We've all heard the "location, location, location" mantra when it comes to real estate. There is no doubt that someone will not buy a home unless it is in a place where they want to live or vacation. However, "location" can have many interpretations.
- Geographical; where on the earth it is located.
- Relational; what is it near or far from.
- Political; jurisdictions, school districts, etc.
- Amenities; what is around it that is desired.
You may have lived in your home for many years. The location factors that you considered when making your purchase decision may not apply to today's buyers. The task is to identify the current positive aspects of your home's location and market them aggressively. When it comes to positive locations, people's different attitudes and preferences will determine if a location is a "good" one.
- Highly rated school systems. Obviously, a bachelor or retired couple would not normally be concerned about the school system. A young family might make this their primary concern. Areas with highly rated schools are high on the list of factors that attract buyers.
- Economically prosperous and stable neighborhoods. Buyers look for nice homes, well-kept yards, clean streets, and other indicators that a neighborhood is doing well and likely to continue that way. They want to feel that their largest investment will continue to grow in value.
- Areas with desirable home styles. If you're into modern, then a neighborhood full of Cape Cods might not be for you. A buyer looking for that, however, might pay a premium to live there. Neighborhoods with a dominant home style or architecture will require special marketing to attract the best buyers.
- Neighborhoods with people similar in taste and activities. A great example would be an area near a technology company. There might be a natural attraction for young techies to congregate together in certain neighborhoods. The proximity to where they work is a draw, as today's technology employees are frequently working long hours and prefer short commutes.
- Proximity to shopping and entertainment. Lovers of night life, convenient shopping and city lights will want to be in these areas. Sometimes it can be the primary criteria for selecting a home. Have you ever wondered how so many restaurants stay in business? Eating out is more popular than ever, and many buyers consider the proximity of fine dining to be quite important.
- Natural beauty and views. On the other side of the coin, you have the nature lover who wants a bit of privacy, birds and a hike near home. Many a newer community has dedicated greenbelts for this reason. This is a very focused buyer, and the marketing targeting them should be just as focused.
- Outdoor recreation and parks, but close to town. Just a bit different, this would be a combination of convenient access to entertainment and shopping, but some parks for a quick walk with the dog. They're not into nature as much, but these buyers want a bit of open area to go along with their busy city lifestyle.
- Cultural activities, museums, theater, etc. Think of lofts in the theater district, or a cottage off the central zoo and museum areas.
That is definitely a list with things that will appeal to just about everyone, however, the different desires of home buyers will generally rule out some of them. Those wanting space and quiet will likely not want to be near shopping. The culture lover and shopping enthusiast might want to be in a busy neighborhood, instead of out in the suburbs.
So, how does this influence the sale of your home? First, you can't move it, so we must work with what we have. Remember the song phrase "Accentuate the positive…." This is marketing 101, but very important. What do you like about where you live? What made you select the area in the first place? Is that characteristic still present? What do you do in your neighborhood or nearby for enjoyment? How are the schools? How easy is it to get from your home to popular places in the area?
We are not selling features here, we're selling benefits. A feature is a thing, while a benefit is how that thing makes life better, or happier, or easier for a prospective home buyer. This isn't a 101 course. This is graduate work in marketing. Your real estate professional lives in this world all the time. It is their bread and butter. This is where the "rubber meets the road" in getting your home sold quickly and for top dollar.
Analyzing the benefits of location, and marketing them to buyers will be extremely important. Are you near a shopping mall? Marketing the convenience of "three minutes to 70 major stores" will appeal to a significant number of buyers with busy lifestyles.
If a home is rural, with natural beauty and views, there is a very well-defined group of buyers, as well as very specific venues in which to reach them with marketing. The quality of photography and selection of photo locations will be very important for this home. Headlines might read more like "Hike with the animals in your backyard."
If the schools are top notch, then market that fact. We're targeting the young family with a concern for their children's quality of education. An even greater benefit is a short walk to elementary, middle or high schools.
Though many of the positive aspects of a home's location are readily apparent, many are not. The trick is to use market experience and real estate trends knowledge to ferret out all the positives. But it isn't just knowing what they are.
Determine the positive aspects of location.
- Match them to target buyer characteristics and personalities.
- Develop marketing that targets the right prospects with the right benefits for them.
- Match the marketing with the appropriate media.
Talk to your local real estate professional about what is happening in real estate nationally and locally, particularly as regards buyer preferences for location. This is how you can "accentuate the positive" for your home in the marketplace.