It’s quite an adventure for buyers to house hunt these days. While the Internet has made it easy for consumers to find homes and research the real estate market, there is still some valuable information that can only come from really digging for it.
Features and benefits; why would a buyer want to purchase one home over another or at the very least generate enough interest to make the call and cross the threshold for a tour?
Buyers are all over the web doing their own research. They’re out there trying to absorb how real estate is marketed but many times they’re left wondering what the benefit is for them to purchase one home over another. I can’t blame them because sometimes it’s hard for those in the industry to find it, too.
The question home sellers and their agent probably should have asked themselves is, “What benefit and value does this home offer a buyer that the other homes do not?” Answering that simple question in the marketing helps put what could be considered “upgrades” into perspective for home buyers.
The written remarks section of marketing a home often go on and on about the cosmetic upgrades like stainless steel appliances and granite countertops, some of which are actually standard features in certain price points.
The real disservice of not properly marketing a home is failing to bestow the larger benefits and long term advantages a home may offer to buyers. A classic example would be storm protection.
It has not gone unnoticed by consumers that it’s a struggle to determine the condition of a home’s storm protection, especially in coastal areas where it could matter most.
I’ve been asked repeatedly and can’t even speculate why something this significant isn’t shared with consumers. I would think that if a home was built to the most current building codes there should, at the very least, be yodeling of some sort but it often goes unmentioned.
While checking a box for shutters is an option in the multiple listing service it is an option that doesn’t necessarily get used. It also doesn’t determine if a home is completely shuttered, if it has been retrofitted to be storm compliant to a specific year or if the home has ever had a wind mitigation survey.
Most interesting is that the Multiple Listing Service offers no choice selection to list that a home has impact glass windows but a selection to check whether a home has jalousie windows, the 8-track type of windows. I can honestly share that I have never had a buyer specifically request for me to find them a home with jalousie windows because they were just so sexy.
The backup system for this non-existent exterior feature “drop down” menu item in the multiple listing service would be the remarks section. Instead of features as important and as expensive as impact glass being mentioned the remarks go on and on, in painstaking detail, about the use of heavy duty finish trim nails and drywall compound, infused with genuine diamond dust, imported from south Africa and installed by Amish craftsmen.
Here’s the thing, most consumers don’t care about the previous owner’s design neurosis and most of the time it doesn’t matter after the paint covers it. What really matters is that the insurance costs could be lower, the buyer’s family may be safer and that it all won’t blow away because there is wind storm protection on all openings.
The buyers are demanding to know this critical information. Since building codes and homeowners insurance have gone through an evolution maybe agent marketing and multiple listing services should evolve to deliver that information to consumers, too.
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Chris Griffith is a real estate agent at Downing-Frye Realty Inc. in Bonita Springs. If you have a question about local real estate or Bonita Springs, e-mail her at chris@LifeInBonitaSprings.com.