Getting into the Minds of Today’s Buyers

I would describe today’s real estate market for most of our area as ‘transitional.’   That is, we’ve shifted from a very strong buyer’s market back towards a more balanced, healthy level of activity.  Tax credits and low interest rates have spurred high buyer activity.   But very low inventory has created frustration amongst those ready, willing, and able buyers.  After all, the real estate market is like any other market: supply vs. demand.

But today’s buyers, despite having less negotiating leverage than they did just a year or two ago, are very different than the buyers of 2005, or even the buyers of 2000; they are jaded.  They’ve seen a lot: They’ve seen friends take the plunge and lose tens of thousands, or even more, in equity very quickly.  They’ve read for years now about people getting swindled in their mortgage terms and losing their homes.  They’ve read about money pits.  And they aren’t going to make the same mistake.   They want the perfect house, and they want it in perfect condition, at a fair price. So how can sellers get into the heads of today’s changed buyers and get their home sold quickly without breaking the bank?

This was the subject of Moving.Com’s article “How to Think Like a Buyer When Selling Your Home.” The tips are basic, yet critical and the underlying theme is the same: Try not to think of the property as your ‘home’ anymore…it’s an asset that you are trying to sell for the highest price, in the shortest amount of time, with a minimum amount of hassle. Realtors are skilled in helping you think this way (why do you think we always switch from calling it “your home” to “your property” after it’s been listed for sale?)

I’m quoted in the article a few times for some of the ideas I practice with my sellers (depending on the situation, of course.)

It’s so difficult for a seller to put themselves in a buyer’s shoes. I always encourage my sellers to go with me to view the ‘competition’ – buyers are going to be comparing their home against similar ones nearby, so they need to see first hand what’s out there. Still, sellers often think “but my house is different” so one thing I recommend in that case is to hire a third party for their opinion—not theirs, and not mine as the agent’s. For example, have a pre-inspection so that an inspector can calmly describe what will be seen as defects in the house, and have a pre-sale appraisal for an independent fact-based presentation on what the home is worth versus its competition. Finally, having a professional stager brought in to describe how to ‘neutralize’ the house so that a buyer can envision themselves living there is key

If you’re thinking of selling your Northern Virginia or Washington, DC, home, and you need advice on how to get the highest price, in the shortest amount of time, with a minimum amount of hassle, call us.
More Resources:

Choosing a Listing Agent

Marketing Your Home

Automated Reports: How Much is My Home Worth?

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