Expired Home Listings: Why the 80/20 Rule Matters with Hard-to-Sell Homes

Expired Home Listings: Why the 80/20 Rule Matters with Hard-to-Sell Homes

If you imagine a buyer in the market for a three-bedroom, two-bath home. Their agent found them five houses to view and consider. Each of them meets the buyers criteria, and are located in the area they hope to live.

As the buyer and their agent drive out and tour the homes, they all have similar features. The prices are comparable. In theory, you might think the buyer will have a hard time deciding between houses.

But no matter how similar they may seem, no two houses are exactly alike.

In real life, however, that’s not always the case. The 80/20 rule comes into play. Imagine for a moment that four of the houses don’t have a pool, but one does. The buyer isn’t aware of this, though, because the agent didn’t mention it.

As the buyer tours the four homes without a pool, they’re not very interested in any of them. Then when they see the fifth home and pool they are suddenly ready to make an offer. The buyer in this case may even be willing to pay full asking price despite the house being more expensive than the others.

The 80/20 Rule in Action: Buyers Focus on Unique Features

The buyers offer isn’t based on the 80% of features that this home shares with the others. Instead, the buyers bid is based on unique attributes: a pool. The 80/20 rule predicted the sale of this house.

Unfortunately, much of the time was wasted in finding the “perfect house.” Had the agent known to look for the 20% difference, this may have been their first stop. As a seller, you can use this rule in your favor. Draw attention to unique characteristics of your home.

Here’s a real-life example. A real estate agent had a client visit from out of town. He didn’t have a list of criteria; he just liked the area.

She drove the buyer from house to house. In each case, this buyer suggested offers 10-20% below the asking price. They would not budge. She began to worry; the who day was turning into a big waste of time.

As the sun set, they stopped at one last house. It did not have a lot of curb appeal (attractive from a distance). It was not a good-looking home. She was out of options. Nevertheless, this house managed to break the tough negotiator down.

The buyer was suddenly willing to offer the full asking price! You might wonder what set this house apart from the others. It wasn’t because they appreciated ugly houses. No! The 80/20 rule kicked in again.

The 80/20 Rule in Action: Buyers Pay More for Unique Features

This agent and her client had spent the whole day looking at homes that shared 80% of the same features. They didn’t care about any of those details. A bedroom was a bedroom as far as he was concerned. They fell in love with the one remarkable feature of this house.

This ordinary home had something special. As you walked into the great room, there was a large window. The house sat atop a hill with a gorgeous view. And to top it off, the sun was setting below the distant tree line. That view sold the buyer. The other 80% could be improved.

They didn’t buy the house because they liked the floor plan or the number of bedrooms and bathrooms. Their decision was completely based on the hill and view. That view caused them to stop negotiating and offer full price on the spot. Such is the power of the 80/20 rule!

Learn how to tap into this rule, and you will not have to settle for less than your asking price. Leverage a unique selling point. Buyers who fall in love don’t haggle over pricing; they make good offers.

The 80/20 Rule in Action: Buyers Search for Unique Features

In some cases, the 80/20 rule even helps people make a sale without conducting a showing. This is a huge time saver.

The house in this next example had languished on the market for months. Unlike the previous house, this place was not ugly. Rather, it was a brand-new custom-built home. But nobody seemed to care. It sat on the market for seven-plus months without a single offer.

The builder was baffled. His fancy new house wouldn’t sell. He ended up firing his agent and hiring a new one. Fortunately, the new agent knew the importance of finding that special feature. He drove out to give the house a thorough investigation.

What he found changed everything. The house had a gorgeous five-acre yard. Other houses being sold in the area were all on one-to-two acre lots.

Not only was the yard bigger, but it was more private than other lots available. The new agent focused on marketing the five acres. He mentioned details and a description of the house. But the lot, not the house itself, was the focus.

In no time, his phone rang! A buyer was relocating. He had noticed the house was for sale, but it hadn’t caught his eye before. That changed when he learned it was built on a five-acre lot.

Suddenly, he was very interested – so interested, in fact, that he submitted an offer from 1,000 miles away. He had never seen it in person.

He was afraid someone else would buy it before he could, and he would lose out on the perfect house. That sale happened in 45 days.

The builder was amazed! His house had been on the market for nearly eight months without so much as a nibble. Suddenly, it was sold. Purchased sight unseen, all because of the 80/20 rule.

Here’s another example about how a yard affected a sale:

A buyer once paid extra for a townhouse simply because of its location in the complex. Most of the surrounding homes didn’t have a yard. However, a few shared a large half-acre “yard area.”

One of the owners whose townhouses backed up to this yard area was able to sell his townhouse for a higher price. It set his property apart from others on the market.

His home had a characteristic shared by fewer than 10% of the others. He had the only available listing offering that feature. With this easy point of difference, the house sold for a higher price.

Another townhouse seller (in the same complex) found a different unique feature. He didn’t have a yard, but he was still able to use his location to his advantage. His property backed up to a lake and fountain. That extra feature helped him sell his townhouse quickly, and for a great price to boot.

Selling to Interested Buyers

Don’t create an advertisement similar to every other house in the area. Instead, turn a spotlight on something different, something unique, something special, about your home and property. You will attract interested buyers- interested buyers will want to come see your home and are often willing to pay full price.

As a result, you’ll stop wasting time showing to people who are no interested in your home specifically. Instead, you’ll be showing your home to buyers who are motivated to make a purchase.

You won’t have to show quite so often. You also won’t have to sift through lowball offers from apathetic buyers. Less stress for you!

With that in mind, it’s important to highlight your home’s most attractive and interesting features. Compare your home to other houses in the neighborhood to see what makes yours different.

Potential Unique Features

Each house will have its own unique features. You may already have some in mind for yours. If not, these ideas should help.

  • Hilltop views are excellent defining features. Like the example from earlier, a high vantage point comes with a spectacular view of the surrounding area.
  • Maybe your home looks out on an open field frequented by wildlife. Many people would appreciate that view.
  • Your house might even have an unobstructed view of the sunset. That would interest potential buyers.
  • Patios are another great feature. Maybe the rest of your neighbors don’t have patios, or their patios are smaller. That vital feature could help you sell your home.
  • Location is something else that can set your property apart from others. (Not your addressed location, but rather your location compared to the surrounding homes).
  • You might have a unique backyard. If you have a larger backyard. If you have a larger backyard than your neighbors do, use that to your advantage. A shady backyard can also help you sell your property, as can a fenced-in backyard, which will appeal to buyers with children and/or pets.
  • Finished basements, spacious attics, walk-in closets, kitchen islands, large garages, nearby ponds or fountains, and swimming pools are all features that can help homes stand out from the others.

Look for the 20 percent difference in your own home, and find a way to market it. That’s how you’ll get results. You can’t just throw the information into your listing, though. You have to take the right approach.

Points to Remember

  • No matter how similar they may seem, no two homes are exactly alike.
  • Buyers search for, focus on, and pay more for, unique features.
  • Unique features could be almost anything-a big lot, great view, pool, finished basement, even a distinctive yard or patio.
  • Look for what makes your home unique, and then advertise that to potential buyers. This strategy will help you attract interested buyers.

If you’re ready to get your home sold today and want someone to help you handle all these little things, then begin the conversation process and complete a request for a property valuation today.

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