Ok, we’ve reached our final week of this series. I left this topic last intentionally because, well, typically price and condition are really the biggest two reasons a home sits on the market. When I speak to the owners of expired listings (listings that didn’t sell), typically the previous real estate agent’s poor marketing strategies get blamed for the home not selling. Usually (but certainly not always) the price or condition of the home had the biggest part to play in the home not selling but probably also on top of lack of communication and some poor strategy on the agent's part. The truth is, no amount of marketing can compensate for a home being overpriced or in poor condition, so it is important to address these potential issues first. Don’t get me wrong, marketing matters, but all other factors have to be in line too.
So what does real estate marketing involve?
On a basic level, if your home is listed by an agent you can assume at least one thing is happening from a marketing perspective. Agent listed properties will typically go into the local Multiple Listing Service (MLS) and be blasted to many different home search sites (Realtor, Zillow, Redfin, the broker’s website, etc.) so, technically, most people will be able to find your home just because it’s listed in all of those places.
After that though, what actually happens from a marketing perspective can vary significantly. The good news? Some key marketing strategies can get your home sold. Skipping them can cost you some serious money and time on the market. Make sure you discuss these strategies with any potential real estate agent because it’s important that everyone is on the same page and that your expectations are thoroughly laid out. Remember, poor communication is the number one reason cited for dissatisfaction with an agent so it is critical to work through this on the front end.
A Marketing Plan- This is THE most crucial piece of the puzzle. The haphazard throwing together of a range of marketing strategies from open houses and broker’s opens to social media releases and materials is basically guaranteed to be ineffective. Why? All of these things in isolation can indeed be great to maximize interest in your home. BUT last-minute events and poorly timed internet marketing are completely ineffective. There has to be a plan to be able to capitalize on these strategies. How do you know what the plan is? ASK! The best agents will be able to thoroughly lay out exactly how they are going to market and sell your home, what strategies they will employ, optimal timing for introducing different strategies, and how they will assess the level of success and adjust strategy as needed. The strategy should be individualized to you and your property, not a one size fits all approach. The marketing plan should include not only just the overall design but also how it will be implemented, how success will be measured, and how results will be optimized. After all, even the best-laid plans need to be measured, tracked, and sometimes modified to get you the best possible results. If the agent you’re interviewing can’t outline these things then it’s best to move on to someone else who can.
Professional Photography – To put it bluntly, this should be a non-negotiable for your home. Think about it, most people are ruling in or out whether or not they will even view your home solely by the photos you post online. In fact, the NAR 2019 Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers lists online photos as the most valuable resource in an online listing (followed closely behind by the listing description- but we’ll get there in a minute). A professional real estate photographer knows how to show your home in the best light and best angles to highlight all of its features. Plus, if you’ve been house shopping for any length of time, I’m sure you’ve seen your own fair share of bad listing pictures. You know, the ones that highlight the furniture or other seemingly unimportant or random features, show excessive clutter, make a home feel dark, or show you the corners of every room rather than the actual space itself. The most disappointing thing is that some of these homes are actually quite nice, but the pictures make them look awkward, disjointed, or poorly lit…which leads to fewer showing appointments, less traffic overall, and reduced potential of receiving an offer. Remember, great listing pictures are often the primary thing that attracts potential buyers to your home, so be sure to use them to your advantage. Want to up your online marketing game even more- get a video walkthrough done too!
Listing Description – Yes, photos or videos are probably the most important aspect of your online listing, but the description matters too and is the second most important feature of an online listing according to the 2019 NAR Buyer’s Survey. An all caps listing description with a lot of spelling or grammatical errors looks unprofessional and is off-putting to buyers. You want the listing description to reflect the best features of a home using keywords buyers are searching for. Harnessing the power of “new” is particularly important here. Emphasizing any updated features, systems or recent renovations will attract more buyers, as will using certain buzz-words like “move-in ready”, “open floorplan”, “energy-efficient”, or “walk-in” anything. Words to avoid? Words that sound desperate like “motivated seller” or “looking for a quick sale” scream that you might be willing to take a low-ball offer. Even if you do need to sell quickly, find an agent who will price and market your home appropriately, and don’t post your intentions directly in the listing. Clichés or over-utilized adjectives or phrases like “gorgeous”, “boasts” or “luxury” tend to fall flat because they are everywhere. Also, we all know that “well-maintained” is actually code for “the home hasn’t actually been updated since it was built 30+ years ago but at least it’s clean.” Don’t do it. Curious about some other does or don'ts? This article from HomeLight has even more specific suggestions.
Social Media Marketing – Consider the agent’s online presence. Do they have a website? Social media accounts? Do they advertise their listings on these accounts? Do they provide additional online marketing opportunities outside of posting on real estate databases? Only about half of agents have their own website and only 23% of agents utilize social media marketing for their listings. However, social media is a great way to get the word out for open houses or other events and reach people through other online platforms. Agents with large social media followings or a well-trafficked website will be able to reach many more people. More eyes on your home means a greater chance of finding a buyer.
Other Innovative Marketing Strategies – Remember the goal is to get your home in front of as many potential buyers as possible. While traditional marketing strategies can be pretty effective, innovative marketing strategies can help put your listing over the edge by reaching even more people. Look for how an agent innovates and adapts with the changing market. If they've been doing the exact same thing for the past twenty or thirty years that's probably a red flag. After all, A LOT has changed since the 90s. Digital advertising can help spread the word about your home and increase overall exposure. Additional strategies like online and live virtual showings, virtual open houses, and video agent caravans can give alternative ways for buyers to see your home if time or location is a limiting factor. The use of high quality digital and print marketing materials also helps send the right impression of professionalism and quality. Finally, marketing to potential buyer’s agents shouldn’t be forgotten about either as it is possible to line up potential buyers for your home before it even hits the market.
Well, there you have it, the three real reasons your home isn't selling. Want more information or have specific questions? Feel free to reach out to me or you can even book a free seller's consult here.