Stories From The Street – August 2014

How Changing Your Mindset Can Eliminate a Year’s Worth of Frustration!

Why you should take a ‘Value Driven’ Approach to selling your Home.

Just recently I helped a Seller, who also happens to be a medium sized local builder, sell his home that he built and-unsuccessfully- tried to sell for nearly a year. His agent was using ‘traditional’ strategies employed by most Realtors that often yield inferior results and leave sellers disappointed. This builder, who will remain un-named, because I did not get his permission to ‘tell his story’ has been around for many years and has built and sold over 200 homes locally in Frederick and Washington County. So he is familiar with the sales process and has been successful using ‘traditional’ strategies for selling. When I talk about traditional strategies, I speak of the primitive way real estate has been sold for the last 20 years. A Realtor takes a few photos, puts the listing in the MLS, and waits for the phone to ring. This builder had been using another local Realtor for years, and he would just pay her a small fee to take a few pictures and put in the MLS. He would handle all showings and negotiations and it worked for years as he didn’t feel the need to pay a Realtor full commission when he was doing all the work.

The builder contacted me in February as he was frustrated by the lack of activity and ultimately the inability to sell his spec house that he completed some 6-8 months before. He was out one day with 2 local lenders- Mike and Mark- and was telling them about his troubles in selling his already completed ‘Spec’ home. Mike and Mark, whom I have represented on their investment properties, and are also subscribers of ‘The Eric Verdi Letter,’ suggested that he reach out to me as I’ve had success helping sellers sell their homes. They further explained that I present my sellers’ homes in the proper light by taking a ‘different’ approach. They spoke of how Eric Verdi treated his real estate business as just that, a business, and he teaches his sellers to take a ‘Value-Driven’ Approach.

The builder was hesitant as he’d been successful for many years using the old school methods.

Changing his mind-set on how to properly sell his home was the hardest part. He’d been successful for years, but now needed a fresh and innovative strategy. As I mentioned he contacted me in February, but it took another 2 more months of struggles with no activity before his mindset changed and he committed to a new ‘Value Driven Strategy.’ His tune changed when I provided a very detailed ‘Diagnostic Assessment’ with a game-plan about what exactly he must do to sell his home in a slow market. I met with him on a Tuesday at his incredible spec home in Hagerstown that was not ‘builder’ grade at all, but was done with custom features and upgrades. One thing that I noticed, especially since he was pushing the upper price limits for the area, was that he was making some fundamental flaws in the presentation of the home, and I found 4 specific ways to enhance the perceived value, and thus, get his house sold. I also told him that someone in the upper price range for the area would want a finished basement. This home was a gorgeous rancher. Featuring hardwood floors throughout main level, granite, custom baths with soaking tub, crown molding, and the list goes on, but the house was only 2800 sq. feet. He, being a builder, has contractors at his disposal, and I told him that it was a MUST to finish the basement if he wanted to sell. The cost of this expense could be absorbed by a higher sales price, but that was not ultimately our goal. By finishing the basement, I told him that a quicker sale was going to happen as he’d have a nearly 5,000 sq ft house. The price per sq. foot would be nearly cut in half and would actually be good ‘value’ for a purchaser. He finished the basement as prescribed.

Next, my ‘team’ was brought in to add Finishing Touches and Properly Present/Market his Spec Home…

My Stagers, Stacy and Sharon, at Limelight Staged homes brought their best ‘inventory’ to properly and Scientifically Stage this home to look like a model home that you see in the ‘Homes’ magazines. I am partial, but the Staging job they did here blew away what you see in the ‘model’ homes of the local builders. When someone walked in they could easily envision packing up their family and moving here; it was that good. Every piece of furniture was properly placed, properly angled, properly aligned- an amazing job by Limelight. Next, Annie at Sendsible Solutions, was brought in to do professional grade photography. I’ve learned that Annie has a systematic way to present her homes through photography, so I hire her and just wait for the results, which are always amazing. Annie will spend, between the actual shoot and the editing, formatting, overlaying, contrast change, etc part 5-6 hours on each home.

This custom home now had a custom strategy and we were ready for showings….

The results were predictable. After nearly a year using ‘old-school’ strategies and not receiving 1 single offer, draining a budget, and holding up the builder from moving onto the next project, we were able to get his Spec house sold. Within 44 days on the market we received a contract and ultimately we got a contract higher than the appraised value! And guess what? The buyer ended up paying more than the house appraised! Why? Because he became attached emotionally to the property. When you present homes properly buyers can and do become emotionally attached to your home, and once this happens buyers make emotional, rather than rational decisions. That is a part of the strategy, to eliminate objections and to be able to have potential buyers form a BOND with the homes. Buyers then become vested and will envision themselves in your home/listing.

By repositioning and teaching an ‘old school’ builder new methods of selling his homes by taking a ‘Value Driven’ Approach in selling his home, I’m building a relationship and changing the mindset of a successful local builder. He will now come back to me on his next project as he’s seen the results of my approach.