Catching and keeping the right buyers for your home is not easy these days. Long gone are the times when you could sell a house by just sticking a “For Sale” yard sign in the grass and maybe taking out a classified ad in the local paper (old school!). These days, it takes some aggressive and highly targeted marketing because you absolutely must reach and then sway your target market. They are online, they are distracted, and they have a lot of options to choose from – including every other house for sale on the market, continuing to rent, or moving in with family members! We have to catch their attention and help them get emotionally involved in the idea of buying YOUR home for sale.
As with marketing and selling anything else, you have to target the right buyers. Read on, then, to discover how to find and appeal to the right buyers when selling your house in Seattle.
Living in your home is an experience that will happen in the buyers imagination before it happens in real life. Part of your home marketing strategy should involve capturing their imagination, just like a pinteret pin-board would, and help them prepare and plan to make this home their own.
When it comes to presenting the features of your home, any savvy marketer will tell you, it’s all about benefits of those features, not the features themselves. That means – what are the buyers going to enjoy or experience as a result of having the big tub, the big view or the big living room?
Features vs Benefits: Savvy Real Estate Marketing Will Appeal To The Right Buyers
Buyers are, of course, interested in features, but what they really want to know is what those features can do for them – that is, the benefits. And different kinds of buyers are looking for different benefits. So if you truly want to appeal to the right buyers when selling your house in Seattle, emphasize the lifestyle benefits.
How Can Describing Benefits Work To Attract The Right Buyers?
Certainly, your listing will talk about square footage, the number of beds and baths, the in-ground pool, the fireplace in the family room, and so on. Blah, blah, blah, it’s all so dry… (I know it’s special to you, but, imagine it’s 10:30 at night, their eyes are glazing over as they search the web, and they want to find the “short list” of homes they’re actually going to go visit. Why yours?)
Your listing needs to do a lot more than spout the stats and figures listed on the tax records.
According to Stephen FitzMaurice, “what buyers want – whether they’re aware of it or not – is a glimpse into the lifestyle the home could provide. A good listing description will definitely feature information about recent upgrades to the home and the amenities of the neighborhood, but will also offer a little something more. That ‘something more’ is an emotional connection to the home. Rather than dryly listing home features, use them to create mini storylines in buyers’ heads.” Words are great at this, but photos and video are major players as well.
Let’s Compare Features and Benefits
Don’t, for example, say “great location.” Say, rather, “only blocks from top schools and the new Freddie’s Steak House.”
Don’t leave it at “new dishwasher and washing machine,” but instead emphasize benefits by saying “quiet and energy-efficient brand-new high-performance and environmentally friendly Energy Star appliances.”
The strategy is to mention what you’ve got, but then describe, mention and allude to how this will help the buyer. Connect the dots for them – don’t make them do the work… they won’t.
Use Professional-Quality Listing Photos
This is so, so, so, so, so important. (So!)
Because most home shoppers search online now, their first impression of your Seattle house for sale will come from its pictures. Professional-quality listing photos are absolutely essential to appeal to the right buyers when selling your house in Seattle. They have to know exactly what you’re offering simply by looking at listing photos. The photos will “sell” the next step of the process – which is coming out to actually visit your home and make an offer. Great photos will help you find and appeal to the right buyers.
If you have some experience and good equipment, you could take the photos yourself. (But don’t!) Professional photos are qualitatively different than amateur ones. In order to get attractive home for sale photography, you need to shoot at the right time of day and in the right light and, particularly, from the right angles. Professionals use special lenses and often “photo shop” the pictures (for example, changing the weather from a gray day to a blue-sky-beautiful day in Seattle). Making the pictures cheery and bright will help them stand out and make a statement.
If Seattle were a cheap market and you were selling a low-end house or rental, I would tell you it was okay to take your own pictures. However, even low-end homes here are pricey enough to merit the services of a professional photographer. you’ll make the money back in higher contract price and a quicker sale. (To discover more about how your agent can help, call (206) 578-3438.)
Market Aggressively and Effectively
Maybe the most important aspect of trying to find and appeal to the right buyers when selling your house in Seattle is marketing. (This is my favorite part of the business! Communicate and persuade!) Those highly targeted buyers have to know your house is for sale, and marketing does that job. In addition, it has to convince these buyers that your house is desirable and they really want to have it for themselves!
“The more people who know your home is on the market,” experts say, “the greater the chance that someone will submit an offer.” In other words, help your target audience find you!
We also recommend a three-pronged marketing strategy involving:
- In-person tactics, at play in showings and open houses
- Traditional print methods like flyers, mailings, signage, and pamphlets – some people really enjoy the tangible process of holding something, referring back to it, and taking notes on it.
- Digital marketing, which includes online listing sites, social media, and websites. Online marketing is the primary avenue of home discovery and initial conversions, these days. (Meaning that’s where home buyers first see your home for sale and decide to come visit it.)
Your agent will be your best asset here, so make sure you hire an agent who is conversant with all kinds of online marketing. To find out more, call (206) 578-3438.
Price It Right
In addition, in order to appeal to the right buyers when selling your house in Seattle, you have to price appropriately. Most buyers have a price range in mind early on, and if you don’t price within your target buyers’ price range, your house won’t appeal to them. It will be up against even nicer homes and won’t show well by comparison. And the result will be that you get very few offers (if any).
You want your home to be slightly more attractive and wonderful than the other homes in its price range (its competition). Then it will get a lot of attention and more generous offers, perhaps even entering a multiple-offer scenario.
You absolutely have to let go of your emotional attachment to your home and what you think it’s worth. What it was worth last year or will be worth next year is irrelevant. What it would be worth if you fixed it up is irrelevant if you’re not going to do that work.
Instead, you have to focus on your home’s value within the current local market and based on it’s actual condition. That is called fair market value. Your agent can help you determine what that fair market value is by performing what is known as a comparative market analysis. This is a valuation method that looks at homes within the neighborhood much like yours (similar in size and features) and what prices those homes actually sold for within the last handful of months. This will give you a pretty good idea of what your potential buyers are actually willing to pay.
Hire a Great Local Agent
You may be tempted to sell your house yourself to avoid having to pay an agent. (Click here to learn more about the FSBO process.) But will you really wind up with more money in your pocket? It can be a pretty tough task to find and appeal to the right buyers when selling your house in Seattle. Studies suggest you are better off getting professional help than going it alone.
Hiring a local agent will help you target buyers who are ready to buy, who are pre-qualified with a loan, and are actively searching for a home to make an offer on. “Agents have access to databases that will deliver your listing straight to buyers who are looking for homes similar to yours. . . They also have the opportunity to vet potential buyers for you.” Don’t risk losing a sale (inevitably some glitches come up along the way to closing), missing out an profits by mis-pricing your home, or drowning in carrying costs as your home takes way too long to sell.