People buy through "feeling." Yes, price is important, and price controls the range in which people look for a new house, but what drives us to want what we see in the first place? It's how we "feel" when we see the item that makes us ask ourselves the next set of questions about price and priorities. "I love this, I hope it's in my price range," or, "I love this, I have to have it, how can I rework my budget or priorities to get it?" Only AFTER I want it, do I then start to ask, "Can I really afford it?" or "Is it a great value for the money?" or "Is there anything I have to give up to get it?" Feelings drive the desire to want to purchase a certain thing. Price might qualify or disqualify, but feelings win the first sales hurdle, every time.
What "feelings" will your potential buyer have when they see your house online? According to the NAR 2015 Trends Report*, all generations of homebuyers (not just Millennials) are among those who look online for properties as their first step in the home buying process, so, your photographs better be great. And not just pictures taken by a professional photographer...the rooms have to BE GREAT before a professional photographer shows up to shoot it, otherwise, you end up with great pictures of cluttered, "lived in" rooms. Professional Staging and professional photography should work in tandem to market a property.
To the naysayers who argue, "It's all about pricing," when was the last time you said, "I gotta have that new ____ because it's the least expensive…” When buying the home of your dreams, this would equate to: “I gotta have the cheapest house, sure, it needs a lot of work, and it’s smaller than I wanted, and I don’t love the location, but I'll have a great deal." This attitude is not how today’s buyer approaches the search for a new home. From a buyers’ perspective, the new house represents a "better," higher quality, more organized lifestyle than what they currently have or enjoy; they need to "feel" your property will give them all the things they want and dream about having in their next home.
Of the four factors that influence the sale of a home, price and condition are the two you can control. You can’t control the real estate market or the location of your home, but you can control the price of your home and the way it gets presented to your buyers. Make buyers feel something positive when they see it online and when they walk through the front door for the first time. Price it correctly, stage it, have it professionally photographed, and present buyers with the best overall quality and value home in your price range. This is how you get your home sold before the competition. Otherwise, you’re just helping to sell your competition.
*NAR Home Buyer and Seller Generational Trends Report 2015