Let’s Talk Real Estate Marketing
One of the most common complaints I hear from unsatisfied sellers is that a Realtor® did not market their property correctly. Let’s talk about it.
Your agent has three primary responsibilities:
- Valuate your property. A valuation is determined from completing a thorough Comparable Market Analysis or CMA. The CMA should be presented to you and explained in detail, as this is the determining factor in identifying the range in which your home will sell. Insist on a hard copy, or the information via email for your records.
- Developing Advertising and Marketing listed properties.
- Knowledge of the transaction as a whole: contracts, addendum, inspection reports, negotiations etc. and all the involved intricacies.
We will visit the topics of property valuation and the transaction in other posts.
All marketing begins with Advertising, or the production of the marketing material. According to the National Association or Realtors about 51% of homes sold were first identified on the internet. I would encourage you to insist on professional photography. Aside from health, time is our most valued commodity. Buyers will not spend their time scrolling though bad pictures!
A few thoughts to keep in mind:
- Pictures taken from a drone are becoming increasingly popular for homes located on water frontage or acreage. Drone shots are not going to entice buyers if you live in a subdivision of very similar homes. Best judgement should be utilized, throwing money at a listing is NOT what sells it!
- I have always hired and paid for professional photography services however, this is an item you should negotiate with your agent.
- Of course, all things being reasonable, if you are not going to take the time to stage your home, put the laundry away, declutter ect. Don’t ask for this service because frankly you as seller have the responsibility to keep your home clean and in good repair. If your in a position where you are just unable to do these things, your Realtor® should be able to introduce you to someone you can hire to assist you. Your agent may be willing to front these costs and be reimbursed at closing. Selling your home is a team approach, let us help you get it done!
- Once the photographs are returned, they should be upload into the Multiple Listing Service in a logical sequence. Nothing is more frustrating to a buyer than seeing the master bedroom then the back yard, the garage and back to the master bedroom. Your pictures should allow the buyer to walk through the home naturally. Remember, kitchens, bathrooms and yards sell homes. No need for the majority to be of the dining room converted to a playroom. If possible all photos should be labeled so a buyer knows exactly what they are looking at. This is the first impression buyers will have of your home!!! Most times this dictates whether or not they want to view your property.
Marketing is made up of six components: Market Research, Media Planning, Public Relations, Community Relations, Customer Support and Sales Strategy. Let’s take a few minutes and apply each component to your home. Keep in mind, these are all going to reference back to the advertising material.
Market Research: Agents tend to work in a strategic geographic area, because they get to know the area very well and become local “experts” they know everything from who has the best two for one dinner deals to what fundraisers the local PTO does every year. They should know what pictures and descriptions will entice the buyer based on their needs and preferences. Taglines like boater’s dream, close to the park, walkable to downtown are used not as a cute introduction but to grab the attention of the customer who is looking specifically for those qualities. If your agent asks you to dress the back patio like your about to host a barbecue, do it!!!! They know what buyers are looking for and what type of buyer will be most attracted to your home.
Media Planning: This has to do with selecting the best platform to meet your objectives. In Real Estate that is the Multiple Listing Service, most MLSs push out to major platforms like Realtor.com, Trulia and Zillow. The days of newspaper and magazine ads are gone, don’t waste the time and energy! Just listed postcards that show up in the mail get an eye roll and a toss in the trash. They are just a way for an agent to market themselves. Honestly, I don’t like seeing constant listing advertisements on social media. Nobody is going to facebook to buy a house or plan their open house schedule!!
Public Relations: You only get one chance to make a first impression. Buyers are very well informed and know the market they want to buy in. If you overprice your house and put no effort to keep it in marketable condition, buyers will recognize it immediately and steer clear. My experience is, Nobody, for any reason, at any time, will pay more than market value for anything. Do NOT “test” the market, you will fail every time!
Community Relations: Seller’s are anxious to sell. At times they become overzealous. One of the worst examples I saw of this was a gentleman who lived in a very conservative deed restricted community close to an affluent downtown. He decided to handwrite some advertising on an old piece of plywood that was 4 feet wide by 8 feet high. Propped it up against the house, sat on a lawn chair in the driveway and proceeded to waive and blow a whistle to passersby. Umm yeah, that’s not the best approach. Town officials shut that down very quickly as I’m sure neighbors and local business wanted the spectacle stopped as soon as possible. More appropriate, your agent should let the neighbors know about an upcoming open house. If there is a long awaited occasion happening next door, like a wedding, or 50th birthday party, the neighbors probably don’t want extra traffic or banners in the front yard saying agent inside. While some agents might think that is prime time, ask yourself, how would you feel if it were you next door.
Customer Support: It is a seller’s responsibility to disclose any material defects in their property, that is a given. I would encourage you to also offer up, information on which utility companies you use, and what an average bill is. Who your insurer is, especially if you have flood insurance as these policies can often be assumed saving both the buyer and seller money. Give copies of elevation certificates or surveys. There is no hiding in Real Estate. You are selling a product, make it as easy as possible for someone to buy it! If you do have concerns, speak to your Realtor® about a pre inspection and/or offering a home warranty.
Sales Strategy: I can not say this enough times. Serious buyers work with agents. Agents most often find their inventory from the MLS. Agents are going to show the nicest homes at the best prices first! Make sure yours falls into that category. When a homes location, condition and price are on level, that house will sell!
Work closely with your Realtor® and maintain open and honest communication and be sure all aspects of Marketing are being addressed, but remember: If Your Home Is Overpriced, No Amount Of Marketing Is Going To Get It Sold!
Remember our tried and true rule: A home sells when Location, Condition and Price are on an equal level.