I had the good fortune of meeting with Mark Bouris some time ago where he told the story of Kerry Packer delivering some sage advice . He asked Mark what he thought he was selling. His response? “Mortgages”.
Kerry very quickly put him straight, responding that it wasn’t mortgages that he was selling but people’s hopes and dreams.In that moment, the penny dropped for me…
Buying a family home is a deeply emotional experience. As a renovator, it is critical that we do everything we can to provide the ideal environment for potential buyers to connect on an emotional level with the property.
So I went to work, researching how we make decisions emotionally and establishing a system to facilitate.
I knew the feeling; I remembered times when I had stepped in the front door of a property and felt that little flutter of excitement when faced with a home that I connected with on a deeply emotional level.
As renovators, we need to be able to trigger that little flutter in potential buyers because it’s what lifts the lid on the price.
At the risk of oversimplifying a very complex process, the brain has two main parts that take a role in everyday decision-making:
The primitive Limbic System, which among other things, is home to emotions and the Neocortex is where the logic and rational thinking happens.
When emotions are triggered, the path of decision-making can be short circuited to bypass the more rational Neocortex straight to the Limbic System, which makes decisions very quickly and without logic.
It is important for a renovator to trigger that emotional decision in order to cover the many hidden costs of renovation that are hard to sell. Here are 7 tips to help buyers to emotionally connect with your property:
1. Make Sure Your Buyer Is An Emotional Decision Maker
It’s pretty straight forward; renovate for an owner-occupier and not an investor. If your buyer is looking for a home to live in, there will be plenty of emotion at stake. If your buyer is an investor, decisions are made with logic, their trigger is figures. And I’m sorry, there’s nothing remotely emotional about figures.
2. Be Clear About What You Are Selling
In the same way that Mark Bouris discovered he was selling hopes and dreams, I discovered that we were selling something far less tangible than just a house.
When a potential buyer makes the decision to buy another home it is usually because life is less than ideal in their existing home. They have probably left chaos behind (many are not coping with life in general and blame it on the home). It is probably too cramped, too dated, with too little storage and has many annoying little quirks.
So when they go house hunting, it’s not just a home they are looking for, it’s a better life.
They are looking for the beautiful, ordered life they aspire to, your job is to give it to them.
When you are designing your renovation, you need to know your potential buyer intimately and anticipate their needs and wants and more specifically what they will pay for. Our selling agent reported back to me that a woman stepped into the laundry and gasped, “Is there anything that she hasn’t thought of?”
Hearing that made my heart skipped a beat because I knew I had done my job in creating a reno she connected with.
3. Create The “Belle” Effect
I’m going to cut to the chase: NEVER try to sell a renovated property without styling.
I’ve had it justified with the line “people don’t want to feel like they are living in a magazine”.
I’m sorry but they absolutely DO.
Your job is to figure out which magazine: Hipster Weekly, Coastal Homes or Belle?
Research tells us that styling adds 10% to the sale price, we need that 10% to cover our transaction costs so we can return a decent profit. Here is a video from “Belle” Surry Hills with some tips on the “Belle” effect: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kjYhDjhpiW4
4. Manage The First Few Minutes Of Their Inspection
The decision will subconsciously be made within a few minutes of stepping in the front door. They will either feel the love or they won’t. The street appeal and entrance are important but once they are inside, make sure buyers are directed straight to the best, most impactful room in the house, the hero room. In most cases, the hero room will be the kitchen/living or a room with a view.
5. Create A Focus In Every Room
Once you have wowed your buyers in the first few minutes, you need to build on the experience. You want to present each subsequent room in the best light possible. Do this by creating a focal point in each room. If you are starting with a plain canvas of neutral walls and floor, you can select a feature to accentuate with colour, scale or drama.
For a bedroom, you would usually choose the bed as the focus. Using colour and texture in the soft furnishings to build the appeal. If your entrance was lacking, you might replace the entrance with an oversized door or pair of doors for grander scale and impact. The cheapest way to add drama is with lighting. External eaves lighting and garden up lights will add magic that is on show 24/7. Try an over-sized pendant over a dining table or cluster of pendants in the staircase.
6. Engage The Power Of Story
Every property has a history and story to tell. Stories help create connection. Spend some time formulating your property’s story. Research previous owners and previous improvements; often neighbours are a good source of information. Then share the story with your agent and weave it into the marketing material.
7. Prepare A Property Fact Sheet
The agent has only a very short window to share all your property’s many good points. Prepare a fact sheet with the property’s general features and then the specifics for each room. The fact sheet gives the buyer something of substance to pour over at home, discover more of the properties attributes, and keeps it top if mind.
By implementing these tips you are creating an environment where a buyer may make a decision to your property is based less on price and more on emotion. This will give the best chance of achieving your dream sale price.