OUR CONDO WON’T SELL; WHY? SHE SAYS IT’S BEEN THREE MONTHS, ONE LOWBALL OFFER, BUT STILL NO SALE
November 7, 2022, by Jessica
OUR CONDO WON’T SELL!
“It’s been over three months since
we put our condo on the market.
We got only one offer, and it was an insult!
It was $55,000 less than the asking price.
We rejected it!
The real estate market has been booming lately!
Our unit is in one of Chicago’s most walkable
and bikeable neighborhoods.
Plus, it offers views of the city and overlooks
Lincoln Park. We’ve installed new hardwood floors
throughout the place. You’d think all those things
would be appealing to buyers.
Is it because of the pandemic? People are still hesitant
to come out and view properties in person – or is it because there
aren’t that many people currently moving to Chicago?
Who knows? At this point, we’ve become frustrated with the whole process. Our friends keep
suggesting we drop our asking price, but we’re unsure if we want to do that. We’ve already
invested so much money into updating the place, and we don’t want to end up taking a loss.
Although we were hoping to get a few more “nibbles” before throwing in the towel, it’s not
like we’re in a hurry to sell. We love our condo, so we’ll continue to enjoy the panoramic views
until the right buyer comes along. For the life of me, I don’t understand why our condo won’t sell!”
HERE’S THE BACKSTORY
The one time I decide to sit alone on a park bench at the Lincoln Park Conservatory to soak
in the serene, scenic view of greenery and colorful flowers without the company of reading materials
or my headphones playing my favorite tunes, a stranger appears before me, and suddenly I’m engaged
in that one-sided conversation above.
I didn’t know the lady in the park, but what she needed from me at that moment was to listen, so I did.
When she finished venting, we laughed nervously, and then she thanked me for listening before quickly walking away.
Now, had I been able to speak to her, I would have said, I understand and can relate to your frustration
with the lack of buyer interest in your unit, and for that, I’m sorry! Before you “throw in the towel,” invest some
time into finding out why your condo won’t sell.
My heart ached for that lady in the park that day. It was a painful reminder of many sellers fought and lost unnecessary evil. Still, if I got a dime every time I heard a seller say they’ll happily wait for the right buyer to magically come along without doing anything to make that happen, I’d be a gazillionaire.
Instead, I will tell you how to get the right buyers to come directly to your condo. In fact, when the technique is done correctly, it can get you over the asking price and drastically reduce the market time on your unit.
HOW’S YOUR WORK ETHIC?
I ask that question because this technique requires that you have a strong one, especially since the most crucial step sellers often overlook is PREPARATION which contains observation and dedication. If you attempt one without the other, your condo won’t sell!
Of course, there are exceptions to this rule; after all, condos were selling way over their value at one point with no effort from sellers, but that’s extremely rare and unsustainable. According to Ross Brawn, Managing Director of Motor Sport for Formula One, “the enemy of stability can be complacency.”
So now that we’re back to reality, condos are sitting on the market longer. Some people blame the increase in interest rates, but that’s not the case for every buyer. In my experience, the real culprit is the lack of preparation, so let’s talk about that!
HAVE YOU DONE THE RUDIMENTARY PREPARATIONS, SUCH AS
A professional appraiser appraised your property? An appraisal is an unbiased assessment of your property’s value. It’s an essential report to have when selling your condo because it gives valuable sales information on what properties like yours are selling for in your neighborhood and ensures that you will be pricing it competitively.
A professional property inspection? A professional inspector visually examines your property and its mechanical systems and then gives you a report of his findings. Before placing your condo on the market, this inspection is essential because it tells you the repairs needed and the items to replace.
Have you considered employing the talents of a professional stager or interior decorator? Regarding interior design, the strategic placement of furniture can create the illusion of more space and make a room appear more open, which is a significant selling point for condos.
HAVE YOU HEARD THE EXPRESSION – “THE DEVIL IS IN THE DETAILS?”
A ton of work goes into getting a condo ready to sell, and some of that work needs to be devoted to the details. The small things you deem insignificant are the ones buyers see, hear, smell, taste, touch, and then offer an emotional response to. That’s because the devil is in the details!
Later I’ll tell you about an experience I shared with a client that is the inspiration behind this article. First, I want to re-introduce you to some sensory organs you use daily but probably take for granted until they stop working.
I mentioned them earlier in this article: sight, sound, smell, taste, and touch. They are essential to our lives because they allow us to gather data from our environment and respond. Some examples of these applications are:
- The overwhelming sense of anticipation and joy of seeing an old friend.
- You’re walking alone at night when suddenly you hear footsteps behind you.
- The smell of freshly baked bread.
- The taste of a crispy bacon, mayo, lettuce, and tomato sandwich.
- The searing pain in your hand from touching a hot stove
WHICH ONE OF THE FIVE HUMAN SENSES COULD YOU DO WITHOUT?
- Did these illustrations make you “feel” a certain way?
- Did they prove the power of our sensory organs and their significant role in our decisions?
- How do the five human senses help sell/buy a condo?
You can find the answers to those questions in science. According to Zeiss .com, The essential sensory organ
is our eyes. We perceive up to eighty percent of all impressions through sight.
As far as sounds are concerned, we all have built-in limits to the volume or ‘loudness’ that we can tolerate.
This means that our hearing is the most sensitive and vulnerable to damage, and it allows us to discriminate
between sounds we perceive as “good” versus “bad.”
Imagine living without the sense of touch. You’d have no idea if you were touching a hot stove or a piece
of ice and, therefore, would need to utilize sight to know the difference. Life would be very challenging!
According to an article on Salon.com, The Science of Taste,
Taste and smell go hand in hand. For example, if you’re blindfolded and handed a grape Jolly Rancher,
someone pinches your nose and asks you to identify the flavor. At that point, most people can only tell
that it’s sweet. Once your nose is un-pinched, the full taste of the candy can travel to the brain, all due to smell.
The sense of smell is often overlooked and considered one of our most minor senses. However, I would argue
just the opposite. We often formulate our opinions of food, objects, people, and places based on smell.
Our ability to detect and recognize scents helps us navigate the room more quickly than if we had no awareness!
Okay, so now you’ve been re-introduced to the five senses. Funny how we pay no attention to them until
they’ve stopped working for us.
SCIENTISTS BELIEVE WE ARE ATTRACTED TO BEAUTIFUL THINGS BECAUSE
IT ENTERTAINS US AND STIMULATES OUR BRAIN
Geoffrey Miller, an evolutionary psychologist, studies why human beings are attracted to beautiful
things in nature and man-made. According to him:
“The mind makes very little sense as a Swiss army knife or a military command center.
It makes more sense as an entertainment system designed to stimulate other brains.”
So, we are literally entertaining our minds when we see and touch a beautiful object. Our emotional response
to something visually appealing is – pleasure!
I agree with his quote wholeheartedly, and my client’s behavior in the story below will certainly
add validation to his claims.
So here’s the story …
PHOTOS CAN TELL AN AWESOME VISUAL STORY
When my client and I saw the photos of a gorgeous downtown condo online, we were instantly enthralled!
The pictures showed off a luxurious lifestyle with views that stretched across some beautiful cityscapes –
it sounded like something special, so we went to check it out!
The building was extremely well maintained, with a beautiful lobby. There were also two full-time concierges,
a maintenance staff, and an onsite manager who all offered smiles as soon as our eyes met!
Although the property did not have as many amenities as my client would have liked, such as storage,
exercise room, swimming pool, and parking – she was still eager to see the unit.
Pro-tip for sellers:
When selling a condo in Chicago, a professional photographer will know how to showcase
and tell a visual story about your unit. Click here to see examples of professionally
photographed condos that draw in buyers. Which of these units would you want to see based on the pictures?
THE SAD TRUTH IS MOST PEOPLE ARE “NOSE BLIND” TO THE SMELLS OF THEIR HOME
Here’s where things went wrong. When I opened the door to the condo, we were “assaulted” by a strong smell
we could literally “taste!” The offensive stench made our eyes water, our noses runny, and penetrated
our clothes and hair!
My client was highly offended and disappointed, and I was extremely embarrassed! We left the building
without seeing the rest of the condo.
Odors can stem from anything: cooking, spoiled food, people, pets, smoking, dampness, or garbage,
to name a few. The best way to test for odors is to have someone who does not live in the condo
building do a “sniff” test and note any smells they encounter. Then it would help if you took
the appropriate action to eliminate the odor.
Pro-tip for sellers:
Because people react differently to smells (for example, those with asthma and COPD, to name a few),
I recommend that once the condo is cleaned, it has no scent.
SOME PEOPLE ARE TACTILE, AND IT’S THE ONLY WAY THEY CAN CONNECT
A tactile person connects with things and people through touch. For instance, fabric textures like
curtains, pillows, carpets, or hard surfaces like countertops and cabinets are things tactile people
find pleasant and exciting to feel.
The following condo my client saw was located in a neighboring building and had the same city views
as the previous unit. She was once again snatched in by the visual story she saw online. Only this time,
she wanted me to “sniff it out” first, … and of course, I did!
This sunny unit was nicely done and decorated with rich, colorful accessories. My client couldn’t stop
touching stuff. She ran her hands across the countertops and the cabinets and sank into the oversized
pillows on the floor even though there was a couch.
It felt like an oasis, making her feel at home immediately. She told me there was “inspiring” energy
in the condo. I’ve discovered that the sense of touch is a potent tool for regulating one’s mood and
relieving stress. Hmmm, who knew? The only drawback? The building didn’t have parking,
which was problematic for my client.
Pro-tip for sellers:
I can’t stress this enough but consider the assistance of a professional stager or interior decorator.
They will add texture, color, and scale and position furniture to maximize your space and make it more
inviting to buyers. Here are some examples of condos that are staged to enhance the buyer’s experience.
“DID YOU HEAR THAT?”
Sounds can be annoying, but they’re an important part of what makes up our world. Hearing allows us to discriminate between sounds perceived as “good” versus “bad.”
The last unit I showed my client was in a new building. It had all the amenities she wanted, plus her very own parking spot in a heated garage.
We eavesdropped on a few residents as we waited for the elevator and heard some concerns about noise issues that traveled throughout their condo. A meeting was scheduled to speak with the builder later that evening.
We kept that conversation in mind while looking at the unit, which was spectacular with its floor-to-ceiling windows, Lake Michigan views, and beautiful furnishings.
Then we heard voices coming from somewhere … it sounded like they were actually in the condo with us, but we were the only ones there … deal breaker!
Pro-tip for sellers:
I hope the builder found a solution to the noise. On the other hand, please address any issues associated with your condo immediately, so they don’t pile up.
It might not be such a bad idea to have a professional inspection and a professional appraisal on your unit before putting it on the market to ensure you don’t have any significant problems and leverage should there be an issue with the buyer’s appraisal.
POSITIVE ENERGY ATTRACTS OTHER POSITIVE ENERGY
Studies have shown that playing soft low music in the background for ambiance reduces stress levels and promotes relaxation.
You can create a stylish and serene environment by paying attention to energy flow. To create a calm
and inviting space, it is necessary to consider how light and air move through the condo.
Construction and décor can significantly impact energy flow, so selecting materials and furnishings
that promote positive energy is essential. A straightforward way to ensure positive energy in the home
is to flood it with natural sunlight and fresh air.
If you can’t open your windows, or artificial light is your only option, then make sure to choose light fixtures
that are bright and inviting. Additionally, indoor plants can help to purify the air and promote a sense of calm.
The unit she ultimately chose was in her price range, with most of her “must have” amenities, free of odors, had “inspiring energy,” was tactility pleasant, visually agreeable, and soundproof even though it lacked parking.
OBSERVATION AND RESEARCH WILL DRAW IN THE RIGHT BUYERS
As prep work continues on your condo, it’s time to start thinking about an effective target marketing strategy for your unit.
For some reason, most sellers believe that putting a “for sale” sign on their condo will magically bring in buyers! I wish that were the case, but the fact that your unit hasn’t sold after being on the market for over 10 days is a perfect indication that the method doesn’t work today!
Instead, take a more active approach by observing and doing some research to gather information on the needs and wants of condo buyers, then form a target audience so that you can implement a marketing plan.
According to a recent report, the number of condo sales in Chicago has reached a seven-year high. For example, ex-pats come to the city to work or go to school, people who live here already may be downgrading from a single-family home to the condo lifestyle, or someone who rents an apartment wants to become a condo owner – you get the picture.
It is through your research that you would know this information, and some of those people would most definitely fit into your target audience. All you have to do is let them know about your unit.
It’s important to know that you are not just selling your condo but also the neighborhood where your unit resides, and that’s why you have to be consciously aware of, as NBC’s Al Rocker says, “what’s happening in your neck of the woods.” This will help draw qualified buyers to your place.
Incidentally, condos are popular among many buyers, from retirees to young families. So, if you are targeting families with young children, you would want to highlight the nearby schools and parks in your marketing materials.
On the other hand, if you are hoping to attract retirees, you would want to focus on the condo’s amenities and proximity to local shops and restaurants. Okay, now that you’ve collected all the necessary data to target an audience, how do you reach them? I’ll share how to do that in this article because this one is already way too long.
WITHIN PREPARATIONS ARE OBSERVATION AND DEDICATION
Selling a condo in Chicago is not hard. It just takes a lot of preparation, and to target the right people, you have to observe what they need and want and then give it to them.
But before you can enjoy the fruits of your labor, you must be dedicated to your cause, and therein lies the problem for many sellers who often throw their hands up in frustration. Well, “Mama said there’ll be days like this, there’ll be days like this, mama said.” (Shout out to the Shirelles for that beautiful song)
Following the bandwagon effect to sell and market your condo will only put you in fierce competition with other sellers for the same unqualified buyers, and who has time for that? I understand firsthand how tough breaking tradition will be. One thing we can all agree on is that selling a condo is not complicated but can be a stressful situation.
There is absolutely no shame if you need to ask for help. I’ve assisted many sellers through this process numerous times with great success, and I can help you too. This is a no-obligation consultation and service
I provide to homeowners who are serious about selling their condos. You can call or text me at 312-600-8121 or click here to email me. I’ll get back to you within 24 hours.