7 Things Buyers Love That Sellers Fail to Mention
By Tara-Nicholle Nelson
Here are easy-to-overlook selling points that entice buyers, and that sellers should highlight.
Sure, it's easy to market homes for sale in Charleston, SC, that sit on several lush acres, feature gorgeous European appliances, and are located in the most prestigious neighborhood in town (ZIP code envy, anyone?). But it's slightly more intimidating trying to make an average house in a middle-range neighborhood stand out from other real estate listings.
However, there could very well be things you take for granted that a first-time buyer might be drawn to — as long as you mention them in the house listing. Here are seven things buyers love and sellers fail to mention in house listings.
After living in a home for a number of years and likely outgrowing it (that's why you're moving, right?), it can be hard to market storage space if it's something you see as a flaw. Just remember: Showcasing your home in the best light is not just about what you love about it.
First-time buyers are not simply comparing your home with other homes, they also are comparing it with the renter lifestyle and every bad rental property that inspired them to make the leap to being a homeowner. A common complaint from renters is that apartments lack storage, which can lead to a frustrating, cluttered life. The vision of having a place for storing everything is a big motivator for many first-time homebuyers. So if your home is tricked out with walk-in closets, pantries, or other built-in storage amenities that you plan to leave for the new owner, make sure your agent boasts about that in your home's marketing materials.
In the same vein, if you've invested in upgrading your home with built-in closets, kitchen or garage renovations, or customized desks or bookshelves, make sure buyers know. All upgrades should be on your home's online listing. From the first-timer craving a clutter-free existence to buyers who are moving up into a family home and want each family member's space to have at least the possibility of order, built-in organizers can represent value and appeal to a wide range of prospective buyers.
You might be thinking the right buyers for your home will find it online because of where it's located. Why bother calling out the property's proximity to amenities and attractions?
Some buyers simply might not know to search for your ZIP code if it's just outside the one they're actively searching in. Or they might not be aware that your hidden gem of a neighborhood also happens to be tucked within a half-mile of a train station, entrances to three freeways, and two regional parks. Or buyers' proximity wishes might be different from the location requirements of their search. They might be looking at all homes in your town that meet their price range, but the fact that yours is within walking distance to a major employer or university could push you to the top of the list. And relocating buyers might not have the core knowledge of the area to even begin to know what is around your neighborhood.
Never assume! If your home is well-located in a desirable neighborhood, vis-à-vis major employers, universities, recreational facilities, or walkable shopping and dining districts, talk with your agent to make sure you're highlighting those amenities.
Boomers are not necessarily looking for homes with built-in disability features, but homes that allow "aging in place" and somewhere they could live comfortably for retirement and beyond. This means homes with level-in entrances (no steps to the front door), single-story layouts, and low-maintenance landscaping have a massive new audience. These features might otherwise not warrant a mention in a home's marketing, but they should — especially if homes near yours tend to have loads of stairs or other features that are difficult for people to navigate as they age.
Similarly, the movement toward aging in place has seen many more families moving older relatives in with them versus moving them out to retirement homes. These extended families often are looking for homes with a well-appointed "mother-in-law" or "outlaw" unit, or a second master suite located on the home's ground floor. Don't overlook marketing your home's multiple bedrooms with bathrooms en suite or completely independent living quarters.
5. Energy efficiency
Chances are, you won't forget to mention if your home runs entirely off the grid or implements gray-water reuse and rainwater harvesting. But even buyers who aren't hunting for a "green" home can be attracted to the budget-friendliness of energy-efficient features. So if your home is a pretty no-frills property but has a tankless water heater, dual-paned windows, and new insulation, mention it! If you've managed to get your energy bills down way below what's normal in your area, this could be a selling point you don't want to overlook.
6. Eco-friendly features
If you've configured your home to encourage greener living — beyond lower energy bills — that could warrant a mention in your marketing. You might think things like your little organic kitchen garden, backyard compost bin, or that $50 recycling center you installed are so low in cash value that they don't warrant a line in your house listing materials. But loads of buyers are attracted to these sorts of features, so why not call them out?
7. Natural, chemical-free, and hypoallergenic home maintenance
In a similar vein, if you have a hypoallergenic HVAC system or have used only nonchemical cleaning products for the last few years, you might want to mention these things as well. Marketers say today's consumers are careful about not just what they put into their bodies, but also what they put on and around their bodies. If you've taken care to create a home that works well for people with physical or philosophical sensitivities to common household chemicals, make sure prospective buyers know that your house won't make them sick!