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Using the WOW Factor to Sell Flipped Houses

By Brian Kline | September 5, 2014

Selling on the MLS. By far, the most effective and the fastest way for you to sell a property is through the MLS, using a seller's agent that stays in contact with buyer's agents.

"WOW” Factor

When a potential buyer views a property, you want them to experience the “wow factor.” What is the wow factor? This is what your potential buyers should be saying, “this is the nicest house I’ve looked at so far!” First impressions are very important. When a buyer walks into your home for the first time, you want to leave an impression that they will remember.

Each time you sell a property, you should ask the buyer why they bought your house. Inevitably, many will have looked at 20, 25, 35 homes before buying yours.

Remember, you're looking to sell to the perfect-condition homebuyer and you want to make your property seem very appealing to that type of buyer.

Creating the Wow Factor: Aside from a completely renovated home with modern amenities such as granite, re-finished hardwood floors, and everything new from top to bottom, here are a few more things to increase the wow factor:

  • Stainless Steel Appliances: In almost all cases, you want a matching stainless steel stove, dishwasher, and microwave. Not only does it give more perceived value, it also makes the kitchen look more complete. Rather then dead space, the kitchen now has brand-new appliances. Occasionally, you might include a matching refrigerator.
  • Free Home Warranty: Although a free home warranty is not a physical feature, it provides a great deal of comfort and confidence in the buyer's mind. It costs $300-375 but is a huge selling feature.
  • Free TV: You might want to try offering a free 46” flat screen TV. You can hang a plastic imitation flat screen TVs on the wall with a small sign that says, “With an accepted offer, you get this free TV.” The cost is $680 for the actual TV. By having a replica of the TV in the home, it provides an additional wow factor.
  • 100% Ready: Never show the house to potential buyers until it is 100% ready. 100% ready means vacuumed, deep cleaned, spotless, and ready to go. The perfect-condition homebuyer is turned off if it’s not 100% and you want to have an amazing first impression.
  • Mats/Sign: To give potential buyers the image that your homes are “high-quality,” you should put mats at the door entrances with a sign reading, “Please take off your shoes.” The image this gives the buyer is that this home is a first-class property.


Listing Agent

Once a property is 100% complete, you want it listed on the MLS. Your image is very important as part of the “wow factor”. The goal is to attract a buyer’s agent. The process of buying a home has changed from the traditional real estate model. In the past, a person would hire a realtor (buyer’s agent), the realtor would give them a list of houses to look at and then show them the properties.

Today, in almost all cases, a buyer searches on the internet for homes for sale in the areas they are interested in living in. After they find a home they are interested in, they call up a realtor to request the realtor schedule a showing. Either way, in most cases, it’s a buyer’s agent who has the buyer so the listing must be designed in a way to attract buyer's agents to show your homes.

Hiring the Right Listing Agent: It's important to choose the right listing agent. You want the top-selling agent in the area to list your properties. The benefits are:

  • Image: The top selling agent in the area has a well-known name, image, and branding. You want to be associated with that image. Only go with agents having an image of listing the best houses in the neighborhood.
  • Buyers: The top selling agent has a large buyer base. Often, the listing agent or someone from his/her office will sell the home.
  • Work Ethic: He/she became the best selling agent from working hard. You want an agent who is totally dedicated to selling your property.
  • Repeat Business: The top selling agent is motivated by repeat business. One of the indicators used to measure an agent’s success is the total number of homes sold. Unlike a one-time homebuyer, or home-seller, as an investor, you represent repeat business, which helps him/her reach or maintain his/her status.

Responsibilities of the Listing Agent: The job requirements for the listing agent are very clear and specific and include the following:

  • Yard Sign - Your agent should put up a professional (no scratches/dents) yard sign that is very visible from the street.
  • Brochures - Each property needs a 2-page color brochure explaining the features, neighborhood stats, school/shopping info, updates, etc. It has numerous pictures and showcases all the benefits of the home. Copies of the brochure are placed in an info box attached to the yard sign. Brochures must be refilled weekly. A stack of brochures is also placed on the counter inside. You want each potential buyer to take a brochure with them when they leave. Often, buyers will look at several properties at a time and you want them to remember your home above all others.
  • MLS Pictures: High quality pictures are essential. You'd be amazed at how often you see MLS listings with no pictures, only a few pictures and/or poor quality pictures. How detrimental to the listing! A buyer often decides if they will even look at the property solely based on these pictures. Upload the maximum number of pictures allowed on the MLS. Special attention is given to the lighting, order, quality, angles, etc. of each picture.
  • Comments: There is a lot of psychology that goes into the comments. Like the pictures, well-crafted comments will draw the buyer in to set up a showing to view the house. The key is to focus on features. Here is an example of comments for a high end house:

New cabinetry, granite countertops, and stainless steel appliances in a spectacular new kitchen, home is completely remodeled, it’s like a new house. Bathroom is completely stylish and completely new. Lots of gorgeous refinished hardwood floors, new carpeting, and new travertine-look ceramic tile. Neutral paint and crisp white trim throughout. This won’t last long, acclaimed Lake Orion schools.”

Notice some of the key words used – “granite”, “completely remodeled,” “gorgeous,” “refinish,” and “neutral paint.” You want to create urgency with all your write-ups (“hurry this won’t last long”). The MLS comments section limits the number of words so you’ve got to be concise. A top selling agent should be able to create a top-notch comments section.

Feedback: You want to require personal feedback on each showing. Not an automatic email that says, “Please give us your feedback.” You want the listing agent (a real person) to call the buyer’s agent that showed the property and get personal feedback. Here are some of the questions to ask:

  • How well did the property show?
  • What is your opinion of the price?
  • What did the buyer like most about the house?
  • What did the buyer like least about the house?
  • In a rating from 1-5, one being bad and five being excellent, how would you rate this property?

Some agents can’t be bothered to give feedback and don’t want to talk. Your listing agent needs to be personable on the phone. He or she also needs to be persistent about getting feedback because it's crucial that you receive that feedback. A recent investor had a property listed for 60 days and was getting 5-6 showings consistently each week but wasn’t receiving any offers. He wasn't getting any feedback so he had no idea why buyers weren’t making offers. Without feedback, there is no way to know what the market thinks about the house. If you're having showings but not getting offers, there is a reason and the feedback will let you know why you aren't getting offers.

Example: A property for sale for $249,900 that was consistently getting showings (5-7 per week). The feedback from several people mentioned the large bay window. On the inside, this window is the office. The complaint was that the window was too big. Without feedback, you never would have learned this. All that was needed was to plant a Japanese maple in front of the window at a cost of $150. The very next showing was a full-price offer on the house. Had the seller not gotten that feedback and found out the bay window was really bothering buyers, he would never have known to address the issue.

Flipping high quality houses is all about the "WOW" factor.

Please leave a comment if this article was helpful or if you have a question.

Brian KlineAuthor bio: Brian Kline has been investing in real estate for more than 30 years and writing about real estate investing for seven years. He also draws upon 25 plus years of business experience including 12 years as a manager at Boeing Aircraft Company. Brian currently lives at Lake Cushman, Washington. A vacation destination, a few short miles from a national forest in the Olympic Mountains with the Pacific Ocean a couple of miles in the opposite direction.

Brian Kline has been investing in real estate for more than 30 years and writing about real estate investing for seven years with articles listed on Yahoo Finance, Benzinga, and uRBN. Brian is a regular contributor at Realty Biz News
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