Monday, July 20, 2009

Do Tulsa Homebuyers know what they’re looking for?

Do Tulsa homebuyers know what they’re looking for in a home?
I often like to compare the list of the Buyer’s search criteria from the beginning of our home-shopping process to the house that they finally choose. Often, many items they felt strongly about when they began their search are nowhere to be found in the home that they ultimately select.

Are homebuyers THAT wishy-washy?
Not at all. Home buying is a very personal and emotional decision, and the bottom line is that a home buyer will select a home that “hits” them emotionally. They will choose the home that speaks to them and that they can see themselves living in.

Some search criteria will remain constant. Sometimes “location” is the most important criteria. I am currently working with one Buyer that wants a certain geographic area – she grew up in midtown Tulsa and is not buying south of 41st for any reason. Another Tulsa homebuyer is serious about the school district and will not deviate. But a third Buyer only wants a 3 bedroom, 2 bath that’s updated – geographic area is not a concern and this couple just wants something that is low-maintenance and move-in ready, whether it’s in Tulsa, Broken Arrow or Glenpool.

We may start out wanting a large yard and inside utility. After looking at twenty homes, my Buyer falls in love with a home with a small yard and the washer/dryer are located in the garage. What happened? The Buyer fell in love with the mahogany cabinetry that looked just like her grandmother’s home. She loved the flow of the home and the built-in cabinets. Oh, and she loved the deck that she was never looking for in the first place.

To homebuyers, it’s the small stuff that counts.

Did I mention that we had looked at twenty homes? That’s not a large number of homes to look at before making a selection, by the way. I ask my homebuyers not to choose more than six or eight homes to look at in one afternoon or evening, because any more than that is too much information to process. And after looking at seven homes and driving to the last home – alas, we did not go inside. Why? The paint on the exterior was dingy and the landscaping was growing wild. My Buyer literally said, “Oh, let’s skip this one – it looks yucky, and I’m tired.” Had the Seller spent a small amount of money improving the curb appeal of his home, my Buyer might have walked through the front door and fell in love with the many jewels inside.

How do Sellers attract Buyers?

Would you go on a first-date without immaculate clothing, make up (or shave) and stylish hair? Of course you wouldn’t, because you want to make a good impression – a good FIRST impression. So, why would you put your home on the market, expecting to interest Buyers if your HOME did not make a good first impression? Spend a little time, money and sweat on the exterior, because you can’t sell your home if we can’t get our Buyer through the front door!

What we understand about the home buyer’s selection process to help prepare Sellers . . .

Get your home in top-notch condition BEFORE you put it on the market. New carpet to be installed with acceptable offer? Phooey.
I recently worked with some Buyers that just wanted a home that was move-in ready. We found a darling home with a layout they loved, neighborhood they loved and it met all the requirements of their search. And the carpet was stained beyond belief. I asked my Buyers to please shop for carpet and suggested that we write in the contract that carpet of the Buyer’s choosing would be installed prior to closing at a cost not to exceed $____. My Buyers got a quote and that amount was higher than the quote that the Seller already had to put in a decent mid-grade frieze carpet. Had the Seller put that carpet in BEFORE putting their home on the market, it would never have been an issue, but my Buyers did NOT select this home because their emotional attachment was lost.

Lessons learned for Buyers?
Look beyond what you can change and focus on what you can not change. Remember your priorities. It’s okay to re-evaluate as you go, but try to achieve your larger goals.

Lessons learned for Sellers?
Remove as many possible objections Buyers may have before your Realtor puts that sign in the yard and try to make a great first impression!
I am happy to help Tulsa area homebuyers and sellers! Please call me: 918-852-5036;!

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