May 22nd, 2017
You can often move a 3,000 square foot home into the divide between what a buyer says they want (especially when they emphatically tell you that they know exactly what they want) and what they really want. That gap grows wider once they start visiting prospective houses and seeing things they hadn't thought of, didn't know existed or didn't realize they could or couldn't live without.
Most buyers have a general idea of their necessary house features, neighborhood qualities, community amenities, etc. Maybe. But why risk ever-shifting priorities and desires - and prolonging the house hunt for you and your buyers - when you can help them establish a firm baseline and provide a value-added service that builds their confidence in you? That's where a "house hunter's hot list" comes in.
Like a food shopping list to buy a home
When you're preparing a new recipe, you write down all of the ingredients you need to buy at the store. New and even experienced house hunters can benefit from the same kind of list - something physical, visual and that they can use to establish their baseline "house ingredients." They can bring it with them as they "shop" to remind them of what they need, keep a record of what they want and check off what's missing or there in each house.
What are the ingredients?
When you're developing the list, tap into your own experience in and approach to showing a house and what buyers have told you. Think of each section as its own pyramid, from the top down - the "big idea" down to the smallest details. If you think the primary components are "community," "neighborhood" and "house," then set them at the top of their own category and break each one of them down to the individual "ingredients" that go into making them. For instance, "community" could include schools and shopping; "neighborhood," playgrounds and safe streets. "House" holds the most possibilities and would be ideally broken down into subsections of "interior" and "exterior" - from there, it's up to you.
Don't be afraid to throw everything in - including the kitchen sink. Clean energy and smart homes continue to gain followers, so add in solar panels, phone-app-controlled thermostats and WiFi-enabled neighborhoods - they also show that you are on top of the latest tech trends.
Designed to succeed
If you want your checklist to have the best response, you should have it professionally designed (unless you have the skills to do it yourself). Before you get the designing started, though, think about some of the features you want, outside of just the components and items. For example, next to each you could have a check box to indicate a must or nice to have. Also consider how you want to list items - alphabetically, by order of importance (based on your experience), etc.
Keep it graphically clean - too many photos, colors, clipart images will only distract and detract. Fonts should be readable and not competing - in other words, keep everything consistent and don't use 10 different fonts when one or two will do. And don't forget to brand it - after all, you want your buyers to associate this with you. These are things you should keep in mind as you work with a designer or do it yourself.
Do you want it to live on the web as well as in a handout? You have such options as a writeable .pdf or a live webpage that buyers can complete on their device of choice and print. If you are even more techno-savvy and motivated, there are websites you can use to develop your own phone app - imagine showing a home to your buyers as they follow along ticking things off on their phones.
The devil is in the details and the more time you spend thinking about what will make this tool most valuable to buyers will impact its value to you and your business.