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  • Craig Holland

Positivizing Negatives to Great Effect

Updated: Mar 21, 2021

We recently listed and quickly sold a 3570 sf custom home in Temecula Wine Country; that is, Tamra the Realtor and me the marketing wizard. The house had a lot of positives, namely its recent construction and modern styling and flair throughout, but it also came with a few glaring negatives. The first of which was the backyard, which wasn't. Instead of a thoughtfully designed and well manicured plot of land, it was a big fat slab of raw dirt. Not what you would typically expect from a home listing for top dollar.

An abundance of dirt tied to a high end custom home can prove the ultimate letdown for turnkey hunters. And dirt at the foot of a world class view equals eyesore, especially when your clients work so feverishly to get all the interior staging just right. On the other hand, having a luxurious landscape to complement a heavenly interior nearly always makes for an ethereal and life enhancing experience. Which is exactly what you want when showing a high end custom home. In this instance, we were working with only the second part of that equation. Just in case we didn't make our point, an unfinished yard attached to a regal estate can be like dousing a nice cozy, warm fire with a cold, wet, mildewy blanket.

The second and even greater negative was--if you haven't already guessed--more dirt. To get to the house you had to travail nearly a mile of dirt road. I say travail instead of travel because that's exactly what you do on a bumpy and dusty, sometimes muddy, dirt road. To be clear, most people, if not all, don't sit around fantasizing about a daily off-roading commute to their million and a half dollar dream home, then retiring to the backyard to kick up feet on a patio surrounded by more dirt. But this is exactly what we were dealing with.

How then did we address these two issues to great effect? Did we try to hide them, ignore them, or just plain avoid them? Not at all. Instead, we opted to address them up front and head on, like a bull before a red cape. "The back yard was purposely left as is," Tamra would say with her trademark smile, "to allow the new owner to add the final flourish to the masterpiece. Whether an infinity pool or a fire pit or a hedge or a row of palm trees or all of the above, is the choice and special privilege of the fortunate buyer." She would then ask what they would do with this specific backyard to get their creative juices churning. As for the road, Tamra would simply ask, "What is five minutes of daily discomfort compared to a lifetime of bliss you will enjoy in this amazing sanctuary?"

Regarding both of these rather large obstacles, these unsavory negatives, in most instances the interested parties would become much more engaged and begin imagining the possibilities and ultimate outcome of their own unique vision. Consequently, the house received multiple offers and sold for near asking price in a couple of months--to a single woman no less. To put it into further context, the house had been previously listed with another agent for over a year before we acquired the listing. The agent had only managed to garner 15 showings and no offers in that entire time. Hmm, I wonder why.

In real estate sales it is always best to fix or remove most negatives prior to listing. For those that inevitably remain, think how you can positivize them to great effect. By igniting a spark of possibility in a prospective buyer makes their leap to probability an easy one. It also makes the road to sold much smoother. On this road everyone wins: buyer, seller, and agent.

Doing Real Estate Smarter

Call Tamra at 714.742.7889 to see how we can help you fulfill your real estate ambitions.


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