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The Myth of Advertising

Most Sellers love to talk about advertising.  They want to know where their home is being seen and, in many cases, the instant they put their homes up for sale they become "arm-chair" marketers. 

I had a long talk with a prospective client yesterday who literally had an outline of over 100 media outlets he expected his home to be advertised on- from television spots to a cork board at the local coffee shop.  Many of them...most of them, actually...had nothing to do with targeting buyers of real estate.

Now, in this market -- I've learned to "choose my battles wisely" so we parted as friends and he continues his search for an agent who is able to meet his expectations.

The question for you, as a Seller in this current market, is whether you want your home advertised, or do you want it sold?

The most significant advertising decision you will make as a Seller in this market is the price...

Is Now the Time to Sell?

Is now a good time to sell your home?

Only if you NEED to. 

**note - "need" for the purpose of this post means you are in a situation for which selling your home is the only option available to you. ...

Timing the Market

"How long will it take to sell my house?"

It's one of the most common questions I'm asked today.  And the answer is quite simple:  as a Seller, you decide how long your home will be on the market by what price you put on it. 

Price and time are directly related.

I talk with a lot of folks who are concerned about "negotiating room".  They think if they price their home too low they're going to get a "low ball" offer and they won't have any room to negotiate with the buyer.  Here's the truth...if you price your home out of the marketplace so that you have room for negotiating, you might miss the Buyer that's willing to pay the price you're willing to accept.

So wouldn't it be better to price it right and hold tight, as opposed to building too much negotiating room and possibly missing an opportunity of the buyer that's willing to buy your home at market value?...

Mortgaging Hope

As a kid, I collected baseball cards.  I would literally spend hours reviewing, organizing and "pricing" my cards.  And if you've ever collected baseball cards then you're probably aware of Beckett's Price Guide.  For those of you that don't...Beckett's Price Guide is a monthly magazine that publishes the "going rate" for individual sports cards.  Now, here's a simple truth of baseball cards (and all collectibles):  a baseball card is only worth what a ready buyer is willing to pay for it when you want to sell it.   Meaning my baseball card was only worth the cardboard it was printed on UNLESS there was a buyer willing to pay me more.  Sure...I could say it was worth $5 (or $5000 for that matter) but, at the end of the day, until I someone offers to pay me for it - it's nothing more than cardboard and hope.

Similarly, when you decide to sell your home you're going to set the price, but it's the buyer that ultimately...

Chicken Soup for the Real Estate Seller

Let's say you go to the grocery store and there are 10 cans of chicken soup on the shelf.  If you're like most people, you're going to look carefully at their price per ounce, the label, the kind of noodles it has, etc.  And, if you're like most people, you buy the best value for your dollar in chicken soup.  And you take your time doing it.

On the other hand, if there's only one can of chicken soup and there are 3 others behind you just waiting to snatch it up as soon as you're done inspecting the label, you're not going to be nearly as discriminating.  You'll simply put in your cart and move on.  And you'll do it quickly and pay the going rate.

That's the difference between a buyer's market and a seller's market.  Buyer's look at things differently depending on the external pressures.

Right now in the Atlanta Real Estate market we've got 10 cans of chicken soup and we only one buyer.   And the recipe that wins...

You Can Lead a Horse to Water...

If you're a "motivated seller" and your home has been on the market for more than 4 months without an offer - it's your agent's fault.

If you're a "motivated buyer" and you've been looking for a home to purchase for longer than 8 weeks - it's your agent's fault.

I meet a lot of Buyers and Sellers who would agree with me here.  But simply agreeing who's to blame doesn't solve the problem does it?

Here's the truth:  You need an agent who is bold enough to tell you why your home is not selling and what to do about it.  And you need to follow their lead.  You need an agent who is honest enough to tell you why you're not finding what you're looking for in the market.  And you need to listen to them.

And, for you agents out there, if you're bold and honest with your clients and they're not taking need to respectfully move on from the situation and put your talents to use where they...

Ready, Aim, Fire

I talk with a lot of Sellers who are under the impression they'll sell faster by adding to their price to create "negotiating room".   It seems logical enough.  It's what I call the "shoot for the stars, you might hit the moon" philosophy of pricing.  Unfortunately, it doesn't work.

In today's Atlanta real estate market, if you want to hit the moon it's far better to take purposeful aim at the moon before shooting.  You want very little negotiating room.  A thousand or two is fine.  You want buyers to make an offer.

The pricing of property is critical in this market because buyers are very, very educated in what they're looking at.

Almost every buyer in today's market is working with a buyer agent, so they're going to be doing their market analysis just like you should be.  They buyer's agent is going to be advising their client and you don't want to be left out their with no offers because...

23 Showings. 3 Offers. 2 Sales.


In the last 7 days the properties I'm marketing showed, collectively, 23 times.  I'm currently representing 21 properties so that's an average of 1 showing per property per week.  Not bad given the current market.

In the last 7 days I've received 3 offers to purchase - 2 of which we were able to reach an agreement on and 1 I'm still negotiating. 

23 showings.  3 offers.  2 sales.

At the end of the week I'm left explaining to my clients what happened with the other 20 "buyers". 
Always remember the definition of a "Buyer" is someone who buys. Until then, they may be anything....

I'm a Realtor, not a Magician

I don't set the market and neither do you. Unless, of course, you're a buyer.  Buyers set the market because they determine how much they'll pay.

What I do for my clients is interpret the market so they have a good understanding of what's going on.  I help them maximize value through sound market research and so they can make an intelligent decision about how to price their home to sell in today's market. 

In short, I help people face the reality of their situation so they can get on with their life.

Sometimes, I think pulling rabbits out of a hat would be a lot easier.  Not to mention a lot more fun....

My Dad can beat up your Dad

Buyers buy by comparison.  When they enter your home, chances are they've seen 3 or 4 others with similar features and amenities.  They are practically experts on market value in your price range.  They will make offers on or buy the home that offers the most for the money.  If you want to sell before the competition then you must be the most aggressive Seller in the market.  You must have the best home in the market for the best price.

Remember...selling real estate is simple.  Simple but not easy....

Price or Location?

There are usually only two things that stop a house from selling: price and location.

What's the problem with yours?

Here's a quick hint:  If a home is in an undesirable location - that problem is solved by lowering the price.  I'd buy a home 100ft from the City Dump for $1 just to say I owned it :)...

"I'm insulted"

It's one of the most common phrases I hear when presenting offers to my clients in this market - "I'm insulted.  Tell them I'm not interested."

Truth is, if you're not interested in getting an offer (even if it's a low offer) you might be better off taking your house off the market.

Here's a quick tip for Seller's out there braving the current market.  Don't be insulted with by the Buyer that submits an offer on your home. Be insulted with the other people that have come through your house and have did think enough of it to make an offer. Those are the ones you want to get upset with, not the ones that like your house so much they're willing to go through the time and effort of sending you an offer. These folks are trying to buy your home.

Call me crazy but it might be worth your time to see what you can do to negotiate with this person.  That's why Counter Offers exist....

Depersonalize & Declutter

The two biggest money-making words there are when it comes to showing your home:

Depersonalize and Declutter.

Not only will you create a more inviting space for buyers to imagine as their own - your home will sell faster and for more money. 

And it's about the only guarantee you have in today's market....
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