Real estate reality TV shows like HGTV’s House Hunters have given the general public a skewed view of the real estate process and the amount of work it truly takes to purchase a home. The show’s producers manage to condense a process that typically takes months into a 22-minute episode with (usually) no real problems or issues of any kind. If you do a little research on the show, you’ll discover that the reason they’re able to do that is because they don’t even shoot the episode until the buyers have already chosen a house and it’s in escrow. They’ve already done the time consuming parts of buying a home and only treat the viewers to the fun part of getting to go see homes for sale.
While it’s important to note that reality TV shows exist for entertainment purposes, I do think there are a few lessons that sellers could take away from shows like this.
- Aesthetics are important to buyers. How many times have you seen an episode where a buyer makes a remark about paint colors? Have you noticed that almost every home is staged? While the TV buyers have already chosen their home (giving them an excuse to look for small reasons to be put off), there are real life buyers who will take a house off of their list because the paint colors are too loud or the home looks too junky.
- Listing prices don’t exist in a bubble. Buyers will compare your home’s list price to other similar homes in your area. If your home is listed at $300,000 and your neighbor up the street has a similar layout that recently sold for only $200,000, you’re probably not going to get what you’re asking for or you might not get an offer at all. Your real estate agent should be able to explain pricing strategy to you, but you should know that overpricing a home is a guaranteed way to turn off buyers and make your home sit on the market.
- First impressions matter. It’s been said that a buyer develops an opinion on a property within 15 seconds of seeing it. Unless your home is priced extremely well, people typically don’t want to purchase a home that they know they’re going to have to put a lot of work into. Try to make your home as buyer-friendly as possible when you list it by highlighting its best features.
Buying a home is the biggest investment that most people will make in their lifetime, so as a seller, you really have to make your home appeal to as many potential buyers as possible if you want to have a quick sale. There are buyers who will be willing to overlook problems and aesthetics for the right price (read: very cheap), but showing your home at its best could mean more money in your pocket and less time on the market.