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episode # 11

10 Ways to Sell Your Home Fast & for Top Dollar

Your realtor is a story teller, and a good agent needs to know the product and constantly learn about it. They need a deep understanding of the area and your property’s history. They need to learn about the target market: who is the buyer for your property. Then, market to them and engage them. Understand their goals. A realtor frames the narrative of each property.

  • Find an agent with area expertise and, if they don’t know about your home, willing to learn about the history. Someone who understands the product and the area. If someone works the Surrey market, for example, I don’t necessarily want him selling my home. It’s very hard to keep up with more than one market. Market dynamics are different even throughout the Lower Mainland. Places like North Vancouver and Richmond have their own market cycles.
  • Find someone who knows the target market and how to present material to that market. This isn’t tangible. Interview a few realtors before signing on. They should be personable, and genuinely curious about people and things. At open houses, you meet so many interesting people. This helps realtors facilitate sales: finding out what people do, what they’re after and placing them.
  • We think of how to shape and control the narrative. We work with sellers on this in minor and major ways – in a system of effectively marketing the property. Each property has its own specific marketing plan.

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Episode Summary


Top 10 Ways to Sell Your Home Fast & for Top Dollar:

  1. De-clutter. Inevitably, if your house/apartment/condo is lived in and you’re a normal person, you have too much stuff. If you want to see what decluttered looks like, go to a developer’s display suite for a pre-construction condo. The reason this “wows” you is because nobody lives there; this is the only reason it looks that way. Make your place look like you don’t live in it.
  2. De-personalize. We walk through and choose what gets put away. A cluttered bookshelf, a kitchen countertop with many appliances. For example, a coffee maker and blender gets put away. Keep clean surfaces. Remove family photos – people come through thinking “can I live here?”, and what hinders that is seeing pictures of your family picnic or beach vacation last year. It’s hard not to see the property as the seller’s, rather than your own. Remove cards, un-generic art, etc. (certain art can deter people from feeling comfortable). Make the space neutral and inoffensive.
  3. Professionally clean. Even when you keep a clean house, this means getting the toothbrush out and cleaning the grout. A good agent will have a team, including a cleaner who can come out to your place. Make it show well. At open houses, at least ¼ of the people comment if they can tell a dog or cat lives there, by the smell, etc. Deodorize.
  4. Take care of repairs. Little things like fixing minor paint issues, small holes in the wall – take care of these things. Our team can come in and do this for you. This is good to do even before an appraisal, as it can add value. Perception is reality – don’t let flaws show. And you don’t need to spend a lot of money.
  5. Furniture arrangement. During the first consultation, we go through each room and discuss how to arrange furniture, how to stage or partially stage a property. In busy markets, it’s not too significant if a property is vacant, but people need cues. For example, people walk into bedrooms and see a door, closet and window and ask what the room is for – because there’s no bed, they can’t tell. Some people are not spatially gifted; they can’t tell if a bed would even fit. If a room seems small or you think it would be an objection, then put a bed in. I keep a blow-up queen mattress in my trunk to put into second bedrooms, just to show people it fits when they argue this point. We use an incredible stager who does partial staging, showing maybe a few highlight pieces of furniture. If you have an incomplete set, make it show like a full bedroom for instance. This allows us to shape the narrative and create a story for potential buyers.

These last five points are about bringing a place to market.

  1. Proper market analysis. Unless you have people coming through to see the property, you won’t sell. You need maximum exposure and a market analysis helps with this. Six-month-old property values aren’t current, and your property might have specific attributes making it worth more or less than others in the area. There is so much to consider. We see the same floor plans selling in the same building, but one is at a higher price – this comes down to presentation, which can lead to multiple offer situations and a better sale price. Look at sold and active comparables in the building and area.
  2. Effective pricing strategy, based on the analysis. This is of course tethered to market value, but I often pitch it as part of the advertising strategy too. It’s about getting people through the door. Use the 99-cent strategy: for example, buyers may have a budget of up to $500,000 so you’ll see many listings for $499,000. You’ll miss many people if you list at $509,000. This may not be the right strategy for all properties, but it’s good to consider.
  3. Strategy to unroll the property. This includes everything from when it hits MLS, to the showing schedule, to offer presentation. This hot market would use a different strategy than a balanced or buyers’ market. Generally, we hit MLS on a Monday (there’s a spike on Monday because people are back at the office and many view real estate during work) so there’s five days of momentum before the open house on the weekend. By that time, people have already fallen in love with the property. You pressurize the situation: get as many people at once as possible, and the interest level will be high. Everyone wants something other people want, and people question if other people don’t want something that they do.
  4. Professional marketing materials. Using a professional photographer is so important. Some realtors/buyers using their iPhone photos aren’t cutting it. We use an architectural photographer who understands angles and how to shoot a property correctly. It’s a skill-set, a craft, and worth paying for. Floor plans are useful because people like to leave with something tangible, to draw, to see where their furniture fits. You want people to imagine the space and how they’d use it. Places measure larger than what’s on the strata plan or what people think is the size of their house. People are more concerned with actual liveable space than what’s on a strata plan.
  5. Marketing plan. If you don’t get bodies through the door, you have nothing to work with. Have the best marketing plan to maximize exposure. Websites and MLS are obvious, and some people still look at print publications. We use social media like Facebook and Instagram. We’re in a downtown office of 105 agents, and some of the best buyers are already working with agents in our office. None of this matters without maximum exposure.
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