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3 Of My Lessons Learned (And Applied) in Real Estate Sales

By Laura Huntley September 26, 2018

Have you ever done something and realized “this is a learning lesson”.  If you have the correct mindset, you then realize that not only do you learn and grow from the experience, but you can help others do the same.  We all benefit from our mistakes as these help us do our jobs better and improve the profitability and sustainability of our businesses.  3 of my lessons learned (and applied) in real estate sales and why they were important to my business are:

1.  Preparation and Price. These are the most important factors in getting the best offer for your home in the shortest amount of time on the market.

Through my years as a Realtor in the Raleigh area, I have watched listings linger on the market for weeks and even months.  These houses always prove to be huge opportunities for my buyers because many times, the sellers have reached a point of desperation and will accept a much lower offer.  This may even come after many price reductions along the way.  And sad to say, I have shown “lonely” empty homes that are not staged, with smoke alarms chirping, that smell musty and, have broken fixtures.   I am also surprised when I see a front photo online that is clearly taken with a cell phone, is dark and has room shots of open toilets, clutter-filled rooms, bad wallpaper and so forth.   When buyers see these things, they will make low offers or move-on to other listings.  These are extreme cases, but even when the photos are great, if the price is too high or the seller won’t negotiate, the best of houses can remain unsold for months or years.

How do preparation and price affect a luxury home?

When selling a luxury home, preparation and price is even more critical because there are fewer people who can afford the home, there are more choices and as such, they expect top condition, amenities, and features.  I will admit that I recently experienced this with a gorgeous luxury home.  Few showings told us that the market did not accept this home at the listed price and the current condition.  Amazing marketing and thousands of online views did not convert to visitors or an offer.  Tempted visitors chose from an array of newer homes or numerous other resale options.  The home, relisted by another firm with no price reduction continued to accumulate days on market.  Lesson 1.

2.  Relationships Really Do Matter. The professional relationship and teamwork are of critical importance.

I know it seems “old school” but relationships and teams mean so much. What makes a great team? I attended a talk recently with the Project Management Institute in Raleigh where a study by Amazon of what makes an effective team. The results showed that when all team members are able to share their ideas without judgment, each is more empowered toward the common goal.

Before we do anything else, we establish a baseline of rapport and trust.  Almost always, my clients become my friends.  No question or concern is stupid and is always welcomed.    The best part of my job is really getting to know you.   Guiding you through one of the most stressful but often happiest times of your life is so rewarding.  If it is a not so happy time, I help shoulder your pain and get you to new beginnings.  When home sellers and buyers go through their journey, they are not always themselves and need some extra patience and care.  I eagerly give this because when you are happy, I am happy.

My work is my passion and also my livelihood.  Exceptional service does cost money, but the return is terrific.   Operating my business with proper profit margins is key to its sustainability.  For those of you that have built a business or who are top business leaders, I know that you understand this.   That is why I customize my marketing strategy for each home seller and each home, draw on proven but efficient methods and keep everyone informed at all times.

Custom strategies for you and your home.

My strategy for your luxury home will be very different than for a  lower priced home in high demand because we must understand a buyer’s motivation and timeline.  Luxury home buyers dream big.  They are very particular about what is usually a final destination and spend more time and consideration.

By laying out the process, what to expect and identifying any risks, together we make good decisions.  I keep things simple and straightforward.  Direct and confident, I make suggestions and solve challenges using mine and my teams’ vast experience and training. The real estate market, trends, and selling techniques are constantly changing.  Staying on top of the industry news, and sales data from the Multiple List Service helps me provide the best service that I can.

I listen to your wants and needs.

Never just sitting behind a desk, I enjoy attending networking events related to residential real estate and commercial activity in our area.  I visit resale and new homes and share this information online.  I want you to know about current home features and decor preferences and how these affect your home’s value.

I wonder how algorithms; internet service robots and billboard large volume promisers can possibly have all of this in their hip pockets?  Is there a person behind the ad?  Have they been in your home?  Do they know what you want your lifestyle to be in your new home or what your dreams are for your family?  Maybe I am old fashioned, but I personally pick up the phone and talk to you.  Because I believe in my value proposition, I charge a fair commission and list your home at the correct price.

A once took a home listing below my normal margin because the sellers were referred to me by a friend.  The listing expired unsold.  This taught me that I can suffer true economic loss as I invested a significant amount of money in photos, video, drone photography, print materials.  In addition, I helped the sellers with the recovery from a massive water leak and even negotiated with the insurance company so that they could recarpet the entire upstairs.  The sellers were not receptive to my pricing recommendations.  The time spent unfortunately caused me to forego rewarding and profitable opportunities by devoting time to a losing proposition.  Lesson 2.

3.  Trends Are Great But, Rely On What Works. Always look to tried and true strategies and agree to pivot along the way.

Success leaves clues.  Good strategies, systems, communication, and consistent practices are fundamental to an optimal outcome.  Because we are constantly learning and the market is changing, we pivot when we hit obstacles.  We ask for help when we need it.  My forte is the design of a custom preparation, pricing, and marketing strategy aimed at helping you move to your new home.  I am a concierge for related service providers to save you time.

Pricing in the market and ensuring superb appearance will draw online shoppers into your home.  Our objective is to have numerous showings in a short time.  One way that we do this is by building excitement prior to the active listing.   I use unique and edgy ways of making your house stand out from the crowd with expert home staging and purposeful professional photography.  We market both your home and your community’s lifestyle.  Our marketing efforts target buyers who are ready now can afford the offered price and who are looking for a home like yours.

The home selling and buying process is all about you. I listen carefully to you talk about your dream home during chatter and watch your face and body language when we tour homes.  I gather data from your feedback and online home searches.  I encourage you to visit communities and test commute times.  I carefully research trends for your top choices and connect you to relevant resources so you feel confident in your final selection.

When to pivot.

When we overprice a home and then allow the home to remain on the market too long, we are making a huge mistake.   If a significant activity is not shown early on, we need to pivot and make a change to either the price or the home’s value.  If not, it is my experience that the home for sale will linger too long, the best buyers will pass it by and others will offer lower prices if any offers are made at all.  You may miss opportunities to seize your dream home while waiting.  When we search for your new home, we always focus on your budget, wants and needs.  We position you to move forward with your current home sold!  I have also learned that when we consider homes that are not a good match this contributes to stress, frustration and a decrease in trust.  This undermines my values and prevents me from providing you with Exceptional Service that I am known for.  Lesson 3.

 

What do my lessons mean to you?

You and your home selling and buying goals come first.  We work best as a team and personal Exceptional Service matters.  If you would like to hear more about how to sell your home quickly and at the best price, I can help. If I cannot help you find a way to ensure your real estate experiences, please apply these lessons learned.

 

3 Of My Lessons Learned (And Applied) in Real Estate Sales