On May 5th, 2008 I listed a lovely two-story Colonial in a waterfront community on Lake Norman NC. The house next door as well as many others in the same subdivision had been on the market for well over a year.
The ultimate buyer of my listing saw it on May 6th (thanks to the photos on the Internet) and intended to write an offer that day but they wanted to write a contingency in for a pool which my clients and I would not accept. On May 23, just a day after getting confirmation from the county that they could build a pool, they presented an offer. On May 25, the final details of the offer were accepted by all. We closed the sale successfully on June 30th.
So how did we do it during such a tough real estate market here in Lake Norman? There was no magic involved but rather a lot of hard work, a savvy seller and just a little bit of luck:
Planning and Preparation is critical!
- I first met with my sellers in May of 2007 and walked the property giving them feedback on how to prepare for their sale and move.
- Over the course of the next 11 months my sellers focused on the huge task of downsizing their belongings as well as having their home painted inside and out and other repairs and improvements.
- About a month before they wanted to actually list the property they interviewed me and several other agents. Once I had the listing we concentrated on the final staging for the property including New granite counter-tops, re-arranging of furniture, adding staging touches to the interior and sprucing up the garden and porches with lots of flowers.
- At the same time I hired a professional to do a floorplan and hired a photographer to do the photos and virtual tour.
- I then designed the two-sided full-color flyers for the street (printed on glossy paper), and the Buyers Book which included about 20 pages of photos, the floorplan, survey, disclosures, information about schools and anything else I felt every buyer that came to view the property should have to take home with them.
- Late in the day on May 5th, I uploaded the listing on to our MLS including multiple photos, virtual tour and interactive floorplan.
- As soon as I had the MLS number I designed and created their own website: www.137Mussellane.com, and uploaded their Internet flyer to myriad websites including CraigsList, Trulia, Yahoo and Zillow. I also upgraded their Realtor.com listing with multiple photos, virtual tours, and all the bells and whistles included in being a “Showcase House”.
- On May 6th the sign went up along with the brochure box with our full-color brochures including multiple interior photos. We had our first showings!
On the very first day this listing appeared on the MLS every single detail was complete. The property was staged and ready to show, all of the marketing was in place. When the potential buyers were notified of this new listing through the MLS systems they got to see multiple photos, virtual tours, floorplans not a blank box. When the first buyers arrived to view the home it looked great and they had Buyer’s Books waiting for them.
Approach the sales process with an aggressive attitude (both myself and my wonderful sellers!)
- We priced the property where the market dictated NOT based upon hopes and what ifs.
- My sellers did everything they could to prepare their home for sale while never insisting on rushing the process.
- I staged the property with my own props and flowers.
- I prepared the marketing blitz for the first day of the listing knowing that the best chance we had at a quick sale was in the first two weeks of the listing.
- The quality of the marketing was excellent: I hired a team of professionals who provided me great photos, floorplans and virtual tours to work with.
- My sellers helped me to define the special features of their home that I could focus on in the marketing.
Negotiate with realistic expectations and open-mindedness
- While the first offer was low and had some unrealistic terms, my seller was committed from the outset to make a sale. (See a great article: Home Sellers Who Understand Market Prosper by Diane Hymer). Their willingness to be realistic and compromise was critical to the process and resulted in a very successful sale.
On June 30th, we successfully closed. It took a total of 52 days from the day it was listed to the day it closed in a market where their price range is very very slow. The house next door has just been re-listed with their 4th Realtor. It has been reduce almost 20% in price and is now vacant.
I just got the greatest gift a Realtor can get; a thank you card from my sellers. It said simply: “You Are Awesome…And by awesome, I mean totally awesome”. How cool was that?
But, you know what, my sellers were awesome too. Without their willingness to work so hard, to be open-minded and to be smart negotiators all of my guidance, preparation and marketing wouldn’t have made any difference. It truly was a team effort!