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June 14, 2017 Blog

Selling Your Home: How to Create a Bidding War

Posted on June 14, 2017


Stella was in her late fifties, single, and barely making ends meet. When she approached us to sell her home, she was afraid that the one asset she had—her home—would go into foreclosure because she couldn’t pay the property taxes.


Luckily, Stella approached us two months before the spring real estate cycle began so we had time to strategize. (Ideally, we like to start working with a seller two months before the house goes on the market for that reason.)


When we arrived at Stella’s home, we surveyed the space she’d lived in for 20 years with “buyer eyes,” that is, seeing the space as if we were the buyers, something we’ve learned to do as a result of working with hundreds of buyers. (Stella, like most sellers who have lived in a space a long time, had stopped seeing her space objectively.)


We created a punch list of tasks that would make the space attractive to buyers. We also considered what was currently on the market and what was selling quickly to come up with a figure. (Often, as the sales process progresses, we can also identify a buyer’s hidden agenda, such as a need to be located near family.)


The punch list we provided Stella included:

  • What personal belongings to pack up
  • What furniture to remove
  • What furnishings to add, such as a bright-colored rug in the entryway
  • How to strategically place the furniture
  • What specific details to clean/upgrade, such as doorknobs
  • What walls to paint, including a discussion on colors
  • How to repurpose the rooms, for instance, move the bedroom to the opposite end of house, move the dining room into the former bedroom, turn the basement into a music room (Stella was a musician), etc.

Stella implemented all our suggestions. She also worked with our professional stager who stayed within Stella’s limited budget. (Stella only had to purchase a new shower curtain and some plants!)


When the home was ready, it looked like a photograph from an interior design magazine. We knew then that a bidding war would result.


And it did.


On Day 1, we listed the property and immediately got a cash buyer.


On Day 5, we had 20 serious, pre-qualified buyers view the home during an open house.


On Day 7, we had 5 competing bids; we selected one and got 5% over the asking price.


To protect our clients’ privacy, anecdotes shared are based on true stories; however, names and specifics have been changed and/or combined into composites. 


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