This past Friday, I received a call from some buyers who wanted to look at mobile homes in Colony Hills Subdivision, just outside of Zephyrhills, Florida. They wanted to stay between $70,000 to $80,000. It so happened that there were 4 homes on the market in that subdivision. All pretty similar in size, age, lot size, bedrooms and baths. So on Friday afternoon we went on a tour of all 4 of these homes. Let's see which one got the buyers interested.
HOME 1 - It had actually just had its priced dropped so it was $67,000. Less than the range the buyers were looking for. It had had a new roof installed in the spring of 2007, but otherwise had had very little updating done. It would need some cleaning, new flooring and painting throughout. Also the heat/air-conditioning unit was probably over 20 years old. The price was truly not all that bad for a home that needs a little TLC, but most retirees are not interested in moving here only to begin doing major renovations on their new home. So my buyers passed on this one.
HOME 2 - Was in much better shape and had been updated in many areas. Of course, the price was higher than the first at $79,000. But when we entered it the home was very dark. Apparently the owner was trying to save electricity by putting small wattage bulbs in most of the lamps and fixtures. Not only that, but the furniture was all dark in color. As a consequence, the buyers spent about 5 minutes in the home and then they were ready to move on. As I have mentioned in a previous post(s) dark homes do not sell!!
Home 3 - Was bright, clean, and updated. It even had a nice den added to the rear of the home, a large laundry/utility room, and a new heat and AC system. Price was $79,000. But it was about the most "unstaged" home I had seen in a while. It seemed like every square inch of the walls was covered with something. Family pictures, paintings, plaster of Paris cherubs, ceramic figurines, artificial flowers, etc. Furniture was everywhere. Nice furniture, but WAY too much of it. When your home looks like a furniture showroom, you have too much stuff in the room. Again, we were out of that home within 5 minutes. The buyers just kept saying "Good lord, how much stuff do these sellers have?"
HOME 4 - Finally we arrived at the last home on the list in that park. It was priced lower than the last two at $76,900. It had a huge Florida room that ran all along the front of the home. Inside it had beautiful engineered wood-like flooring and newer Berber carpet. In the living room there was just a couch, two easy chairs, a TV and a couple of small tables. It was perfectly staged and looked spacious. The dining room had a built-in buffet and a table with four chairs. Nothing else. Again, it looked large and uncrowded. The two bedrooms were similarly arranged. The buyers loved this house and the wife even said "This home is STAGED perfectly". The home was updated, clean, staged, and priced lower than the less attractive competition (not counting the fixer-upper which was not really a comparable property).
Which home do you think these buyers are going to make an offer on? I am sure the agents of all the homes recommended changes to their sellers. But just the owners of the last home listened. In the end, these owners are very likely to sell their home quickly and probably at an overall higher profit. The other sellers are going to have to wait for other buyers that may, or may not, show up in our slow market.
Now these were mobiles, but the principles involved apply equally to condos, single-family homes, townhomes, and villas. I just wish more sellers would listen to their real estate professionals, use their own common sense, and look at their home as potential buyers will. In the end they will have a much more positive and profitable selling experience.
For more information or questions about this topic please call me at: 813-783-4444 or e-mail me at: email@example.com
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John Elwell - REALTOR
Bill Nye Realty, Inc.
Licensed in Florida