There is no denying that the words “FIRE SALE!” and “CHEAP!” and “PRICES SLASHED!” and “GOING OUT OF BUSINESS!” have long been used to spur sales. Bargain hunters of all stripes are being asked to take a second look wherever those attention-snagging phrases are promoted. When it comes to selling Herndon homes, a For Sale by Owner sign out front can seem to be a promise of an out-of-the-ordinary value being offered—a marketing tactic meant to rope in deal-hungry prospective buyers.
But there’s a downside that anyone contemplating selling their Herndon home would do well to consider. Those FSBO signs may carry some unwanted baggage.
The fact is, discounting is most effective when the item being pitched is a premium product. If a Tesla dealer decides to advertise a 24-Hour Everything Must Go Blowout Sale, it will get a lot more double-takes than would the same pitch at a Nissan Versa showroom. Discount Sales and markdowns can help marketing volume, but they don’t do much to bolster a product’s reputation. When it comes to selling Herndon homes, that unintended side effect can be counterproductive.
When a homeowner decides to plant one of those “FOR SALE BY OWNER” signs in the front yard, even though the quality of the Herndon home being offered might be the same as it would be if represented by a licensed Herndon real estate agent, there is a cut-rate subtext. Since something like 88% of homes are sold with the help of a professional, there can’t help but be an unspoken question about what the seller hopes to accomplish by going it alone.
What’s to be gained by doing all the extra work?
There is only one likely answer: saving money! It may not be spelled out, but most buyers expect that they will benefit: it’s the familiar “SALE!” incentive. But there can’t help being another message that comes along for the ride: “something about this property might need a little extra help...”
Fair or not—and accurate or not—when anything goes on sale, the best any shopper hopes for is that the product being offered is equal in quality to one that’s not on sale. It’s never believable that the quality could be superior; that wouldn’t make sense. Not surprisingly, in 2015 the national average price paid for a FSBO home was 23% lower than what a typical professionally assisted home sale brought. It’s hard to avoid concluding that the subtle cues and subtext messages that go with those FSBO signs must not be so subtle, after all.
When my professionally-designed “For Sale” sign goes up in front of a Herndon client’s home, its subtext is unmistakable: “here is a quality offering.” If you plan to be selling your Herndon home this year, I hope you’ll decide to have one of those out front!
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