One of the unwelcome phenomena of the slow real estate market in the past few years is the amount of time it takes to sell a typical Aspen property. In the past twelve months, a single family home took an average of 426 days to sell; and a condo took an average of 314 days to sell. This time frame is significantly longer than the 100 days or less that was required to sell an Aspen property prior to 2008 before the onset of the Great Recession. For sellers looking to sell properties quickly, this can be a real problem.
Even though the market is slowly improving, sellers need to understand that the current Aspen real estate market is still a buyer's market. Buyers still have a lot of choices. So, how can sellers give themselves a competitive edge? Selling real estate is like selling any other product. First impressions are very important. Buyers often make their decision on emotion rather than logic. While understanding this, it's still surprising to see properties listed for sale where the seller seems to have a take it "as is" approach. At the same time, these sellers often can't understand why their property is taking so long to sell; and when they get offers, the offer prices seem to be low.
The first step in marketing any property is to research your competition. Once on the market, your property is going to be listed alongside a number of other similar properties. Each property is going to be competing for the next buyer who comes along. Your goal should be to make your property the most desirable among similar properties. The question a seller should ask themselves is how does my property compare to the competition? What are the chances that the next buyer will choose my property instead of one of the others? As a Seller, you need to conduct an honest assessment of these questions, and your broker can help you through this analysis. What can you do to enhance your chances that your property will be the next one sold?
Certain property characteristics you cannot change, such as location, views and age. However, some of the most critical characteristics of any property can be changed. Besides pricing, the other big one is how the property looks and feels. That's where proper staging comes in. Proper staging of a property for sale is an important marketing strategy. This can include minor changes, such as reducing clutter and removing personal items, to value enhancing renovations. Marketing is all about presentation
The goal of proper staging is to make the property feel as close to a model home as possible. Study after study has shown that buyers respond positively to properties that are in good condition, well maintained and appear like a model home. The best marketing program in the world can only bring potential buyers to the property. It can't make them like the home. Proper staging converts your property into a showcase for prospective buyers. When a prospective buyer walks into a home, it should feel clean, fresh and inviting.
Studies have shown that properly staged homes and condos can sell for 5% to 20% more than comparable properties and in a quarter of the time. In a market like Aspen, this could mean anywhere from $50,000 to $5,000,000 in extra sales price, well worth any extra expense needed to properly stage a home or condo for sale.