January 16th, 2019
Attract Serious Buyers, Discourage Lookie-Loos
Serious buyers of Palos Verdes properties want to find a home. They’ve been pre-qualified by a lender, chosen a real estate agent, and are ready to make an offer on the right home. Nearly every one of them did NOT enter the market just yesterday; they’ve been shopping for a while. They’ve seen homes get listed, go into escrow and close. They’ve seen others sit and perhaps go through a series of price reductions. They KNOW what new listings of Palos Verdes homes have value and which don’t.
A Lookie-Loo is a person who is not seriously in the market to buy a home. “Loo” could be a nosy neighbor, an open house junkie, or worst of all – someone who thinks they’re serious, but are incapable of making a realistic offer.
In determining your marketing strategy, your real estate professional knows what will work to get serious buyers coming to see your home, and what will discourage people who will waste your time. And as painful as it is often, almost always in fact, ESPECIALLY in higher priced areas such as in Palos Verdes or Manhattan Beach, Redondo Beach or Hermosa Beach, hearing the truth from an agent about what buyers might pay for your home given when your friends or weak agents tell you a higher number, is a truth you really need to listen to.
Attract Serious Buyers for your Palos Verdes home – No Lookie-Loos
In any market, your home may compete with new construction that offers never-lived-in appeal – pristine appointments, hardwood floors, granite countertops, stainless steel appliances, and more. In a slow market, builders or super motivated sellers offer landscaping discounts, points on mortgage loans, and decorating allowances as incentives.
Your home is also competing with your neighbors’ homes for sale, which may be in better condition or more updated than yours. For Palos Verdes homes, it’s often not just about equivalent square footage. It could be about lot utility or whether your view is out the front or out the back (do you know what is more preferred?) You may also be in a market that still has a large number of foreclosures that are pulling home prices down.
The point is that buyers want the most value, no matter what the market is doing. Don’t assume that because home prices are up and sales are picking up that buyers will negotiate any less. Verify market prices with your agent. Price your home for today’s market reality.
Your job is to prepare your home to attract serious buyers. Move-in ready condition is what most buyers want, and you have to provide it. Your agent’s job is network, advertise, and market to make buyers aware of your home and interested in buying it. If the marketing pictures show a problem, you’re not going to attract serious buyers.
Stage your home to best advantage – declutter, depersonalize (but don’t sterilize – remember, it’s a home and we’re selling the emotion of a home), clean thoroughly, enhance curb appeal, fresh paint, fresh landscaping. Fix every little thing that’s broken or not working smoothly – no sticking drawers, no wobbly doorknobs. Don’t give buyers room to make unrealistic offers.
Do something extra for your home – some remodeling, new appliances, new countertops can work wonders for buyers. Do something extra for the buyer, like provide a history of the home.
The only thing your agent can do to discourage Lookie-Loos is to encourage serious buyers to consider your home. Your agent can network with other agents and tell them all the things you’ve done to attract a serious, realistic offer. They will bring qualified, interested buyers to view your home.
Make sure your agent creates a really good online presentation of your home with lots of pictures, a virtual tour, local amenities, school data, and more. The idea is to give buyers enough information to put your home on their short list.
Your agent can also employ niche marketing and out of box marketing ideas. If your home is near a college, for example, she can advertise in college papers, alumni magazines, billboards or student housing websites.
The more questions you can answer about your home and neighborhood online, the less interested Lookie-Loos will be in traipsing through your home, either at an open house or with their agents.
If you do have an open house, don’t make it easy for people to have the run of your home. Have your agent register visitors and view their identification. Serious buyers won’t be offended but non-serious buyers will be very reluctant to provide personal information. Those are the people you don’t need.
Despite your precautions, some Lookie-Loos will slip through, making appointments that waste your agent’s time and yours, but look at it this way – if your home is ready for market and priced to sell, it’s a good deal for any buyer, even a Lookie-Loo.
And most importantly, of PRIME DIRECTIVE importance – PRICE YOUR HOME RIGHT. That tool alone will trump the lookie loos as SERIOUS buyers will recognize that you’ve priced your home to create value in their minds (and I’m not talking about a “give it away” price, I’m talking about a fair attractive price) so that they buy your home instead of your competition.
How to price your home right within the price range?
Look, no agent can peg to the penny, let alone to even 10 or 20 thousand dollars what your home will sell for. Every home, every seller, every buyer, every transaction is different. The same exact home can sell for a wide range of price points if it were sold many times within a 3 month period given different motivations of sellers and buyers. But as professional brokers, we’re supposed to have the tools to help you make that choice whether to price your home in the lower part, the middle part or the upper part of a price range.
One of the tools I have access to which costs me a lot of money each year, is a proprietary market index call the “Market Action Index“. Here’s the MAI for Palos Verdes Estates. What’s this telling you about pricing Palos Verdes homes? Another is the “Unsold Inventory Index” expressed as the number of months of unsold inventory. Meaning this, at the rate at which properties have been recently selling, how long would it take to sell the existing level of active listings without any new listings coming on the market? Does it make sense how these two indexes can help you as a seller better price your home within a range so as to avoid a bunch of lookie-loos and as a buyer, does it make sense how understanding the trends here can help you not overpay for a home? Before you choose a real estate broker to advocate for you, ask them, “What’s the unsold inventory index and market action index for the area i’m looking in?” If you get that glazed “duh” look; find another Realtor. By the way, both of these charts are interactive; bookmark this page, check back in over time and see how they trend.
Market Action Index for Palos Verdes Estates
Unsold Inventory Index for Palos Verdes Estates
Palos Verdes Estates, Peninsula and Beach Cities Homes For Sale (Newest Listings First)
2920 North Poinsettia Avenue
1813 Lynngrove Drive
3409 Palos Verdes Drive N
Palos Verdes Estates,
2801 N Valley Drive
508 S Guadalupe Avenue
3211 Morningside Drive
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