Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Ice Cream and Real Estate

I've been looking over my blog stats as part of my New Year's resolution to reorganize and fine-tune what I do. It seems that my post comparing selling ice cream with selling your home is the most popular post by far.  Dunno if there's a whole lotta people Googling for pictures of ice cream or what, but I'll repost it here for everybody's enjoyment. They are really purty pictures of ice cream, after all.


Most home sellers these days in the Valley are savvy enough to realize there's a lot of competition out there. They know they've got to spruce up, clean up, organize, and stage their house so it stands out from the competition. The process of doing this is a whole other post that I'll get to in the coming days.

Here, today, I want to talk about my Ice Cream Analogy. I whip this one out when I'm talking to sellers who are resistant to the idea of painting, carpeting, or snazzing up counter tops. The usual refrain I hear is, "We don't want to waste money updating that when the buyer might not like the color or style anyway. Why bother? Just let them do it once they move in."

Folks, that mind set is a cop-out. Why do I say that so bluntly? Here's where the ice cream comes in.

(vanilla cone image courtesy of Stock Exchange user kovik; platter of ice cream image courtesy of Stock Exchange user yron_db)

Image ID 845894 by user kovik

Let's imagine you & your neighbor both stand in your front yards offering free ice cream. Your neighbor offers vanilla ice cream. You're offering a hot mess of an ice cream sundae that includes everything but the kitchen sink.

Image ID 923654 by user yron db

Whose ice cream offering do you think will get more takers?

Vanilla! More folks will choose the vanilla ice cream, every time, no matter how yummy the almond nut crunch looks and tastes. Why? You can dress up a vanilla scoop any way you like. Add chocolate sauce, rainbow jimmies, chopped peanuts, Oreo cookies, strawberry topping or anything else to make it all yours. But the over-full platter of ice cream sundae is an option which is hard to un-do. You can't easily turn that confection into anything else. It would take time, patience and some creativity.

Time, patience and creativity are qualities most buyers are lacking or are unwilling to exercise, for a variety of reasons. Today more than ever, buyers want a blank canvas that they can just spend a little money & effort personalizing. Most are turned off by a home that needs a lot of "un-doing" before they can get to the personalizing stage.

Need to sell? Vanilla-ize your digs. It's called "Real Estate Beige" for a reason - it sells real estate.

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