I met some great folks over the weekend who've been reading my website for a while and have seen me around the Internet. Pretty cool.
They are looking at one Bethesda neighborhood in particular so when a very low priced house came up they really knew to jump on it. But on a busy street, not quite in the neighborhood proper... Enough objections that price is still not quite good enough to just dive in.
There is one other house that has been on the market for 90 days or so and I suggested we go see it, so they can see what the extra money will buy more exactly where they want to live.
- This house has been on the market for 90 days.
- They have been in houses in that area before when they are open.
- They have friends in the neighborhood.
- They've been reading me and are familiar with the Bethesda real estate area.
Yet, they didn't have this house on their list because it was above the budget they had set and they didn't realize just how overpriced it was. The proper price - even at the higher end of their range - puts it in a different category for them: one that now makes them give serious consideration to figuring out budget, tax situation and long term goals for their lives.
Imagine if I'd said nothing about this house that I knew could work for them? Yet another seller would simply be sitting on the market with no buyers looking at his house because it's not priced right.
I can hear this seller now saying "Well if we price it here someone can always just make an offer anyway." "I want room to negotiate." And the dreaded, "I'm not going to give my house away."
I've heard them all and I understand the sentiment and absolutely accept your right to price your home. It's your asset after all. But if the market analysis doesn't support that price and the market speaks loud and clear to you that your price is not right, then guess what? The buyers won't just come. They won't just make an offer. And there won't be any room to negotiate.
It's like they didn't even see your house in their search. Your price was outside their zone. You don't exist for them.
And that is the fatal flaw in the "they can just make an offer" strategy that so many sellers employ.
Research says that 80 some percent of buyers search the web for their home before they land with an agent to help them through the complexities of the rest of the process. Bull.
Everyone starts there first... They have no agent to guide them in the search process yet, so you continue to be invisible to them until someone who knows the market can point out your house as a potential they had not considered. Buyers can stay in this phase for a long time before they actively enter the market rendering them without good guidance and you as a seller with an invisible property.
Sure, the fix is that buyers should find a professional agent earlier in their process and begin the discussions necessary to ensure long term success. But they don't and they won't anytime again in our lifetimes. We've given them this glut of information and all these available homes for them to search... It's like a candy store of opportunity for them!
But with one simple conversation and a bit of guidance about the market these buyers suddenly saw a house that had been in plain view for over 90 days. It was no longer invisible and could become a serious prospect for them. Of course we have the next challenge ahead of us which is getting an improperly priced seller to understand that market price is not going to be what he wants.... We'll talk about that in another blog.
For today let's focus on the simple point of this story... Make sure your home for sale in Bethesda is priced correctly from the start so that the savvy buyers of today who are starting their search online and by themselves at least see it as a potential. I'm happy to have them call me about it and we can begin the process of figuring out their financing, negotiating price and terms, and ensuring that the land mines to settlement get worked out.
Give me a visible house to work with and buyers will appear.