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Friday, February 08, 2008

Unreal Estate

A friend from out of town is considering moving to Toronto and buying a house. He’s looking mainly in the downtown core, known as the “C01” area on MLS, a property listing service that is largely monopolized by the most intelligent and professional business people in the world: Real Estate Agents.

I took a look through the listings on his behalf, and even more shocking than the fact that you can barely get anything for under $400K these days is the hilarious captions these Devry-graduates put up on the ads to lure potential buyers. Some of their best strategies for these comments seem to be as follows:

  1. List the extras! Really, this is Real Estate 101. If the house has a circuit breaker, make sure you put that on the ad. If you don’t take this key step, buyers who are specifically looking for houses with circuit breakers may scroll right over your property! It’s all about using the circuit breaker to get them to the property, and then using the rest of the home’s luxury features, like pipes, a roof and walls, to close the deal once they are through the door.
  2. Remember that your potential buyers are making one of the most important financial decisions of their lives, and as a result, they need your professional guidance. Tell them to “see with their own imagination” what is really for sale. Help them imagine themselves owning the property – what would they do with it? As a trusted professional, you could suggest they could “live in it, or use it as a rental”. This will open up a whole world of possibilities they probably hadn’t thought of.
  3. Focus on the positive. Cunningly turn the home's crack-house status into a selling feature, and the offers will come pouring in. If the property you are trying to sell is really only suitable for the raccoons and rodents that currently inhabit it, advertise it as a “Contractor’s Delight!”. “Renovator’s Dream” is also widely used in this regard. This one is just common sense.
  4. Build a vision. It’s all about making the buyer imagine what their life will be like in this new property, and making that vision a desirable one. For instance, if it’s a Victorian house you’re selling, have them imagine a “Victorian Lifestyle!”. What could be more attractive to a buyer than imagining that buying your property will throw them 150 years back in time, at the height of the British Industrial Revolution. Hell, I’d like to put an offer in right now.
  5. Make sure you comment on the valuable upgrades your client has made to the property. “New Paint” should not be overlooked, and can help justify why you have listed for $698,900, and not $698,850.

1 comment:

JohnnyM said...

Fuck - you know what's killing me? The "Victorian Lifestyle!" comment. Have you ever read any Dickens novels? Me neither, but I get the feeling things weren't too pleasant back then.

I also have an uncontrollable urge to show up at the open house, wearing dirty Victorian clothes, making comments like, "Blimey, Guv'nor! It's a bleedin' mansion!"