The real estate market is heating up in Vernon and the rest of the Okanagan! Prices are increasing from demand far exceeding supply. This type of unbalanced market creates many difficulties for Buyers as they struggle to find housing.
Unfortunately, far too many Sellers take these market conditions for granted. Using various rationales, they may feel that they simply don’t need to care much about their home preparation since properties seem to “sell themselves.” Now, it’s not my job to place judgement about how people deal with their affairs.
Instead, I’d rather empower you in saying this: Excess Buyer demand presents unique opportunities to make your home stand out among the rest, and without consideration to such factors, you may be leaving money on the table. After all, it's not about the cost of Realtor® fees or the home preparation process; It’s all about the bottom line figure after a sale completes.
This blog will break down in more detail why Sellers should see these high demand/low supply market conditions as an opportunity. Then, I’ll break down two time-tested strategies to give Sellers an advantage over their competition:
Thoughtful home preparation, which requires little to no upfront investment
Home staging, which does require an upfront investment
First Things First - Why Does This Even Matter?
I get it; investing in extra listing preparation seems unnecessary when there are so many more Buyers than Sellers in a given market, like the one in Vernon as of this writing. Yes, it is much easier to sell your property than in a more balanced market.
However, there’s another side of the argument to consider. The first thing to know is that Buyers don’t usually pay top dollar for homes they perceive to be unkept or needing unnecessary work. They don’t want to inherit work they feel a Seller should have done beforehand. Many will also nit-pick issues and overestimate the time and money it will take to remedy them.
Another consideration involves the bottom line. It still costs money and time to prepare your home correctly no matter the market, whether it involves a Realtor® or not. But would you rather conserve all you can upfront only to receive less money in the end? Or, if you’re able, spend more upfront to recover those investments and more? Consider the following examples of two Sellers with near-identical homes, both of which pay $15,000 in Realtor® fees, and ask yourself: In which Buyer’s shoes would you rather be?
No interest in investing in home prep or minor updates and feels like the home will sell itself.
Lists their home for $450,000.
After 62 days, a price reduction, and a back-and-forth offer process, they sell for $436,000.
Bottom line after expenses and real estate fees: $421,000.
Sees value in investing in home prep and bites the bullet. They spend $2,500 in paint and other soft upgrades and $1,000 in home staging.
Lists their home for the same price of $450,000.
Two Buyers impressed with updates and home presentation, home ends up in multiple offers, and they sell for $453,000.
Bottom line after expenses and real estate fees: $438,000.
See my point? It’s important to realize that not everyone can afford even minor updates and home staging upfront, but this example doesn’t apply to their position. It does apply to the large segment of the population that makes these types of decisions every day. The above examples happen all the time, andit pains me to see money left on the table!
If you have the financial means, always keep your eyes on the prize and focus on the bottom line first and foremost. Now, let’s turn to two strategies that can give your home the competitive advantage it deserves!
Basic Home Preparation
As mentioned above, basic home preparation takes little to no investment and only a moderate time commitment, in most cases. The goal of this process is to make the home look great for the photography session. From my experience, most Buyer first impressions actually occur before they see the house when they view all the photos.
Having high-quality photography that showcases your home well generally leads to more showings, leading to my next point; be sure to prepare your home correctly for these showings! The goal is to make Buyers feel comfortable enough to picture themselves in that very house. Here are some practical tips for basic home preparation for both photography and showings:
Avoid having too many family photos, which can make it hard for potential Buyers to see themselves owning that house.
Declutter as much as you can, walking through the home with an objective point of view. Think to yourself: What would I notice walking through someone else’s home?
Clean those areas that get the least attention in day-to-day life, such as baseboards and underneath cabinets. You’d be surprised how particular some buyers can be with cleanliness.
If you have pets, clean up as much pet hair as possible and make a conscious effort to remove accompanying odours. You may love your cat, but many Buyers will find it a turn-off!
If you want to take it a step further, consider staging your home!
Home staging is particularly important if the property you’re selling is a vacant home. While a vacant house is preferable to a cluttered or unsanitary home, sometimes Buyers can have difficulty seeing themselves feeling comfortable walking through them. They might have difficulty picturing their furniture, seeing how much room they have to entertain, or how big the kid’s playroom will be after a murphy-bed is added.
Home staging does require an upfront investment and generally includes the help of a professional with an eye for detail and interior design. These professionals have a knack for matching items to a home’s target demographic and creating more vibrant spaces. Sometimes these changes are as simple as changing out a small piece of furniture and including some accent items, like flowers on a dining room table or a throw pillow set in the master bedroom.
Small changes in a home’s visual appeal can result in significant shifts in Buyer attention! Consider home staging to make your home pop!
No matter what you choose, the key is to make potential Buyers feel welcome. In this way, you affect the outcome! Pay attention to who might want to buy your home, keep your focus on the bottom line as much as financially possible, and make decisions accordingly!
Of course, the help of a Realtor® makes the listing process much smoother. As a long-time Vernon property expert, I’m always willing to talk about the home listing process, even if you don’t plan to list your property in the near future! My dedication is to my clients, regardless of their timeline.