Your Listing in the Eyes of a Buyer Agent

  • Wilson Sisters
  • 11 October 2017

"What would you do differently if you were marketing this property?" our buyer asked us the other day while we were looking at a condo they were contemplating purchasing. He was thrown by how dark it was, located on a low floor with a courtyard exposure, and while he wasn't sure that the lack of light was a deal breaker for him, he was wondering about resale potential down the line.  

It was almost a bit of relief to us to be able to unleash our thoughts on the lack of care in the presentation of this condo. While we are still in a seller's market in Toronto, particularly in the condo segment, sellers do still really need to be aware that they are leaving money on the table in the choices they (and their representation) make during the preparation and sales process. Here is a list of our concerns for this particular condo:

1. When booking an appointment to see this property we were informed that there was a three hour minimum notice required. This almost prevented us from seeing the property at all. Our client was flying to Europe the same day and if we hadn't rearranged the rest of our appointments in order to accomodate this seller's need for notice, we wouldn't have seen his place at all. Sometimes, when there are tenants involved, twenty four hours notice is mandated by law, but if you're occupying your home, it's strongly advisable for you to make it as EASY as possible for potential buyers to get in to see it. It can be inconvenient, but we would suggest that it's preferrable to be ready to clean up and run during the span of a week or two than listed for a month+ or not selling at all.  

2. The lights were off on arrival. This place was DARK. I mean, it was dark to begin with. So why was the seller not advised to leave all of the lights on? We have gone to so much trouble to turn lights on and off at our listings, even in some cases going there at the beginning and end of each day to do it ourselves when our clients leave town for the listing period. It may not be good for the environment, and it may increase your hydro bill for the month, but if you want to see the most return for your investment, this is a must. Why this seller was not advised of this simple step is beyond us. 

3. The kitchen and the rest of the layout of this condo was solid. It was a great space. But the counters, though clean, were cluttered. There was a coffee maker, blender, canisters, and a bunch of other crap on them. What does that tell us and our buyer? Not enough cabinet space and storage in this condo. Put your stuff away. And for pete's sake, close the toilet seat.

4. There were recently used dishes in the sink. Really? Do you even need to be told to clean up after yourself when you're trying to sell your home? Dude. Honestly. 

5. The furniture was too large and abundant for the space. When we are listing our clients' properties, our stager assesses the current furniture and if changes need to be made, we strongly encourage our clients to cooperate and allow us to make them. The walls were dark, as was the area rug, the art and the furniture. I know for a fact that our stager would not have let that slide. 

6. There were no marketing materials at all in the property. Nothing. Not even a sign telling us to remove our shoes. We know that online marketing is where it's at, and we bounce around ideas of how we can save paper and move toward digital brochures, but it just seems to show a lack of care when there is nothing on hand in the property for an interested buyer to take with them. 

This condo was priced in the low range of our client's budget, and located in a great building and fantastic neighbourhood. His dad liked it, and it checked all the boxes, so we truly believe that, had it been presented properly, we may have been doing an offer that evening. But he could not get excited about it, and even though we know we could sell the crap out of it for him later, his concerns about the space's resale potential could not be erased. It's endlessly frustrating for us to see good properties that are not marketed properly. We will find our client a place that is a great fit for him, but we bet that the seller of this condo is not going to see the sale price he could have if he'd been better prepared.

Just for fun, here is a more extreme example of incompetent and subpar presentation of a property. When out previewing condos last week for a client we came across this beauty of a staging job in a vacant condo (below). It appeared that the tenant had moved out and no one had even bothered to go check on the state of the place afterward. Things were broken, and apparently we'd missed a party. It's possible (probable) that the seller of this condo is paying discounted rates for their sales representation, and their sales person does not care, or cannnot afford to put in any extra work, but we suggest that again, this seller will pay for the poor presenation of this condo with a much lower sale price. 

Choose your representation carefully. Find someone who will treat your investment like it was their own. Otherwise, buyer representatives are out there looking for properties like yours to show their buyers where they can buy without any competition and find that deal they are looking for.