Capturing a property buyer’s attention in this day of digital property marketing needs to happen in just seconds. Sunshine Coast real estate buyers are often outsiders and it’s helpful to know how to attract their attention. What comes next is holding their attention long enough for them to consider the idea that your property may be their next home or investment property. Finally, when they have that idea in mind - you want to be able to push them to a sale. Understanding the buyer mindset will help you successfully convert the interested - into a potential buyer.
Many of the properties advertised online are never viewed beyond their appearance in the property carousel. Other properties get multiple click-throughs to the images, floor plans, open for inspection times and the agents contact details, or the jackpot - a phone call, email enquiry or inspection. So what filters are the buyers applying to trigger such different responses?
Three stages of the buyer's journey
In any marketing there are 3 acknowledged stages in the buyer journey:
So, let’s assume the decision to buy has been made and our buyer is now moving forward to which property to buy.
Awareness - How do buyers become aware of a property?
About 90% of property buyers today come from an enquiry on a listing they have found on a major listing portal such as realestate.com.au and domain.com.au. In the vast majority of instances, the agent has not previously met the buyer.
Today’s buyer sits in the comfort of their home on a laptop, tablet or mobile - researching and shortlisting properties as they eat a meal or watch TV. The level of information available to the public has made choosing a home a very analytical process.
Think like a buyer – How will your buyer become aware of your property?
As an exercise, go to realestate.com.au and follow the process that your buyer will most likely follow.
First, you’ll choose a location by area and then step-by-step you’ll drill down through various filters. Typically, the numbers will look like this. I’ve used the Nambour real estate area as an example:
Location 5697 Properties for Sale on the Sunshine Coast
Area 723 Nambour and surrounding suburbs
Suburb 164 Just the chosen Suburb
Price Range 57 Typically buyers enter a $100,000 range based on lending capacity
Property Type 42 House
Bedrooms 39 3 or 4
Bathrooms 16 2 would be preferable
Garages 13 Double please
Land Size 8 Minimum 450m2
Many buyers are very clear about exactly what area of a suburb they want, e.g. based on a school catchment zone, close to a beach, elevation etc. The map function on the real estate portals allows mobile device users to further filter the shortlist, even as far as preferred streets or which side of town.
The buyer has now created a shortlist based on their requirements or wish list. These are the properties they are now AWARE of and will move into CONSIDERATION.
Consideration – Developing The Short List
The vast majority of property buyers (approx. 90%) are finding their properties online, and something like 67% of those are on a mobile or tablet. Searching for a property is a visual process. Which property advertisements look appealing? This is where quality, professional photography becomes pretty much non-negotiable.
The numbers which agents can extract from the back end of realestate.com.au confirm that many properties which are seen on the ‘property carousel’, never receive a click into the images or the wording of the advertisement.
In fact, if you further sort your shortlist by oldest to newest, I will almost guarantee that the oldest properties have the smallest ad, are the free versions, and have the worst photos, probably taken by the agent on either their mobile or a poor-quality camera.
Why have they been on the market the longest? Because more buyers have simply scrolled past or didn’t like what they saw when clicking into the ad. In fact, on the property page, you can look at how many page visits there have been and it will tell you exactly how many people looked at the property.
You have mere seconds to impress your potential buyer. All they can see on their screen is one image, the price, number of bedrooms, bathrooms and car accommodation. On desktop computers they can only toggle through the images on listings which have paid for an enhanced marketing package. Otherwise, they have to click into the property for more detail, but again only if you grabbed their attention.
So, if you wish to be considered for the next step in the buyer's journey, you must capture their attention and hold it. This is done by having great marketing images and well-worded marketing text which addresses the correct buyer demographic. This is where floor plans and even videos can become your best friend. Statistically, the longer a buyer stays on the page, the higher the possibility of them sending an enquiry, or contacting the agent for further information / or booking an inspection.
Decision – The Inspection
Experience tells us that most buyers will inspect 8-10 properties before making an offer and will often make 2-3 offers before successfully buying. In the vast majority of cases, they will have physically inspected those properties, eliminated several properties and decided on a shortlist of 2 or 3 favourites.
This is where a whole new round of filters are applied.
Most buyers tell us they did a drive-by before deciding to inspect the property. Kerb appeal, a tidy yard, where and how many cars are parked at the property and leaving the lights on at night, all matter.
Now they decide to come and inspect your property. This is where the real buyer psychology becomes important. Remember your buyer has a shortlist of 8-10 properties to look at. Their number one goal is to reduce the shortlist down to 1.
They are actually in your home looking for reasons to cross you off their list. They need to get a really great first impression and fall in love right from the street. Once they find one reason not to love what you have to offer, their mindset shifts away from ‘appreciation’ and into ‘fault finding’.
Here is a list of the kind of things which flip that switch from ‘appreciation’ to ‘fault finding’:
- The agent is late for the appointment
- The agent can’t answer basic questions about the property’s history and pedigree
- The dog bailed them up at the front door
- The owner/tenant is at home and they feel awkward
- The yard or house is untidy/cluttered
- The front door needs painting
- The gutters are full of leaves
- Maintenance items have been neglected
- The house has pet or cigarette smells
- The pool is green
- It’s too dark/hot/cold
The list could go on forever. For the most part, they are all small things which are easily avoided.
There are bigger items which we are often asked about before listing a home. Sometimes they are worth doing and other times depending on budget and whether you would recover the cost, it is preferable to get a quote and acknowledging the need to a buyer, without necessarily outlaying the cost.
Why a quote? Because buyers tend to blow out or inflate prices of repair or replacement. For example, if a house needs painting and new carpet, the buyer will often subtract $20,000 in their mind, when the real cost might be more like $10,000.
Sometimes you may not recover the full price of say, new carpet, in your contract price, but you got a contract, rather than a ”No thanks, that one's not for us.” Discuss this with your agent based on your house, budget and available timeframes.
The final decider, of course, is the price. If your buyer has two roughly equivalent houses to choose from, the one with the better price will generally be the winner. For this reason, when you do put your house on the market, have your agent give you a Comparative Market Report, and even go and visit the open homes of similar properties which are on the market at the same time as yours. Compare the current offerings, because your buyer will be!
So what are the key takeaways here?
Awareness: Understand how buyers find out about your property, put yourself out there with quality photos and upgrade to an enhanced listing on a real estate portal and get yourself seen.
Consideration: A collection of professional photographs which take the buyer on a journey through the property, and preferably a floor plan or video, will give you a much better chance of ending up on their shortlist.
Decision: Look at how you, your house and your agent can handle the little things which are big mind-changers.
If you've been thinking about buying or selling your home feel free to contact us for more information at email@example.com. We're always friendly to meet a happy face.