Creating Advantages—Curb Appeal
With any business, the key to success is being able to create advantages for yourself and the product you sell. Selling real estate is no different. Every agency, agent and broker is looking for an edge in the competitive marketplace. Creating a winning formula depends on producing as many marketing advantages as possible.
For home buyers this usually means curb appeal. How does the property present itself and what are the buyer’s first impressions? A fresh coat of paint is a good place to start, but what else can get a buyer’s attention and begin building all-important confidence in the seller, agent and property that’s for sale?
What about commissioning a boundary survey? Most agents or sellers will order a survey when questions arise about property line locations. But how could a survey help before questions come up? Could a survey influence first impressions or curb appeal and help sell a property? Let’s take a look.
A boundary survey starts by obtaining the current owner’s grant deed which includes a written legal description of where their property lies on the ground in the real world. A licensed land surveyor then interprets the legal language, using it to form the basis of a field survey where property markers and other legal evidence are located and measured. From the results of the field survey, property corner locations are calculated and monuments set if necessary. A map is then produced from the results of the survey and filed with the appropriate governing agency, thus providing a permanent and legal public record.
With the survey completed, property lines and corner monuments can now be marked. This presents a prime opportunity to “dress up” a property and add to its “staging” for show and sale. The surveyor can be instructed to place brightly painted and flagged stakes at all corner locations. Property lines can also be staked and flagged if any areas of confusion exist or if there are questions about encroachments with neighboring parcels.
Now a positive first impression is made when a potential buyer rolls up and sees bright-colored stakes marking the property. The agent can represent the bounds of the property with 100% confidence and explain that a proper survey was done. The buyer can see exactly what they’re purchasing. Seeing fresh, bright-colored stakes is a huge confidence-builder and signals that the agent is serious, can be trusted and will stand behind what they are selling.
By explaining the value of a survey, the agent has a selling point. They can tell the buyer that the survey eliminated any potential title defects or remaining questions about property line locations. With stakes marking corner monuments and a fresh survey in hand, a new owner will likely never have to bear the cost, burden or possible adverse outcome of a survey for as long as they own the property. That adds value and peace of mind if they decide to purchase.
In effect, a survey can be considered an upgrade and can be added as a selling point to all marketing collateral. Photos of bright-colored stakes tell a story and stimulate questions and answers. Buying a home or parcel of land is often the single biggest purchase a person or couple will make in their lives. Anything that eases a buyer’s concern is a win for the seller/agent and is another example of creating a competitive advantage to get a property sold. Owner’s will be surprised to learn that the cost of a survey is often less than the cost of even minor structural or superficial upgrades and is a small price to pay for a sound first impression that adds bottom-line value.
Creating Advantages—Negotiating Strength
An agent’s or broker’s efforts in preparing a property to show are not just for curb appeal, they also serve to build a solid foundation from which to negotiate when the offers come. A fresh survey, stakes and recorded map have added value to the property and increased buyer confidence in the people they are negotiating with.
By preforming a survey before sitting down at the negotiating table, you have demonstrated credibility and a commitment to full disclosure. There will be no contingency on a survey. Any possible title defects have been discovered and remedied before they can be used as negotiation tools to drive the price down.
It’s like having a certified home inspection report for the property’s boundary. With no surprises waiting, you can negotiate with confidence knowing the sale won’t fall through when a surveyor acting for the purchaser spots a defect and the purchaser is scared off. Forewarned is forearmed and knowing your home’s detractions as well as its selling points ahead of time can add thousands of dollars to the bottom line.
Creating Advantages—Surveyors, Part of Your Team
Create an advantage by having a licensed land surveyor on your real estate sales and marketing team. Before a property is listed, have a surveyor review the grant deed and any survey records on file. Agents can then be alerted to areas of concern such as the existence of easements, use restrictions and other ambiguities or encumbrances that may impact the property’s value and the seller’s liability. Sometimes a survey isn’t necessary and they will tell you that too. The bottom line is: surveyors are invaluable partners that will help make your selling experience a safe and profitable one.