Brenda Thompson Writes About Selling Unique Mountain Properties
Read my chapter about selling unique mountain properties. You’ll learn a bit about me and get some suggestions on how to sell your property.
I’ve never fit “the mold”, so why create a real estate firm that fits a mold? The idea of Special “Finds…” developed from my personal experiences as a buyer and seller before I became a real estate agent.
As a buyer, I wanted to own something different. I wanted to live in something unusual. I wanted a property where my unique personality would feel at home. Getting that point across to a typical agent was challenging. My agents are trained to help buyers recognize what type of property will fit best with their unique personalities!
As a seller, when it came time to sell one of my unusual properties, I knew I had to make the most of its uniqueness. Since I come from a long line of writers and poets, I decided to use poetry to describe my listings.
In 1995 my company was born. The concept is a true extension of my unusual personality. As former director of marketing for the New York Stock Exchange, I’ve combined my love for unusual properties, my marketing expertise, and my poetry, to create my company. Special “Finds…”… Properties of Unique Character for Those Choosing Something Out of the Ordinary.
Our agency is focused on marketing and selling unique mountain properties. A Special “Find…” is sometimes hard to define, but it is certainly not the mass-produced houses seen in the typical subdivision. Although many of our listings are luxury properties, a Special “Find…” doesn’t have to be expensive. It might be rare or hard to find and sometimes is weird or funky. A Special “Find…” can be unique because of its setting. It often has an unusual interior floor plan. Historic or antique houses are always Special “Finds…” as they’re not making any more of them.
We help homeowners learn about selling unique mountain properties. Our buyers literally come from around the globe.
Selling Unique Mountain Properties
If you own a unique house, consider yourself lucky! You have something to advertise that other properties may not have. Use your property’s uniqueness to make it stand out from the crowd. When selling an unusual property, recognize that there is value in having something that is one-of-a-kind. Make sure to feature all of the special characteristics in marketing the property and don’t waste time and money in trying to market to ordinary buyers who aren’t looking for something unique or unusual. I would encourage sellers to make sure their agent has a plan on how they will market to buyers who are seeking a unique property.
One of the first things sellers of unique properties want to know is: “How do I price my home?” Pricing unusual properties is not quite the same as pricing a property in a traditional neighborhood or subdivision where comparable sales can be found in close proximity. To find enough comparable sales to properly price a property, we often have to extend our search area quite a distance. With our focus on selling unique mountain properties, we catalog all unique listings in our market area and provide that as a resource for buyers through our SpecialFinds.com website. We monitor unique properties as they sell, and have a database of unique property sales we can use for pricing analyses. Sellers are advised to make sure their agent can demonstrate a professional approach to pricing the property, taking into consideration the unique characteristics, and the challenge of finding comparable sales.
When selling unique mountain properties a common mistake that sellers make is to insist on an unrealistically high listing price, believing that they are creating room for negotiations and that they can reduce the price later if the listing is not attracting buyers. Although it is difficult to properly establish a market price for a unique property, buyers are more educated than in the past and most of the time can sense that a property is priced well above a fair price. The most common result is a small number of showings or no showings, no offers, and therefore, no negotiations. The recommended approach is to price the property in a realistic range, attracting the highest number of interested buyers.
There are buyers specifically looking for unique mountain properties, and sellers want to make sure they are attracting these buyers for their unique properties. Buyers of unique properties buy on emotions, so they first need to emotionally connect with the property and then they will consider the facts. Sellers of these properties will want to work with an agent that can verbalize the unique characteristics of the property so potential buyers will relate to it.
We use stories in our listings to bring the properties to life so that a buyer can “mentally” feel what it will be like to live there and to be on the property. I like to bring as many senses as I can into the ads – what you see – floors the color of honey; what you hear – a train whistle in the distance; what you feel – cool slate floors; what you smell – fresh-mown grass. I want to describe the property so the buyer can feel the history of the place. The marketing should mentally transport buyers to the property from wherever they are as they read the story. We try to give them a feeling of what it’s like when the house in the description becomes their home.
Below are two examples of “Property Stories I have written when selling unique mountain properties.
As if reaching for the very stars above, music filled the space. “Turn it all the way up, no one can hear us!” And they did…and they danced. Friends called, and 17 minutes later they met them downtown for dinner. Apogee, at a cooler 3950’, is the highest altitude Asheville address. Totally private with 75-mile views, she sits on 14.6, low maintenance, mostly wooded acres, sharing a .25-mile boundary with the Blue Ridge Parkway. With 6420 sq. ft., there are views from every room. Numerous porches & decks invite entertaining or reflection. A few of the high-end features include 2 master suites, an ultra-luxurious en-suite bath, Crow’s Nest for star gazing; 2-story, stacked stone, wood burning fireplace, enormous kitchen, both formal and relaxed spaces, hardwood & radiant heat tiled floors, wired sound system and closets aligned to incorporate an elevator. Awe-inspiring Asheville city lights.
“The Old Allison Place – 70 Acres“
Every Sunday, sinners and saints showed up at Grandma Allison’s house. No invitation necessary, no shortage of food – fried chicken, mashed potatoes and gravy, fried okra, and more. The kitchen was crowded, yet we all fit in — buttermilk biscuits hot out of the oven. Prayer, then pass the dishes – all gone. Kids everywhere, slamming doors, hiding in the bedrooms upstairs and down. Out in the big barn, men discuss livestock, and when or if to cut the timber again. Women relax on the wraparound porch. Banana pudding for dessert! Sitting on 70+ acres, with approximately 55 in woods.
Buyers often inquire about our listings by name or by elements of the house’s story, rather than the address. They will ask about “the house where the seven children grew up”, or “the place where the horses waited for the sound of the sliding barn door”. An interesting result of our descriptive advertising is that we have sold four of our listings to remote buyers just from the advertising without the buyer ever physically seeing the properties until coming to the closing table. We use detailed photography and video tours, so in any case, the buyer did have a virtual tour. We had the buyers agree to hold the sellers and our firm harmless if they didn’t like the property once they saw it, and each one closed without an issue.
Regardless of the type of property, it is always important that the house shows well, both on the outside as well as the interior. Whatever type property, but especially when selling unique mountain properties, make sure that the property is in very good condition and make sure that you keep it that way during the listing period. Be willing to show the property at any time. With an unusual property, make sure you are prepared to move when you have a buyer. When a buyer comes along there may not be ten of them looking for your property; there may only be one.
When it comes to selling unique mountain properties we see the challenges as something overcomeable. A few of the folks we’ve worked with have said:
What sellers are saying:
“An interview with several real estate agents prompted me to list with Brenda. However, she did so much more than ‘list.’ She met with us to lay the foundation for how she would present this house. She then spent time on the property to enable her to write a story of the home that would convey its unique character to buyers. The buyer approached her so she functioned professionally as a dual agent. Brenda and her assistant helped both the buyer and seller to move through the process and were an excellent liaison during due diligence and on through closing…… which occurred within 2 months of our initial meeting!”
– Pat T.
“My knowledge of Brenda is based not only on her skills but more importantly on her attitude. She listens to what I have to say, then responds accordingly. I don’t always like what I hear but I know that her facts are accurate. Brenda has a good heart. She understands how attached one can become toward property and home and she treats that attachment with respect. Anyone can list a property but not all are willing to do the extra things needed to show and sell. Do yourself a favor. Start with the best. Brenda can be counted on to work hard to get the job done.”
– Trudee S.
Buying Your Unique Mountain Property
The mountains of western North Carolina are an easy two-hour drive from Charlotte. Many Charlotte residents already have a vacation or retirement home here. Heading toward cooler temperatures and escaping the asphalt jungle on weekends is a common practice for Charlotte area residents. The WNC mountains offer almost every type of lifestyle imaginable from championship golf courses, ski and lake resorts, city living in Asheville, to small eclectic communities nearby, or to get out into the country in just 20 minutes. You can hike the Appalachian Trail, paddle any number of rivers, or drive the Blue Ridge Parkway, just to name a few of the many outdoor activities. If people-watching is your thing, there’s no better place to be than downtown Asheville! Housing choices range from adorable tiny houses, remote log cabins, organic farms, riverfront retreats to expensive luxury estates. All price ranges are represented.
Since the mountain area is so large and the options are so many, potential buyers from outside the area will want to narrow things down a bit before beginning their search for the perfect property. Two of the most important considerations are the budget and the type of area where you want to live. As an example, do you want to live close to conveniences such as shopping, restaurants, and medical centers, or is your passion to be in proximity to recreational activities such as hiking, horseback riding trails, boating or skiing? These are not always mutually exclusive as we do have many communities that have both modern conveniences as well as recreational amenities in close proximity. You will also want to decide on the size of house you want including the number of bedrooms and bathrooms needed.
Is there a specific type of community where you would like to live? We have a large variety in the mountain area with communities focused on some recreational activities such as skiing, golf, equestrian and fishing and boating at rivers and lakes. There are communities focused on the arts and spiritual or holistic living. We have historic districts and gated luxury communities. Another consideration is the amount of land you desire. Consider if you want to live in a city or town with close proximity to neighbors, or in a more isolated, rural setting.
These are just examples of some of the initial points buyers will want to consider before starting the search for a property. Once you have a pretty good idea of what you are looking for, it’s time to contact an agent or start searching online. In addition to all of our own Special “Finds…” listings, we have put together a catalog of all listed unique properties in the mountain area, in one place, on our website. We review every property listing in the mountains and identify the ones we would classify as unique. We then sort them by style and type and organize them for buyers to review on SpecialFinds.com. These properties are sorted into the following categories: Log and Rustic Properties, Historic Properties, Water Front or Water View Properties, Horse Properties and Farms, Modern Green Eclectic Houses and Luxury Homes and Estates. SpecialFinds.com is the only place buyers can find virtually every listed unique property in the mountain area without having to wade through the clutter of ordinary properties seen on other real estate websites. We can tell by our web traffic that buyers will visit the site, often lingering for hours, searching through the various unique property listings.
What Buyers Are Saying:
“Brenda Thompson did a terrific job helping us acquire the house on Church Hill Drive. She was able to answer all our questions and made many helpful suggestions on the buying process. She has a very good knowledge of what all the requirements are and has the ability to find the right people to help get the job done right. Brenda works hard to see that all your needs are fulfilled and she’ll take care of even the smallest details. Home buying is a large investment and Brenda made the process as easy as possible. I highly recommend as a real estate agent.”
– John T.
“It was a pleasure working with Brenda Thompson as our agent in buying our new home! She was always prompt in answering our calls and emails, was totally available, and knows her stuff! She went above and beyond the call of duty in terms of resource information that we asked for. While quite professional, she also was wonderful to relate to with a personable style.”
– Jeanie C.