Over the past decade, I’ve managed to sell a lot of properties without the assistance of a real estate agent. These were properties I owned and sold in my limited capacity as a real estate investor.
After going through the selling process time and time again, I’ve learned a few fundamental principles that can have an enormous impact on how quickly a property ends up selling.
When you wrap your mind around these ideas, you will start selling properties faster than you ever thought possible.
Sound exciting? Let’s dive in!
1. Get Great Pictures (and Video)
If you want your property to stand out among the others in your market, it needs to look remarkable.
At first glance, this is pretty obvious to most people (I can’t imagine why anyone wouldn't include images of their property in a listing). However, most people don't realize just how influential a good visual portrayal of their property can be. It's not just about getting the same old, boring, mundane pictures with terrible lighting and nothing in the image that pops. I'm talking about going the extra mile to ensure your property pictures look awesome.
A good visual representation of your property can mean the difference between selling NOW (at your full asking price) vs. selling 24 months from now (after you’ve cut your price in half). Which option sounds better to you?
When you’re working with a higher-end property, it can be very much worth your while to invest some money into creating a high-end appearance in your listing. By the way, this is what most billionaire real estate investors do—just check out any of Donald Trump’s websites.
Hiring Outside Help
Think about it. If you stand to make thousands (or tens of thousands) of dollars on a property, isn’t it worth paying someone a few hundred to get some mind-blowing and professional photos AND put together some great video footage of the place?
This isn't always easy to do, especially if you're hiring a random person in the vicinity to drive by and get pictures for you. Sometimes you'll get great results from this, but it's a roll of the dice.
You may think this is way more trouble than it’s worth, but it’s not as difficult as you think. Check out this sample video I created with shots I got from a photographer I hired off Craigslist:
If you find yourself with a set of pictures that don't look particularly great, it is absolutely worth paying a few extra bucks to make those pictures as beautiful as possible (without misrepresenting what the property has to offer). One way to do this is with a service called BoxBrownie.
Here's how it works:
Pretty good, right? All the equipment and skills required to create this kind of video production are 100% attainable by people like you and me. Is it worth the additional time or investment? It depends. If you can factor this cost into your overall project and still come out with the minimum profit you needed in the first place, I would say YES!
2. Write a Solid Headline
In most cases, this is your only shot at getting a buyer to notice you, so you’d better be upfront about what you’re bringing to the table.
Many books and blog posts have been written on this subject, and its importance can't be overstated. When you’ve only got a split second to catch someone’s attention and engage them to click on your listing—your headline is EVERYTHING. I’m not kidding!
Assess your property. What are its positives and negatives? How can you play off of each? Try saying something that will make people do a double-take! Can you make it funny? Can you make it stick out like a sore thumb amongst all the other boring headlines?
Look at these headlines and tell me—based SOLELY ON THE WORDS—which would you click on to find out more?
- 258 State Rd Rockville MS – Open House This Sunday
- CHECK THIS OUT! Amazing 3-Stall Garage w/ a Free House Attached!!!
- 4 BEDROOM COUNTRY HOME LAND CONTRACT TERMS
- ARE YOU SERIOUS?! 25 Acres of Wooded Land on Lake Geneva for HOW MUCH??
- Handyman Special. Priced To Sell. This One Won’t Last.
- FIRE YOUR HANDYMAN! Move In Today – This House Is Ready To Rock!!!
- New Construction in Collinsville Westbrook Homes Development
As you can see, a good headline can mean the difference between people seeing your listing or NOT seeing your listing.
Fortunately for you, most sellers have no imagination when creating headlines that catch the eye. Use this to your advantage and try to shine in this area.
3. Give Good Information
Once somebody clicks on your listing, you’d better have some details for them to dig into. If someone expresses interest in your property, it will do you no good if you don’t make all of the pertinent information instantly and easily accessible for your prospective buyers.
There’s a reason we do our homework before we buy a property—so when it comes time to sell, we can quickly roll out the basic property details and display them to our buyers.
We don’t want to make our buyers work hard to make a buying decision. We want to make it EASY by giving them everything they need to say, “YES, I WANT TO BUY!”
It also doesn’t hurt if you can write your listings well. Good information is important, but you can take this one step further by writing so that your property sounds irresistible, as I explain in this blog post.
Example 1 (Typical Listing):
new furnace, air conditioning unit. all appliances includes. Huge deck off back of home. walk out in basement to back yard which is fenced in. Lots of updates done. 1 stall attached garage with finished breezeway.
(Note: This is a completely random listing that I copied and pasted from Craigslist. No editing was done – this was literally the first thing I clicked on. The point is to show you how terrible most people are at writing property listings.)
Example 2 (Well-Written Listing):
You'll love this peaceful and cozy bungalow overlooking beautiful Riverside Park. Spend your summer mornings on this front porch with a fresh cup of coffee and your winter evenings snuggled up by the stone fireplace with a good book. This is the home you've been dreaming of! Situated in a friendly community on the outskirts of Robertson Township, just thirty minutes from exciting Springfield.
I'll be completely honest with you. It took me about 10 minutes to write those four sentences above in the second example.
It takes real effort to be creative and think of descriptive words that will make your property sound appealing! But the real question is, is it worth those extra 10 minutes?
You tell me. Without seeing other pictures, videos, comps, numbers, or data—which of those two descriptions sounded better to you?
Most sellers are TERRIBLE at writing property listings (as illustrated by the first example above). Again, this is great news for you because it means you'll have the opportunity to stand out and look WAY better than all the other amateurs in your market.
4. Price It Right
If you don't have your property priced appropriately, you'll be fighting an uphill battle. This can be a tough aspect of selling any property because pricing is highly subjective.
Once you've taken the time to understand what your property's full market value is (more insights on that here), I'd suggest you start by listing your property for about 10% to 20% BELOW that number. The lower you can go, the faster you're likely to sell it.
When selling anything, remember that people aren't motivated to pay the exact price of the value they're receiving. They want the value to EXCEED the price they're paying. In most cases, they expect nothing less.
If you want to create a listing that buyers simply can't refuse, you need to make them believe (legitimately and compellingly) that this isn't their average real estate transaction. That they are truly getting in on the deal of a lifetime!
Remember, when deciding what to list your property for, you need to keep your greed under control. I know this is easier said than done, but the fact is—you need to leave some meat on the bone for your buyer. If you bought this property for the right price in the first place, there is no reason you can't pass some free real estate equity on to your buyer.
At the end of the day, a great price will usually be your most powerful selling proposition—this will drive people to buy from you. Be sure you're delivering excessive value to your buyers and, most importantly, make sure they can see it.
5. Strong, Relentless Promotion
All the fundamentals mentioned above will mean nothing unless you get your listing in front of people. A LOT of people.
Depending on your situation, you may want to list your property with a real estate agent. Don't forget, there are all kinds of paid real estate listing sites that can reach a much larger (and serious) audience.
Promotion is probably the most important fundamental thing that makes this list come full circle. There's no point in promoting until you have an awesome listing to show the world, and there's no point in creating an awesome listing if you're not going to promote it! These things go hand-in-hand.
BONUS: Offer Seller Financing
It's no secret that seller financing is a huge money-maker. Many investors use it because it can multiply their profitability many times over. Still, perhaps the more important reason is that it's also an extremely potent selling tool that can open up the doors of opportunity for A LOT of buyers who would otherwise be completely unable to buy your property.
Many would-be real estate buyers are struggling with access to capital (a.k.a., cash). They may have a few thousand bucks in their bank account, but coming up with your FULL asking price today can be a serious challenge. They're the right person. It's the right time. They want to pay your full asking price but don't have access to the cash and/or financing to pull it off.
Most sellers don't offer seller financing with their properties. However, you can do this, especially if you own your property free and clear (which is easier than you'd think when you're buying for the right price).
Whenever possible, you should absolutely be offering seller financing on the properties you have listed. Trust me; it makes sense for several reasons.
Putting It All Together
When you execute these items well, you will start knocking it out of the park with your sales efforts. It can certainly be a challenge to perform all of these things flawlessly. Most people will find that they are more gifted in one or two of these areas, not ALL of them. But even so, these items are extremely important to do well. If you fail at one of them, your ability to sell properties fast will take a hit.
Take the time to figure out what you're good at, understand where you're coming up short, and don't be afraid to outsource the things that you can't do yourself (it's pretty fun, I do it all the time).