During my real estate continuing education class last week, the instructor made reference to what he called the three P’s of real estate marketing – put a sign in the yard, put the property on MLS and pray. That has been the extent of the marketing plan for a lot of agents for many years. While all three of those P’s have their place in a marketing plan, I think there are three P’s that are far more important in marketing homes in today’s market – Preparation, Presentation and Price. Do a good job with these three P’s and you will give yourself the best chance to sell your property in a timely manner for the best price possible in today’s market.
Preparation means different things depending on the property. In order to sell your property for the best price in today’s market, it needs to be in move in condition. For older properties, this may mean having an inspection done and a list of minor repairs and deferred maintenance items that need to be corrected. For most properties, this will mean a thorough and aggressive cleaning and decluttering. How you want your house to look for potential buyers is different from the way you live in it, even for the neatest housekeepers. A good stager can give valuable advice on what to keep, what to get rid of and what to add to make your house look the most inviting to buyers contemplating living there. A good landscaper can trim, prune, mulch, etc. to maximize your curb appeal. Preparing your house for market can be hard work and/or be a substantial investment, but it is vital to getting your house sold for full market value in a reasonable time period. If you are serious about selling, the investment in good preparation of the property will pay off in both dollars at the closing table and in reduced stress from a shorter marketing period.
Presentation means promoting your property to potential buyers in a way that makes them want to come see it in person and already be predisposed to like it. In today’s real estate market, how your property looks on line is probably the biggest factor in successful presentation. While a yard sign may bring in a few prospective buyers, most will find your property on line. Even the ones who see the sign in the yard first will do an on line search of the address to see the photos and decide if the property warrants further attention. High quality photos of a well prepared home are a must for you to maximize your home’s value and minimize the time on market. The on line presentation basically serves as the first showing of your property and determines whether the second showing (an in person visit) ever occurs. First impressions matter, and if your on line marketing creates a favorable first impression, the buyer feels good about the property before ever setting foot inside.
Price your property low enough and someone will buy it regardless of how poorly it may have been prepared or presented, but you will leave a lot of money on the table for the new owner. Price it too high for the market, and all of the best preparation and presentation in the world won’t get you that inflated price and your home will sit unsold. The key to proper pricing is to understand the market and what comparable sales tell you about your home’s value. Market values for properties in areas with lots of recent sales of similar homes can be fairly easy to figure, unique properties or those with few good recent comparable sales can be quite tricky. Pricing strategy will be influenced by the type of market you are in – a seller’s market with lots of multiple offer sales will allow you to stretch the market value to the high side, but if you want to sell in a buyer’s market with a lot more inventory than buyers, you need to be aggressive in pricing and make sure your property represents the best value (a combination of price and condition) among its competitors.
Selling your home in today’s market requires careful consideration of the your needs, goals and available resources as well as proper use of the 3 P’s of Preparation, Presentation and Pricing. Using those 3 P’s to guide your marketing plan will give you the best chance to sell your property for full market value in a reasonable time period and help reduce the stress involved in selling what is usually your biggest asset.