Identify your listing’s key features and target the right buyer.
There’s a certain amount of emotion that influences a potential buyer’s connection with a home. As Dennis Denuto would say, “it’s the vibe of the thing.” He’s not wrong. Buyers are drawn to the ‘feel’ of a place; the ambiance; the way they see themselves in each space – lazing by the Travertine edged magnesium pool, drifting away in the study, or going full MasterChef in the Corian draped island kitchen. These are the things that make a man’s home his castle, so to speak.
But before these potential buyers even make it to an inspection, they need to have been convinced that this might well be everything they need in a home. The emotional only comes into play after the rational has been satisfied.
Because of the volume of listings available to prospective homeowners in the digital age, people often have a checklist – a sort of screen – to really get to what they want, fast. As agents then, it’s important to identify the home’s best features and who will be looking for them, so that they can really shine in the marketing.
So who are you talking to and what are they looking for?
Buyers are categorised according to the stage of life they’re moving through. Sure, it’s unwise to assume every buyer of the same age or in the same property-seeking category is looking for exactly the same thing, but understanding some of the benefits they may get from a potential new home could be invaluable when it comes to generating clicks, increasing group numbers at opens, and ultimately creating more competition for the sale. We take a look at the main buyer groups here and outline some of their wants and needs.
Price is key for anyone looking to enter the market for the first time. As a young person (the average first home buyer is typically in their early 30s), it can be tough to both save for a deposit and convince the bank to give you a loan. That’s why the government provides assistance for first home buyers. In New South Wales there are concessions or exemptions available for purchases of new homes valued up to $750,000 and existing homes up to $800,000. Naturally, apartments and townhouses, particularly in metro centres are the most popular market entry points as they usually fall into these price brackets.
But while affordability talks to first time buyers’ heads, their hearts are won on lifestyle. Most first homebuyers fall into the DINK category – Dual Income, No Kids. These young professional couples may find great appeal in a home’s proximity to their work, the atmosphere of the local shopping village or the quality of the nearby coffee spots.
There are two main things that investors will be looking for – a great location and a low maintenance property. The more in-demand the area is that they’re considering, the higher the potential rental return. Areas near universities or major business precincts are always going to be highly sought-after, while proximity to daily amenities, beaches, schools and public transport are also significant. If it’s an interstate investment, the ease of access for a landlord may be important too.
Everyone wants a home that’s easy to look after, but for investors, less maintenance equates to more peace of mind. In this respect, strata properties are far more popular, especially apartments, where the level of maintenance required is much lower than that a freestanding house.
Investment doesn’t have to be a property’s sole attraction though. The chance to earn passive income could be a great additional benefit for savvy purchasers. Detached studios or granny flats are a relatively simple way to generate rental returns, while separate entrances and self-contained spaces within larger residences also offer possibilities for dual living.
Space! It’s all about space for families. Space for the kids to play. Space to store the growing collections of toys and sports equipment. And space for the parents to escape to. Multiple living areas are key here, so everyone can have their own place to relax. Multiple bedrooms are an obvious must, though a study or a separated master suite can add further appeal. And while digital downtime is the norm for kids of the millennial generation, don’t underestimate the value of a large, level yard or a pool to offset screen time.
Just as important is the home’s location. Families are generally looking for longer term prospects, so the local area’s amenities, particularly education facilities, are paramount. Sydney’s property hotspots are being increasingly determined by the quality of the local public schools – it’s not uncommon for people to buy into an area purely to secure a place for their kids on the roll at a high performing school.
Retirees. Empty nesters. Downsizers. However you want to define them, they are another active segment of the market, with their own specific property needs, which more often than not, revolve around ease of living. These are the people who have already done the hard yards in life. They’ve worked for decades. They’ve raised families. They’ll tell you all about the changes they’ve seen in the local neighbourhood since they moved in. But now it’s a change of pace they’re looking for.
Ease of living can refer to a number of things though, whether it’s the layout of a home or its convenience to important amenities. Features like a single storey floorplan, level entry from the street, or lift access within an apartment block can all make a big difference, as well as the general ease of property care. Strata titled homes are popular among downsizers as much for the sense of community as for the lower maintenance requirements. Making an exception for avid green thumbs, smaller or non-existent gardens and lawns may be high on the list of desirables.
Lifestyle is the other key proposition for downsizers – easy access to the beach, the local club or a peaceful park can really accommodate the change of pace they’re seeking. Having daily conveniences like shops, bakeries, grocers and newsagents within walking distance is also a big plus. For properties targeted towards older generations, it may be useful to highlight a home’s proximity to health facilities, including medical centres, pharmacies and hospitals, though it’s not always advisable to have this front and centre in the marketing due to the negative connotations.
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