With increased inventory, sellers and their brokers can face difficulties in making properties stand out from the rest. Although some of the strategies have not changed, the reasons for and importance have.
Stand apart from distressed sales. Some potential buyers are not interested in purchasing distressed properties due the time or contingencies attached to these transactions. Additionally, traditional resales are usually in better shape than their distressed counterparts, and may have current occupants residing in the home maintaining its condition. Many distressed properties, especially those vacant for extended amounts of time succumb to break-ins, vandalism, theft and disrepair.
Staging has always been important but lately is has taken a twist. With current homeowners and expected buyers planning to stay in their homes longer, staging plays the important role of lifestyle. Additional rooms and dens are ditching hip pieces and being setup to showcase dual purposes; the den turned additional bedroom, media room into family room and that empty nook turned home office. I’ve also seen a lofted room used to house large art pieces turn into an office space. Duality is not for all homes and shouldn’t be done just for the sake of doing it. Understand your demographics and appeal to them.
Presentation and cleanliness is still important for all the same reasons as before. If the exterior is not well maintained, buyers may think the home is a distressed sale. If the interiors are unkempt, buyers may not be able to see the home’s potential. I previously took potential buyers through an upscale home in Lincoln Park that was rented to three young adults. The home was listed by another broker who mentioned to me that property was currently rented and not always presentable. Walking through the home, I understood what she meant. One of the bedrooms was littered with personals – some of which I won’t even mention, including provocative underwear hanging on the lamp, on the bed and one even hanging on the door knob. A beer bong and a full ashtray occupied the coffee table along with questionable dvds left out. No one wanted to walk into the bathroom. Needless to say, my clients could not see the potential of the home, nor even wanted to occupy the same space. I also noticed that no one attempted to close the door with the underwear hanging on it.
Location has always been an important factor in real estate; however with purchasers planning for the long-term stay, location could be the final factor when making a choice. Sellers with vital locations will have a benefit over competing homes. Homes in a desirable school district could sell faster and perhaps command a higher selling price than a comparable home down the street just outside the district. Landmark status could worry purchasers who are planning on any kind of construction or rehab. Location could even affect property taxes and what buyers could afford.
Pricing remains one of the most preferred and performed actions to set homes apart. In areas with high inventory, low absorption rates and competing distressed sales, sellers often have no choice except to price alongside their distressed counterparts. There are some neighborhoods where distressed properties are minimal, and sellers are pricing against one another to monopolize potential buyers out there hoping to go under contract than their competition.
Many sellers however are opting out of selling all together and leasing their current home becoming situational landlords. With changes in lending, this option is not suitable for everyone either as some sellers may require proceeds from closing to use on their next purchase.
Sherwin L. Sucaldito, REALTOR®
Member of The Institute of Luxury Home Marketing
Member of the Real Estate Buyer’s Agency Council, ABR
Certified Residential Property Manager, CRPM