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How to Make a House Sexy

I think the key to understanding how to make your house sexy is recognizing the fact that selling homes is very similar to online dating. This is because the way to get the most people interested is to make the house attractive, or in this case sexy. The key is understanding what housing trends are the most desirable. There are certain looks in real estate most people find attractive, just like in dating there are certain looks most people find attractive.

Buying a house is often an emotional decision. Why do we call it “How to Make a House Sexy”? Because we are appealing to the emotional side of the buyer.

HOME SELLING IS LIKE ONLINE DATING

When I first got into real estate in 2003 many houses for sale only had a few listing photos, mostly of just the front of the house. Fast forward to 2019, now most listings have thirty or more photos! How many listing photos do you need? I think you need somewhere between 7-15 photos of the best features of the house. The curiosity to see more creates seduction, thus bringing more buyers in the house. Similarly in online dating, people show off their best features with hopes of meeting someone for a date to learn more about each other. The goal in home selling is to seduce buyers by making your listings “sexy” so buyers will want to come “date” them.

HOW TO MAKE A HOUSE SEXY

It’s not a requirement to show all rooms of a house in the listing photos. Use only pictures that highlight the best features of the house that are clean with nice lighting. Show off only the best features of the house, leaving something to be desired is sexy. A home is typically the most expensive thing people buy, so they will want to come look in person before making a final decision. The goal is to make your listings “sexy” so the most amount of buyers will want to come “date” it.

Listing Strategies

Photo Seduction

Photo Seduction is trying to entice buyers to get out from behind their computer, to leave work or home, to get out from their car, to want to come see the house in person. Currently I find, especially a listing with a lot of functional obsolescence , you need more people to come in the house.

Photo Seduction

Photo Seduction is the ability to get more traffic to the house. The more buyers you get to come look, the more buyers you get interested, thus increasing demand. Also, getting more buyers in the house will help educate your seller if the house is overpriced.

How to Get More People to Come See Your Listings

The key to Photo Seduction is making the house looks great, not the furniture. Too much furniture and accessories can make the house look small in listing photos. How many listing photos do you need? I think you need somewhere in the range of 7-15 photos for you average listing. The real estate industry continues to feel a need to demand more photos, but I have sold homes in all price ranges with only 3-5 listing photos. If you are going to have limited photos, what do you need photos of? Generally, a picture of the outside of the house and key components of the inside. Some key components are the kitchen and the master bathroom. It’s important to make sure photographed spaces are uncluttered, well lit and the rooms are freshly painted. The better the pictures look, the more likely buyers will desire to see more. The curiosity to see more creates seduction, thus bringing more buyers in the house and creating more demand for you seller!

Listing Strategies

Get Better at Selling Your Own Listings

It is easy for real estate agents to get complacent in the marketing of their own listings beyond the hundreds of relationships their brokers and the association have already concreted for them.  The past success of this is still winning new listings and sales. The majority of time in the recent past, another realtor would bring their client after the realtor emailed them the home or they found limited information online and contacted their agent to show them and get more details.  In years past, the buyer did not have the access to information the internet now provides, hungry for house details, more consumers would engage agents earlier in the home buying process relying on them to provide this information, allowing this old school marketing to reach all consumers. This is only one side of the new world of real estate.

Realtors now have more access to consumers in the home buying process but its going to require more effort to draw them out.  

Realtors have traditionally spent more time trying to attract other realtors because they were the one in charge of getting their client to come.  This model is weakening as the buying public is out in front of the search process exposing themselves to listing agents like never before.  This is very cool as next generation marketing methods are changing as we speak away from traditional models. This will cause further innovation in the world of real estate and what has encouraged us to come out with the Real Estate 2020 podcast, to discuss the evolution of the industry and what it takes to be successful.

The advancement of technology, the explosion of photography and the acceptance of realtors letting the consumer control the house finding has decreased the engagement of their traditional buy side agents and empowered the consumers to shop alone until ready to write.  

This approach is not exposing the consumer to portals to get their data.  This has also changed the influence that agents have on reaching the consumer directly through effective and enhanced market brought online.  This enables listing agents to reach their intended target consumer directly, the buyer, making it easier to sell the house versus selling through the agent.  The intent is not to cut out the buyer broker (I double dipped less 5% of my sales as I keep my reputation high) and often buyers have an agent they prefer to write the contract, but to get more traffic through your house in hopes of selling faster and for more money.  Your goal as a listing agent is to drive maximum traffic through your listings, which leads to faster sales for higher return for the seller.  Advertising directly targeting the consumer goes way beyond photos in MLS that are syndicated to agents and consumers, and now leading agents will win deals at massive rates when they understand how to leverage this paradigm shift.

Now that consumer friendly companies that are in control of the data, like Zillow, Trulia, Homes.com and Realtor.com, that have eloborated and expanded the offering gaining the trust of consumers.  I am talking about how realtors can leverage this versus selling against it.  These portals are accepting consumer contact information hand over fist.  It is best to get engaged with the portals, understand the offerings and benefits in hopes of luring their viewers to the homes you are trying to sell and this does not mean buying the leads. The best way to do this is clearly the open house.  We have seen spectacular results having 50% of our homes sell from open houses over the past 6 months, which amount to 4-5 sales per month.

Listing Strategies

Renovating to Sell for Top Dollar

Being able to estimate renovation costs for home updates is impactful for both the buyer and the seller side. When working with buyers, they may see a home they’re interested in online but they’re concerned that the updates they desire won’t fit within their budget.  They may overestimate the costs required for those updates, and perhaps won’t consider homes at a higher price point because of this inaccurate information.

When working with sellers, being able to estimate accurate renovation costs will help to convince the seller to set a more realistic listing price.  Moreover, updating a home will help it to sell much more quickly.  Sellers typically don’t have a realistic idea of the actual costs of updating their home.  Setting up some estimates from contractors will go a long way toward educating your client about the actual costs of updating their home, and will help you to become even more of a subject matter expert as a seller’s agent.  

Convincing sellers to make the updates that buyers want is a little more difficult in today’s market.  Ten years ago, when the house down the street with the same square footage and the same floor plan sold for a higher price, it didn’t matter if that house had updates that yours didn’t, because you couldn’t see them without going inside the house itself.  Nowadays the impact of the internet and the syndication of listings with tons of photos has made price per square foot comparisons irrelevant.  

Buyers can see the upgrades they want, and if the listing doesn’t have those upgrades, the offered price will be discounted accordingly.  

When considering what to update and upgrade, price ranges and impacts on the buyer should be considered.  Buyers make a decision based on emotion within the first 7 steps inside the house.  Consider where the seller’s updating dollars will have the most impact.  For example, it’s important to focus first on the spaces where updates will have the most impact.  

Kitchens are the most important rooms in a home.  

Then, outdoor space is important in terms of updating, especially here in Arizona.  Make sure the pool deck is in good condition, either by painting or replacing.  Sun exposure fades the decking, and makes it feel old and worn.  Also, try to eliminate functional obsolescence.  Sellers shouldn’t out-upgrade their neighborhood.  Always consider the impacts of neighborhood on value of upgrades, and discourage upgrades more than the neighborhood requires or supports.  Bottom line, sellers shouldn’t price themselves out of their neighborhoods.