If you’re a soon-to-be seller, “how will you market my property?” is no doubt on your list of questions for your agent. When you ask it, you may be thinking of colour brochures, open houses, magazine spreads, or an online video, ideally the kind that goes viral. My advice is to shift that question to: “who are we marketing to and what is the best way to reach them?”, but that is an article for another day. Today’s episode is about your single most important marketing move, the one you are in complete control of and matters more than anything else you choose.
Now before you get drunk with this incredible control you carry as a seller, remember what Voltaire, Jesus, Roosevelt and Stan Lee said: with power comes great responsibility. Your responsibility here is to set a logical, marketable, approachable, realistic…price. Yes, price. While a strong presentation matters greatly, it won’t compensate for a pricing error. As beautiful as your images are, if a buyer deems that they can’t afford what they think they should, what they actually can afford even bigger just a few blocks away, they are not coming to your house. And if they don’t come to your house, they are not buying your house.
This is especially true in our notoriously polite culture. If you are out of touch with what the market will bear, you’ll hear crickets, not low-ball offers. Canadian buyers are more likely to walk away than get into an argument.
So how can you be sure to get this critical step right? You begin by getting it out of your head that this number is based on what you need, what you want, what you put in, what your neighbour told you and what you ‘feel’ it is worth. It is solely based on what a buyer is willing to pay. The more inflated your estimate, the more painful this process will be.
Your realtor will arm you with neighbouring comparables. Then the art and science of finding the emerging pattern begins, based on location, followed by size and lastly, condition. This is the price range of your property, what the market shows it is willing to pay. The more unique your property, the more challenging the process, but it is still the same. This range has a low-end and high-end bracket. Depending on what matters to you most: speed of sale, multiple offers, adding value beforehand; your ask number slides along that range, within those brackets.
This is why choosing an agent based on who gives you the highest valuation and viral video promise is a big mistake. Instead, stick with the agent who’ll risk the listing to tell you the truth. This is the agent who is putting your long term interests ahead of their own, who knows your market well enough to properly interpret it, who is using fact over opinion to make informed choices, who will sell your property based on what is most important to you, with tact, integrity and yes sometimes, inspite of you :-)