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2007-03-06 15:30:00

The Rule of 3 P's of a Real Estate Sale


You will see a lot of gimmicks in today's market where sellers and agents alike are desperate for buyers' attention.  I prefer to stick to simple, yet effective methods.  Ones that I think, transcend any market condition and will create opportunity.

Rule #1 -- Presentation

This is a must. Now when I say presentation, I am referring to staging, not decorating. Staging is the process of depersonalizing a home, decorating is personalizing.  Future buyers do not wish to purchase your style.  Not to mention, style is subjective. What you may think is beautiful and charming someone else can think is trashy and obnoxious. Your ultimate goal is to sell your space.  By carefully planning a home's presentation can easily determine how buyers receive it. 

Need proof? Okay. Let's take food for example. I am throwing a dinner party for people whom I don't have a personal relationship with. I decide that I am going to serve fish. However, instead of placing it on a lovely platter with an arrangement of vegetables, lemons and a sterling silver serving fork, I place it on a paper plate, whole (head, eyes and all) and require my guests to use their hands to serve themselves. 

Now there plenty of fish lovers who don't mind digging in since they know the delicacies that lie underneath. But there are many others who cannot get past how something looks to know how truly wonderful it is.  

Think this is extreme? Well, I can tell you from experience that most sellers have little awareness of how their home is perceived. Pet smells, dirty dishes in the sink, garbage that is noticeable, dirty clothes on the floor, piles and piles of stuff in every corner and closet that spell one thing to a buyer:  dirty.  Bottom line is, you would not sell your used car without detailing it first, why would you sell your home any other way? Are you willing to chance that you will find that selected buyer who can look past your home's distracting appearance?

Rule #2 --  Preparation 

This is actually a spin off from the first rule. Preparation applies in a few areas here. First, is with presentation. You negate staging your home if the condition of it is less than reasonable. You will save yourself a lot of headaches and a lot of money if you fix those items before listing your home. Loose tiles, replace caulking in the bathroom, leaky faucet, broken window, etc. In regards to larger projects, such as an older roof or mechanics, discretion here is the operative course of action. If you are unable or unwilling to address problems such as these, then be up-front. Either offer a home warranty or credit as a means to avoid dragged-out negotiations after an inspection. 

The other application to the preparation rule is having all the necessary documents and receipts handy. If you own a condo or belong to a homeowners association, have a copy of your minutes, declarations and by-laws, budget and board contact information handy. If there is a room or area that goes with your property, make sure it's accessible.  If you have up-graded or repaired/replaced something of significance in your home within the last five years, showing receipts can dispel any concern a new buyer might have.

Rule # 3 --  Price 

This is perhaps the largest pill to swallow. You will eventually cost yourself more money to list a property high and reduce its price than to price it correctly in the first place.  A home's price should reflect current market conditions, not what it is you need to net, not what your bank says it's worth, not the many wonderful memories you've collected over the years, not by all the improvements you have done, not even what your neighbors received for their home. Successful pricing of your home may take these factors into consideration but is not determined by them. 

What a buyer is willing to pay will ultimately decide the value of your home, and what a buyer is willing to pay is determined by perceived value.

The bottom line to it all, you will get out what you put in.  By investing in the process of preparing your home for sale, you ultimately increase your chances of a successful outcome.

ƒxSource:  Barb Schwartz, Founder of

(Julie Woodward-Trenker, ABR, ASP, RFS, e-PRO, Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage, Serving the Chicagoland Area,  She has a great blog.)

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