It goes without saying that you and your real estate professional want to attract serious home buyers, but your marketing may attract buyers who can’t qualify to buy your home and Lookie Lous.
Serious buyers want to find a home. They have criteria, a price, and a moving date. They’re usually represented by a real estate agent. They’ve eliminated homes on the Internet and have your home on the short list. They’ve been pre-qualified by a lender, and are ready to make an offer on the right home.
A Lookie Lou is a person who is not seriously in the market to buy a home. “Lou” could be a nosy neighbor, an open house junkie, or someone who thinks they’re serious, when they’re 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 filters will discourage people who will waste your time.
Attract Serious Buyers
In any market, your home is competing with new construction in new subdivisions that offers updated floorplans, CAT-5 wiring, jetted tubs, hardwood floors, granite countertops, stainless steel appliances, decorating allowances, and more. In a slow market, builders 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. And in a slow market, you may have a rising number of foreclosures that are pulling home prices down.
The point is that buyers want real value, no matter what the market is doing.
Marketing Your Home
In a hot market, your agent might get an offer on your home as soon as she lists it on the MLS or puts a sign in the yard. In a buyer's market, when buyers are reluctant to commit, you and your agent have to do much more.
Your job is to prepare your home to sell. Your agent’s job is network, advertise, and market to make buyers aware of your home and interested in buying it.
1. Verify market prices with your agent. Price your home for today’s market reality.
2. Stage your home to best advantage - declutter, depersonalize, clean, fresh paint, enhance curb appeal, fresh landscaping.
3. Fix everything that’s a problem. No leaks, chips, smells. Move-in ready condition is what most buyers want. Don’t give buyers room to argue price due to condition.
4. Do something extra for your home – some remodeling, new appliances, new countertops can work wonders.
5. Do something extra for the buyer – buyer financing, history of the home.
Your agent can discourage Lookie Lous by encouraging 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. He can ask agents to invite their buyers to view your home.
1. Allow your agent to hold an open house for agents during the week.
2. 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.
3. Your agent can also employ niche marketing and out of box marketing ideas. If your home is near a college, 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-Lous 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. Insist 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-Lous 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-Lou.