Tuesday, August 27, 2013

No "Saxon" Appeal For This Allentown Home

Here is another example of why the advertising is the problem. A 2-bedroom home in a respectable neighborhood (Allentown PA) priced at $135,000, but it hasn't sold in more than four months of being listed.

It's not hard to understand why. Let's review the advertisement. I found this property and this ad via random search through the Allentown Morning Call web site, which links to an outside web site for this ad for 2725 Saxon Street, now at $132,000 (as of press time).

The primary photo, always a key part of the first impression, shows a big tree in the front yard which blocks our view of part of the home. Although there is nothing wrong with a big tree in the yard for a lot of people, having it impede our initial view does not make much sense. Especially when you look further and realize that the home clearly sits on a hill.

Looking at the larger version of this photo, it is easy to see that the lawn is NOT well maintained, and that there is a path in the lawn from people walking across the grass to get to the front door. Already, it shows carelessness on the part of the seller, and that is not good either.

Before even reading the description copy, I went through the remainder of the photos. One of the additional exterior photos shows the back yard, and reveals an equally uncared for lawn. These exterior photos show a potential buyer that it will take a lot of work before walking inside. Not good.

But that's not all. The interior photos reveal that the home is empty. As a result, a potential buyer has no means to imagine what their furniture might look like inside, since they cannot grasp the size (or lack thereof) of an empty room. And it gets worse.

The photos of the basement make it difficult to determine whether the surface is a real floor or carpet. This shows a potential buyer that there could be plenty of upgrading to make the basement worthwhile, again, before learning more about the home.

Then, the photo of a bathroom reveals a two-tone room, with a light green paint job on half with white paint on the other half. By this time, I couldn't help but wonder if it was half a paint job to cover something else or what happened. However, the worst part of this photo (which, again, is supposed to help to sell this place) is that we can clearly see either a large dent or mark in the wall near the door handle that is not explained.

Next, it was on to the description. This is where the "sizzle" is supposed to be, and this home is listed through a reputable national realty firm.

So how does the copy begin? "Price reduction! Sellers are motivated! Welcome to your Home Sweet Home located at.....".

OK, I'll bite. If the sellers are "motivated", why didn't they leave at least some furniture in the photos to give a potential buyer an idea of what the house COULD look like? Why are they long gone?

Upon further reading, we learn that that the "newer" roof and water heater were both "installed in 2009". Newer?

We learn that the "refrigerator, washer, and dryer are all included". How about that? Appliances included within a home purchase! 

And we learn about the "finished recreation room in the lower level", which I suppose is the basement photo I saw and couldn't even determine if it was ugly carpeting or bare floor in an empty room.

In addition, we are told that the price was recently reduced by $3,000, and the ad shows that it has been in place since April 2013, over four months ago.

Meanwhile, there were more than 20 more properties in the same general area priced within $10,000 of this one.

I simply do not see how a typical "buyer" would have any reason to pursue this property. Chances are that after four months, any local rehabber would have already looked into this home to see if it could be easily and affordably upgraded. But no takers.

How is a $3,000 price reduction going to attract anyone?

My point is that it doesn't matter how few or how many other area homes have sold in the past six months on and near Saxon Street. There is no reason for anyone to want this property (at least at this asking price) based on the way it is presented now. Again, the advertising and marketing is the problem.


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