Last month, I started marketing a property in District Heights. It’s a 3 bedroom, 3.5 bath, 10 year old townhome. The house shows very nicely, with an updated kitchen, a beautifully finished basement and a pretty nice deck. The seller chose $299,000 as the sales price, which was on the high side of the comparable sales, but not above what other properties have sold for. Within 5 days, we had three offers.

Another property came on the market within a couple of days of mine in the same subdivision. It is also in very nice condition. Instead of a full bath in the master bedroom, it only has a half bath. My listing has a bay window in the kitchen and this one doesn’t. Other than that, there is very little difference between the two properties. That one came on the market only $1000 above my listing – at $300,000.

It is still on the market, the price has been reduced — no offers have been received. The difference? It’s in that hard-to-define “wow” factor. The owner of my listing did a lot of de-cluttering before showings started and has worked hard to make the house look like a home, but with a sort of model-home flair. Lots of nice decorator touches. I guess the best way to describe it is this way — it looks like the home we wish we lived in, not the way we actually live.

So, here are the two houses. One nice but average — nothing special. Still on the market. The other with definite “wow” and under contract quickly and at a good price.

Average doesn’t sell in today’s market. There’s just too much competition. You have to make your house stand out to attract buyers. You can make it stand out with excellent condition and some flair or you can make it stand out by a below market price. Either will make the phone ring.

© 2007 Susan Pruden.

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