Reading the play, managing the sale
There is an old advertising maxim that says, ‘good advertising kills a bad product, faster’. This statement predates the Internet but it certainly applies to advertising a house on the Internet.
It is crucial that your home is priced accurately and presented well online on day 1 of the campaign. You don’t get a second chance to make a first impression with buyers.
Given the web traffic peaks early in the campaign it’s a preference and desire that enquiries, inspections and offers follow whilst the property is still fresh to market and in play. If you are on the market for 21 days or more, you will notice that your web traffic begins to tail off. This is not a preferred outcome but it certainly does not spell disaster either, particularly if you have a unique property or it’s a slowing market.
Good web marketing will instantly lead to further interest and questions from prospective buyers. It is crucial that all of these enquiries are recorded in date order to compare with the web traffic and inspection numbers for the same period.
Attempting to send buyers straight from the web marketing to the ‘open for inspection’, can create disengagement from buyers. One of buyers’ greatest gripes is being unable to speak with an agent about a respective property prior or just after the inspection. Ensure your agent is speaking with prospective buyers who enquire before and after inspections. An agent who says ‘just come along to the inspection’ is likely to have too many questions from too many buyers at one time. People that pick up the phone and enquire with the agent are serious.
It is easy to fill a house that is on the market with a lot of people. But unless those people are active buyers in the market, their presence and feedback may not be worthwhile. A good indicator that you are reaching the target market is a buyer that has just bid on other properties or is about too.
This tells you and the agent that they are genuine and serious about buying. The buyer’s feedback is plausible too. You may not necessarily agree with it, but you can concede they have a plausible point of view. The genuine feedback from fair minded buyers should not be mistaken for the bargain hunter. The bargain hunter highlights every minor fault yet has reluctantly decided to make an offer, 40% below the list price!
In summary, don’t judge the quantity of buyers at inspections, judge the quality. Ignore all feedback from non- buyers and neighbours. Look for trends in buyer feedback. What do buyers like and what are they resisting? If the only feedback you are getting from your agent is negative, you are probably being conditioned, rather than receiving feedback.
If you have priced accurately, the agent has engaged and followed up on all enquiries and the best buyers have inspected your home within the first few weeks, you are likely to move to the offer stage.
The more buyers that engage with your home and submit offers, the stronger your position in the ensuing negotiation. And vice versa. The key to getting a lot of strong offers early is to ensure that all of the preceding three market indicators are leading the sale towards a natural conclusion. Once the offers begin rolling in, it is in the agent’s hands to deliver the best possible result.
If any of the above indicators falls away, it suggests that something may need to be reviewed. The key areas to look into are marketing, agent, price, market conditions and the presentation of the home.
The agent has some control of these keys areas, and so does the seller. When the sale does not unfold as hoped, this is where trust comes into play between seller and agent. The seller may feel the marketing is not effective and the agent feels the price is deterring buyers. As the seller, if you methodically and pragmatically review the campaign through the prism of the 4 on market indicators, the answer will emerge.