LGBT Sellers: How To Help Attract A Qualified Buyer
By Jeffery A. Hammerberg
Originally printed 11/15/2012 (Issue 2046 - Between The Lines News)
Founder and President Gay Real Estate
Everyone is well aware that for the past couple of years the real estate market has been rather lopsided in favor of buyers and quite challenging for sellers and their real estate agents. That situation is based on lots of economic factors but it all boils down to the fact that there is an excessive inventory of homes on the market, self employed buyers that used to be able to qualify for a loan now can't, and people are afraid of losing their jobs so the limited buyers have plenty to choose from when they go shopping.
More houses for sale means greater competition for a finite number of qualified buyers, so LGBT homeowners who are able to more effectively market their homes will have a distinct advantage.
There are practical steps a seller can take to assist the Realtor, and these can potentially make the difference between a prompt sale and a listing that languishes on the market without any real nibbles or purchase offers.
Here are five things to consider, for example, to assist the listing agent:
Maintain Curb Appeal
Although it may take an extra hour a week, keeping a home looking attractive from the street is one of the easiest ways to add intangible equity. Think of the visual appeal of the home as charisma that can be felt from the street. Keep the lawn manicured, the flowerbeds tidy, and put a new coat of paint or varnish on the front door because it can work wonders in terms of pulling in buyers and making the listing agent's phone ring with inquiries.
Set the Stage
When a buyer makes an appointment to view a home it is not just a dress rehearsal; it's show time. Help market the home by keeping it free of clutter, because extra space makes any home look larger and real estate buyers typically pay more for a bigger property. Fifteen minutes before the Realtor arrives, turn on a few lights to illuminate rooms and architectural features and pick up any clutter. That way the house is ready to show as soon as the buyer steps through the door. The Realtor can always extinguish lights to save energy before he or she locks up and leaves.
Do a Disappearing Act
Vacate the premises before every showing appointment. This avoids any face-to-face awkwardness but more importantly it allows the buyer to imagine or pretend that the home is actually theirs, not someone else's. Once a buyer takes possession of the home within his or her mind they subconsciously begin to make a real emotional connection with it. This psychological transformation will usually inspire them to make a written offer - but it may not happen if they feel that are imposing or intruding because residents are in the home.
Beware of the Adorable Kitten and Cute Puppies
If there are pets in the home then arrange for them to go to the park during the showing, and remove the litter boxes. If someone is allergic to cats or has a general fear of dogs, for example, they may not even step inside to tour the property and that could spoil the chance to make a sale. Pet odors are also one of the most often cited reasons that buyers give for not liking a home.
Listen, Learn, and Communicate
After each house tour find out the reaction of the buyer and learn from their feedback how to improve the presentation before the next showing. The listing agent should call the showing agent and find out specific reasons why the buyer liked the home or found it less appealing. Talk to the listing agent and continually collaborate to update marketing plans. If it might help then organize an open house event or consider a strategic lowering of the price.
Of course another way for a LGBT seller to enjoy a market advantage is to hire a LGBT Realtor. If a home is located in a popular gay or lesbian enclave, for example, that can be a great selling feature and those real estate brokers who constantly work with LGBT clients will have a longer list of potential LGBT buyers. They will also know gay-friendly mortgage lenders in the area who can help potential buyers get an affordable loan with a low interest rate and manageable monthly payments.
LGBT sellers should keep in mind that mortgage financing doesn't just benefit buyers. Loan financing is just as important to the seller because unless the mortgage application is approved and the loan goes through the transaction will fall apart before closing. That's why having a team of LGBT-friendly real estate professionals who can help potential buyers is a really savvy and proactive way for a homeowner to facilitate a sale. Those expert Realtors and lenders who are themselves active members of the local LGBT community will also have social and professional relationships that extend deep into the community. So they can even help advertise the home through that extended network and pipeline.
To find real estate and mortgage professionals dedicated to active support of the LGBT community, visit http://www.GayRealEstate.com or locate a gay-friendly realtor by visiting http://PrideSource.com Yellow Pages.
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