Blog

Selling Your Home After Harvey

temp-post-image

I was in a restaurant and I could not help but overhear a conversation between two men discussing how difficult it was to sell one of the gentleman’s home after Harvey. Especially since his home had flooded. He had done everything in his opinion right. Remodeled the home to perfection, pictures, and a great marketing plan. Unfortunately, this clearly was not enough.

When I heard this, my heart went out to him. I put myself in his shoes. I am sure that after the devastation that has affected his home, all he wants is to start over. That is hard when one’s home is still on the market.

Regrettably, his story is not an isolated incident. Right now, buyers can afford to be selective. What does one do if they want to sell their home now?

To all my sellers out this is time to put your marketing cap on. What are some strategies that you can employ, to compel a buyer to choose your home?

Particularly, if your home flooded since buyers are avoiding these homes right now. I still believe that you can position yourself in front of these buyers despite that and here is how.

MOLD, MOLD, MOLD
So, the first thing I would suggest is to get a hold of a reputable mold assessment company. Even if you believe your home did not get any mold you need to place yourself in the buyer’s shoes. They want peace of mind.

If your home flooded a buyer wants to know that they are buying a home that will not be presenting them health problems in the future.

So how does this work? In the state of Texas, there are third-party inspectors that examine homes expressly for mold. These individuals are the ones who will tell you if you need mold remediation or not.

If your inspector tells you they will remove the mold themselves, run for the hills. Mold inspectors should always work independently of remediation companies. So do not fall for this. The cost for this is between $200-$600.

When the inspector arrives they will take air samples and open up walls to assess for mold depending on the severity. If you don’t have anything great. The documentation can be used to market your home so that buyers know that you have done your due diligence.

On the other hand, if the inspector informs you that remediation is needed then you will need to do that. This is an expensive process. This can cost anywhere for $500-30,0000 or more depending on the damage.

When the work is completed the inspector will come again to ensure that all the mold was removed and you will receive a certificate, informing buyers that your home is free from mold.

OFFER TO PAY ONE YEARS FLOOD INSURANCE
Instead of just contributing to closing cost why not lower the percentage that you will contribute and offer to pay one year’s flood insurance. Flood insurance in low to moderate flood zones average about $700 per year, so it is highly affordable.

If your home flooded after Hurricane Harvey, I believe this is imperative to sell your home. Buyers are looking for homes that did not flood. In order to make your home a contender. You need to give them some assurance.

Flood insurance can be rather affordable if you are not in a high-risk flood zone. The reality is more than twenty percent of the claims that FEMA receives come from properties that are outside high-risk flood zones. Floods can happen anywhere, we learned that hard truth this year in the United States.

The federal government subsidizes flood insurance so that it is affordable for the majority of areas. So, for an extra 400-2500$, you can give your buyer peace of mind that their investment will be safe from costly repairs during the life of their mortgage.

If you do a little homework beforehand you can see whether or not your community participates in NFIP Community Rating System. This is a voluntary incentive program that promotes communities contributing to the management of flood waters thereby decreasing insurance premiums for those homeowners that choose to participate.

MAKING A COMPELLING STORY THAT BUYERS SIMPLY CANNOT REFUSE
I am a huge advocate of home staging. Too many homeowners put their homes on the market without thinking of how to brand their home if they desire a premium price.

Branding protects your home from being viewed as a simple commodity, let me explain this. Commodities are determined not by whom or how they were made but by the demand of the market as a whole.

Oil, for instance, a commodity that is central to the Houston economy. A company like Shell can’t tell the people purchasing their oil that, “hey I’m Shell our oil comes from the choicest oil fields, we want more money than the market is willing to bear!” That is crazy talk right.

Now on the other hand branding builds a reputation and establishes in the consumer's mind that there is more value than what the market dictates. It is this perception that will often persuade buyers to pay a premium price for your home.

Branding achieves this by convincing a buyer that they are receiving more value by paying a higher cost. This is what home staging does in my opinion, it elevates your home from a commodity to a brand. You are convincing the buyer that your home deserves a more premium price than homeowners who choose not to engage in this.

This, of course, is a balance. The reality is home staging is not a magical wand. At the end of the day, the market will dictate what a buyer is willing to buy or perceive as valuable.

This is where a great agent comes in. An agent should be a “branding connoisseur” and know what that delicate balance is. So that the price as well as the look of the home, put you in a position to get the most money in your pocket. By making a compelling story to your buyers that they simply cannot refuse.

A MARKETING PLAN THAT HAS INTERNATIONAL REACH
The internet has changed the way we communicate forever. We are no longer just bound to those who are in our community. If you don’t believe me how many of your Facebook friends are from out of the state or the country?

This simply did not exist fifteen years ago. So, by increasing your pool of buyers by enticing internationals, this will help to decrease the stigma that your home flooded in that past.

One of the most effective ways to market to foreigners, in my opinion, is through social media platforms like Facebook. These platforms let marketers make targeted ads that allow you to specify such things such as gender, job description, and purchasing habits. All of this can ensure that your home is seen outside of the United States. Particularly, if the marketing agenda is set up to capture the attention of buyers who might be making a move or investing in property in the United States.

Adding video to the marketing campaign makes an even more convincing story. Videos that show your home in the best light, is vital for international clients. Many international clients will not have a chance to see the home on sight before deciding to buy.

This allows international buyers to have as much information as possible so that buying your property is an easier process. Technology has made it entirely possible for foreigners to buy a home and sign paperwork without even being in the country.

Asking your agent what plans they have to market to international clients is a worthwhile question to ask. This ensures that you have the best chance to sell your home as quickly as possible.

Harvey has taught us a lot I think as Houstonians. It has changed the city forever. As for the effects of Harvey on the real estate market that will continue to play itself out as we seek to rebuild.

To the gentleman in the restaurant, I know it is stressful selling your home after this and my heart goes out to you my friend. As you make your plans to sell your home. It easy to forget, this simple irrefutable truth.

You got through the worst natural disaster in the history of our city and yet you are still standing. That alone is enough to be eternally grateful for, whether your home sells or not.