Can real estate transactions teach us anything about business?

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Sold sign in front of a home.My wife and I have bought a new home.  In doing so we also decided to sell the old one.  As I went through the process, coached by our realtor, I realized the following principles applied not only to selling a home, but to business as a whole.

  • People like to buy things that are ready to use and in good condition.  Before putting our home on the market we spent several thousand dollars making our home “move in ready”.  Frankly, our realtor told us that it was in great condition and better than 90% of the homes on the market, but still advised us to do the little things.  We painted the front door, replaced some of the carpet, and fixed up little things here and there.  Most people would rather spend more money on something ready to use than less money for something they have to spend time preparing to use.
  • Target a specific market.  Don’t make it too narrow or too broad.  Because we are a homeschooling family we had converted the first floor office in our home to a homeschool room.  The walls were sky blue, one of the walls housed a huge white board, and there were children’s desks lined up throughout the room.  Before we listed the home we converted the school room back to an office.  Why?  Because the market for people looking for home school rooms is simply too narrow.  At the same time, we let our personalities show, by keeping the custom colors and decorations throughout the home.  We realized that certain people would love the style of our home and others would not but were willing to be patient for the right buyer in a reasonably sized market.
  • Buyers like to feel like nothing else matters.  When we received a call from an interested party to view the home, we jumped up, straightened the house up, and ran out of the house.  Our goal was to get an interested party into the home as soon as possible.  We worked around our buyers schedule, not around our own convenience.  Responsiveness is a key component to any transaction.  Miss your opportunity and it may be too late.
  • Let your price be determined by the market.  Both over and under pricing can be detrimental.  Don’t become emotionally attached by feeling desperate to sell or too fond of your goods.  Finding the right price in the market will ensure a timely sale to a pleased buyer.

We haven’t gone to closing yet, but we did sign a contract with a buyer just 6 days after putting our home on the market.  We found plenty of interest in the home and had buyers excited to pay our list price.  Why?  I believe a great part of it is the coaching we received from our realtor.  The next time you’re looking to sell something, consider these business principles.  I’d bet they apply to more than just real estate.

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