Marketing your Home for Sale Like a Pro
Not too long ago, and we’re only talking about the 1950s – 1980s, there were only a few viable home selling and marketing options available from which a seller could select. Sellers crossed their fingers and considered their marketing plans from these options –
- Put up a for-sale signpost in the part of the subject property’s yard with the most traffic.
- Place an advertisement in a local newspaper and hope it lands in the right section and that someone sees it.
- Hire a real estate professional to help get the word out to the real estate community and local buyers.
And while some of these tried and true marketing strategies may seem a bit old-fashioned to modern real estate professionals, the reality is homes are still sold using these traditional approaches. However, the numbers keep dropping for apparent reasons.
In the digital age, homebuyers have the option to select from a variety of electronic toys & devices – all with the potential to delve into a fairly significant online real estate market search as they begin to find their dream home. This access to market data used to be an exclusive privilege of licensed real estate professionals who had access to the local Multiple Listing Service (MLS), but is now within any consumer’s reach with wi-fi access.
Statistics from studies regularly confirm that the internet is the first place most home buyers look when they start the home buying process. Ironically, these stats only prove what most real estate professionals already knew all too well.
But sellers be forewarned, the internet can be an incredibly successful real estate sales instrument or an ineffective digital sales platform. The result is entirely dependent on how it is used or misused.
In 2019, Zillow Group issued a Housing Trends Report based on data gathered from real estate professionals. Here are a few key takeaways from Zillow’s industry report regarding how buyers use the internet in the home buying process –
- Nearly 85% of buyers reported using online resources when searching for a home to buy, and 82% reported using a real estate licensee during the residential real estate process.
- Homes listed on the weekends receive the most views on the website Zillow.com.
- Sellers must understand how critical it is to make a great first impression (i.e., staging and professional photography) because interest in new listings fades quickly.
For example, according to Zillow, the number of views on the fifth day of a new online listing was fifty-percent less than the amount on the listing’s first day.
Both the traditional and online real estate marketing strategies have their distinct advantages and recognizable negatives. But, often, these two approaches dovetail and complement one another in the home sales process.
Home Marketing Must-do’s
Complete All Home Repairs
Before putting on a home up for sale, it is smart to take the time to walk through your home (or ask a friend) with an objective eye, as if you were the buyer.
- Did you notice anything during that walk-through that would be off-putting to you as a buyer?
- Are there minor improvements that could help enhance the home’s features to potential buyers?
Be careful not to over-improve or select a design that would only appeal to a limited audience; these can be costly rookie selling mistakes.
Declutter, and then Declutter a Bit More
It is essential to ensure the home for sale is decluttered and clean – squeaky clean. Dirt is unacceptable, but it is crucial to take the declutter suggestion seriously because –
- It helps buyers stay focused on the house, rather than the owner’s choice of decorations.
- Every room can appear more spacious – especially for those glances.
Closets, storage areas, and even pantries should be decluttered as you ready your home for sale.
- Select those things that no longer serve your wants or needs and then find a worthy donation center.
- Create a more spacious, visually appealing appearance for buyers walking through the property.
The reality is that many people find it challenging to visualize how their families would enjoy living in someone else’s home – particularly when the house for sale overwhelmingly feels like it belongs to someone else.
A straightforward way to depersonalize a home is to remove family pictures and keepsakes from walls and surfaces. Use this time to get a jumpstart on packing these items for the eventual move when the home is sold. Remember to label the packing boxes appropriately from the outset, to avoid a nightmare when you arrive at your new location.
Stage your Home
Home staging is the art of revising a home’s existing furnishings with one goal – to optimize the home’s appearance – and thus, the sales price. Home staging is a technique utilized before photographs are taken for flyers and online marketing efforts. However, home staging should also be done for those buyers touring the home.
Many real estate professionals and professional stagers can turn an unappealing room into a welcoming, bright homey space, often like magic. Remember, though, staging a home may be as simple as rearranging the furniture layout to create a better flow and additional unused space.
Improve Curb Appeal
Curb appeal exemplifies the importance of the adage that you only get one chance to make a first impression. Digital-first impressions happen online; however, sellers should still seriously consider the importance of the impact a buyer experiences when first driving up to a home they may be interested in buying. A few simple examples of curb appeal enhancements include –
- The home should look freshly painted.
- Optimize the look of the front door. The front door is the home’s vertical welcome mat.
- The lawn and shrubs should be well-manicured.
- Walking paths should be free of debris and safe to traverse.
Home Listing Suggestions
Hire a Professional Photographer
The importance of including the right amount and the appropriate quality of photographs when marketing your home cannot be overstated! Studies have shown that when listings include a comprehensive look of the property using multiple images and perspectives – the better the chance the house would sell quicker.
Pictures of the home and the property should be plentiful and include multi-angle images of rooms, outdoor spaces, storage spaces, parking areas, and any recreational-shared facilities for homes in PUDs, condominiums, or homeowner associations.
Create a Video Walkthrough
There are many free and low-cost video creation software programs to help create marketing videos with just a few pictures, a few clicks, and a bit of creativity. Many real estate licensees are quite adept or know someone who can put together a video tour of your home to help market the property using videography.
According to Zillow’s buyer’s 2019 report, about 46% of buyers preferred if home listings included 3D video tours.
Price Your Home to Motivate Buyers
One of the first big decisions a seller makes is setting the listing price. Sellers and real estate professionals work together to determine the right price for the seller’s property.
Sellers can ask a real estate professional for a CMA – a Comparative Market Analysis to suggest a price based on relevant market data. Besides, the internet opens access to large amounts of market data that can help a seller gain insight.
List through Online Portals
If a seller chooses to be represented by a real estate agent, the subject property will be marketed professionally. Perhaps even more important, the property for sale will be accessible to all members (real estate agents) of the local Multiple Listing Service (MLS). The MLS provides tremendous sales exposure for any home listed for sale and opens the available pool of buyers significantly.
FSBO’s – For Sale by Owners, should upload their home on as many real estate online portals as possible. This ensures a wide range of potential buyers will view the listing.
Write an Appealing Listing Description
Great photos are even better when the written descriptions engage the potential buyer and enhance the image the words describe. Great descriptions also improve Google placement search results. The description should highlight the property’s features – especially those unusual touches like heated bathroom floors or an indoor pool, for example.
Traditional Real Estate Marketing Techniques
Manage the Required Signage
Real estate professionals oversee these details if a seller chooses to use their services. With the owner’s permission, real estate licensees manage the signage, flyers, and digital marketing efforts.
For those sellers that go it alone, it is important to put forth efforts into marketing the property by posting a yard sign, listing the property online, or holding an open house, to name a few.
Host an Agent-Only Tour
An agent-only tour is an open house for real estate agents only. The idea is to give buyers’ representatives an opportunity to view the property before actually showing the property to a buyer. Some agent-only tours happen immediately before the home is listed publicly.
And with 82% of buyers using a real estate professional to purchase real estate, the agent-only tour acts as an efficient staged event to get the word out through the local real estate market’s professional channels.
Host an Open House
Despite the incredible explosion of online real estate websites, the reality is most buyers (or maybe all buyers) still want to walk through the property (and touch it) before agreeing to such a large purchase sight unseen. According to Zillow’s report, buyers, mon average, attended about 2.5 open houses and personally toured about 4.5 homes before committing to buy or deciding not to buy.
How to Digitally Market your Home
Create a Dedicated Property Website
A web page designed for interested buyers is a great marketing tool. The web page allows for infinite amounts of creativity using images, videos, and the designer’s imagination.
Then, market the link by using these methods.
Promote the Home for Sale on Social Media
Existing social media connections is a great place to begin your marketing efforts. Real estate professionals are typically masterful at these marketing techniques, but if you go it alone, it may make sense to invest some money in targeted ad placements.
Send a Friendly Email to Friends and Family
A simple email can simply let people know your plans and to let you know if they knew someone who might be interested in the property for sale.
Unique Marketing Strategies
Oxford Dictionaries defines marketing as a business activity that includes the selling of services & products, using advertising and market data.
Marketing’s objective is to place a product or service in front of consumers (very often selected and targeted) with the expressed intent to convince them to buy the product or service.
Marketers call this consumer ‘nudge’ a Call-to-Action. Consider these ideas when marketing your home online –
Purchase Banner Ads
Banner ads can be bought across various sites on the internet. Banner advertisers are experts at the placement of hyper-targeted advertisements. Although this is an unusual way to market a property, it can be useful and is affordable.
Advertise via Google AdWords
Take advantage of Google AdWords placements. These text-only ads appear within Google search results. They’re affordable, can be scheduled, and can include your choice of keywords describing your home’s best features to a refined and targeted market.
Guerilla Marketing Ideas
Guerilla Marketing seeks the same objectives as any other marketing tactic – to create a visual or audible cue – or a dynamic combo of both – that encourages a consumer to buy a service or product.
Guerilla Marketing employs unconventional marketing campaigns on a shoestring budget.
Real Estate Guerrilla marketing should be powerfully unexpected by the receiver. Guerilla Marketing characteristics –
- Are cost-effective but create a lasting impact.
- Are designed to create chatter. They don’t, however, replace routine business advertising.
- Rely on precision timing and the element surprise. There are no do-overs.
- Must be original and avant-garde like.
- Touch consumers’ emotions.