in price, pictures taken with phones, room pictures sideways, upside down, with blowup dinosaurs and some with no pictures at all or snowy pictures in July. I have seen properties listed with incorrect lot sizes, condos listed as detached homes… the list goes on and on.
My advice to Sellers is, when you are interviewing an Agent, ask for referrals of clients the Agent has worked with in the past month. Ask for written plans on how the property will be advertised, with examples of recent work. Ask to see a copy of the virtual tour the Agent will use along with copies of floorplans, brochures and online marketing with results.
Choosing the best agent is a bit of a “double-edged sword.”
At the heart of a good Realtor is someone amazing at selling. What benefits a Seller is finding a Salesperson who has a plan on how to find the perfect buyer for their home, not one skilled at using “shiny new toys” to get the Seller to sign up with them.
When interviewing, ask questions, expect written plans, the names of current clients you can speak with to verify what you have been told and timelines you can rely on when each item will be completed.
Selling a home begins with trust, and trust begins with getting promises up front in writing.
A joke in Real Estate has always made me giggle; “a verbal offer isn’t worth the paper it’s written on.”
If you are curious about how you can get top pricing for your home, I can be reached at email@example.com
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