Monday, September 21, 2009

Sellers: Know Your Buyer Market

Before you start a company, the first thing you should do is market research to determine your target market. This important step will help determine how successful you ultimately will be. The same is true when it comes to selling your home. Understanding the buyer market and who might be a good fit for your home will help ensure that you highlight the most vital features.

"Just like the business of television advertising commercials, you need to know who your target audience is," writes Michael Corbet in his book Ready, Set, Sold! Before putting your home on the market, you should take time to search for the best REALTOR® to handle your transaction. Your agent can help you better understand which buyers are most likely going to be interested in your home.

Even though you may have lived in your neighborhood for years, taking the time to drive or walk around it is a good idea. But this time do it with the same viewpoint you had when you were originally considering buying your home. It can really be a very different view. If you’re objective, you’ll see both the key selling points of the neighborhood as well as the things that may deter buyers. Seeing it all is beneficial because that’s exactly what potential buyers will see.

If there is a concern that needs addressing, an eyesore in the neighborhood or a foreclosure that’s been sitting boarded up on the block for several months, don’t be afraid to talk about it. The potential buyers are going to know it’s there (if they do their homework).

Making your home ready for your specific buyer market will help you not waste time marketing it to uninterested buyers. For instance, if your home is a two-story home, you might find that elderly couples or people looking to "age in place" might not be as attracted to it because of the steps to the second story. People seeking aging-in-place homes often want a single story so that the entire home is accessible without the difficulty or exertion of having to travel upstairs. If, your home is located in one of the best school districts, draw attention to this. Many parents will move to a neighborhood almost exclusively because of a school district’s glowing reputation. Don’t assume that the potential buyers automatically know this school district’s reputation—shout it through your marketing materials.

Corbet writes that there are several common types of buyers: single first-time, working couple, family, retirees or empty nesters, and a growing buyer market is women who purchase homes sans spouse/partner. Taking a closer look at these groups can help identify what’s important to each. Single first-time buyer: Corbet writes, "Since a huge percentage of renters are women, it’s no surprise that they represent a large percentage of first-time buyers.

The house needs to be spotless, have great curb appeal, and evoke a warm and welcoming feeling with a few amenities." However, Corbet is quick to point out that in this economic era the home must also "be basic enough to be affordable." Working couple: many times this buyer market is looking for a well-maintained home that offers privacy, and enough space for the couple to have some place to work and relax apart. Dual sinks in the bathroom are a plus, also extra storage and good closet accommodations.

Family: these buyers typically go wild over open floor plans, kitchens that flow into great rooms, lots of storage, backyard space, homes that are set-back off the street, cul-de-sacs, Jack and Jill bathrooms (the bathroom is attached to and between two bedrooms), and good-size laundry area.

Empty nesters: think ease, comfort, and lifestyle. This group has "been there, done that"! They’re looking for comfortable living with a simpler lifestyle. Corbet writes, "They also look for smaller, more manageable backyards and low-maintenance landscaping." Security systems are a plus for this group too. Knowing your buyer market gives you an advantage—you can highlight the features of your home that are most likely exactly what those buyers want.

Source: Realty Times, written by Phoebe Chongchua
Bill Whitescarver
Whitescarver & Associates

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