The most famous expression in the real estate industry has always been “Location, location, location!”
But with some of Australia experiencing a depressed real estate market that doesn’t look like improving any time soon, CharynYoungson explains that the new catch cry should be Presentation, Presentation, Presentation
The most famous expression in the real estate industry has always been “Location, location, location! ”But with some of Australia experiencing a depressed real estate market that doesn’t look like improving any time soon, CharynYoungson explains that the new catch cry should be Presentation, Presentation, Presentation!
The new reality for real estate agents is, no matter which section of the market a property sits in, if the vendor fails to present the house to its best potential and the agent fails to price it realistically,the result will be a house that sits a long time on the market with few offers.
In this market, agents should be doing their best to educate their vendors about how to present their homes for sale but in my experience a large majority of agents have limited knowledge themselves about presentation.
I have been working in the “House Presentation” Industry for many years now as a property renovator and a professional home stager and it still amazes me when I hear stories from people about agents advising them to sell their homes “as is”.
Selling a home “as is” just shouldn’t be in the vocabulary of a professional real estate agent but sadly that is still the first thing that new agents are taught when they go to real estate school. It can never be in the vendors best interest to sell their homes “as is”?I don’t think I have ever spoken to a vendor who wants to sell their home to a bargain hunter for a low price.
Presentation is the absolute key to success in this depressed real estate market, and we continue to help our clients to achieve fast sales and good prices for their homes with fast property transformations that sell.
Case study number one
An agent called us in to style a property that he had just listed. It had been on the market for two years with five different agents and had been greatly reduced in price since it first went to market. The house still had an original 1970’s bathroom but the rest of the house was clean and tidy.Our stylist weaved her magic with beautiful furniture and accessories that showcased the best features of the home and the house sold after the second open for the price the agent was seeking.
That agent has now listed the house next door and we are styling that one too! The neighbours would have been watching that house sit on the market for all that time, seen another new agent come in and witnessed the fast result.No better advertising for an agent than getting quick results!
Case study number two
My local real estate recently appraised a 1970’s home for a client who had just accepted a job interstate and had to sell his house quickly.I am part of this agents “team” and he recommended to the client that he get me out for a consult to advise on a pre sale home makeover.He was a single man who had lived with his original kitchen and bathroom as well as shag pile carpet and wall panelling happily since the early ‘80’s but he recognised that buyers would not find his house very appealing in its current state.I assessed that the property needed a new kitchen, bathroom upgrade, total repaint, new carpets, garden makeover and some exterior painting plus furniture styling.The agent appraised the property “as is” at $280k – $305k and I estimated the makeover cost at $20-25K.
The vendor moved his furniture out, relocated to Sydney and handed me his keys so I could project manage the makeover.The agent put up a sales board on the front lawn saying “renovation in progress – all will be revealed” and I got to work undertaking a 21 day makeover.The makeover went like clockwork and the signboard generated some early enquiries for the real estate agent.During the second week of renovations one of the interested buyers was really keen to see the property as it was in a perfect location for him, and he was ready to purchase real soon but I advised the agent that the house could not be viewed until it was completed.
The day after the furniture went in, the agent showed the interested buyer and his family through the home. They went to the bank the next day and signed a contract on the property that night for $350,000.The photos only went up on the internet that day and the property was never opened for inspection.The buyer was ecstatic as the house sold for $10,000 more than what the agent had expected was a realistic price.Not only this, his house increased in value from appraised price by approximately $50,000 and my client made $35,000 profit (after renovation costs) by simply moving out and handing me the keys! My makeover gave the buyer what he wanted and he was prepared to pay for it.
An agent needs to ask a vendor “Are you prepared to do what it takes to show your home to its best potential?Vendors deserve a Real Estate agent who is prepared to go the extra yard in all facets of the sales process – marketing, negotiating, realistic pricing and helpful advice about preparing their home for market so it attracts potential buyers.
My top five tips to create a point of difference.
Communicate Once your vendor has signed the sales agreement you are working together as a team to get the best result.Ask them why they fell in love with their home – was it the large backyard, the beautiful views, the open kitchen living area and then help them highlight the best features of the house.Keep the vendor informed about your marketing strategy, ask their opinion about what day and time showcases the house in its best light.For example – they might say the main living area looks beautiful at 2pm when the sun is shining in (on a cold winter’s day it might also add extra warmth. Learning as much as possible about the best features of the home (and its location) will help you communicate that to the potential buyers and help you provide accurate answers to any questions they may have.
Positive mindset See the end result in your minds eye and work towards it. If you don’t believe you can achieve a certain price for your client you will self sabotage the result from the very start.Every client deserves your absolute best practice.Get to know each client’s story and put yourself in his or her shoes.Understand how important it is for each vendor to achieve the asking price they are seeking and what they stand to lose financially if they don’t.Coach your vendors with best practice presentation tips such as checklists or other tools (for example the FREE Sold for Top Dollar iPhone App) and if you get any negative feedback from buyers at open inspections work with the vendor to find a solution.
Getting the price right If a new client has unrealistic expectations about the true value of their home, it is up to you to demonstrate your expertise in the local area and educate them about where their home is placed in the market. If the home has out-dated décor and original 70’s bathrooms, it is never going to compete with a similar house in the area that has been renovated.Lifestyle upgrades are the improvements that make the difference between a low-ball offer and an offer that gets you your asking price and a quick sale. Ask your clients if they are willing to spend some time and money making some home improvements that will appeal to buyers in the current area.Tell them what buyer’s expectations are in their neighbourhood. Don’t be tempted to agree to a higher price just to get a listing because it will always, always end up with the house sitting on the market for a long period of time and finally huge price reductions which will not be the best result for you or your client.
Do not be afraid to delay a house going to market Nobody benefits from a house going to market half-baked. The better a house is presented the easier it will be for you to attract buyers who will fall in love with a well presented home.You will automatically sell houses faster and for the (realistic) asking price instead of having your houses sit on the market for months and having to drop thousands of dollars off the asking price if you work with the client to get the presentation right. Everyone has busy lives and the client may need an extra week or two to finish preparing the house for market. Don’t pressure your vendor, just let them get it right.
Strive to be the best agent in your local area, not the cheapest Nothing annoys me more when I hear that a client has chosen an agent based on the fact he has dropped his commission to bargain basement to get the listing. I ask the client (if it isn’t too late) do you want the cheapest agent or the best?If you pay peanuts you are bound to get a monkey! Agents who drop their commission just to get listings generally make short cuts in other important areas such as marketing and professional photography, so they are programmed from the start to put in less effort to get the best result for their vendor.
Charyn Youngson is a home selling strategist.She consults with clients all over Australia on pre sale makeovers. She is author of Sold for Top Dollar – Low Cost Home Improvements to Maximise Your Sale. For more information visit housestoimpress.com.au. As a Professional Property Renovator, Home Stager, Home Selling Strategist and Author, CharynYoungson from Houses to Impress delivers high-impact, low cost, customised property transformations that Sell for Top Dollar. Charyn works with Real Estate Professionals and Vendors who are willing to do whatever it takes to get their properties SOLD.