Selling for Top Dollar in Takoma Park, Maryland

When my neighbors asked me to list their family home of 20 years, I was both sad to learn they would be moving away and honored to be asked to help them sell their home for top dollar. 

The Challenge: 

The catch? In my neighborhood many of the homes look the same but about one in three have been dramatically expanded. NONE of the homes with large additions have sold in recent years, so when I put this one—with a large addition built in 2004—on the market, I would be setting the value for homes with these additions in my neighborhood. The pressure was on! 

Not only that but like so many other homes in Takoma Park, this home had its quirks. Some of the challenges I was aware of included street parking, steep steps to get to the front door, and a giant (beautiful!) tree overhanging the home. While the home was in great condition it was also well loved and needed cosmetic updating throughout. On top of all of this, spiking interest rates were slowing down the market. 

The Solution

After presenting my plan to my clients, they agreed to everything—giving me carte blanche to make the updates and prepare the marketing that we thought would best help their home to sell. 

The plan was based on one critical assumption about our target buyer: I believed that the person who would buy this home would appreciate that the major addition was already done and no major renovations were needed. As a result, we made cosmetic updates designed to help make the home as turn-key as possible. 

I had almost every surface in the home painted in pleasing, neutral colors to help show off the space. I updated almost all of the light fixtures on the main level and in the bedrooms. (See our soapbox on the importance of light fixtures here.) Most importantly, I staged the home. Working closely with my stager, we positioned furniture throughout the home in ways that showed numerous options for how the rooms could be used. We strategically placed modern, neutral pieces throughout, so that future buyers could see themselves in the space. 

Once the home was ready, we launched my marking plan. First, we developed collateral including extensive professional photography, floorplans, and videography. Once we had collateral, we launched the home as Coming Soon on the MLS (meaning we could promote it, but tours were not yet available). Even though the home was ready and staged, we held the home in Coming Soon status for more than a week in order to promote it on social media, send a postcard to the neighborhood, and reach out personally to real estate agents who have buyers in the area—all intended to create a buzz around the home and stimulate a sense of urgency in the market where there wouldn’t have been one due to the rising interest rates. 

Finally, I knew we had to price this home just right. Even with all of the cosmetic updates we had made and the marketing outreach we were doing, we couldn’t predict where interest rates would go while the home was on the market. In general, I hate price drops, so I felt I had one shot at getting this right. I analyzed past sales, personally visited other properties on the market, and believed that the value for this home was probably around $975,000. With that said, if interest rates rose, which was happening daily, the home value could drop to $925,000-$950,000 in a week or so. In addition to the market volatility, I saw other homes in the neighborhood either get listed low and sell right away in multiples, or get listed even $10k higher than their likely market value and sit for months on the market. After discussing the pricing at length with my clients I recommended pricing the home at $925k, which I acknowledged was less than I thought the current market value was, but which I hoped would help us to get through the volatility of the market and maybe even result in multiple offers. 

The Results:

My clients (and I) were THRILLED with the results of all of this hard work and consideration. 

About 40 people walked through the open house on the first evening the home was on the market and about 20 more checked out the open house over the weekend. This is in addition to the numerous private showings scheduled by buyers agents.

My sellers received an offer on the first day the house went on the market and we subsequently set an offer deadline to indicate to buyers that they should come in with their best and final offer.

The winning offer was $85k over our list price at $1,010,000 with no contingencies. My clients were thrilled to make this money on their home of 20 years. The most exciting thing for me was to have the opportunity to set the standard in value for homes with similar additions in my neighborhood. Now, when other neighbors look to sell their homes, this home will set the example of success to which they all look.

Are you thinking of selling your home? We’d be happy to set up a no-strings-attached meeting to walk through your home and discuss how we could best showcase its assets.

Work with Katie Geffken

Katie is founder and partner agent at Collective Property Consultants. A marketing strategist and local business owner turned Realtor®, Katie has an entrepreneurial spirit and loves to make a positive impact in people’s lives through her work.