Q: There is so much advice on short sales, price reductions, auctions and multiple offers, but I rarely hear about how to sell a million-dollar listing. I have my first one. I have taken all the steps I think I should and have not had a single call to show the home. It is a beautiful Victorian home built in 1872 with modern amenities and a second home on the property. What should I do?
A: Some might think that having a million-dollar home to sell is a high-class problem, but it definitely presents some unique challenges, too. The more costly a home is, the smaller its pool of prospective buyers and the more insular the agent community is that caters to them. As well, these buyers can be much more discriminating and picky — there is no shortage of homes on the market at that price point, which may also make million-dollar buyers harder negotiators.
All that said, there are several things you should make sure you’re getting right if you want to sell your million-dollar property.
1. Get the right brokers in. Studies show that most qualified buyers are working with agents at every price point, but this is especially true for buyers of luxury homes. The best way to make sure the right segment of the local buyer pool sees your property is to make sure it is exposed to the brokers who have relationships with them.
Make sure the place is listed on the MLS and all the relevant online sites, but also make sure to hold a couple of well-planned brokers’ open houses and advertise the property and your events in any agent-only newsletters and marketing meetings in your office and in your area.
Given that the place has been on the market for a while with no showings, I would also encourage you to ask a few friendly high-end brokers in your area to do you the favor of stopping in at the property at their convenience and giving you some feedback on the property, its staging, its pricing and what they think you can do to drive more interest.
2. Target the just-right audience. You know what this property is: a historical Victorian with big-time updates and a second home on the property. Take that and work backwards into a profile of sorts — a profile of who the likely buyer for this home will be. A large, extended family? An entrepreneur who wants an office on the property? Someone who wants to rent the second home out for income? Are there any trends in terms of people moving to this town or neighborhood from other nearby areas, or to work for any particular large local employers?
Think about who your listing’s likely buyer(s) are, where they live now, and what they read, watch and care about. Stage the property accordingly, and market it in the outlets they are likely to be reading, watching and visiting online. Consider off-the-grid options like the human resources offices of large, nearby universities, and employers or newspapers and websites in neighboring towns or states.
3. Reconsider the price. When a home of any price sits on the market with no showings, it’s always the case that the listing agent and seller should reconsider the price. And your case is no exception. Get serious about answering the question: Is it priced right?
Take a long hard look at the other homes that are on the local market in the same price range, and take that look offline: Actually go visit the properties and compare them with honesty and scrutiny against your listing on everything from basic specs to curb appeal and condition. Remember, the eventual buyer for your listing will probably be seeing these properties, too — online and off — and conducting the same comparison in their own heads.
Consider a price reduction to a point just below one of the common home-search price-range cutoffs, like to $995,000, if it’s currently listed just over a million. Shaving or slashing the price in this way can open up a property to an entirely new set of buyers that is cutting off their online property searches at the $1 million top limit.
Tara-Nicholle Nelson is author of "The Savvy Woman’s Homebuying Handbook" and "Trillion Dollar Women: Use Your Power to Make Buying and Remodeling Decisions." Tara is also the Consumer Ambassador and Educator for real estate listings search site Trulia.com. Ask her a real estate question online or visit her website, www.rethinkrealestate.com.
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