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What do buyers consider a "wow" factor when looking at a resale home?

Meticulous condition, numerous upgrades, location and curb appeal do not seem to cut it any longer. I need to know what defines "wow".
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April 13 2009 - US
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Well, everything that you have in your comment is good... I think in this market, take condition, upgrades, location, and curb appeal, slap a excellant price and watch multiple offers roll in. So i think PRICE is it.. If it's priced right, it will sell.
-Sean Malo
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April 13 2009
Profile picture for sunnyview
Price. Buyers want as much as they get for the lowest price. If you already the have the upgrades, location and curb appeal, you need to look at being competitively priced in this value driven market.
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April 13 2009
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All the things you describe are part of "wow", but the other part is location and price.   You can affect the latter, but the former would be a tough one.
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April 13 2009
Profile picture for cimages
So if all the mentioned attributes are considered "wow" and potential buyers always like the house, location, size, layout, etc. they often tell their realtors although the house is lovely they just are not "wowed".  What you all are saying is price the house low enough and that will be the "wow" they seek? Here in Florida where design tends to be more contemporary often a buyer wants soaring ceilings, crown molding, triple treys, etc. reflecting their northeast taste. Our house has 10 foot ceilings throughout, double treys, arched doorways, granite counters, oversized, lakefront lot in one of the most desirable swim, tennis, golf communities in the area.  Where most of the homes are three bedroom, 2 bath with a great room and a 2-car garage our home is a 4 bedroom plus a den/office, 3 bath, formal living and dining rooms, huge cook's delight kitchen with upgraded appliances and a family room and a 3-car garage, but we do not have a pool only a screened lanai overlooking the serene lake, but there is plenty of room for a pool if a buyer desires one.  We did not want a pool. So price the house at an unbelievably low price and the offers will come in?
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April 14 2009
Profile picture for low rents of arabia
What sellers believe to be a "wow" factor that increases likelihood of a sale:
1) granite countertops
2) stainless appliances
3) pergo floors

What buyers believe to be a "wow" factor that increases likelihood of a sale:
1) low price
2) low price
3) low price
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April 14 2009
Profile picture for low rents of arabia
"crown molding, triple treys, cooks delight kitchen, blah blah blah". 

You are listening too much to realtors. 

In a quickly rising market perhaps you can convince someone to pay an extra $20,000 due to such cosmetic features (cosmetic meaning, anyone could buy a house and ADD these, if that is what they really want).  But in a falling market buyers want value.  No "upgrades" or crown molding are going to convince them to pay more.  Buyers want tomorrow's lower prices today.  They can use the hundreds of thousands that they save to upgrade the living bejeesus out of the house, if that is what they really want to do with the savings. 

Trying to sell a house based on its upgrades is so, so, 2005.
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April 14 2009
Profile picture for cimages
We are not trying to sell a house on upgrades, because we have few. The granite counters were what the builder provided. We wanted contemporary and prospective buyers want traditional with treys and crown molding.  Our point is if they like the basic house they can put in the extras they want, but they all seem to want it already in place for the lowest possible price.  We are not listening to realtors as if we had we would have put in a pool (which we do not want) and never recouped its price in todays market.  Again, a buyer who wants a pool could have one put in of his choice.
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April 14 2009
Remodeled Kitchen and baths or a Good View.
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April 17 2009
Profile picture for low rents of arabia
A good view?  Yes, but you know what that view is of?  It is of a "for sale" sign with a very low price next to it. 

That is the kind of view buyers really get that "wow" factor from.
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April 17 2009
Profile picture for sunnyview
You sound like you are trying to sell smart in this tight market and that's great. Aren't you glad that you didn't put that d*mn pool in ? :) I would make one suggestion. Make sure that your house is clean and looks like it popped out of a pottery barn or container store ad. Buyers like to picture themselves living in an organized space even if real houses aren't like that. Staging can be done to maximize room space and brand rooms with a purpose like bedroom, guest room office etc. many buyers lack vision so giving them the feel of the house does help in that sales process. I think adding fruit to the kitchen in a beautiful bowl and flowers in a small bed vase in the bathroom says that you house is a retreat almost like a home spa. It is cheesy, but buyers don't seem to care if those touches are small. Think expensive hotel. Plush rolled towels, small shiny touches here and there. It costs every little and you agent may say it make not difference, but they are wrong. I have seen the effect myself when walking through open houses with people. They say wow real flowers and then they forget that it is a set up and enjoy the touches. It may be worth a try since it costs so little.
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April 17 2009
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Sorry meant to say "bud vase". Although the ultra rare bed vase might work too.
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April 17 2009
Put on your "Buyers Cap"
Sellers need to alleviate the concerns of Buyers and help them to
"feel good" about purchasing YOUR home.

I realize everyone yells, "Lower your Price!" and I admit that reducing your price IS the EASIEST thing to do to improve marketability.

BUT...it's not necessarily the MOST EFFECTIVE way to stimulate curiosity and interest and expand your pool of potential Buyers. Because when you lower your price by $15,000 it lowers a potential Buyers monthly payment by $80. NOT SO WOW !

OPTIONS help to Create a Competitive Edge!

When Borrowers are cash-constrained, it helps when the Seller offers to contribute toward closing costs... or When a Buyer is paying off student loans or credit card debt or has potential for increased earnings within the next year or two then it helps for the Seller to offer to lower payments for the first 2 or 3 years.
For example, a Seller can pay discount points at closing to discount or Buydown the Buyers mortgage interest rate/payment.This is an extremely conservative financing option that allows a homebuyer to lock into today's low interest rates (~5%) while he/she gradually eases into homeownership.  3% Year 1, 4% Year 2 and 5% Year 3 through 30. 

The cost for the Seller is minimal in comparison to the savings for the Buyer... PLUS there are tax benefits for both the Seller&the Buyer. WOW!


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April 17 2009
Profile picture for low rents of arabia
Barbara, I will forgive the realtor-esque overuse of capital letters (what gives?  no need to shout every other word!) because that is some good, good advice.

When I saw the intro to your post I thought you were going to say something like "bake cookies before the open house so it smells nice when the buyers arrive" but you surprised me with a very good suggestion.  I think we agree buyers want value (in the form of lower prices or otherwise) and are less enticed by staging tricks and "upgrades" .
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April 17 2009
Profile picture for cimages
Thanks Barbara.  We already will have to pay for the stamps on the deed at $0.70 per $100 of purchase price and title insurance in addition to the professional fee (which we expect) so offering to pay points or buy down a mortgage doesn't seem like a financially wise thing to do or do you disagree since the combined amount for the before mentioned items is well over 5K the potential buyer does not have to pay.
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April 18 2009
True- All Sellers have "Seller Expenses"

The point I tried to make is that offering to pay discount points  to buy down a mortgage can be a more-cost effective option than a standard price reduction for the Seller&the Buyer. It's an option that stimulates curiosity and interest and helps to increase market potential.

A 2-1 Temporary Buydown on a $300,000 loan amount costs the seller: $5,657...and reduces the Buyer's payment by $311/month for the first year and $160.39 for the second year.
A $5,657 Price reduction reduces the Buyer's monthly payment by $30.24.
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April 19 2009
Low Rents- Appreciate your positive comments.
At least you still have a sense of humor regarding the same ol' selling tips.
Motivated Sellers need to think like Buyers if they really want to gain a competitive edge.
(I'll try to cut back on the CAPS)
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April 21 2009
 
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