If you have ever travelled the subway (tube) in London, England, you have heard that well-known announcement, “mind the gap”. This gap minding is really an analogy for many parts of life, including home selling.
In some ways, the concept of ‘being sold something’ applies in many parts of our lives. We are always being introduced to a concept, product or experience with the idea of it being tempting, useful or necessary for us. Success lies in closing that gap between what is expected and what is offered. This disparity gap is a dangerous and critical item to consider with nearly everything.
Think about online or blind dating for example. In theory, when people meet from behind a computer screen or are set up by friends, a picture has been painted describing who, what and how they are. If they decide to meet in person, that suave, charming guy better be somewhat close in reality. If the disparity gap between the picture and the reality is the difference between suave and knuckle-dragger, well then things are going to get awkward.
The 2013 Toronto Blue Jays and their fans are another great example. The amount of hype and media promotion that has led to this season has created an enormous amount of pressure and expectations from the fans to the team, and quite likely, from the team on themselves. When they lost the first 2 games, the panic and frustration was almost instant. The pre-season was so intense that it created this near impossible gap between the expectations and the reality.
The same applies to selling a home. When a $265,000 home is listed for $295,000, there is great potential for a gap between expectation and reality. The educated and informed buyer walking in to that $295,000 home will have a certain set of expectations based solely on the price. Maybe it’s a new kitchen or hardwood flooring or ensuite bathroom (or all of the above). The danger for the seller is that they have set the stage and created expectations that may be left unfulfilled.
Another important factor is that those buyers will be walking through other homes in that price range as well which will only emphasize the gap. Offering a home that is priced within range of the expectation gap is critical in attracting the right buyers and ultimately, selling for the best price.
Think about this concept the next time you go out for dinner. Think about a really special occasion, whether it’s a wedding anniversary or special birthday. When we pull up to that really nice restaurant with a maitre’d, cocktail lounge, piano player, beautiful dining room and $45 entrees, you as a consumer have an automatic level of expectation. Bottom line: the service, ambience, décor and food better be good! Otherwise, the disparity gap is a tough one to get over.
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