Sunday, April 15, 2007

Selling vs Marketing

As a homeowner, you are emotionally attached to your home. No matter how long you have owned your home, when you purchased it, you immediately started adding your style and personality to it. Now that you are selling it, you need to make it appealing to potential home buyers. If you keep it "as is" (you list it exactly as it is now), you are limiting your buyer field. In other words, you are "marketing" to a select few.

Think about it this way. If I open a butcher shop selling only beef, I am only marketing to beef eaters. Yes, there are many beef eaters but there are more consumers who don't eat beef. If I want to market to more consumers I must add pork, poultry or seafood. Every time I add another item, I am making my store more appealing to a variety of consumers. This is the same when you are selling your house.

Selling your house is about packaging and marketing. It has taken you a while to get it to where you want it, but now you need to package and market it so buyers will want it. What do buyers want? Buyers want a house which they can just move into and start living. They don't want to have to remove wallpaper, paint over unusual colors, make repairs, and upgrade items throughout the house. If your house feels dated, dirty, dark, bland, cluttered, small, etc., most buyer will discard your house and move on to the next one. With so many houses on the market, buyers have the choice and time to find the house which is within their price range, fits their needs as well as one which is in "move in ready" condition. Do you have the time for your house to sit on the market until the right buyer comes along?

How can you market your house so it appeals to a variety of buyers?

Think of your house as a product. Once you put it on the market, it is no longer yours. Soon it will be someone elses. Emotionally detach yourself from your house so it will be easier to make necessary changes in order to sell it. Hire a Staging Consultant to help stage your house. A staging consultant, like myself, can advice you on exactly what to clean, declutter, repairs, paint, renovate or modernize so it stands out among its competition and is in “move in ready” condition. Most buyers think staging is something they can do on their own but just like a proof reader; it takes an independent party to show you your home's flaws or negatives. What negatives might your house have? Negatives are anything that will turn buyers off. As an independent 3rd party, different from your agent, a stager can inform you which imperfections need to be changed and why. Or how to turn negatives into positives. Once your house has been properly prepared, a stager can return and give your house a style which buyers can envision themselves and their belongings in.
If your house is already on the MLS, have your agent take new pictures immediately. Online and print ad picture are a buyers first impression of your house. If they don't like they way it looks, they most likely won't bother giving your house a second thought. Have your agent upload the new photos to their website and print new ads.

Once your house has been staged, keep it maintained. Houses are not selling as quickly as they have in the past. Buyer can take their time when deciding which house they will make an offer on. If they viewed your house two weeks ago, they may decide to take another look and you want them to be just as impressed as when they first saw it.

In a buyer’s market, homeowners must make their house appeal to a variety of buyers, create a sense of interest and desire and make their house worth what they are asking. Staging is the way for both buyers and sellers to get what they want. If buyers get what they want (turn key home) , sellers get what you want by selling their house. Stage it! Style it! Sell it!

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