Top 10 Real Estate Selling Facts
STAGING & HOME PREP
Buyers will be judging your home exclusively on what they see, feel, hear & smell. They will have a direct dialogue with the product only. If the house is not prepped properly you are leaving huge money on the table, or even worse your property won’t sell. 99% of Buyers have no vision.
99% of all Buyers will be using some kind of web/online resource to view your property. They will select properties to put on their “see” list based entirely on photography. Professional photography is necessary whether the house is a one-room studio, or a 20 bedroom estate. The photos will only look as good as the house is staged. No cutting corners here!
HIRE AN EXPERIENCED REAL ESTATE AGENT
You are not hiring the brokerage company, this is only a technicality! A brokerage company is simply a “check the box” item. It will give you a baseline sense of reputation and has no bearing on the level of experience the Agent has. All Agents are independent contractors. There are many Agents out there in today’s market that very little experience. You need an Agent that has a minimum of a decade’s worth experience. Why? There are 101 ways to get taken in a Real Estate deal. Rookie mistakes can cost 1000’s of dollars. I can give you many examples in person.
OPEN HOUSE SIGNS
Open house signs are critical! Why? Not for Buyers. Heavy signage creates noise, especially on the launch of a property. You want your 1, 2, 3 real Buyers seeing a lot of cars and activity while they are previewing your home. This tactic plants a seed of anxiety in the Buyer’s mind, that if they want to get your home, they need to submit an offer sooner rather than later.
There is no such thing as a right price! An Agent can offer some basic science and provide comps that will give a general value basis for your property. The Seller is the Chairman and CEO of the property. What am I talking about? I have worked with Sellers that will only sell if he/she gets a magical number. This is a defined number based solely on the Seller’s feelings about the property. I have worked with Sellers that have major financial problems and must move the property quickly. I have worked with Sellers that fall in-between these two examples. Everyone is correct and no one is wrong! The Agent must provide the Seller with a “pricing spectrum” described from “Hot” to “Cold”. It is up to the Seller to make the executive decision on pricing strategy. The Agent offers advice, but the Seller is the one who makes the final decision. The market is a very honest place, even more so with advent of technology and the access to Real Estate data.
TEAMS ARE IMPORTANT
Why? Any good Real Estate Agent worth his or her salt will have several transactions going at the same time. It is important to have support staff who are able to open up doors, meet vendors, and sit non-critical inspections, etc. However, teams are not meant to be a crutch for the Agent. 80-90% of showings should be done by your Agent. Your Agent should sit as many opens as possible. Why? It is critical to read the body language of the Buyers; especially in multiple offer situations. A good Agent can get a sense of who and who will not be difficult in escrow. This is not a 100 percent science, but it is important for your Agent to be fully engaged with who is seeing your property. Additionally, open houses and showings give vital information on how the property is performing and what adjustments need to be made along the way.
IF YOU LIVE IN THE VALLEY
Hire an Agent that does business in the Valley! Why? There is this myth that if you are an Agent and sit at a desk in Beverly Hills, somehow you are going to bring a Buyer from Beverly Hills to the Valley. This is a lie, a myth, and a false legend! I don’t care about the price point. Buyers and Agents could care less if Agent representing the property is from Berkshire Hathaway Sherman Oaks or Berkshire Hathaway Beverly Hills. The information is completely online, transparent, and out there. Everyone has access to the same exact data and will know what’s on the market in your area in 10-15 minutes (this also corrlates to points 1-2 and why staging and photography are so important!). The key is that your Agent is in the area and can show your property at the drop of a dime. Your Agent should know every street, sub market, sub-sub market in your neighborhood, every school and all nuances about your location and your Real Estate. The Agent must also be able to speak intelligently and not grasp for straws about your area. Your Agent should be able to quickly compare and contrast your home with sold data and be able to explain why your deal is priced the way it is in a competent way. Out-of-market Agents tend to know very little about your neighborhood pocket. Out-of-market Agents tend to not want to show the house, because they are far away and every part of the day in Los Angeles is filled with traffic. Out-of-market Agents tend to send assistants to show your home. Out-of-market Agents tend to have less energy and excitement about your home. Out-of-market Agents tend to not know the key players in the market, which can be valuable especially in multiple offer scenarios. The list goes on and on.
Taco bars, burrito bars, broker parties, hand sandwiches, cookies, and sushi do not sell your home! All it does is make your home messy and smelly! Real Buyers are “on purpose”! These tactics do not attract real Buyers or real Agents. Active Real Estate Agents are “on purpose”. These people don’t care about the above. They are looking for the right deal! The above does nothing, but make the Seller feel good that the Agent is somehow being creative.
PRINT MARKETING IS DEAD
99% of Buyers in the Los Angeles area will get their information from an online resource: the MLS (Guest Access), Trulia, Zillow, Realtor.com, Openhouse.com, and private email updates that Agents set-up for clients, proactive emails from Agents, and social media. We advertise in print media, simply because it is still in the DNA of most Sellers. I can tell you that the last 50 deals I have sold did not come from the LA Times!
NEGOTIATION AND TRANSACTIONAL COMPETENCE
This is an extension to point number 3. I would say that 95% of Real Estate Agents are poor negotiators at best. It is critical that your Agent understands leverage and when to use it. It is critical that your Agent creates a sense of demand for your property with proper scripts and dialogue. It is critical that your Agent understand the 8-9-10 different strategies to utilize in a multiple offer scenario. It is critical for your Agent to understand and be able to diagnose strong Buyers from weak ones. It is critical for your Agent to understand the purchase agreement. It is critical that your Agent understands how to properly draft a counter offer and realize one little mistake can cost you thousands of dollars. It is critical for your Agent to understand when you have no leverage. It is critical for an Agent to be able to communicate with a Seller, not by telling the Seller what to do, but rather offering advice and offering multiple intelligent suggestions on how to approach an issue. It is critical for an Agent to make sure under most circumstances that a Seller not be present during inspections. Why? A Seller should never be cornered with questions. Questions should only be answered in writing and thought through. The list goes on and on!