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The Slade Team: The Value Added by a Successful Listing Agent

From the Mark Slade Team

Any seller who has not sold a home in the past five years may be in for a rude awakening as everything they thought they knew about selling a home has changed.  This makes using an agent even more critical to a successful outcome. While the “launch” has been and continues to be a primary focus, preparing for the launch has become even more of a “game changer.”

Sellers who do not understand the new rules of the Home Selling process can easily make costly mistakes that may decrease their chances of a sale and/or potentially cost them $1,000’s of dollars and excessive inconveniences.

Major Changes Have Occurred to the Home Selling Dynamic:

Change 1: The advent of HGTV  (WHAT BUYERS ARE LOOKING FOR)

Buyers spend countless hours watching HGTV — on their HDTV’s and Hand Held Devices — leading to extremely refined tastes.  These tastes are further reinforced by the many online teasers and catalogs from the likes of West Elm and other leading home furnishing digital ads spawned by retargeted marketing.  As a result, they have been trained to see trending home designs, which they are now looking for when they look at homes for sale.

Change 2: The advent of mobile devices and HD internet connectivity (YOU HAVE LESS TIME TO MAKE AN IMPRESSION)

Buyers used to have to visit a home to then add or subtract it from their “home shopping” list.  Sellers need to know that this is no longer the case, today’s sellers have less than 10 seconds to make the right impression upon a buyer.  And, in a world with every increasing ADD, they may eliminate a listing that they may have actually loved, if they had seen it in a different light.

Change 3: The advent of internet real estate sites

Realtor.comZillowTrulia and a host of broker-owned sites have populated the internet with user-friendly websites that provide property data, historical facts, pictures, 3D video, etc., in addition to automated valuations, neighborhood and school info, and more.

These three changes have not only revolutionized the way buyers search for and view prospective homes; they have transformed what they buy as well. 

Historically, there have been three types of buyers:

Top-tier buyers: Willing to pay a premium–which I like to call the “HGTV buyers”–this group looks for move-in ready homes that had all the amenities they were looking for and these buyers are more likely to be focused on recently renovated properties.  This tier often represents the largest percentage of active buyers, which is why preparing the house for market is so often crucial.

Middle-tier buyers: Looking for homes in “original” condition, this group hopes to get a decent price and then improve the home over time with sweat equity.   They prefer not to pay for someone else’s upgrades that they may not like as much as what they are visualizing their homes to look like. These buyers are often handy themselves or have friends or relatives that are contractors and they are very design savvy.  They do represent a smaller piece of the pie.

Investor type buyers: This third group is comprised of contractors and flippers looking for distressed properties they could buy for a decent discount off of the average “retail value;” in the New Jersey market, buyers have proven to be that much more aggressive with prices as low as 45% of retail value to no more than 65% of retail value.

Sadly, the middle tier, which historically represented a smaller but still significant percentage of market sales, is disappearing (just like our middle class and at an ever-increasing rate). More comfortable with tech than construction, today’s buyers are forgoing the middle tier en-masse and paying more to obtain move-in-ready homes that look like the finished properties they have seen on HGTV, Facebook, Pinterest and Instagram.

Clearly, the past few years have presented us with sweeping societal shifts as homebuyer wannabes, for many reasons, are less willing or even capable of fixing up a home they’ve purchased.

They believe they know exactly what they like when they see it, but have almost no idea how to produce it themselves. On occasion, these buyers even ask us:  “Can we buy the staging?” 

How the right agent can make a difference.

It is sometimes hard to demonstrate why a home seller should bother with upgrades and staging because they feel this is only adding to their costs and will reduce their net return.  We believe that in an up market, sellers can often reap a $2-$3 dollar return for every dollar spent.  The goal of such pre-market work and investments is to start by eliminating the “scratches and dents” that lower values in buyers’ minds.  Then, we turn the focus to featuring the house in such a manner to give buyers what they are usually looking for in colors and appearances.  Staging is the icing on the cake; it elevates appearances to the next level and, in effect, romanticizing the property or making it resemble that recently viewed house on HGTV.

Below, is one recent example of how we helped a seller that needed to re-sell after just 3 months.  They bought the property, which was being sold as an REO/Foreclosure with an updated kitchen for $449,900 in November of 2018.  With just under $10,000 of painting, repairs and staging*, we resold this home less than 5 months later for $535,000, almost 20% more than they paid just a few months later.

Above are pictures from the November 2018 Purchase.

Above are pictures from our April 2019 Listing Sale. (We used a professional photographer.)

*From my experience, Staging can add 3-10% more in value to sale price. 

Don’t you deserve the best results? The Slade Team is happy to answer any questions you may have. Call or text us at (917) 797-5059.

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