Kids: Cute or A Costly Distraction When Buying or Selling a Home?

Just as I was about to snatch Captain America, snap him in half and bask in the glory of watching Damian lose his shit, mum said she would get back to me after she spoke to hubby.

When buying or selling a home, whether represented by an agent or you’ve decided to sell your own home, if you have young children, I suggest you read this story to ensure your attention is on a very important job – getting the deal done.

Firstly, let me qualify that I am father of three grown sons, who were very energetic toddlers and active growing children.

I understand the demand for attention that they possess and how adults can be easily distracted from any task by the actions of their little darlings.

I sorted this out very early on, when I had the ‘brainwave’ that I could work from home with my children present.

As soon as I would pick up the phone to do some business, my boys saw this as a green light to demand my attention.

From a simple “Dad, dad, dad….” to full blown tantrums when their attempts for attention were not met, I decided that important adult functions and interaction (making a living) were not going to be compromised by a three-year old thinking he is the centre of the Universe.

One day after quite a few, “Billy (name changed to protect the guilty), please be quiet, dads on the phone” pleadings, I calmly said to this client, “Can I call you back in just two minutes?” and terminated the call.

As I was pausing my conversation, I looked straight at my boy, and instantly he knew things were about to go down!

I ‘gently’ grabbed him by the hand, calmly walked him to his bedroom, sat him down and with my nose about 1cm from his, and blasted out like a Regimental Sergeant Major, “If you interrupt me on the phone once more I am going to knock your block off – get it.”

With that, the tears welled as he weighed up whether he might take one more stab at an untimely interruption or would he prefer his head remain in place in the middle of his shoulders.

The likelihood, in his mind, of the latter far outweighed the temptation of the former.

You’ll be happy to know that his current therapist said these images will fade by the time he is thirty-five.

I slowly shut the door and returned to the job of earning an income to feed, clothe and house my little scone grabbers.

“Hi, Sorry about that…”

Up until the time I realised working from home was not all that is was cracked up to be, disturbances from then on were few and far between.

I’m sure the recipient of my ‘tough love’ filtered word through to his siblings that if they want their heads to stay in their current location, don’t bug dad when he is on the phone.

Should you feel the need to report this parenting style to Child Services, they will not have any trouble tracking me down and the ‘victims’, my kids, will probably laugh at the Officers sent to investigate, and commence their own interrogation to find out what life is like as Public Servant.  (Trust me, my mob have been well schooled).

Now that you know I have been there, done that, got the tattoo, I can say with heartfelt sincerity to potential home buyers and sellers; if at all possible, if you have kids under, say, 10years old, try to have them looked after at home by an iPad or similar device, or leave them to visit a kind aunt, neighbour or grandparent if you are going to inspect one or any number of homes or attempt to sell your own home.

There is no way on earth you can calmly and diligently inspect or carry out an inspection of yours or any property with children wanting your attention or running wildly through the home.

I have met parents who are on the ‘Open Home’ or inspection trail with a couple of little darlings in tow, and if I struck them after about their fourth or fifth inspection, the parents looked like they’d been ten rounds with Mike Tyson, and the children were in a mind altered state of boredom, ratty tiredness or imminent starvation.

There is no possible way these intrepid buyers (or sellers for that matter) can make a logical decision and clear observations with the mayhem unfolding amongst the rug rats.

The only valid input that could be useful from a child accompanying their parent on an inspection is if the kid is going to sign the bloody cheque to buy the house!

An inspection I conducted on one particular home motivated me to write on this subject.

A three-year old boy, with perfectly workable and functioning legs, was bolted to the hip of his mother who was inspecting this home – and it didn’t take long for him to weave his evil and distracting magic

His grandmother was present, as was a brand new, still in the package 30cm Captain America doll which the little petal had firmly clenched in his arms.

Mum must have been on the Michelle Bridges 12 week challenge, because she schlepped that kid all over the house, up and down stairs, along with Captain America, for about 20-25 minutes. I was exhausted just watching her.

Each time mum wanted to ask me a question, and I was about to respond, her little angel would press the stomach of his mini Super Hero to enable the built-in speaker – “Avengers Assemble” or “Let’s go boys”. It was cute for about five seconds.

Anyway, at the end of the inspection, and with her muppet still attached to her hip along with Captain America, mum wanted to talk turkey about an offer.

Great.  She had quite a few questions, but ‘Damian’ had more presses in his finger than I had responses.

Each time I went to answer one of mum’s questions, the kid stared straight at me and pressed the button for Captain A to blurt out another call to arms.

It was hard to shift my gaze from mum, because if I had of gazed at Damian, my look would have set his head on fire and burned out his beady little eyeballs.

During this I kept thinking, “step in anytime grandma.  I’m sure there is a tree to show Damian in the backyard”.  But no, those bolts into to mum’s hip were tightened good and proper.

Grandma, although a lovely person was as useful as an ashtray on a motorcycle and no help to me, or her daughter.

Just as I was about to snatch Captain America, snap him in half and bask in the glory of watching Damian lose his shit, mum said she would get back to me after she spoke to hubby.

Suffice to say, she didn’t follow through with an offer, because she probably didn’t hear a word I said during the three way conversation between her, me and Captain America.

In all seriousness, buying or selling a home is a serious business.

As a buyer, you need to look closely, take in all the important features, the nicks and bumps that the home may possess and decide if it represents value as a potential family castle.  And you will have questions you will want to ask the owner if they are selling privately. The little ones can run riot and listen to Captain America on the day you move in.

So, buyers, eliminate distractions, ask questions and take your time to look, in order to make the right choice for one of life’s biggest investments – your next home.

The same goes if you are selling your own property, be attentive to those who are inspecting and don’t get distracted by the little people who may inhabit your current home.

Bribery, threats and even some gentle torture might just give you the opportunity to concentrate for an hour or so and get a deal done.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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“I WANT TO SELL MY OWN HOME, AND ITS SO UNIQUE” – YOU BETTER HOPE NOT.

Unless you are the owner of the ‘Star of Africa I’ diamond, you may need to re-think using the term ‘Unique’.

Wouldn’t it be the case that if something was so unique, the number of people interested in it/able to afford it would narrow down dramatically?

And the less people you attract will limit competition and therefore, ultimately, the sale price?

Unless you are the owner of the ‘Star of Africa I’ diamond, you may need to re-think using the term ‘Unique’.

Sure, as a marketer I understand better than most, that when you are offering a product or service you really need to define who your ‘target market’ is.

The current buzz term for this is referred to as a ‘niche’ market.

Come up with an idea that will solve the problem or satisfy the need of a specific group of people who see a solution to their issue, and they believe the cost of engaging that service of product will make their lives better, easier, happier (value)– AND there are enough of those people for your idea to make you a living or rich – then you have cracked line #1 of the successful business code.

However, when it comes time to sell your own home, it is important to identify who your ‘market’ is, but the more niche you believe your market to be and unique your property is, the harder the sales process can actually become.

‘Unique’ in the eyes of those home sellers who believe their property IS unique, usually leads to the biggest inhibitor of the sale process – unrealistic expectations.

Leading a marketing campaign with the term ‘Unique’ can be a recipe for disaster.  More than likely you are narrowing your potential market to a very small percentage of buyers who may share your vision and tastes.

I find that ‘Unique’ properties are generally offered by someone who purpose built their property to their specific tastes and specifications, to suit their lifestyle at that particular time.

And because that property was a labour of love, injected with loads of sweat tears, pride and cash, generally the expectations on price can repel even that small percentage of buyers who are even remotely attracted to it.

I had a conversation with a lovely lady the other day who described her property as ‘Unique’ at least four or five times in the first two minutes of our chat.

Sure, it wasn’t your run of the mill property – a small acreage with a business attached but I knew right there and then her potential marketing theme of ‘Unique’ would make matters more difficult to find a suitable buyer.

“Why not see your property and attached business as a LifeStyle OPPORTUNITY for someone? Work, rest and play all in the one place?!”

She went a bit quiet and then said, “Yes, I never thought of it like that.”

A simple adjustment to the marketing message changed the way she thought about her own property in such a way that she was thinking more about who might buy it, rather than boasting about its ‘Uniqueness’.

Do you want to sell your own property and believe it is unique?

Stop and think for a minute about what benefit the home or property offers to a potential buyer and shine the spotlight on that.

Remember: buyers react to benefits, not features or general terms such as ‘Unique’ – especially in a market that has steadied up; and buyers have more choice, whilst placing value at the top of their wish list.

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This Property Life – #2 SERIES #1

The stories of the people behind, and in front of, the scenes in Australia’s most talked about industry.


The Tim Tam Test

“Oh, strong and black thanks Maree – just how I like my men!” Beth Myrvold’s cackle was enough laughter for everyone, as Maree’s husband, Blake, a proud Afrikaner, smiled politely and continued to look courteously at the swath of sheets and brochures in front of him on the kitchen bench.

Beth, one of Eastcastle City Property’s gun agents, whose knack for humour to build rapport was still a work in progress, had been called in by the De Cocks as they were thinking of selling and heading up the coast for a quieter life around Shell Bay.

“Thanks, Maree. Oooh, Tim Tams! Are these the vegan ones?  Ah, doesn’t matter, one won’t hurt.” (“Tim Tams,” thought Beth, “They’ve gone top shelf bikkie here – I must be a big chance.”)

This beautifully presented three bedder, with pool, entertaining area and sought-after man-shed would be a prime listing for Beth, and surely would not hang around too long.

“Shell Bay.  What a lovely spot. Have you got your eye on anything up there?” As a four-year property sales veteran, Beth knew how to open a conversation designed to find out whether or not these home owners were likely to sell, soon.

“Yes, we have Beth, a gorgeous cottage on a quarter acre one street back from the main beach. We love it,” gushed Maree

“Well we have to sell this first dorling,” shot back Blake, ensuring his wife’s enthusiasm didn’t keep him awake at night for the next 20 years.

“So, Beth,” Blake fixed his gaze on Beth as she chomped into her second Tim Tam, “You’ve had a good look around, what will we get for this?”

“Ummmm, well Blake and Maree, you’ve had a look at the market report I dropped in, and you can see the recent sales of properties that would probably compare to yours,”

This was the moment of truth that every agent dreaded.

Would the price guide that Beth was about to blurt out, match the expectations of the anxious, yet sometimes ruthless, home owners?

The number she offered could mean the difference between a third Tim Tam and the listing, or an abrupt ending to their cordial meeting and those almost fatal words, “We’ll have a chat and get back to you.”

Beth felt like time had stood still as she took another sip of her coffee and played the “guess the right price” game a dozen times in her head.

“Ok, based on what the market is doing right now in Linwick…the great position, beautiful presentation…ahhh…well…I’m pretty sure I can get you around…$825,000?!”

All fell silent.

Blake’s eyes remained transfixed on Beth and the non-verbal pause felt like it went on for hours. Beth’s heart was in her mouth and she nervously picked up a couple of the documents on the table and put them in a neat pile – a bit like a newsreader does after they’ve delivered twenty-five minutes of doom and gloom then finished off with a happy piece about Sammy the Surfing Ferret.

Just then, as Beth thought the bulletin had drawn to a close, Blake looked straight at Maree with the hint of a nod, and she thrust her arm across the kitchen table, grabbed the Tim Tams…and said, “Beth, would you like another?”

Beth’s ‘veganism’ vanished as quickly as the smile that had appeared and taken up her whole of her face, “That would be lovely.”

More from Beth and The De Cocks later.

 

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No Sign! The neighbours don’t need to know I want to sell my house.

There is nothing like selling a secret!

Look, my wife says I am one of the biggest cynics that our maker shovelled organs into, but every time I heard a client, or potential client say, “I don’t want a sign,” it was an automatic response from me of “Why?”

And the smile began to widen across my face as the answer was about to be fired back.

“We don’t want the neighbours to know we are selling.”

A clearly displayed and well portrayed sign still plays an important part in an all-round marketing strategy

At this point I made doubly sure that I was not chewing anything or taking a sip of any liquid, so I didn’t spray any debris over the phone or straight back across the table at my client when the answer I knew that was coming, came.

Let’s be honest here; a sign is not the be all and end of attracting buyers, however buyers are still looking for your sign as they are doing a drive-by or turning up to inspect; a sign is confirmation that they have come to the right place.

A clearly displayed and well portrayed sign still plays an important part in an all-round marketing strategy – whether you have hired an agent or have decided to sell your own home.

But back to the neighbour thing.

In my mind I couldn’t help but think, “Have you heard of a little thing called the internet?”

However, that’s not very professional is it?

It is a physical 24-hour sales person to complement the 24/7 pulling power of the internet

On occasions I have not been able to help myself and responded, almost subtly, with, “So when I am showing buyers around, who have probably parked three houses up the road and scratching their heads, when we are doing inspections your neighbours will think you have invited the JW’s in for a look round – three times in two days?!”

The professional answer?

“Your neighbours are going wise up pretty quick when strange people start coming to your house and cars are driving up and down the street at 25kmh. Also, a sign confirms to any buyer that they have come to the right place.  It is a physical 24-hour sales person to complement the 24/7 pulling power of the internet.”

(Subdued applause).

Basically, when you are selling, you want the whole world to know because the more people that talk about your home or property, the bigger the chance an interested set of ears may be waiting to hear all about your place.

 

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This Property Life- #1 Series 1

The stories of the people behind, and in front of, the scenes in Australia’s most talked about industry.


Jason’s Opens

The time ticked over to 1.45pm on Jason’s iPhone x, so it was all systems go; to pack up his brochures, cards and self-promotional material at the four bedder on Blake Circuit, Swynton, which, mind you, could have done with a lick of paint in the living room and possibly the c1997 cream carpet in the ‘plush’ bathroom replaced with some cheap and cheerful tiles.

“No luck today,” lamented a usually upbeat Agent Jason Merek-Sadowska, who told his owners that he expected “plenty” of interest come 1pm.

“How many buyers came through?”

“Ummm…none. But I forgot that the Bellcoast Pottery Extravaganza was on this weekend. So many people go to it.  Massive couple of days.”

“The owners will be pretty disappointed, and they are such nice people.  I think they went down to the Pottery show during the open home.”

“What will you tell them?”

“Look, it’s not an easy one. Sure, the Pottery thing played a big part, but it is a bit quiet at the moment.  This has only been on the market for seven weeks, so it might worthwhile for the owners to take up a bigger ad in the Eastcastle Daily for next week to drive a few more buyers to us.”

“What about the other open home you had two streets away, earlier on?”

Jason’s mood lifted noticeably.  “Went off,” flew straight from his mouth as he started packing his tools of trade, including the fold out open home sign covered mainly by his smiling face, into his newly leased Audi A5 with the hands free wi-fi fingerprint/face to voice recognition.

“Had twelve groups through that one. Might be an offer in the wings.”

“That doesn’t sound like it’s that quiet then?”

“Well, probs ‘patchy’ might be a better word.  This one’ll sell, eventually. I haven’t had a good chat to the owners for a couple of weeks.  I’ll sort something on Monday.”

Jason’s ringtone of the Bellcoast Blockers theme song belted out as he started the Audi, “Hi, yeah, just locked up and leaving now.  Yeah, went pretty well. Got a few follow ups to make, but I’ll get back to you Monday for a good chat.  How was the Pottery Show?”

And he didn’t even have to take his hands off the steering wheel to take the call as he kicked it in the guts to zoom away from Blake Circuit onto his next appointment.

Amazing innovation making the job of pros like Jason so much easier.

More from him later.

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FREE FALLING? WHAT TO DO WHEN GRAVITY KICKS IN ON THE PROPERTY MARKET.

The sky is falling, the sky is falling!

The story of Chicken-Little has been told over many centuries, and it’s moral is as true today as it was when it was written.

Someone experiences or witnesses an event, then proceeds to tell one and all that the end is nigh.

Sound familiar?

Around February this year (2018) there were plenty of Chicken-Littles saying the end is nigh.

And the property market has its share of Chicken-Littles; and trust me, after sixteens years serving in the front lines of real estate marketing and sales, I know there is never a shortage of them.

Around February this year (2018) there were plenty of Chicken-Littles saying the end is nigh – the market was about to plummet, wiping huge percentages off the value of properties right across the country.

Although the worst did not happen, the chicken chatter was enough to dent the confidence of buyers and as a result, some ‘robust’ property markets (remember; the Australian property market is a patch work quilt) began to see prices soften as buyers looked skyward for falling debris instead of pursuing their next property.

So, what do you do if you are trying to sell your own home and the market shifts from underneath you?

Yes.  Prices have fallen slightly to moderately in some areas, most noticeably in the ‘big guns’ of Sydney and Melbourne, which can then have a knock-on effect to regional areas as well.

It didn’t take long for me to notice that people in the process of private house sales were becoming a little anxious that their initial price expectations were not being met by the shift in buyer confidence.  And I know, no-one wants to acknowledge that an adjustment in expectation could be warranted.

So, what do you do if you are trying to sell your own home and the market shifts from underneath you?

First, you need to recognise the symptoms:

  1. Buyer enquiries may diminish or stop, as do physical inspections.
  2. Those buyers who do enquire/inspect are less than enthusiastic about making offers.
  3. Those who do make an offer serve up a number that feels like a punch in the gut.

(You) have the leverage to take advantage of buying into a another soft market.

Don’t despair, here is what you do in this type of market.

  1. Sit it out, wait for the market (buyers) to get over itself and meet your expectations on the bounce back.
  2. Take your home or property off the market and wait for the sign to shine over your expectations again.
  3. Meet the market, become competitive and ensure your presentation is bang on, your promotion is well targeted, and your price guide reflects that you are motivated to sell and be prepared to negotiate.

The big advantage to choosing plan C is that if you are planning to buy, the area in which you want to move to could be experiencing the same challenges, and the sooner you cash in your current property, the quicker you can load your bullets to head to the gunfight and have the leverage to take advantage of buying into a another soft market.  (Less buyers, more anxious sellers).

To be honest, the property market in general needed a breather; price increases brought on by bullet-proof buyers could not keep going.

All in all, this is a great market to deal in.  Those who stay in the game are most likely to come out winners or at worst, will parachute to a very soft landing.

 

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Engage, Engage, Engage: Talk to Buyers When You Sell Your Own Home.

Engage:  Establish a meaningful contact or connection with.

That definition alone says it all.

Life is all about rapport building.

The fastest and most reliable way to find out if a buyer is fair dinkum is to talk to them – and I mean ear to ear or face to face.

Today’s increasingly preferred methods of communication; text, messaging or emailing is killing the art of quick, genuine and productive rapport building.

Life is all about rapport building.

It is not restricted to the world of sales, and in this case private house sales.

Everyday we build some rapport with someone.

This doesn’t mean you want to know their life story, or share yours, or become BFF’s and gush over each other on FB.

The cashier at the supermarket, the plumber you call to fix the sewer pipes, your child’s teacher, work colleagues, the person you are sitting next to on the flight to London…you may not be aiming to be their best friend, but simple courtesies and acknowledgements go a long way to establishing a pleasant, short term relationship that should benefit both parties for the duration of what ever experience you are sharing.

When you sell your own property, rapport building with buyers is critical to your success.

This doesn’t mean you want to know their life story, or share yours, or become BFF’s and gush over each other on FB.

Engagement, rapport building, is purely, in the world of sales and transactions, a means to understanding the needs and situation that pertain to the other party and whether your needs and situation are aligned to theirs.

Take a recent conversation I had with a client whose property was pretty hot from the get go.

“Just pick up the phone!”

“Hi Craig, wow, we have had some good interest from buyers, but no-one has made an offer.”

“Ok, why do you think that is?”

“Well, I’ve sent them all emails to say put forward your best offer and we’ll consider it, but no-one has replied.”

“Have you called any or all of them?”

“No.”

“Any wonder?! Get on the phone and talk to them.  Engage them, find out what they are thinking, what their needs are, why your property interests them.”

“Oh, do you think that will help?”

“Just pick up the phone!”

Texting, messaging, emailing can play an important role in documenting certain stages of an interaction, negotiation or transaction, but we are quickly going to these means as our default communication choice and so much can be lost or misinterpreted.

Engaging a buyer is merely an opportunity to chat in order to reveal, share and find common ground.

Leaving it all to chance by communicating via a screen only, is a sure-fire way to encounter frustration and confusion when you are an owner selling your house or property.

 

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What price will I get when I sell my house?

And there you have the $64,000 question…

As a traditional agent I was asked this very question on more than a thousand occasions by would-be sellers – and hold onto your hats – most of the time I couldn’t answer it.

“What you say you are a real estate expert and didn’t know how much a house or property would sell for?”

I was in the wrong game – and a mind reading show in Vegas was the obvious next step.

Yep. But…

The one thing I did know was the price ‘vicinity’ the property would fall into.

That vicinity was a pretty tight range.  To the exact dollar?  No!

If I, or any other agent in the country (or planet for that matter), could predict with 100% accuracy what any property would sell for, down to the last dollar, then I was in the wrong game – and a mind reading show in Vegas was the obvious next step.

And the minds that would need to be read are those of potential buyers – the market.

In actual fact, the property market is far more fluid than you might think.

Boy they can be a fickle lot; no matter whether their confidence is sky high or running a bit low.

Buyer sentiment can change overnight based on economic reporting from media, government and financial bodies. In actual fact, the property market is far more fluid than you might think.

The thing that EVERY home owner must understand is that sellers set the price, BUT buyers determine value.

For those clever souls who head down the path of private house sales, there can be a little bit of angst and trepidation when it comes time to determine your ‘list price’. But that is normal, and ‘gut feeling’, coupled with local knowledge, is almost always right.

My finely tuned ‘bullshitometer’ would wail like an air-raid horn.

Now here is a little insider secret:

Everyone who embarks upon selling their own home or property, or hires an agent to help, actually has a pretty good idea of what their home is worth.

When working as a traditional agent I would almost always ask of a prospective seller, “What do you think it will sell for?”  Now, if I got the reply, “I have no idea?” My finely tuned ‘bullshitometer’ would wail like an air-raid horn.

Anyone who is even thinking about selling their home or property has a fair idea, usually within a 5% +/- range, of what ‘vicinity’ their property is likely to sell for.

However – even though their subconscious mind knows that level – they are generally sabotaged by their ‘busy, noisy’ mind and premiums of anywhere between 10-20% above real ‘value’ can quickly manifest and hijack the sale process.

The deafening silence of the market is usually an excellent indicator of where your true value sits.

However, its understandable potential sellers are looking for some sort of confirmation of their own expectations and, sadly, agents who feed unrealistic expectations make the job doubly hard for themselves and their clients (sellers).

That doesn’t mean that you, as a seller, should not ‘test the water’ reagrding price, but the deafening silence of the market is usually an excellent indicator of where your true value lays.

Here are three simple steps to getting pretty good idea of what your home or property should sell for:

  1. Find 3 -5 recent sales within a 1-5km radius of your property, that are of a similar nature/configuration, and have sold in the last 6 months. This your evidence.
  2. Check out similar properties to yours that are currently on the market and how much they are asking. This your competition.
  3. Hire a Certified Practicing Valuer to prepare a pre-sale report which indicates who the competition is and the hard evidence you need. No, they are not all conservative and low-ballers – they have to be as accurate as possible to maintain their reputation and career.

Pricing your property for sale is not rocket science, but ‘overshooting the runway’ generally leads to slower buyer activity, longer time on market and eventual frustration.

A little bit of objective research and old fashioned realism can go a long way to success and satisfaction when you sell your own home.

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It Pays to be a Qualification Ninja when you Sell Your Own Home.

Qualification. Ooooh. That sounds hard? It’s not really – a teaspoon of cement and razor-like focus is all that is needed.

If you want to sell your own property quickly, and for the best price, I can teach anyone how to qualify like a ninja, and boy its fun.

When it comes to private house sales, owners (sellers) can be a little reluctant, or even a bit lazy, when it comes to this vital component of the sale process.

Hey, I know, and have experienced first-hand, that many agents don’t bother to learn or demonstrate basic qualification skills and then have to make that dreaded call to a seller,  “Uuuum, the buyer has pulled out…”

To put it as simply as possible, qualification is purely you, having a conversation with a potential buyer, where you ask a few unobtrusive and subtle questions to uncover whether they CAN actually buy your home or property.

But why is qualification so important?

It prevents you getting your hopes up, only to be let down because a prospective buyer didn’t share that there were potential barriers for them to close out the deal.

And in today’s property environment you can’t ignore its importance.

Albeit a temporary situation, lending institutions have made borrowing criteria more stringent for would be borrowers: first home buyers, upsizers and the most affected group – investors. Why?

The Royal Commission into banking has shone a spotlight on some loose lending practices by banks and this has sent CEO’s and CFO’s scurrying back to their HQ’s to tell their credit departments to scrutinise all loan applications with a bigger scrute until the smoke clears.

Until the smoke clears!

Please note the above.  Do you really think the banks will become the Financial Industry equivalent of Little Red Riding Hood? Pfft.

So, this temporary tightening of the availability of money to would-be home purchasers makes it all the more critical for private home sellers to ask the right questions to ensure an interested buyer is actually capable of seeing a deal through to finality.

Have they got any bloody money?

And unless buyers have the following capabilities – they are nothing more than tyre kickers and ice cream lickers:

Have they got M . A . N. ?

  • MONEY
  • AUTHORITY
  • NEED

And we know the BIGGIE is MONEY!

Qualifying by using the MAN process is the most subtly powerful method I know to find out if a buyer is really a buyer.

I share this with all my clients who have access to my exclusive Agent in a Box ‘Tool Box’ and it has paid off in spades for many of them.

The key to being a qualification ninja is simply to ask the right questions.

By not doing so, the risk of heart ache down the track becomes very real and may have you contemplating Hara Kiri (or hopefully just an extra wine to numb any pain).

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Can You Sell Your Own Home Using The Art of The Headline?

If you are reading this, my headline and accompanying image did their job…

After writing and editing, at an educated guess, over 3,000 property ads (and many for other types of business marketing), I can say that the art of the headline is generally ignored, as is the impact it can have on its intended reader.

For those of you looking to sell your own property – and Agents – here is a piece of advertising advice that can make all the difference to your marketing;

“Unless your headline sells your product, you have wasted 90% of your money.”

This comes from one of the most successful and insightful Advertising minds of the 20th Century, David Ogilvy, who’s career and philosophies can be read in his book – “Ogilvy on Advertising”.

Ogilvy’s, and the man he looked up to, Claude Hopkin’s, research, campaigns and successes for some of the biggest names in business, are still the primary drivers for what works in advertising today.

“Those headlines which work best are those which promise the reader a benefit.”

It is this statement alone that has been the cornerstone of creation of the vast majority of the headlines, and copy, I have written.

You need to make it your cornerstone as well.

For me every great piece of copy – and by great, I mean it invokes the right emotion in the right reader, so that reader (potential buyer/client) takes more than a passing interest in what is being said and sold – to the point of taking an action.

In today’s “I want it all and I want it now” environment, most buyers look at just a few things on any property advertisement, The Big Rocks; and they are;

  • Location
  • Main Picture
  • # of Beds, Baths, Cars
  • Price guide
  • Headline

Let’s face it, so many of us are time poor (or so we think) or maybe we’re just getting lazier, so the main copy (description) in a property ad might not even get read – especially if the BIG ROCKS don’t add up or the headline is weak.

And when I say weak, it doesn’t offer a hook (benefit) that makes the buyer/client want to read on.

In my experience owners selling a house and some agents place too much emphasis on crafting copy that is as long as War and Peace (an epic Russian novel), describing and listing everything, I mean EVERYTHING, the property has to offer – yawn!

And that’s what buyers do – start nodding off by the time they reach the third paragraph describing the strategically placed birdbath in the backyard.

To prevent this, they almost need to have an idea of what the main benefit is of buying this property as opposed to another.

Here, I have to digress for a moment.

To understand the difference between a benefit and a feature when promoting anything is critical and I’ll cover this in more detail in another post, but in brief:

A Feature is something the product/property has; e.g. Double Garage, Ensuite, Outdoor area

A Benefit is what the product/property will do for you, how it will make your life easier/better, how it will make you feel.

People like to think they buy with logic, but almost all buy with their emotions.

My experience tells me that features become important when the benefits are clear to the buyer and they invoke an emotion.

Here is an example of two headlines – each promoting the same property.

  1. Amazing Value – Five Minute Walk to Cafes and Transport
  2. Spacious Three Bed Home in Great Location

Which one expresses a clear benefit (or two)?

If you said ‘1’, you get a gold star!

Two clear benefits: This home could be a bargain, and who doesn’t love a bargain? And a clearly stated benefit of how close you are to important amenities.

Sometimes its not JUST about the property, its what is in store for the buyer when they buy it.

Always take a little more time crafting your headline with a buyer targeted benefit, then your description will be much easier to write with the buyers’ emotions and needs in mind.

 

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