SELLING THE UNSELLABLE HOME
Pam & Chris, Handler Homes
Published by Authorify Publishing Copyright © 2020 Authorify Publishing
All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, distributed, or transmitted in any form or by any means, including photocopying, recording, or other electronic or mechanical methods, without the prior written permission of the publisher, except in the case of brief quotations embodied in critical reviews and certain other noncommercial uses permitted by copyright law. DISCLAIMER AND/OR LEGAL NOTICES: While all attempts have been made to verify information provided in this publication, neither the Author nor the Publisher assumes any responsibility for errors, inaccuracies, or omissions. Any slights of people or organizations are unintentional. This publication is not intended for use as a source of legal or accounting advice. The Publisher wants to stress that the information contained herein may be subject to varying state and/ or local laws or regulations. The reader of this publication assumes responsibility for the use of these materials and information. Adherence to all applicable laws and regulations, including advertising and all other aspects of doing business in the United States or any other jurisdiction is the sole responsibility of the reader. The Author and publisher assume no responsibility or liability whatsoever on behalf of any reader of these materials. If your property is currently listed with a Realtor, please disregard this notice. It is not our intention to solicit the offerings of other brokers. Printed in the United States of America
Table Of Contents
Why Should You Read This Book?
Does Listing Price Matter?
What To Avoid
Why It's So Easy To Sell Your Home For Less Than It's Worth
What Stops Perfect Homes From Selling
How To Sell A Home That Didn't Sell — Without Dropping The Price 19
Avoid This Rule At Your Own Risk
Why This 20% Rule Applies To Hard-To-Sell Homes
Grabbing Any Buyer's Attention
10. Luxury Home-Seller Strategy Sells Homes For 15% More Money
11. Why Home Staging Really Matters
12. Make Your Home Spotless
13. Details Win Home Sales
14. Important Features Of A Home
15. Why Pictures Of Your Home Can Stop It From Selling
16. The 3-Step Formula I Use To Sell Homes Others Couldn't Sell 69
17. Why Every Billionaire Home Sells
18. Negotiation Mistakes
19. Simple Negotiation Ideas
20. Why Your Dog Wants You To Hire Me To Sell Your Home
21. This Big Mistake Cost One Home Seller $36,000
22. Read This Before You Sign A Contract With A Buyer
23. Should You Consider Hiring A Real Estate Agent?
ABOUT PAM You’ll be glad Pam's on your side. Originally from Brooklyn, New York, an Atlanta resident for the past 26 years. Pam brings you the experience of an 18-year veteran of the Atlanta real estate market, successfully selling real estate through the good times and the bad. Before that, Pam spent 20 years working with legal contracts at major law firms in New York and Atlanta. To say that Pam is tough, tenacious, and thorough is an understatement. That’s why her clients love her. As a member of the National Association of Realtors, Pam is also much more than a real estate salesperson. She has met the challenging professional requirements necessary to be certified as a REALTOR®. She is also an SRES (Senior Residental Real Estate Specialist) and Luxury Homes certified. In Pam's spare time she loves working with Atlanta Boxer Rescue, helping plan their charity events and fundraisers. She currently has one 6 year old white boxer named Penelope and a 17 year old boxer mix named Pinkis.
Chris brings to Handler Homes a specialty that’s hard to find in today’s real estate market – a dedication to customer service. With a background in Customer Relationship-based Sales with Nordstrom’s, Kodak, and Fuji Film, Chris’s talents fit in perfectly with Handler Homes “our clients come first” philosophy. Originally from New Jersey, Chris played college football in Pennsylvania before spending over 20 years in Business-to- Business and Business-to-Consumer sales.
Chris is also a member of the National Association of Realtors
and has met the challenging professional requirements necessary to be certified as a REALTOR®. He is also an SRES (Senior Residental Real Estate Specialist) certified.
Testimonials & Reviews for Pam & Chris
Here’s a list of people whom we have helped buy or sell a home, and what they said about working with us. (These reviews have been anonymized to protect clients’ identities.)
Pam and Chris went above and beyond from start to finish to help me sell my house. Not only did they connect me with many outstanding professionals to help get my house in great shape, they also met those resources in my house many times so that I didn't have to. Their attention to detail and their focus on safety in light of the Corona virus made me feel comfortable about having other realtors and potential buyers in my home. Not only did Pam and Chris advise and help me every step of the way, they also did plenty of hand holding when I got stressed. They were available any time that I needed them, with patience and great attitudes. Ultimately, my house sold for the asking price and it sold quickly. I can't wait to have them help me find my next home. Thank you, Pam and Chris!
Pam is SO GREAT!!! Her professionalism, guidance, expertise and kindness will stand out immediately. I would recommend her to anyone looking to buy or sell a home! Pam will be there every step of the way to make sure that all of your needs are met. She never let off the gas and worked tirelessly to help sell our home. We are forever grateful for the chance to work with such an incredible team!
Pam and Chris work as a team. They were recommended to me by my neighbor who had known them for several years. I found them to be friendly, knowledgeable and willing to tell me when my expectations were greater than the reality of the market. When my buyer ran into difficulties and we had to re-negotiate our closing terms with them, they made it all work for both me and the buyers. In addition, both Pam and Chris were willing to help me with so many things outside what was expected of a realtor, such as: picking me up when my car was in the shop; taking bags and boxes of donations to Goodwill for me; always offering to help me with anything I needed help with; and helping me endlessly with the job of moving like finding the junk hauler for me, loading my car with everything I was taking with me and the onerous job of making sure everything was out of my house and the house was ready for final inspection. I'm 82 years old and the move was difficult enough but would have been totally impossible without their help. Pam and Chris were both "hands on" realtors and went above and beyond what I expected from them. I would recommend them highly to anyone contemplating selling or buying a property.Pam and Chris work as a team. They were recommended to me
Our experiences with Pam and Chris have been handled both professionally and with care for our situation. Our condo sale hit a few snags including one closing cancelled when the buyer died a week before. Having to move to Portugal while our condo was on the market again was handled expertly by Pam. We feel that Pam is the perfect agent to handle both buying and selling (which we have done 4 times with her) and could not recommend her and Chris more highly. Thank you Pam and Chris for a job well done.
Struggling to Sell Your Home? Here’s How to Fix That Problem and Get it Sold for Top Dollar — Fast!
Struggling to Sell Your Home?
Here’s How to Fix that Problem and Get it Sold for Top Dollar — Fast! Are you frustrated that your house hasn’t sold? You have a great house, but for some reason, buyers haven’t snapped it up yet? There are numerous possible reasons why your home hasn’t sold: marketing, pictures, an issue blocking the sale, staging, showing condition, curb appeal, access for viewing, floor plan, a negative feature, the price, etc.! The key is to find out exactly what is stopping the sale and resolve the issue. I’ve seen many homes sell after just one thing was changed. Here are a few examples of other homes that finally sold after the challenge blocking the sale was resolved: Home #1 sat on the market for 6 months because it was not being marketed properly. The marketing was improved, and the home sold 3 weeks later with lots of buyer interest. Home #2 sat on the market for 6 months because it did not have attractive pictures. After new pictures were taken of the house, it sold a few months later. Home #3 sat on the market for 6 months because there was a minor problem blocking the sale. After a solution was developed for the problem, the home sold in a week.
Home #4 sat on the market for over a year because it did not show well. The home was staged, and as a result, it sold about 2 months later. Home #5 sat on the market for 6 months because it did not have good curb appeal. Some minor changes were made to improve the curb appeal, the marketing was improved, and as a result, the home finally sold. Home #6 sat on the market for 6 months because it was difficult to show. Some changes were made in the marketing to “pre-sell” buyers on the home before they saw it. A buyer saw the home and was willing to wait for a showing. Once the buyer saw the home, they made an offer, and it finally sold. Home #7 sat on the market for 6 months because it had a negative feature that turned off most buyers. The marketing was changed to showcase the positive elements of the home instead of this one negative feature. As a result, the home sold about 45 days later. Home #8 sat on the market for over a year because it had an unattractive floor plan. The home was staged to demonstrate that the floor plan was attractive. In addition, the marketing and pictures were improved. As a result, the home sold shortly after. Home #9 sat on the market for 6 months because it was priced too high. The marketing and pictures were improved, and the price was reduced. The home sold about 60 days later. I hope these examples demonstrate that most home-selling challenges can be overcome. Now, it’s your turn. Are you struggling to sell your home? Let us help you.
If you’d like a free home-selling audit, give us a call at 404-932-5540.
We’ll schedule a time that works for us to meet, take a look at your home, and come up with a solution. We look forward to helping you!
Pam Handler & Chris Phelan Handler Homes Atlanta/Palmerhouse Properties email@example.com
CHAPTER 1 Why Should You Read This Book? Ever wonder why one house sells quickly, while a similar house doesn’t? Why does one house sell for $188,000, while another house that’s identical in every way brings in $202,000? It just doesn’t seem to make any sense. The truth is, similar homes sell for varying prices all the time. It takes place all over the country. It happens in markets large and small. Surely, there must be some reason! These houses do not sell for more money by accident. No magic trick helped one seller get a better deal than the other. On the contrary, higher prices and quicker sales are the direct result of careful planning. Sellers can command higher prices for their homes if they use the right techniques. A few simple strategies, known only to the best sellers and the best agents, can make a huge impact on the success of your sale. The following chapters break down those secrets. See how each strategy translates into real-life examples. Houses brought to market with these tactics consistently sell quickly, and for more money — even if they failed to sell the first time around. Gather the information you need to apply the same formula to selling your home. When you sell, you’ll be able to take advantage of these techniques. Carefully follow the same formula to sell your home.
Thanks for taking time to look through this book. I sincerely hope it will help you make more money on the sale of your home. If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to ask. I’d be glad to help.
CHAPTER 2 Does Listing Price Matter? Are you sick of being told the reason your home didn’t sell was because it was “overpriced?” Most people think a home that didn’t sell was probably priced too high. Nothing could be further from the truth. The reason homes don’t sell is not necessarily because of the price. It’s usually because the home was not marketed properly. It isn’t easy to sell something for full market value. After all, buyers are always looking for a deal, and shoppers now have more information at their fingertips than ever. You might need to negotiate the price with a buyer, but good marketing will help bring you a full-price offer!
Here’s a perfect example:
John was trying to sell his house. He put it on the market for $499,900. He hired an agent to help him sell it. The agent worked at a reputable firm and made a good effort to sell John’s house. • The pictures of the house were top-notch quality. • The marketing of the house was first class. The home was advertised extensively online, in the newspaper, and other marketing avenues. • The agent held an open house. Yet, the agent’s efforts failed to attract a buyer. John’s agent 3
suggested he adjust the price. After all, most of the similar homes in the area were priced around $400,000 to $450,000. The agent recommended dropping the price to $450,000. But John owned one of the nicest homes in the area, and his home had many features the other homes didn’t have. John knew this. He was reluctant to reduce the price. John hired another agent, who also failed to sell the home and also offered the same “advice:” Reduce the price.
At this point, John had two options:
• Option #1: Drop the price. Most of the agents he talked to told him his home was not worth what he wanted. They told him he should just “be reasonable” and drop the price to $450,000. • Option #2: Hire an agent who could sell the home for what it was actually worth. This agent’s marketing would need to get a buyer so excited about the home that they would be willing to pay full price. Fortunately for John, he picked Option #2. He contacted an agent who specialized in selling homes other agents could not sell. This agent worked at the top real estate company in his area and had a bunch of accolades. He took a closer look at the home and launched his own specialized marketing plan. • New pictures were better than the first agent’s pictures. • The marketing was better. There was even more advertising than before. • The agent didn’t just do a regular open house. He also did a broker’s open house and invited other agents to view the
The agent looked at John's house and could clearly see it was worth the price. The agent put the home on the market for the same price, as the previous agents did. Only this time, something different happened. Sixty-three days later, the home sold for $480,000. The other agents were stunned. After all, they had told John his home was worth no more than $450,000. And, since most homes sell for slightly less than their asking price, an asking price of $450,000 would have most likely resulted in a final sales price of $430,000 to $440,000. Yet, the new agent had sold the home for more. It had taken only two months to capture a buyer’s attention. The unsuccessful agents were shocked (and a little bit embarrassed)! What had they missed? Why did the first two agents fail to sell the home, while the third agent sold it with ease? It’s because the new agent used a marketing strategy most agents don’t use. The details on this marketing strategy are explained within the following chapters. But first, we must be clear on one very fundamental point. Many people believe a house sells for exactly what it’s “worth.” That simply isn’t true. The price of a house is merely the final amount agreed upon by the buyer and seller. Many circumstances affect the final sale price.
Houses do NOT always sell for what they are “worth.”
• Sometimes they sell for more. • Sometimes they sell for less. 5
While that statement may seem like a no-brainer, it’s imperative you understand this. Strip away misconceptions, such as the idea that “worth” determines the sale price of a house. Now you are free to examine the real factors at work. Identify those factors, and you can leverage them in your favor. Take Cheryl and Richard, for example. They owned townhouses, only five doors apart. Both put their homes on the market at the same time. The builder had used the same floor plan for all the townhouses in their neighborhood. Both had the same layout. At first glance, each townhouse seemed to hold the same basic appeal for a buyer. You might think they were “worth” the same amount. Nope. Cheryl and Richard sold their homes within one month of each other. These townhouses seemed identical, but there was a $14,000 difference in sale price!
• Cheryl sold her home for $202,000. • Richard sold his for only $188,000.
Why the large gap in price? In a later chapter, you’ll see exactly what Cheryl did to make more money on her home. For now, just know that you simply can’t afford to guess the “worth” of a home!
POINTS TO REMEMBER:
• Homes that don’t sell easily aren’t always overpriced. Houses don’t always sell for what they are “worth.” • The selling price of a home is merely the final amount agreed upon by the buyer and seller.
• The most skilled agent use special techniques that can help sell homes faster and for more money.
CHAPTER 3 What to Avoid
Here’s another example of a stupid mistake that caused a seller to lose about $50,000 — yes, that’s $50,000 — on their home sale. An alert buyer was able to snatch up a $280,000 property for only $230,000. It was being sold by an out-of-town owner. The agent the seller hired was not familiar with the area and suggested the low price. The agent did not bother to put a sign on the property, and hardly anyone knew it was for sale. Two buyers both wanted to buy this property. One buyer really wanted it because it was right next to his house. He would have a bigger yard with more room for his kids to play. The other buyer lived in the area and wanted a larger yard. He wanted to buy this property and build a house on it. The first buyer bought the property before the second buyer even knew it was for sale. As soon as the first buyer found out it was for sale, he made an offer immediately. The seller accepted the offer, and the property sold soon thereafter. This buyer would have gladly paid full market value for the property. But he didn’t need to, because the seller accepted the offer he made. The second buyer never found out the property was for sale until it had been sold. Even worse, the seller never realized the mistake.
Bottom line: The seller lost $50,000 because of his agent’s incompetence. While stories like this don’t happen every day, they happen more often than you’d think. It’s a very real risk you take when you hire an agent who doesn’t have a proven marketing plan. Had a sign simply been on the property, it definitely would have attracted more interest and possibly even started a bidding war, driving up the price. At $50,000 below market price, the listing would have been bid and counter-bid several times, possibly even up to fair market value.
Here’s a similar story.
In this case, a seller hired an agent whose incompetence cost her $25,000. Her agent completely flubbed a “perfect offer.” The buyer submitted an offer at full price for her home, no strings attached. Her agent dropped the ball and let a little problem—one that would’ve been easy to resolve—ruin a perfectly good sale! The house sat on the market for another year and ended up selling for $15,000 less than the original full-price offer. Even worse, the seller wound up having to make another 15 house payments, while her home sat on the market and she wasn’t living in it. Ongoing house (mortgage) payments are a frequently overlooked cost of not finding a buyer quickly. Please don’t become another one of these stories! Take time to know the true value of your home. Do your homework, and prepare for the sale before putting your home on the market. The good news is that by reading this book, you’re already ahead of the
CHAPTER 4 Why It's So Easy to Sell Your Home for Less Than It's Worth At a certain point, many home sellers feel like throwing in the towel. “I’m just going to drop the price and get rid of this house,” they think to themselves.
Fortunately, reason (usually) prevails.
A lot of people become tempted to “throw in the towel.” It even happens to highly intelligent people. Here’s an example: In 1997, entrepreneurs Larry Page and Sergey Brin were looking for a buyer for their Internet search engine. They called it BackRub. The two were seeking $1.6 million for the new online portal and were working a deal with Excite, a popular search engine at the time. The problem for Excite was that BackRub was far too effective a search engine. Users were finding what they wanted and moving off the site too quickly, which would be bad for Excite’s advertising business. Page and Brin cut the price dramatically, by more than 50 percent. They offered to sell BackRub for $750,000. (Yep, even geniuses cut their price.) Excite considered the offer, but ultimately balked. There was no deal. BackRub’s co-founders decided to commercialize and release the product themselves. First, they renamed it. 13
They called it Google.
A little over 20 years later, Google is now worth roughly $360 billion. Excite was eventually sold to Ask.com. Bottom line: Fight the temptation to drop your price. Just because something isn’t selling does not necessarily mean it isn’t worth the price you’re asking. That clearly was true for Google, and it’s probably true for your home, as well. While the buyer of your dreams hasn’t yet emerged, it certainly doesn’t mean they won’t. Selling a home for top dollar fast is actually pretty simple. You just have to find the one person who’s willing to pay more for your home than anyone else. If they want it more than anyone else, then they will be willing to pay a higher price than anyone else.
POINTS TO REMEMBER
• Many sellers get frustrated and reduce their price prematurely. • If your house isn’t selling, it means you haven’t found the right buyer yet—the buyer who wants your home enough to pay top dollar.
CHAPTER 5 What Stops Perfect Homes from Selling
Have you ever wondered why no one bought your house? I’ll explain the likely reasons in further detail as this book goes on. Have you ever heard the saying, “Build a better mousetrap, and the world will beat a path to your door?” Even though the saying might appear to be correct—at least on the surface—it’s false. More than 4,400 people have invented what they thought was a “better” mousetrap. At least, that’s how many patents have been filed with the U.S. Patent Office. But despite all the new mousetrap inventions, the classic mousetrap, first patented in 1894, is still the best-selling design. I’m sure each of those inventors is frustrated. “Why won’t anyone buy my mousetrap? It’s genius!” they say to themselves. I’m sure you can relate to their frustration. Have you ever thought the following? “Why won’t anyone buy my house? It’s a great house!” Fortunately, there’s an answer to this question. “One cannot throw a great product out on the street and expect people to gobble it up.” This rule applies to inventions, homes, and even movies. Yes, even great movies need to be sold! Here’s an example of a great movie that didn’t do well when it was first released. On September 23, 1994, the movie The Shawshank Redemption 15
was released to the world. Adapted from a short story by legendary author Stephen King, the feature film centered on a pair of imprisoned men. Over 20 years later, The Shawshank Redemption is now considered one of the greatest movies of all time. In fact, it’s ranked as the best movie in cinematic history on well- known and respected website Internet Movie Database (www.imdb.com), ahead of the likes of The Godfather; The Good, the Bad and the Ugly; and Schindler’s List. Another movie came out that year. The Flintstones , a live-action remake of the 1960s cartoon show, starred John Goodman, Rick Moranis, and Rosie O’Donnell. The Flintstones , perhaps needless to say, was not nominated for Best Picture at the Oscars. “It falls flatter than a granite slab,” noted a national film critic. Though the film was praised for its costume and set design, it also won “Razzie Award” for Worst Female Performance and Worst Screenplay, and was a nominee for Worst Movie of 1994. Its IMDb.com user reviews are roughly half of what The Shawshank Redemption receives, and it’s rated by users as one of the worst movies of the 1990s. A team of salespeople masterfully marketed The Flintstones to its targeted demographics. The result? The film grossed $131 million in the U.S. and $358 million worldwide. That’s the power of targeted marketing. On the flip side, the people at Universal Studios who promoted The Shawshank Redemption admitted they couldn’t figure out how to sell the movie to the public. They had a great product; they
just didn’t know how to sell it.
It grossed only $28 million in the U.S. box office and $60 million worldwide. It ranked 51st in box office success in 1994—two spots behind In the Army Now, starring Pauly Shore. Look at those numbers, then look at them again. Still don’t believe good marketing and salesmanship matter? The folks at Universal learned their lesson—even the best products need to be “sold.” Is your home a great product that wasn’t marketed properly? As we discussed earlier in this book, selling a home for top dollar fast is actually pretty simple. You just have to find the one person who’s willing to pay more for your home than anyone else. If they want it more than anyone else, then they will be willing to pay a higher price than anyone else.
POINTS TO REMEMBER:
• Having a great product—or house—isn’t enough. • Whether you’re selling films or houses, you can’t beat the power of targeted marketing.
CHAPTER 6 How to Sell a Home That Didn't Sell —Without Dropping the Price It is entirely possible to sell your home without dropping the price. I’m going to let you in on a little secret. The standard approach is all wrong . It’s based on the faulty premise that if you tell enough people about your house, someone will buy it . While having more people look at a home does increase the odds of it selling, this doesn’t actually sell the home. The bottom line is that not everyone wants to buy your home. Yes, they’d love to buy it for a bargain basement price. Even if they hated it, they’d still buy it for half price—only to turn around and sell it for a quick profit. The key to getting top dollar is finding that buyer who wants your home badly enough to pay full price. Sometimes, if you’re lucky, you’ll find a buyer who’s willing to pay more than full price. Yes, that does happen. The problem is, most people are so focused on telling everyone about a home for sale that they forget about the most important thing. You have to find that one special buyer . The question is, how do you find the perfect buyer? 19
First, you need to understand a universal rule we are about to discuss and the role it plays in bringing in those ideal buyers.
POINTS TO REMEMBER:
• The standard selling approach is based on the faulty premise that if you tell enough people about your house, someone will buy it. • In truth, you must find the one buyer who wants your home so badly, he or she is willing to pay full price.
CHAPTER 7 Avoid This Rule at Your Own Risk
The key to the successful home-selling approach is based on a revolutionary concept discovered by an Italian economist. His name was Vilfredo Pareto. The most important thing we can learn from him is the Pareto Principle, better known as the 80/20 rule.
The 80/20 rule applies to all aspects of life.
In 1906, Vilfredo found an intriguing correlation. He noticed that 20 percent of the pea pods in his garden held 80 percent of the seeds. Studying the seeds prompted him to take a closer look at this ratio. In one of his initial discoveries, he discovered that 80 percent of the land in his area was owned by 20 percent of the people. After detailed study, he observed this ratio held true in many aspects of life. The Pareto principle—or the 80/20 rule—is a result of his findings.
The 20 percent is vital, and the 80 percent is trivial.
• 80 percent of your income is derived from 20 percent of your work. • 80 percent of a business’ income is derived from 20 percent of their customers. • 80 percent of your value to an employer is derived from 20 21
percent of your work.
You might wonder what all of this means. In a nutshell, approximately 20 percent of what you do matters. The other 80 percent is insignificant. It’s important to understand that this isn’t always split at exactly 80/20. It can be 70/30 or another percentage. The key is that the two numbers are not equal, and they are usually close to 80/20. How can you apply the 80/20 principle to selling your home? Understanding this concept can save you time in selling your home. Unfortunately, many sellers buy into the false idea that more is more. They completely ignore the Pareto Principle. Now that you know what the 80/20 rule is, you’re probably wondering how it applies to selling your home. When you use the 80/20 principle in selling, you stop trying to sell people on the entire home. Based on the rule, only 20 percent of your home’s features are important. The remaining 80 percent are less improtant. That’s because they are the same features many other homes in your neighborhood have. Instead of focusing on those trivial features, you need to focus on the vital features. When you sell your home, focus on unique features to grab the attention of buyers. These features make your home different from other homes. These features will make it easier to sell your home for the full asking price. Let’s look at a few real-life examples of how the 80/20 rule can have an impact on selling your home.
POINTS TO REMEMBER:
• According to the 80/20 rule, approximately 80 percent of effects come from 20 percent of causes. • Following that principle, buyers will focus on 20 percent of your home’s features. The other 80 percent are probably common to other homes.
CHAPTER 8 Why This 20% Rule Applies to Hard-To-Sell Homes Let’s paint a hypothetical situation. Let’s say there’s a buyer who’s looking for a three-bedroom, two-bathroom home. Let’s now assume the agent found him five houses to preview. Each meets his general criteria and is located in his preferred area. He and his agent drive out to look at the five houses. All have very similar features. The prices are comparable. In theory, you might think the buyer will have a hard time deciding between houses. In real life, that’s not the case. No matter how similar they might seem, no two houses are exactly alike. The 80/20 rule comes into play. Imagine four of the houses don’t have a pool, but one does. The buyer isn’t aware of this, though, because the agent didn’t mention it. The buyer sees the four houses that don’t have a pool. He isn’t particularly interested in any of them. Then, he sees the fifth house and the pool! Suddenly, he’s ready to make an offer. He might even pay full asking price, even though this house is more expensive than the others.
THE 80/20 RULE IN ACTION: BUYERS FOCUS ON UNIQUE FEATURES
His offer isn’t based on the 80 percent of features this house shared
with the rest. Instead, his bid is based on one unique attribute—a pool (the 20 percent). The 80/20 rule predicted the sale of this house. Sadly, in this case, much time was wasted finding the perfect house. Had the agent known to look for the 20 percent difference, this could have been their first stop. As a seller, you can leverage the rule to work in your favor. Draw attention to defining characteristics in your home with your marketing plans. Here’s a real-life example. An agent had a client visit from out of town. The client didn’t have a list of criteria; he just liked the area. She drove him from house to house. In each case, this buyer suggested offers 10 percent to 20 percent below the asking price. He would not budge. The agent began to worry. The whole day was turning into a big waste of time. As the sun set, they stopped at one last house. It did not have much curb appeal. It was not a good-looking home. She was out of options. Nevertheless, this house broke the tough negotiator down. He was suddenly willing to offer the full asking price! You might wonder what set this house apart from the others. It was not because the buyer had a “thing” for ugly houses. Nope. The 80/20 rule kicked in again. This agent and her client spent the whole day looking at houses that shared 80 percent of the same features. He didn’t care about any of those details. A bedroom was a bedroom, as far as he was concerned. This plain-Jane house had something special. And he fell in love with this one remarkable feature of the house. As you walked into the great room, there was a large window. The house sat atop a hill
with a gorgeous view. And to top it off, the sun was setting below the distant tree line. That view sold the buyer. The other 80 percent could be improved. He didn’t buy the house because he liked the floor plan or the number of bedrooms and bathrooms. His decision was completely based on the hill and view. That view caused him to stop negotiating and offer full price on the spot. Such is the power of the 80/20 rule. Learn how to tap into this rule, and you’ll not have to settle for less than your asking price. Leverage a unique selling point. Buyers who fall in love don’t bother to haggle over pricing—they make good offers. In some cases, the 80/20 rule even helps people make a sale without conducting a showing. This is a huge time saver. The house in the following example had languished on the market for months. Unlike the previous house, this place was not ugly. On the contrary, it was a brand-new, custom-built home. But nobody seemed to care. It sat on the market more than seven months without a single offer. The builder was baffled when his fancy new house would not sell. He ended up firing his agent and hiring a new one. Fortunately, the new agent knew the importance of finding that special feature. He drove out to give the house a thorough investigation. What he found changed everything. The house had a gorgeous five-acre yard. Other houses being sold in the area were all on one- to two-acre lots. Not only was the yard bigger, it was more private than other lots available. The new real estate agent marketed the five acres. He
mentioned details and a description of the house.
But the house was not the main selling point, so he shifted attention to the five-acre lot. In no time, his phone rang! A buyer was relocating. He had noticed the house was for sale, but it hadn’t caught his eye. That changed when he learned it was built on a five-acre lot. Suddenly, he was very interested. So interested, in fact, that he submitted an offer from 1,000 miles away. He had never even seen the property in person! He was afraid someone else would buy it before he could, and he would lose out on the perfect house. That sale happened in 45 days. The builder was amazed! His house had been on the market close to eight months without so much as a nibble. Suddenly it was sold—purchased, sight unseen, all because of the 80/20 rule. By shifting focus to the five acres, the real estate agent captured the interest of buyers immediately. The house was no longer unsellable. On the contrary, for a short time, it became the hottest house on the market. Don’t create an advertisement similar to the ones for every other house in the area. Instead, turn a spotlight on something different about your home. You will attract interested buyers—buyers who are willing to pay full price.
SELLING TO INTERESTED BUYERS
Find something unique about your home. Build advertisements around that one item. It will catch people’s attention. Buyers who are looking for that one item will ask to come see your home in person.
As a result, you’ll stop wasting time showing to people who just aren’t interested. Instead, you’ll show your home to buyers who are motivated to make a purchase. You won’t have to show quite so often. You also won’t have to sift through lowball offers from apathetic buyers. This means less stress for you. With that in mind, it’s essential that you take time to uncover your home’s most attractive and unique features. Compare notes with other houses in the neighborhood to see what makes yours stand out.
POTENTIAL UNIQUE FEATURES
Each house will have its own unique features. You might already have some in mind. If not, these ideas should help to get you started: • Hilltop views are an excellent defining feature. As in an earlier example, a high vantage point offers a view of the surrounding area. • Maybe your home looks out onto an open field, frequented by wildlife. Many people would like that view. • Your house might even have an unobstructed view of the sunset. That would interest potential buyers. • Patios are another great feature. Maybe the rest of your neighbors don’t have patios, or their patios are smaller. That vital feature could help you sell your home. • Location is something else that can set your property apart from others (not your addressed location, but rather, your location compared to the surrounding homes, such as on a cul-de-sac).
Here is what we mean by location. A buyer once paid extra for a townhouse, simply because of its location within the complex. Most of the surrounding homes had no yards. However, a few shared a large half-acre “yard area.” One of the owners whose townhouse backed up to this yard area was able to sell his townhouse for a higher price. It set his property apart from others on the market. His home had a characteristic—the yard—shared by fewer than 10 percent of the others. He had the only available listing offering that feature. With this easy point of difference, the house sold for a higher price. Another townhouse seller in the same complex found a different unique feature. He didn’t have a yard, but he was still able to use his location to his advantage. His property backed up to a lake and fountain. That extra feature helped him sell his townhouse quickly and for a great price.
Here are more examples of unique features.
• You might have a private location. For instance, your lot might be partially concealed by trees, or you might have an empty lot next to you. Use this to market your property. • You might have a unique backyard. If you have a larger backyard than your neighbors do, use that to your advantage. • A shady backyard can also help you sell your property. Some people like the idea of lounging in the shade or enjoying the privacy. • A fenced-in backyard is also a big selling point. People with children and pets flock to homes with fenced-in 30
backyards. • You can also look at other features. For instance, a finished basement can help you sell your home. You can also market a large attic, an extra-large garage, a swimming pool, or anything else that makes your home stand out. Look for the 20 percent difference, and find a way to market it. That’s how you’ll get results. You can’t just throw the information into your listing, though. You have to take the right approach.
POINTS TO REMEMBER:
• No matter how similar they might seem, no two houses are exactly alike. • Buyers focus on—and pay more for—unique features. • Unique features could be almost anything—a big lot, great view, pool, finished basement, even a distinctive yard or patio. • Look for what makes your home unique, and advertise it to potential buyers.
CHAPTER 9 Grabbing Any Buyer's Attention Appeal to your target market. Having the information you need to advertise your property is an excellent first step. However, it’s only the first step. Once you have the information, you need to put it in your listing. Simply adding it in isn’t enough. You need to make sure people see it, or it will not help you.
BEGIN WITH A PICTURE
When people visit a real estate website, it takes them just a split- second to decide whether they’re interested in a property. That’s because they see a picture of it. Before they even know it, their brains tell them “yes or “no.” If their brains tell them “yes,” they click on the listing. If their brains tell them “no,” they move on to the next property. It’s your job to ensure people’s brains say “yes” when they see your picture. You do that by photographing your home’s unique feature and using it as the display picture. Make sure the photo is high quality. Of course, some people won’t be interested, even after they see your display picture. That’s okay. Remember, you want to focus on appealing to those who will buy your property—not to the masses. You’re just wasting your time if you appeal to people who are not interested in your unique features.
Focus on your description. Put one or two special features right at the beginning of the description, so people will see them immediately. You can also put them in your headline. This will help attract the right people. If you do this, you’ll notice the quality of your leads improve. You will show your home to people who are ready to make a purchase. You will also get more offers close to, or at, your asking price. While all of this is great news, you still have one more thing you can do to increase your sales.
TURN A NEGATIVE INTO A POSITIVE
Nothing kills a sale like a big negative. Fortunately, you can often turn a negative into a positive. Consider this example. Let’s imagine you own a house built 10 years ago. You want to sell your home, but there’s a problem. A nice, new development recently opened in the area. Builders are selling brand-new houses. The houses are roughly the same, but the current price for the new properties is about $40,000 more than the asking price of your home. Nevertheless, you’re certain buyers will choose the brand-new houses, just because they are new. They hold a greater perceived value. Buyers don’t stop to consider that in five years, it won’t matter. Their house will be five years old, and your place will be 15 years old. But that’s not all. Their five-year-old place will not fetch an extra $40,000, compared to your 15-year-old house. When the buyers of the no-longer-new
house decide to sell, they will actually end up losing money. The appeal of a new house is gone, and they won’t recoup the extra $40,000 they spent buying new. Show them what they are missing. Fortunately, you can educate buyers and get them interested in your house. You just need a way to capture their attention, and highlight the positive aspects of your property. Create an ad with a headline that says, “Don’t buy a new house in (Development Name) until you see this house.” Then, you could go over reasons people would benefit from buying your home. The cost is an obvious reason you should certainly include. It’s far from the only reason, however. Jot down a list of every feature you can think of for both your house and the newer ones. Then, compare different perspectives. For example, compare yards. Newly built houses typically don’t have established trees or landscaping. They might have freshly planted grass. That requires more work and more money. Here’s another idea: Think of the traffic and commotion in a new development, where homes are still under construction. Focus on the positive by talking about how quiet your neighborhood is. Mention a peaceful home. Some buyers will see this as a point of attraction. These are just a few examples. You can turn any negative into a positive by reframing it. Remember, you control your story. It’s up to you to feature your home in a positive light. Do a good job of attracting buyers specifically interested in features your house offers, and you no longer have to compete against those new homes!
Instead, you’ll be working with buyers already excited about
something in your home. Taking this approach cuts out the competition, speeds up the sales process, and makes you more money. Just keep the 80/20 rule in mind during the selling process, and look for a point of difference to feature in your home. Focus on what makes the most impact, and you’ll be successful.
POINTS TO REMEMBER:
• For your advertising, photograph your house in a way that emphasizes its best unique features. • Highlight desirable differences in your ad in descriptive terms. • Even a negative feature can help differentiate your home from others on the market.
CHAPTER 10 Luxury Home-Seller Strategy Sells Homes for 15% More Money The rich and famous use this strategy to sell their homes. In one instance, a real estate agent reported that using this strategy caused one condo to sell for $110,000 more than a similar condo in the very same building! • The seller using this strategy sold their condo for $549,000. • The other did not and sold their condo for $439,000. Why did one condo sell for more than the other? In reporting, the real estate agent mentioned having intimate knowledge of both condos. Neither listing was bank-owned, a short sale, or a distress sale. The only plausible explanation that one home sold for more than the other was the seller’s use of this home-selling strategy . This strategy is effective in any market. No matter what type of property is being listed, this approach works. It applies equally to homes, apartments, townhouses, or condos. Agents and sellers using these tactics have a greater chance of closing a sale, and for more money. Here’s how this particular real estate agent discovered the secret strategy—almost by accident. He met a wealthy executive who was interested in selling his condo. However, the man had a special request. He was willing to hire the agent, but on one condition. The real estate agent needed to agree to use the man’s secret method to sell the condo. It sounded crazy, and the agent was naturally skeptical.
On the other hand, selling the condo would bring a handsome commission. Conversely, if it didn’t work out, their agreement would expire, and he would walk away. The real estate agent decided to give it a shot. He helped prepare the listing. They priced the condo at $554,900. (For reference, two similar condos in the same complex were listed much lower, for $479,000 and $439,000.) The agent was skeptical that the condo would sell for the asking price of $554,900. On the other hand, the owner’s secret strategy was intriguing, and he really wanted to see how it worked out. The condo went on the market, and he waited to see what would happen. Almost immediately, he began to doubt the strategy. The condo was showing regularly, but no one was making offers. People were just walking through and leaving. To make matters worse, most visiting agents thought the condo was overpriced. They couldn’t understand why the owner was asking for so much money. After all, a similar condo just around the corner was available for $100,000 less! They counseled their buyers to keep looking and left without making offers. This story is real. The condo had no special attraction that set it apart from the others. This unit was not a penthouse. It was on the sixth floor of a 10-floor complex. The top floor units were not penthouses either. And the other agents were not wrong. The price was high. Still, the owner stood firm. One day, four months and many showings later, another buyer walked in.
This time, it was different. This buyer loved the condo the moment
he stepped through the doorway. The buyer made an offer before he even finished the tour. The agent could not believe what he had heard! He rushed to call the owner. The owner accepted the man’s offer, while the agent began to worry. Maybe the buyer would find out they were overpaying. Maybe it would all fall apart. But no, everything worked out.
The place successfully sold for $549,000, which was a record high!
The seller’s strategy was a huge success! Naturally, the real estate agent was thrilled. So was the owner, who made a substantial profit. The price was $110,000 higher than the previous condo that had sold two and a half months earlier for $439,000. The higher price was not because prices were rapidly increasing. The next unit that sold (28 days later) went for $435,000. It was a less-desirable second-floor unit. Five months later, another similar condo sold for $450,000. Would you like to use this secret strategy to sell your home for more money? It does take some extra time and some extra work. But, as you can clearly see, the payoff is well worth the effort. What’s the secret strategy? What was the special request the wealthy home seller had for his agent? It was simple. He wanted to stage the condo. Staging is the act of sprucing up a home to make it as visually appealing as possible. It might sound crazy, but it causes homes to sell for more money. In fact, a whole lot more.
Many agents encourage sellers to stage their homes. However, very
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