While it’s true that homes and properties are the heart of the real estate market, marketing plays a significant role in facilitating the best price in the shortest timeframe. I actually can’t stress enough how important marketing is. Simply put, it’s not enough to have a great property. As I think about the importance that marketing plays, one specific listing comes to mind. On the day of an open house for the property, everyone I spoke to told me that no one would come. Why? It was an overcast day in the fall and Super Storm Sandy was rolling in within hours.
Even with what many people thought was a losing hand, I had done my homework, prepared vigilantly and was confident that I’d have a successful open house.
But to be this confident, I had taken a number of proactive steps ahead of time:
1 A Credit Market Analysis: I prepared a credit market analysis to derive an appropriate market value for the property. Every seller wants to receive the highest price for their home, but asking prices need to reflect current market conditions. So it’s imperative to derive a list price for the property that will garner the most prospective buyers to see the home. To achieve this, sellers must study the local market and their property’s history, especially any renovations that may change the property’s value when compared with other recent sales. Subsequently, sellers should review select “active,” “in-contract,” “sold,” and “expired” comparable listings (comps) from a three- to six-month timeframe. When comparing the subject property to comps, the list price is derived.
2. Professional Photographs and Brochure: I always arrange for professional photos and a brochure for my listings, and this time was no exception. The photos boost each property’s appeal on social media and provide instantaneous information to prospective buyers who are searching for properties online. All active buyers scour the web for new and enticing homes. Without photos, buyers are likely to believe a listed property has a flaw. As a listing agent, I take great care in selecting a professional photographer, and orchestrating the photo shoot and then upload the pictures to various listing systems. I distribute an online brochure for each listing to agents and prospective buyers and I make hardcopy versions at each open house.
3. Listing Documents: I prepare, compile and aggregate all of the relevant documents about each property. These documents include a consumer information statement about agency relationships, lead paint and seller’s disclosure about the property, commission agreement, documents that provide salient detail about the property. I then input the property information into the listing systems and make the information available to the agent community and the public when the listing goes live.
4. Broker’s Open Houses: I schedule a broker’s open house for listings so that the agent community can preview properties and determine if they fit with their prospective buyers’ profiles.
5. Open House Day Essentials: I make sure to stage the property so it looks as good as possible on the day of the open house and display all of the marketing materials and salient local market information for prospective buyers to review. I also make cookies and drinks available, because everyone likes a snack and the refreshments help prospective buyers feel at ease and comfortable as they take in each property’s features.
Distinctively, I’m a rare breed of agent that is a licensed real estate salesperson in both New York and New Jersey. I’m also a member of the Real Estate Board of New York (REBNY) and three Multiple Listing Services (MLS) with more than 65,000 participants. All of these qualifications helped me position the property to be viewed by active buyers, and I was able to showcase the listing details across each of the three MLS systems. I also arranged to display the listing on more than 125 publisher websites through the use of Internet data exchange technology and a leading listing management platform that synchronizes and distributes the information to a number of publishing sites. Listings are marketed to the top real estate websites, and mobile applications, including dozens of publisher websites such as Realtor.com, Zillow, Yahoo, Trulia, Homes.com and others.
On the morning of the open house for the wonderful home I listed, I went to a charity pancake breakfast the local fire department was sponsoring and invited everyone there to my open house. The event had a steady stream of visitors and went over the three-hour time frame I had allotted. Neighbors, prospective buyers and their many family members poured in to preview my new listing. It was truly an exhausting and eventful day.
In the end, all of my work paid off. The seller received multiple offers and negotiated the winning bid in the ensuing days when much of the area had no electricity or cell service.
So the point in all of this is that without proper and strategic marketing, I doubt the property would have received the level of attention it did during a very stressful and life-changing period.