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.
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.