Five Things I Learned About Real Estate From Reality TV

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I recently went on a bit of a bender. Don't worry, I'm okay — mine was a fairly mild case. I only lost 5+ hours of my weekend, and I came out the other side a little wiser about the real estate game.

My particular weakness, you see, is fantasizing about real estate, and on this particular day, a show called Million Dollar Listing really set off my addiction trigger. As a new New Yorker, I just couldn't resist seeing how some of my fellow city-dwellers were living (or at least those with serious cash). Sure, it's a little cheesy and they really ramp up the drama, but they feature some stunning interiors and some (probably partially) real negotiations. Here's what I came away with.

  1. Staging is smart— You want to make it easy for someone to imagine living in your house, so anything you can do to further that goal will increase the market for your property. If that means changing your office to a bedroom to target families or replacing older kitchen appliances with high-end models to show off a big kitchen then, for gosh sakes, do it! Money spent on professional staging is never wasted and will most likely pay for itself (and more) with a quicker and higher offer.
  2. Photos should be flawless— They are the first impression to your buyer and, if they're bad, the only impression you'll get to make. Again, the cost of a professional real estate photographer will come back many times over. It's absolutely worth it to have someone who knows how to flatter your home and draw buyers in. TV tip: Before snapping away, the photographer mopped the outdoor cement paths so they looked uniform in color and deeper in tone.
  3. Connections are key— Don't count out anyone in your quest to sell.
    Everyone has a network of friends/colleagues/family that reaches far beyond the scope you've targeted in your sale; you never know who will bring you a buyer. TV tip: throwing a fabulous party in your home while it's on the market will show it off to people who might not have come to an open house.
  4. Confidence is crucial— Why would someone want to buy your home if you don't think it's fantastic? Create demand and value by implying scarcity (i.e. "This won't be on the market long."). That can sound like a line from a real estate agent, but if you truly believe your home will be easy to sell, that attitude will come through in your interactions and it really will be.
  5. Know when to shut up— This is more of a life skill actually, but it certainly applies to a real estate negotiation. If you don't rush to say what you think they're thinking, you may be surprised by what actually comes out. Employ some of that confidence and ride out the uncomfortable silence and you'll surely wind up with a great deal.
Have any real estate wisdom to share? Let us know in the comments...


(Image: Leah's Lovely Garden)


Re-edited from a post originally published 5/5/2013 —JH

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