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How You Can Use Freakonomics To Sell Your Mueller Home

Selling a home at Mueller right now is a bit like shooting fish in a barrel, as demand outstrips supply in all but the upper price ranges of housing here. Selling your home for the most money possible in a predictable manner is another matter. Anyone can sell a home in a sellers market like this. As an agent, it still pays to market a home as effectively as possible – it can mean the difference between one offer in a month and three competing offers in a week. I know which scenario I would rather have.

Earlier this year I met a couple who were relocating and I was happy to tell them that their home was worth more than they thought it was, and this opinion was shown to be true when we selected from, and negotiated with multiple offers a short time after our first meeting. The seller quoted the book Freakonomics during the listing meeting, and so I picked up a copy and read it. Here’s some of the research I think helps people sell their Mueller home.

Chapter Three of Freakonomics talks about different advertising copy phrases that tended to yield better results when selling a home. In essence, the author Steven Levitt was intimating that if your home listing copy contained certain phrases, you would get more interest, more offers, and a higher price for your home. So if you do have one of the golden features, then make sure you’re promoting it.

The Austin Multiple Listing System is just one place that you might add such “magical listing phrases”, though of course there are a slew of other online and offline marketing avenues which you can fill with them too. I just got off a Trulia Pro training call where they encouraged listing agents who advertise with them to use five of the Freakonomics phrases in their listings to attract more interest:

  1. Granite. Personally I think this applies to the middle of the market and if you have marble or onyx counters, then certainly don’t be shy about them. The ubiquity of granite at Mueller means sometimes it is tempting not to mention it – certainly it’s visible in photos, but as an agent I still point this out. “How about silestone?” I hear you ask. Silestone counters compliment some contemporary designs here in the neighborhood, and I would say that it’s horses for courses with these.
  2. Energy Efficient. Surely that’s a tick in the box for all homes at Mueller, as they are all at or above three stars in the Austin Energy Green Building Program? Well, yes, but for many consumers, three stars doesn’t really mean much. Three out of ten? Three out of three? So it pays to tell people that there is a resource benefit to the rating – both in saved resources and in less money spent on utilities. It also pays to compare energy efficiency with easily understood metrics. There are rules about how to market green features of homes – a good starting point is to make sure you fill in the Austin Board of Realtors Energy, Energy and Sustainability attachment and use that with your listing. In addition each of the builders here uses additional rating schemes – Energy Star, Environments for Living, LEED and so forth. It is worth spelling what these mean out to prospective buyers.
  3. State of the Art. This is one of those hard to substantiate phrases, but heck, who doesn’t want a state of the art kitchen, irrigation system, or zoned HVAC system?
  4. Maple. Well I guess you’ve either got it or you haven’t. Cabinet doors being the most popular place to have maple. Interestingly I rarely see cabinet door material mentioned in listings.
  5. Gourmet. Since there is no official definition of a gourmet kitchen, adding this to a listing description may indicate that it has top of the line appliances and a well designed kitchen.

So it sounds simple. Add a few phrases to your marketing materials to make your house stand out from the crowd. But here’s the catch. These terms are based on a study performed seven years ago. Seven years is coincidentally my personal rule of thumb time for a housing decoration style to be in vogue before the taste makers cast it out and say that wallpaper and shag carpets are the most important things to make your house look nice. So maybe some of these phrases are out of date. Also, they will hardly make your home stand out from the crowd if all the houses in the crowd have the same features marketed in the same way. That said, creative copy is one thing that can make your home shine.

If you have any questions about what to do to your home to help it sell, or how to sell your home, please let me know. 512 215 4785

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