In all my years in real estate, I haven’t met one seller who wants to give their home away. They want every single dollar they can possibly get for their home, and you can’t blame them! What if I told you you might be leaving money on the table? If your agent isn’t doing this one thing, you are pretty much guaranteed not to get top dollar for your home. You would want to know what that one thing was, right?
The Austin Real Estate Market is HOT!
If you’ve been following the Austin real estate market, you’ve seen a steady increase in Austin home values and increasing buyer demand. Homes are listed for sale and often less than a few days later, they are under contract. In extreme seller’s markets like we are seeing in Austin, some sellers and agents think it doesn’t matter what they do to market their home. There are enough buyers that it will still sell quickly and it will sell for top dollar. I argue they are wrong.
Homes that Sell for Top Dollar Show Well
Homes that are the most shown, the most talked about and receive the highest offers present themselves as a value. Remember, buyers are monitoring everything that comes up in the areas they want to live. And, everyone is using the internet as their first scouting of each home. What the seller and their agent show online matters. As a seller, you want to make your home so appealing, buyers are waiting in line to get inside. How do you do that?
Prepare Your Home to Meet the Market
Selling your biggest asset takes preparation. If you were to sell your car, you’d certainly clean it out and probably get it detailed, even though a car is worth only a fraction of what your home is worth. Take the time necessary to make your home appealing from the minute a buyer pulls up. Improve the curb appeal, declutter and clean are some basics. Here are 88 more low or no cost ideas to sell your home for more money. That’s still not the 1 thing, but it helps make that 1 thing more powerful.
Secret Weapon of Home Selling: Photos
Once you’ve prepared your home to meet it’s new owner, you want the first thing a potential buyer sees to be appealing. 98% of Austin home buyers are internet buyers. When new homes are listed for sale, they immediately get an email alert with the listing info. What’s the first thing they look at? Photos and a virtual home tour!
Make Sure Your Agent Hires a Professional Photographer
When we sell a home in Austin, no matter what the price point is, we always hire a professional photographer. Professional real estate photographers know about lighting, angles and have the equipment to capture your home in the most appealing way. We realize we know how to help people buy and sell homes, but we are far from experts at photography, so we leave that to the professionals. Why? Because we’ve seen it work time and time again.
Photos Can Make or Break a Sale
I can’t tell you how many times I’ve sent buyers a property that has a photo of half of the exterior, one of the front door, the kitchen table, toilet and outdoor patio set and they say they really aren’t interested in looking at it. Why? Because the photos are unappealing and look like something you’d find on a Craigslist yard sale page! Because I know how many times it’s usually just the case of a listing agent taking photos with their cell phone, I go and check it out for myself. When I report back the home is nothing like the photos and suggest they see it, sometimes they agree to go, but they won’t have high hopes when they get there. Many buyer’s agents who aren’t as diligent and professional as we are, won’t even go and look at the house. When their buyer tells them they don’t want to see it, they say ok and wait for the next one. Sellers lose out on qualified buyers when they don’t have great photos.
Case Study: The Inexpensive Condo
A few years back, when the market was much softer than it is today, we had an inexpensive condo for sale. It was 1 of about 10 similar condos in the same complex. It was priced on the high side and wasn’t even the nicest condo in the complex. We brought a professional photographer out and they took great photos. Not only did that unit sell for nearly list price in a market where buyers negotiated hard, but it sold faster than a couple of the other units we had been inside that were clearly nicer. The difference? Great photos!
Case Study: Dark Pictures in a Desirable Neighborhood
Not too long ago, a home came on the market in a desirable neighborhood. There were 6 dark pictures and you couldn’t see too much detail about the house. Because it was priced well based on the comps, we decided to take a look at it in spite of the awful photos. When we got there, the house was 100% nicer than the pictures showed. The floor plan was open and bright and the kitchens and baths were updated (all items that drive up values). Ultimately, the property did have multiple offers, but $500 over list price got it in a market where they probably should have gotten at least a few thousand over given the asking price and condition. This seller definitely left money on the table and I am sure it was due to the pictures. The pictures did not generate enough interest to get qualified, interested buyers out to see it and drive up the price.
Case Study: The Golf Course Home
A few years back we had a client who was considering relocating to Austin and wanted a golf course home. When we were preparing to meet with them, we checked out several homes and found one that was priced well but wasn’t selling. The pictures were marginal at best. But, knowing they would like the location, we checked it out anyway. When we got there, we were pleasantly surprised. It was 150% nicer than what the pictures showed and it was priced right. Our clients thought the same. Ultimately, the client did not get the job transfer, so they didn’t buy the house and the house did not sell. Coincidentally, we were called by the home owner a couple of months later to discuss selling their home. We showed them how their home had been marketed before and told them the story of this buyer. They agreed the photos were of the worst possible places in the house and did not show their home as they saw it. If the agent had spent the money to bring out a professional photographer, that house would have sold long before we ever saw it.
Examples are Endless
I could go on and on with story after story about how agents have done their sellers a huge disservice by not hiring a great, professional real estate photographer. Many of them don’t want to spend the couple hundred bucks it costs and decide they can shoot a few pictures with their cell phone for free. Next time you are bored at home, take a look through MLS and see what types of photos you see. I guarantee you will find your own long list of examples.
Is Selling Your Home for Top Dollar Important to You?
It sure would be important to me! Take the time to interview agents and find one that knows how to make your home the best value on the market. We have a pretty unique home selling program that is designed to sell your home for top dollar. We even create a custom for sale sign for your home that shows the best interior pictures of your home, not our faces. 100% of our program is designed to promote your home, not our brand. Read more about our home selling system on our Austin Home Sellers page. Then, call us at (512) 827-8323, email us at info@11OaksRealty.com, or fill out our Home Seller Intake Survey to get started.
How Much is My Austin Home Worth?
Online real estate portals give you an estimate for how much your home is worth. Need a more detailed analysis? Try our Qualified Home Evaluation.