How to flatter a Realtor beyond measure? Ask them to be a guest on the National Association of Realtors radio station, Real Estate Today, for their insight on selling a home to millennials in today’s market – for a third time.
Translation: my Realtor Mothership likes me enough [and apparently their listeners too?] to come back on the air to give advice to all the sellers in the world through their broadcast. It’s basically like Christmas, my birthday, winning a partial ticket in the lottery [if I ever played] and having the ability to eat Girl Scout Thin Mints year-round bundled into one, big happy emotion.
Listen to the broadcast (it’s short, I’m not boring but I do say “absolutely” a lot, sorry)
Don’t have time to listen but like to read? Here’s my synopsis (or rather the script with my scribbles):
Real Estate Today: On today’s show – ‘Hot Trends,’ we’re looking at what’s happening in the American Home. How it looks, how it’s equipped and also – how to reel in the home buyers – if THIS is the year you plan to sell. It’s no secret that many buyers – especially younger buyers – like a home they can move right into. And one that has all the features they want. Present a house like that – and you have a much better chance of selling in the minimum time for the maximum profit!
So let’s talk about exactly what those younger buyers want in today’s market. Joining us now is Ashley Houseman, Realtor and Associate Broker with the Houseman Team, at Coldwell Banker Sunstar Realty – in Port Charlotte, Florida. Ashley’s also a member of NAR’s Young Professionals Network. Ashley how are you today?
Ashley: Awesometastic! I didn’t really say that, but I thought it. It seemed silly to write this out!
RE Today: Ashley, first of all, how’s business down on the West Coast of Florida?
Ashley: Business is busy! Probably one of our favorite times of the year, spring break through summer… we feel it’s one of our busiest times because snowbirds are ending their season and ready to buy for next season and families are gearing up to buy so they can move on summer break. We’re ready for them!
RE Today: So Ashley – as we all know, the Millennial generation is the biggest demographic group in America – what are they looking for when they buy homes, and how can a seller give it to them?
Ashley: Millennials are looking for value and a great home for the price. We’re realistic that this demographic is searching online looking at hundreds of homes before they ever call a Realtor. They’re comparing prices. Neighborhoods. Getting a good idea of what type of home they can get for their money. Keeping this in mind when we’re listing our homes, we educate the seller on a few key things that will help them stand out among these hundreds of homes buyers are sifting through – presentation – it’s all about the pictures. We educate our sellers on how to stage their home and prepare it for photos and showings so that when we take our professional photographs, we stand out amongst the other comparable homes that we’re up against in their listing range – which in turn gets us more activity online, more showings and hopefully an offer sooner!
RE Today: Our Millennial friends say they like homes that are ready to go – not interested in months of repairs, and fix-ups. Sounds like a seller would do well to make their house is in really good repair before going on the market.
With that in mind – have any of your clients actually had a home inspection – on their own dime – before putting their home on the market? So that when buyers come around – it’s kind of ‘perfect?’
Ashley: When discussing preparing a home to hit the market, sometimes sellers will ask our opinion on whether or not we feel that they should get their own home inspection in order to show a buyer what issues there are with the property. We always recommend against this, since many homes in our market are sold “as is” and the buyer will likely conduct their own home inspection within their inspection contingency period, which is typically 15 days in Florida unless negotiated otherwise. Instead, we recommend our sellers complete a sellers disclosure which we include in the MLS as an attachment, which is a series of questions completed by the homeowner to the best of their knowledge and serves as an overview of the home (plumbing, roof, deed restrictions, etc). We get this upfront when we list the home, as it shows the buyer transparency and that the seller is not trying to hide anything from the buyer. As a buyer, always ask your agent to as the listing agent for a copy of the sellers disclosure when they are considering making an offer on the property.
RE Today: How about energy efficiency? Does that come up on a Millennial buyer’s shopping list?
Ashley: This year, Coldwell Banker was a co-sponsor for the Smart Home Showcase at the 2016 Consumer Electronics Show. Prior to the show, they conducted a survey interviewing over 4,000 adults in the United States testing their knowledge on smart homes. When they were asked what they thought would consider a home to be “smart”, the top choices were security (such as locks and alarm systems), temperature (thermostats and fans), lighting (bulbs and lighting systems) and safety (night lights, fire and carbon monoxide detectors). “smart” home technology has come a long away and have found ways to create homes more energy efficient which is becoming more and more desirable to today’s buyer
HOT NOTES* (Courtesy of Coldwell Banker’s Blue Matter Blog):
Can smart home technology help you sell your home faster?
- More than half of homeowners (54 percent) would purchase or install smart home products if they were selling their home and knew that doing so would make it sell faster.
Most Americans think a home can be considered “smart” if it has smart security, temperature, lighting and safety.
- When asked about what needs to be in a home for it to be considered “smart,” the top choices were security (e.g., locks and alarm systems – 63 percent), temperature (e.g., thermostats and fans – 63 percent), lighting (e.g., light bulbs and lighting systems – 58 percent) and safety (e.g., fire / carbon monoxide detectors and nightlights – 56 percent).
*shoutout to Tori Keichinger! Great article, friend!
RE Today: And how can a seller help attract the energy-conscious buyer? Is showing the buyer the utility bills a help – or not?
Ashley: We always try to avoid asking for bills for our buyer or providing bills for a potential buyer for this main reason – just as every home is different in its construction and how it will handle heating and cooling – every buyer is different on how much or how little they use energy or utilities. Growing up, I remember as a little kid that if my dad heard an exterior door open and wasn’t shut within a few seconds, he’d exclaim “shut the door, I’m not paying to air condition the whole neighborhood!” As a kid, that seemed so silly to me… but now as an adult and momma of 3 young boys, my dad’s words echo in my thoughts and make me chuckle, as his words were so true when you’re being conscious about your heating and cooling bills – especially in the middle of our Florida summers! Every customer is going to be very different on how they utilize and conserve their water and utilities so asking for someone else’s bills could really skew your view on considering a property if your habits are different from the current homeowners’
RE Today: And how about internet? Most places have broadband now – but many people – not just young people – require blazing fast internet. Can that help a seller, who could use that as a marketing element?
Ashley: How do people live without internet? Under our roof we have 2 adults with phones, iPads and computers, 2 toddlers running around tablets, and an AppleTV all streaming on our home network!! I guess you could say that internet – fast internet – is very important in our house! Our market can be very limiting on the service provider and type of service that as available to you, as some providers are heavily prevalent in some neighborhoods while absent in others. When selling our first home and buying our second 20 minutes north, we were unable to transfer our internet/television/phone service provider as they had not yet reached our new neighborhood yet. Our recommendation to buyers is if there is a specific provider or type of internet service you require as part of your new home selection process, be sure to check with your preferred provider to make sure that your prospective new home is within their coverage area prior to making an offer!
RE Today: Speaking of marketing, what about social media? That’s probably the hottest of all the hot trends out there. How can a seller and their Realtor use social media to help attract buyers?
Ashley: You have to be careful how you use social media to advertise your listings, as it can either excite your audience or totally turn them off. Try and deviate away from what all the other agents are doing in your market such as simply just posting the MLS link or posts for an open house. Make it fun, interesting, create some excitement with your post. Make sure your agent is using good grammar, correct spelling and truly highlighting the selling features of your home and do it with photos – good and attractive photos – that will lure your target audience into wanting to learn more and hopefully bring you the perfect buyer.
Ashley Houseman, Realtor and Associate Broker with the Houseman Team, at Coldwell Banker Sunstar Realty – in Port Charlotte, Florida. And, a member of NAR’s Young Professionals Network. Ashley – thanks for joining us today!
(thank you for having me again, Stephen Gasque and the RE Today Team!! Next time you’re in Florida, a charter should be be on the agenda!)