What a weekend it was, only a few short days ago!
Did I remember to mention Tiger Woods in my last blog post?
I spent Saturday afternoon touring Stouffville, which in all seriousness was an absolute treat.
As I explained to my clients, they were so lucky to be working in a market in an area that provides three things the Toronto market does not: choice, inventory, and a buyer’s market.
We toured a dozen homes on Saturday, and I think the last time I viewed a dozen homes in one tour with a buyer must have been a decade ago. Believe it or not, I do remember getting in the car on a Saturday and looking at ten or twelve houses in North Toronto. It was a long, long time ago, but once upon a time, you’d have that kind of inventory on the market, that kind of choice at your disposal, and while it wasn’t a true “buyer’s market,” it sure wasn’t what we see in the central core today.
I told my buyers, “It’s like shooting fish in a barrel up there,” and upon receiving feedback calls from listing agents on Sunday, Monday, and into Tuesday (something very few agents down here do), I realized just how much of a buyer’s market it is.
There was another BIG difference between the two markets, however, and it had nothing to do with inventory or price.
It had to do with sales tactics.
I’ve somewhat spoiled the surprise in today’s blog title, but just by way of introduction, do you remember this scene from The Simpsons?
So do you know where I’m going with this?
It’s a combination of pointing out the obvious and the idea of “over-selling” in real estate.
Folks, I honestly cannot believe what I saw the other day. Words cannot explain, so perhaps photos might.
But first, let me set the scene.
We’ve all watched Million Dollar Listing at one point or another, right?
You know how all the agents want to throw “smashing brokers’ opens” for their listings, right?
While I recognize that the show is scripted, and somewhat contrived, I do believe that one of the ways to sell $30,000,000 properties in Los Angeles is to throw a party, complete with ice-sculptures and DJ’s. But does this translate to all markets, for all houses and price points?
I don’t think so.
And yet on Saturday, I found myself in a home where I was told by one of the four agents in the property, “We’re having a party!”
The house was full of people, I’ll give it that. But the salesmanship was absolutely off the charts.
My buyers and I walked into the home and one of the agents followed us and launched into a massive pitch. My buyers rolled their eyes, and looked at me to save them, but somewhere in between not wanting to be rude and not wanting to have this guy continue his pitch, I simply said, “And we’ll know all of this once we’ve been through the house!” After all, we were barely inside for two seconds before we got a verbal feature sheet on the home.
My question to you folks, and I think this is rhetorical but I’ll ask anyways, is: does anybody actually appreciate an agent following them around at an open house and pumping up the home?
I’ve never understood this as a sales tactic. It rubs people the wrong way.
In any event, that was actually just the appetizer as far as the “over-selling” went.
Consider the clip from The Simpsons above, and then look at this:
This was posted by the front door, and it’s the first thing we saw when we walked inside.
I turned my head slightly to the left, and I saw more of it.
In fact, the entire goddam house was covered in labels.
It was just like The Simpsons episode
But the crazier thing about all these labels is the actual content, rather than just their mere presence.
These labels represented a combination of pointing out the obvious and overselling.
I mean, seriously, do you really need to “market” the upgraded extra-wide hardwood handrail? Is that really a “feature” that needs to be pointed out?
I think the soft-sell is a better touch, don’t you?
How about this note left in the kitchen:
I mean, that’s not really marketing, is it? Can just throw “great” onto anything out there?
“Space for all your organizational needs?” You mean, “Place to put sh!t in yo kitchen!”
How about telling people how to use certain features, like this:
Why stop there?
Why gaze into the sky? Why not “get it on with your partner in the tub on every third Wednesday of the month?”
I mean, if you’re going to play, play to win, right?
How about just pointing out things that every house has, and then trying to claim they’re unique?
“Convenient” linen closet.
What is an inconvenient linen closet?
Or is this note trying to reinforce the general convenience of having a separate closet for linens? As opposed to slumming it like poor people who put their linens in the bedroom closet? Ewww. I shudder to think.
This was at the bottom of the stairs:
“Upgraded lookout basement.”
Nope. Still have zero idea what that means.
And just how “warm and cozy” was this basement?
Let’s look a bit further…
It was an unfinished “warm and cozy” basement.
Full-length insulation. Phew! And here I thought they’d just get lazy and stop halfway.
How about an oxymoron?
What’s an “upgraded rough-in?”
I mean, a rough-in bathroom is not as good as an actual bathroom. So the idea that it’s “upgraded” is a bit odd. I suppose that there’s a better………pipe? Um, than the rough-in next door?
But my absolute favourite had to be this next one, which shows that whoever put these stupid notes all over the house was going to use each and every part of the home, no matter how innocuous:
That’s just a goddam WALL!
It’s literally a wall. A “nook” as they note, that has zero importance whatsoever, but they’ve called it DESIGNER!!!
A DESIGNER NOOK!
I can’t. Words, just cannot……describe.
Oh, and they did this multiple times, in multiple places:
So many designer nooks. So goddam many!
Folks, I just don’t understand who thinks this is a good idea, why, or how.
It was such a turn-off, I can’t even tell you.
My clients and I had no interest in the sales pitch, we laughed at the stupid notes, and we left without even considering the house.
My critics will say, “You’re a bad agent, you need to see past that,” etc, etc. But that’s not the point. That same model home is for sale on two other streets, if we’re interested, and my clients and I aren’t stupid. We know how to look past yellow paint in a house, because we know that people can buy a can, containing paint, and use a brush to apply it to the wall…
But for other buyers out there, will this really draw them in? Will this actually help them “learn” about the home?
Would it help you?