John Adams column for 28-JUN-2015
Week 3: Packaging Designed To Sell Your Home
In our first column of this series, we agreed that “marketing” involved more than just advertising a home.
To refresh your memory, I presented a definition as follows:
“Marketing is the combination of messages and programs (the 4 P’s: packaging, price, placement and promotion) that drive shoppers to choose your product over someone else’s.”
So this week, I want to talk about packaging.
We all know that when a gentleman gives his lady friend a gift in a small blue box, it is likely jewelry from Tiffany’s. That is packaging. And one of the most famous shapes in the world is the iconic Coca-Cola bottle, born of a study of the unique fluted shape of the pod of the cocoa plant. That’s packaging.
When it comes to marketing your home, packaging is vitally important.
It’s important to recognize in advance of your first showing that your home doesn’t have to be perfect.
I am continuously amazed at the visually appalling condition of some homes which are placed on the market “as is.” The buying market adjusts the value of these homes accordingly, and the result is usually a home that only an investor will buy, and at a rock-bottom price.
And not only does your home not have to be perfect, it doesn’t even have to be the most beautiful home on the market in order to attract serious offers.
But it does have to be competitive with other offerings in its area and price range.
My first advice to anyone wishing to sell their home at a good price is to step into the shoes of the typical buyer. See what they see. Think how they think. Learn what they want. And in doing so, you will come to dominate your competition.
Here are some ideas for “packaging” your home that buyers won’t be able to resist:
* FRESH COLORS on walls. A blast of new color is often the least expensive way of making your home stand out from the crowd. It’s a small investment that can bring a big bang, but the color must be chosen carefully.
Think of your home’s colors as a backdrop for your buyer’s life. If they can walk into the room, feel at home and comfortable, and remember later how they felt, you are well on your way to making a sale.
Agents often recommend neutral colors as a way of eliminating negative responses to poor color choices, but I recommend hiring a decorator to assist you in color choices. Just be sure you are familiar with his or her previous projects and find them attractive.
Sherwin-Williams says “Coral Reef” is the 2015 color of the year because it reflects the country’s optimism for the future. They recommend pairing it with crisp white for a youthful and sophisticated accent wall. (I think I remember being youthful and sophisticated – once.) I’ll leave the final decision up to you.
* OPEN SPACES inside the house is a trend that has been growing for decades and shows no sign of slowing this summer selling season. Think of the kitchen as the hub of the house, and find ways to open views from the kitchen into other parts of the home, specifically the den and/or dining areas. Yes, it can be expensive, but the results are dramatic.
* PORCELAIN in high traffic areas. If you are thinking about reflooring with imitation wood laminates (very popular today), take a deep breath and consider porcelain. It is less expensive and virtually indestructible. Long a staple of beach homes, porcelain is now available in an unlimited variety of colors and textures. It is perfect for areas exposed to moisture.
* COUNTERTOPS in KITCHEN and BATH. Does your current countertop have the fleck of gold sparkle still embedded in the formica? It may be time for an upgrade, and there is nothing sexier to a homebuyer than perfect countertops.
Granite has been the go-to standard for the last decade, but the new contenders are engineered quartz and it’s cousin, quartzite. The former is man made while the latter is natural, and both are less fussy than granite in terms of care.
* CLEAN STORAGE SPACE. If you currently have a basement, have you been down there lately? Are there dark corners where cave crickets and unidentifiable spiders (and worse) wait to attack the unsuspecting human who might venture into their abode?
No one wants to buy a house with the likelihood of having a dark, dank basement area sporting lots of creepy crawlies and worse.
The solution is almost biblical in its simplicity: Let There Be Light!
An inexpensive solution to basement blues is to install a dozen or more fluorescent shop lights on the same circuit as the switch, so that when the lights come on, the entire lower level is lit up like a Christmas tree.
Unfortunately, this will require that you clean out all the junk you have been saving for years and clean the entire basement, but so be it. All of a sudden, you basement is converted from a hall of horrors into clean, bright, useable storage space.
I know there are many more ways to successfully package your home for sale, and I invite you to share your favorites with me for a future column. You can contact me at my website, as well as access all previous editions of this series. Visit money99.com.
Native-born Atlantan John Adams is a real estate broker, investor, and author. He answers real estate questions every Sunday at 3 pm on WGKA-am(920). He welcomes your comments at Money99.com, where you will find an expanded version of this column.