WHAT DO BUYERS WANT?
What makes some listings more desirable than others? There are of course a few obvious answers like curb appeal, neighborhood and local amenities. But dig a little deeper and you’ll find there are a few things buyers really want, which you can bring out in any listing.
Naturally a real estate agent wants to list a property that will trigger the interest of numerous qualified buyers and sell for more than the seller imagined it would. In our current market, with an increased demand on housing and a shortage of inventory across Europe, most buyers are now more willing to compromise on their dream home and those who find the perfect match don’t hang around to make an offer. In other words, the best listings are selling out fast.
By getting an objective idea of what makes a listing desirable in the first place – and seeing how you can maximize its potential – you will be ahead of the competition when it comes to finding top quality listings.
WHAT MAKES A LISTING SO POPULAR?
First and foremost, there are as many ideas of what the perfect home is as there are buyers in the market. Some can be very picky about hard-to-come-by features that they absolutely must have, but most of the time people are generally looking for the same things – and these aren’t so luxurious.
Top of the list for most home buyers is space for their washing machine, a heating system with a good energy rating, basement or garage storage, and good transport links.
With COVID-19 taking the continent by surprise in March 2020, more and more buyers are also looking for properties with either a home office or at least an area which can be used as a remote working space. A generous number of bedrooms and bathrooms doesn’t harm the buyer’s impression of a property either, but this will largely depend on their budget.
FIRST IMPRESSIONS ARE EVERYTHING - ESPECIALLY FOR HOUSES
So, you’ve confirmed a viewing appointment with an interested buyer and you feel the house is perfect. Great number of rooms, nice layout, all the right features. There’s only one problem: you have to walk them up to it. If they don’t get a good feeling from the sidewalk then their decision has almost certainly already been made.
This doesn’t mean that your listing needs to pop and shine in an otherwise run of the mill area – in fact some buyers might be put off buying the nicest house in an average neighborhood. What is important is that it lives up to the standards set by its surroundings. The potential buyer of your listing is already looking in that locality because that is how far their money can go. They don’t need to feel tricked by a compact first floor studio apartment dressed up as a Manhattan loft in miniature.
The best thing to do is to help your listing be its best natural self, and there are a few ways you can do that. Firstly, dress your listing in a modern, neutral style. Show what the home can look like lived in but allow viewers to imagine what they would do with the space.
Give your listing the best possible chance of making a good first impression and plan your route to the property. If there is a scenic communal area around the corner, take advantage of it and offer to meet your viewing appointment there before going to the listing. Approach the property from its most favorable side and point out any relevant information about the area.
As many properties sold in Europe are situated in apartment buildings, get in touch with the owner’s association or caretaker of the building your listing is in to fix any broken doors or fixtures. It may also be worth your while giving the front door step a quick sweep before your appointment arrives – you never know!
MAKE SURE YOUR LISTING GAME IS STRONG
How a buyer feels in a property is often credited as the catalyst for them to make an offer, but the process actually begins when they find your listing online. One property can easily look like two simply by how the listing is presented, how the agent lights the rooms, and from which angles the photos are taken.
Giving your listing its best start on the market begins with how the property is dressed. Agents should always be working with sellers to make their home as presentable and neutral as possible. This means having some tough conversations about beloved family pets, possibly distracting wall hangings or other focus stealing objects.
Going through this process not only gives you as the agent a more detailed idea of the property, but also saves you from any unwanted surprises later on. This is usually the time you will discover small scratches or marks you may want to have repaired before showings begin. You will also get a good feeling of where the walking routes are (be sure to make them as big and clear as possible) and what the talking points could be.
It’s also important to use the natural light at your disposal. Using as much natural light as possible in your listing photos will make the rooms look larger and provide a sense of freshness and vitality to your potential buyer.
If you do not have an eye for photography or home staging, and your strengths lie in other areas, be sure to hire someone to do these tasks for you. Getting it right from the listing onwards will certainly increase your potential viewings and therefore offers.
FINDING AND SELLING DESIRABLE HOMES
One of the most important things you can do as a real estate agent is to get to know your local market. It's the key to finding and selling desirable homes.
The better you get to know the tastes, financial situations and requirements of the local community you serve, the more efficient you will be at setting up a home for sale. You will know exactly what they want to see when walking up to the property, you will be able to tailor the inside to (broadly speaking) meet their expectations and you will ultimately sell the home faster.
Most buyers in a local market are looking for roughly the same thing. Once you can tap into what those wants and needs are, you can be sure every listing you take on will be one that sells.