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Attract Serious Buyers, Discourage Lookie-Loos

Written by on Tuesday, 04 March 2014 1:48 pm
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Serious buyers want to find a home. They've been pre-qualified by a lender, chosen a real estate agent, and are ready to make an offer on the right home.

A Lookie-Loo is a person who is not seriously in the market to buy a home. "Loo" could be a nosy neighbor, an open house junkie, or worst of all - someone who thinks they're serious, but are incapable of making a realistic offer.

In determining your marketing strategy, your real estate professional knows what will work to get serious buyers coming to see your home, and what will discourage people who will waste your time.

Attract Serious Buyers

In any market, your home is competing with new construction that offers never-lived-in appeal - pristine appointments, hardwood floors, granite countertops, stainless steel appliances, and more. In a slow market, builders offer landscaping discounts, points on mortgage loans, and decorating allowances as incentives.

Your home is also competing with your neighbors' homes for sale, which may be in better condition or more updated than yours. You may also be in a market that still has a large number of foreclosures that are pulling home prices down.

The point is that buyers want the most value, no matter what the market is doing. Don't assume that because home prices are up and sales are picking up that buyers will negotiate any less. Verify market prices with your agent. Price your home for today's market reality.

Your job is to prepare your home to attract serious buyers. Move-in ready condition is what most buyers want, and you have to provide it. Your agent's job is network, advertise, and market to make buyers aware of your home and interested in buying it. If the marketing pictures show a problem, you're not going to attract serious buyers.

Stage your home to best advantage - declutter, depersonalize, clean thoroughly, enhance curb appeal, fresh paint, fresh landscaping. Fix every little thing that's broken or not working smoothly - no sticking drawers, no wobbly doorknobs. Don't give buyers room to make unrealistic offers.

Do something extra for your home - some remodeling, new appliances, new countertops can work wonders for buyers. Do something extra for the buyer, like provide a history of the home.

Discourage Lookie-Loos

The only thing your agent can do to discourage Lookie-Loos is to encourage serious buyers to consider your home. Your agent can network with other agents and tell them all the things you've done to attract a serious, realistic offer. They will bring qualified, interested buyers to view your home.

Make sure your agent creates a really good online presentation of your home with lots of pictures, a virtual tour, local amenities, school data, and more. The idea is to give buyers enough information to put your home on their short list.

Your agent can also employ niche marketing and out of box marketing ideas. If your home is near a college, for example, she can advertise in college papers, alumni magazines, billboards or student housing websites.

The more questions you can answer about your home and neighborhood online, the less interested Lookie-Loos will be in traipsing through your home, either at an open house or with their agents.

If you do have an open house, don't make it easy for people to have the run of your home. Insist your agent register visitors and view their identification. Serious buyers won't be offended but non-serious buyers will be very reluctant to provide personal information. Those are the people you don't need.

Despite your precautions, some Lookie-Loos will slip through, making appointments that waste your agent's time and yours, but look at it this way - if your home is ready for market and priced to sell, it's a good deal for any buyer, even a Lookie-Loo.

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  About the author, Blanche Evans

2 comments

  • Comment Link Carmen Saye Wednesday, 05 March 2014 12:39 pm posted by Carmen Saye

    Wanting to sell a home for a client has it's trying moment's that's for sure. Many people just want to look at the house on your time and dime. This get's old I never want to offend anyone however it's important to ask the important question's regarding financing and exactly what are their needs. I will do my best to be friendly and professinal always. Respect goes a long way.

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  • Comment Link Terrence Edelman Wednesday, 05 March 2014 10:05 am posted by Terrence Edelman

    Great Article Blanche!!

    As Realtors - we're sometimes so excited to get a showing and think there might be a possibility of a showing - that we forget to really qualify the prospect or the showing Agent..

    One thing I've learned is that most Agents who make last minute appts/request to see the home are typically working with Looky Lou's and aren't representing serious, "buy now" buyers. They may be in the neighborhood or just looking for possibilities at some point in time.

    My experience is that those who make appointments days in advance are working with truly qualified Buyers who are ready and willing to write contracts. It shows they've put some thought into their search and have identified properties that meet all of the Buyer's criteria. Of course there are always exceptions but this has been my experience.

    Great article!.

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