What Buyers Are Looking For and What Sellers Should Know

If you have been wondering where I have been, I apologize. I took my family to Asia for a couple of weeks and when I returned, I had a lot of catching up to do. I am back on the ground and caught up...yeah.
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I read a lot of articles that claim that they know what buyers want and what sellers should be doing to get buyers attention. However, I seldom seem to agree with these reports past the first couple of obvious and laborious points. Often times these articles are written on real estate advertising sites whose writers have no first hand experience as Realtors. They claim to be real estate experts, but I am not even sure some of these people own homes, much less have they spent the last 10 years walking homes with buyers to discover first hand what real buyers do, say and think. Understanding buyers and sellers requires more than just reading about what buyers want and what sellers should do. And research is often poorly written and may be answered by like minded theorists. You can read about flying a jet all day long, but that does not make you Capt. Chesley B. "Sully" Sullenberger. Reading about Real Estate does not make you an expert on buyers, sellers or the business. Sorry.

So, what do Buyers want and what should Sellers know about buyers? Of course, the answer is complex and is never comprehensive. At different price points the "givens" are factored into the base line, but let's start at 20,000 feet and throw all buyers into the same room and ask the question "What are you looking for?"

First of all, buyers are looking for some Wow! Maybe a little Wow. Maybe a lot of Wow! Very often that wow is coming from a few key rooms in the home. The Kitchen. The Master bedroom and bathroom. The family areas. There are other places to get a Wow, but these are fundamental rooms for all buyers at all price points.

Other possible Wows can come from a pool. Or a unique architecture (not unique like a castle, but unique like a Colorado cabin design in Texas). Maybe the house has beautiful hardwood floors throughout the first floor in a price point where wood flooring is not common. Maybe unique is a totally white kitchen--white cabinets, white apron sink, white granite or marble. Maybe the unique wow comes from a outstanding bath room remodel that just knocks your socks off! Buyers want and need to connect to a home and the wow is a point of connection.

Secondly, buyers are looking for space. Again, this is all a matter of perspective, but at every price point, buyers are generally looking for a place where they can stretch out. Even buyers who are down-sizing, want to downsize into a home where they are comfortable with the floor plan and space in the home. With some buyers this is about having a very open floor plan from the kitchen into the living areas and dining areas. With other buyers, this is about having a bigger master bedroom and more room in the master bath. And with yet other buyers this is all about getting more space for the children, bigger bedrooms, game rooms or media area. And then sometimes it is about having more room outside the house. Covered patio. Room for the grill and playground equipment. Room for a dream swimming pool.

Lastly, buyers are looking for homes that are ready to live in. Unless your buyer is an investor, (and investors have a whole different set of needs and objectives that start and end with a great value price)--your buyer is probably going to be turned off if there is more than 2 walls to be painted, appliances to be replaced or flooring that looks like a big woof woof spent more time in the house than in the yard.

Sellers, keep in mind, you were a buyer not too long ago. You made smart decisions when you bought--buyers are not dummies. They are looking for something that excites and brings a little wow into their lives. Make sure you know where your home registers on a buyer's wow meter and why your buyer will want to buy your house.

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