Valentine’s Day reminds me how similar residential real estate is to dating. New home? New romance? The same principles apply. Fall in love and close the deal.
1. Love at first sight is real.
First impressions are critical. Staging and merchandising are the important first steps. Remove clutter, professionally clean so it sparkles and make needed repairs. If you are a buyer, demonstrate your ability to purchase by having a pre-approval letter and completed financial statement in hand. Similarly, get a fresh haircut and some new clothes, and hit the gym and salad bar, to ensure a positive first impression. Whether the look you’re going for is Cosmo, GQ or Architectural Digest, magazine quality photography is a must. Selfies will not cut it. And think about video - it’s 2024!
2. You’ve got to know the product.
The devil is in the details - the square footage, finishes, amenities, and neighborhood. And of course, the competition. If you are looking for a soulmate, know yourself. Are you an athlete, bookworm, or workaholic, and what is your “type”? Are you in the market for a one-and-done NSA fling, or a long-term commitment? A short-term furnished rental or a forever home? Know what you offer, what you’re looking for and the options. Price and package properly.
3. Have a marketing plan.
The web description of the home, like your online profile, needs to be attention grabbing, memorable and capture the essence of what’s being offered. Think benefits, not features. Use rich, descriptive language. And put it in front of the right target audience. High end listings don’t belong in the PennySaver; budget properties don’t belong in the Wall Street Journal Mansion Section. Think about where your ideal person is likely to hang out and be there either with an ad or as an active participant, either online or in real life.
4. You’ve identified a target. Now what?
In real estate, like love, eager beavers are a turn off. Do not jump too quickly on a first bid - ever! If you play hard-to-get and make them work for it, they’ll want it more. BUT - recognize a strong and attractive option and massage it appropriately. Let them know it’s being considered but there are other options - perhaps interest from other parties, or thought given to removing the property from the market altogether. Just like dating. Do not be instantly available. Create some mystery. There are other fish in the sea.
5. Ace the interview
A tough coop Board will scrutinize your financials and meet you in person. Be direct, polite, concise, and open. Dress the part. Similarly, your partner’s friends and family may have the power to either seal the deal or kill it. Their impressions matter. Win them over by demonstrating interest in their lives, and listening to what they have to say. If these folks are important to your new love, they need to be important to you also.
We celebrate love on Valentine’s Day. Finding and securing love is a challenge, whether you are looking for a home or romance. How do you ensure success? Prepare. Be strategic. Have a plan. Think ahead. Play the game. Have a great wingman and a broker to advise you. Be open to the possibilities. Allow love to win. Smile. And have fun.