Tuesday, May 8, 2012

The Easiest Way to Make Your Home Stand Out

If you're selling your home, you've probably got a lot of competition.  Whether its short sales, foreclosures, or just other folks trying to get an edge, what can you personally do to make your home that much more appealing?  Beyond the curb appeal, staging, pre-inspections, warranties and all the other incentives, is there anything that you can do to make your home stand out?  Of course there is!  It's called the "Seller's Personal Love Letter".
Basically, a seller's personal love letter is a story that only you, the seller, can (and should) write.  How does the story give you an edge?  Well, once a buyer understands your point of view, it makes it much easier for them to understand how they might love your home as much as you have.  This is one opportunity that you have to personally control what your buyer thinks when they walk in your home.  You don't want to give away all your personal information, write your life story, or mention anything that might be used as a negotiation tactic, but a well written personal love letter can change a buyer's mindset, if it follows a few simple rules.

1)  Help Personalize Your Home
With all the homes on the market in your neighborhood, you can't just sell the unique features of your neighborhood, everyone can do that, you need to personalize your specific home.  If your home has outrageous mountain views that no other home has, make sure to use a line like,

"During the warm summer months, we relax by watching the sunset over the mountains from our back porch".

One key aspect to writing a great love letter is one that all trained salesmen know, don't sell the product, sell the benefit or value.  It does no good to mention how you love your large dining room or ample space, rather mention,

"We've loved celebrating Christmas in our home, and on numerous occasions we've had over 20 extended family members stay with us to celebrate!" 

Whatever major family events or cherished memories you've had in your home, make sure to make mention of it in your letter.

2) Set Buyer Expectations
Buyers and sellers should really never co-mingle, especially during the sale process.  That being said, your personal love letter is one of the only chances you have to help shape the mindset of your buyer when they enter your home.  Sometimes a letter may even help sway a buyer if they are on the fence or making a choice about your home versus another.  It could also help the buyer overlook some obvious flaws if your letter mentions some perks that other homes don't have.  A buyer may think he/she knows the area, but they'll never know the actual benefits and values each home has.  You know everything there is to love (and hate) about it, so set their expectations.  If a certain tree helps shade the home and lower utility bills in the summer, creatively mention it.  If your jacuzzi tub is where you spend most relaxing evenings, mention it.  Use your home's unique aspects to really show it off.

Do's and Don'ts
  • Do:  Display your story with flyers and contract preparation forms.
  • Don't:  If you are a poor writer, skip this letter.  No letter is better than a boring or poor letter.
  • Do:  Keep it light and creative - don't be overtly "salesy".
  • Don't:  Don't sell, tell!  Tell the story of your home, don't sell them, that's your Realtors job.
  • Do:  Proofread, Proofread, Proofread!
  • Don't: Please, don't let your agent write it for you.  This is your home, take the time!
  • Do:  Personally sign your signature at the bottom (kids signatures are also a unique touch)
  • Don't:  Don't be generic or generalize, be specific and unique.  It will stand out!
  • Do:  Ask your family what their best memories are and incorporate them into the story.
  • Don't:  Never display it before your agent gets a chance to see it or tweak it.
  • Do:  Keep it to one page.  Be concise and engaging.
Be Creative!
Just like an annual Christmas card update, be creative.  Nobody wants to hear a list of home renovations, utility information, landscaping features, etc.  Write it from your child's perspective, or maybe even your pet's perspective.  Sure, it might seem cheesy or hokey, but if your competition isn't doing it, it will most likely give you an edge.  A unique and creative letter can really make a difference with a buyer.  The more personalized the home is to them, the less they start thinking about the "major investment" or the mortgage payment.  They may even be less apt to be fierce negotiators if they like you and understand your family.  Take the time to write the letter, you'll never know what it might do for you...

Jared Reimer is a real estate broker with Prudential Rocky Mountain Realtors in Northern Colorado.  Real estate is his passion and he always wants to connect with like-minded and savvy real estate fans.  For more information or to get in touch with Jared, please visit his website at www.ReimerRE.com or email him at JaredReimer@ReimerRE.com

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