One of the main considerations I investigate when selling a house is understanding how and why buyers buy the houses they do. If we can understand why a buyer would be interested in the house we are able to design our advertising and sales plan with them in mind.
For a better perspective on this let’s begin with where & how buyers found the house they bought. According to NAR’s annual study of home buyers and sellers, these are the top sources;
50% of buyers found the house they wanted to buy on the Internet. This category has seen a drastic rise with the advent and improvement of technology over the last 15 years when it only represented 11%.
28% reported that their REALTOR® introduced them to or suggested the house they bought.
7% spotted the house from a Yard Sign or Open House Sign. This category has seen a marked change over the years as well when 15 years ago Open Houses represented its own category.
7% found their future house from Word of Mouth, a friend, family member, coworker, or acquaintance told them out it.
5% reported discovering the house from the Builder of the home.
Searching the Internet for Houses
With the ease of access and availability of information, buyers are turning to the internet to begin their searches. They can see school & crime statistics, amenities and parks in neighbourhoods and communities and follow the housing price trends while narrowing down their wants and needs.
When asked what they look for and want online;
99% of buyer report wanting to find property photos and accurate, detailed property info when searching for a house online. 📷ℹ
83% wanted to find and read neighbourhood information and see floor plans of the houses for sale. 🌲🚴♂️🚶♀️
80% also hoped to find Virtual Tours of available houses. 📽
My REALTOR® Found the House
Second only to trustworthiness, most buyers, when using a professional REALTOR® wanted help finding the right house for their needs.
Beginning with how buyers find their REALTOR®, 41% received a recommendation via Word of Mouth from a family member, friend, coworker or acquaintance. 12% used the same REALTOR® they had in the past and 5% used an agent they met at an Open House.
There are a number of relationship buyers may have with a real estate agent, when asked 40% of buyers reported having signed a formal Buyer Representation Agreement in order to hire a REALTOR® to work for their best interests. 16% of buyers had a Verbal Agreement to work with their REALTOR®, resulting in fair, honest, ethical customer service while 31% of buyers had No Formal Agreement with their REALTOR®, which still requires fair, honest, ethical customer service by the code of ethics.
“Honey slow down! Look at that For Sale (or Open House) Sign”
The most visible aspect of housing sales is the bright coloured signs that spring up in the front yard, declaring the house “For Sale” or “Sold” and the directional signs that sprinkle around the neighbourhood on the weekends announcing “Open Houses”.
[35% of Buyers/Sellers say the most important factor in selecting the agent they worked with is the reputation of the Agent/Brand/Company.]
Word of Mouth
So your house is available for sale, how do you get people talking about it?
- Talk about it, tell your neighbours, friends, family, and colleagues.
- Ask people to tell others. Ask your neighbours who they know that they would like living near them, their friends and family might be the perfect buyers for your house. Ask your friends & family to share with their social circles to spread the word.
- Focus on the unique aspects of the house, the most memorable features when spreading the word. Find what makes the house stand out to focus the conversation on features and benefits that other houses don’t offer. The more unique the better in getting people talking.
- Offer an Incentive to buyers of the house. Very common in some areas and more popular during buyers markets, we have seen some very creative incentives. The most common reported by buyers were;
- A Home Warranty program covering mechanical, electrical, and structural system. Some times including appliances as well.
- Some or all of the buyers closing costs paid for by the sellers.
- Credit towards doing renovations or repairs needed to the house or wanted by the buyers.
Side note: the most creative incentives I’ve seen were; a NEW PS3 the year they came out included with a cottage sale just before December. It sold! The second was a very recent model Jaguar included with an executive townhome at a very negligible market.
- Finally, a great way to get people talking is through events. Nothing peaks interest like a dozen cars parking in the neighbourhood and heading over to a Mega Open House or Showcase Party.
So why do buyer chose to purchase a new house?
In the same survey, when asked why they chose to buy, buyers reported these as the top reasons for their purchase and desire to move.
Number One | 29% reported the desire to own a home.
Number Two | 9% needed for more space, a bigger house.
Number Three | 8% reported a job-related move.
Number Four | 8% wanted to be closer to friends and family.
Number Five | 7% needed to move because of a change in the family situation.
Buyers who meet these situations are the most likely to be interested in your house.
Knowing how buyers find the houses they buy allows you to focus on the most likely places to have it be seen. Understanding why they want to move allows you to highlight the features of your house that would benefit those needs.