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  • Writer's pictureRob Purnell

The Real Estate Myth Behind "Sold in One Weekend"

Updated: 2 days ago

What goes on backstage is a flurry of highly coordinated activity so that consumers are presented with a product that captures their imagination and meets their desires.

Sold in just a 5 days for $000 over the asking price!

Realtors love to brag about their successes. One of the most common brags is how quickly we sold our listings and for how much over the asking price.

All businesses showcase great results. It’s just good marketing. Who wouldn't want their house to sell quickly and for a higher price? Yet, behind the impressive outcome lies a lesser-known truth: the more effective our work, the less apparent it may be to our clients. After all, our job is to alleviate their burdens, solve problems, mitigate risks, and reduce stress.

When we only focus on what happened once the listing went public, we overlook the immense effort and countless hours invested to get there. This perpetuates the misconception that it takes little effort to achieve substantial results.

In reality, properly preparing a home for sale can be a lengthy process requiring weeks, often months of dedicated work long before it hits the market. Without that upfront investment it’s rare for a property to achieve the results so often crowed about in real estate marketing.

To give you an example let’s take a peek behind the scenes of a property we recently sold in just 5 days for more than $350k over our original valuation. Spoiler alert, this was not a 5-day effort, but let’s start there.

The 5-Day Sale

On Wednesday, April 17th, we secured a contract for one of our recent Palo Alto listings 5 days after going on the market. To be sure, those five days were a whirlwind of activity.

We planned and hosted a broker tour, an exclusive evening event by invitation only, and two public open houses.

We followed up with dozens of agents and prospective buyers, addressing inquiries and gauging interest. We closely tracked all competing properties in the area, engaging the listing agents to assess market conditions, and we spent the best part of a full day negotiating deal points with multiple parties, all while maintaining close communication with our client.

Ultimately we achieved a signed contract above the asking price, leaving both sellers and buyers delighted. Over the following 3 weeks, we worked towards a seamless closing. In this case it did go smoothly, but still required quite a bit of time and diligence. The preparation and execution of the activities during just the 5-day marketing period amounted to more than 50 hours of dedicated work, and this was just one of our client engagements.

Flashback - Four Months Earlier

The journey to this 5-day sale began four months earlier when we first sat down with the client to discuss his situation, goals, and expectations.

Achieving optimal results in home sales hinges on optimizing the three Ps: Preparation, Pricing, and Promotion. These elements are interdependent; like actors and stage crew in a main-stage theater production, each component's performance influences the others and contributes to the overall spectacle.

Just as a skilled director orchestrates the movement and collaboration of various theatrical elements to deliver a seamless performance that moves and captivates the audience, a real estate professional must harmonize property preparation, pricing strategies, and promotional efforts to deliver a product that captivates buyers and maximizes value for the seller.

The Headliner

This particular home was a vintage Eichler home, originally built in 1956, and with the same owner since 1970. There had been no material updates done over the decades and, suffice it to say, it was not pretty. This was an estate sale and there were limited resources or appetite to renovate, so we were asked to consider selling it as it was. From here we embarked on a journey that spanned three months and hundreds of hours of work.

Recognizing the property’s untapped potential we knew the highest value and ROI would come from strategic renovations but needed to satisfy our client’s desire to understand its current-state value. To do this without prejudicing market perception of the home we planned and executed a private offering to bring in people with the appetite and bandwidth for a project like this.

And it worked. Over the next few weeks we arranged dozens of private showings, investigated city planning rules and restrictions, facilitated investor and contractor site visits, and ultimately worked through multiple offer negotiations. And in the end, our advice to the owner was not to sell.

Although real estate is generally considered illiquid, the market can be remarkably fluid and shift rapidly. Our private market effort reinforced our conviction that unlocking the home's highest potential for this client required strategic renovations and a comprehensive public marketing campaign.

Now two months in we embarked on the next segment of this journey. We began drafting renovation plans, refining budgets, soliciting bids, and negotiating with contractors. We spent hours researching materials and going to building supply distributors to ensure we had everything needed to bring the vision to life.

Demolition, painting, flooring, counters and cabinetry, electrical and plumbing fixtures, landscaping, deep cleaning, staging, photo shoots and videography, collateral development, event planning: all of it a delicate dance of interdependence needing to be managed to an unforgiving timeline.

Through it all the market continued to be highly dynamic with interest rates, economic predictions, and consumer sentiment changing almost daily. So we maintained continuous market research conducted to craft the perfect pricing and positioning strategy, utilizing both primary and secondary research to stay ahead of the curve. This work continued, quite literally, up until the day before we launched.

Back to the Beginning

So here we are back at the visible beginning. We flipped the switch, opened the doors, and five days later had a ratified contract and a very happy client. Thanks to our team's dedication and expertise, the sellers received a sales price over $350,000 higher than initially expected, delivering a 5x return on the renovation investment.


History will show that the property sold in just five days. Lost in the sands of time will be the months of work, the long hours, the meticulous dedication to every detail, and the decades of experience and expertise that led up to this “quick” sale. While not every engagement has this level of complexity (some have more, some less) what goes on backstage is always a flurry of highly coordinated activity so that consumers are presented with a polished and enticing home that captures their imagination and meets their desires before they even set foot inside.

The culmination of effort and expertise, carefully orchestrated behind the scenes, belies the fact that what appears as a swift and seamless transaction is, in reality, the result of extensive groundwork, unwavering commitment to excellence, and just plain hard work.


Palo Alto

4 BD 2BA 1749 SF

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