Three buyers. All spending $250k. One buys a 1300 square foot house close to downtown in an up and coming area that is a little shady in spots. Another buys a much bigger, plainer house further out. The last one gets nice finishes, but is in an area that is seldom anybody’s first choice. All of them feel like they got the best house for the same money. None of them would have even looked at each other’s houses.
Something that always amazes me, even after 8 years of being a Realtor, is all the different reasons people make the choices they do. What one person considers a fantastic location, another thinks is a terrible location. What one person thinks is appealing, another doesn’t.
Whether you are the buyer’s agent or the listing agent, I think there are things to be learned here…..let’s take a look at the 3 buyers I have mentioned.
The one that buys the 1300 square foot house close to town in a sketchy area cares about location and emotion. They want to be close in, but also needed to fall in love with it since they were shopping for a feeling too. A good location to them is defined by proximity to downtown rather than the usual mix of good schools and a safe neighborhood. When they go to sell, they need an agent that realizes this and will effectively market it to a similar buyer pool. What needs to happen here is to describe the location and the feeling you get while in this neighborhood and inside the house. The people attracted to this house aren’t going to care if a bedroom is on the small side as long as it looks and feels right.
The buyer who went further out to get a bigger house is much more practical in their search. They either wanted or needed the space. When that house sells, the location isn’t going to be as important as the raw facts about the house……and the emotional response to the house is not relevant at all. When this one goes on the market, a spread sheet of all the practical features will attract the next buyer.
The one that bought in an area that is second tier to get a pimped out house is also an emotional buyer. They were most concerned about how the house feels inside and were willing to sacrifice location to get it. This buyer type usually goes for new construction to get all the current trends in finishes or a freshly flipped house. Assuming the finishes are still in style when this person sells the house, the listing agent needs to focus on bang for the buck.
Now, not every person or house fits perfectly in these 3 scenarios. But the thing to keep in mind is that there is always a mix of the practical, emotional, and a broad definition of what makes a location appealing. Each buyer is different and each house is different. I typically see agents market all their listings the same way, which may work in some situations, but not others. When you are listing a house, you really have to get a feel for not only the house and neighborhood, but also how to make the listing pop with the target buyer’s personality. Same thing but in reverse when working with buyers….you really have to put your head in their world and think like them in order to show them the houses and neighborhoods that they will like.