Updated 8/24/17; Originally published 6/14/16
- Great marketing is the responsibility of your agent
- The most important places to get your home seen is online and on the MLS
- Ensure your agent is maximizing the opportunities buyers have to discover your home
- Some marketing is more important than others
The “E” in the “PACE” Strategy stands for “Exposure”. Exposure is marketing – getting your home out to the world and, most importantly, in front of your future buyer. Exposure is almost entirely the responsibility of your real estate agent.
What marketing should your agent be doing? The chart below shows which methods buyers feel are most important to finding a home. Look at this as a ranking of the most important places to market your home to buyers. Clearly the two most important sources of buyers are online marketing and other real estate agents. Both are essential to your marketing strategy.
Most MLS boards or brokerages syndicate listings automatically to many online websites like Zillow, Trulia, HotPads and Realtor.com to ensure your listing is accurately advertised online as widely as possible. The following graphic is an example from Point 2, one of the syndication companies used in the Fort Hood area. Getting your home on all these websites easily and simultaneously is one of the great benefits of working with an agent.
Real Estate Agent
How do you advertise to other real estate agents? The local MLS (Multiple Listing Service) is essentially an advertising source for your property. You are marketing your home to agents in exchange for promising them a commission if they bring the buyer who buys your home. As you can see from the graphic previously, as many people that use the Internet to search for homes also use an agent, so this is an extremely important source of buyer leads. In addition, buyer’s agents bring qualified buyers and help on the other side of the transaction, ensuring the road to closing goes smoothly.
Oh, and be sure your listing is on the local MLS. No Killeen agents are going to see your Killeen home if it’s on the Dallas-Fort Worth MLS (NTREIS). I’ve accidentally run into homes in our area that were underpriced but still not selling, simply because they were in the wrong MLS. Local agents have no idea these listing even exist!
Every listing has pictures, so this isn’t really a hot, special technique to get your home sold. However there is a right way to do it. I wrote a whole ‘nother article on how important your listing’s photography is:
Get Professional Photography!
- Many agents do NOT use professional photography
- Professional photography is worth it, 1000x over
- The pictures are the 2nd most important part to selling your home (after price)
In my experience “virtual tours” are most often just slideshows with music. Actual, high-quality virtual tours (or even short movie quality ads) are more often used with million dollar luxury listings. I’ve personally never had much use for a slideshow with music. I can scroll through the pictures just fine myself, thank you.
But again, for certain homes, a “real” virtual tour is completely worth the effort and money. For an awesome example of a great virtual tour, check out this luxury listing in Austin:
While a true virtual tour like this might be over the budget for most home sellers, it can still sometimes pay to do a virtual tour walkthrough of the home and post it to Youtube. Especially for buyers who may be overseas or in a different military installation, a ten minute walkthrough can be a tremendous advantage for getting a feel for the home. It’s necessary, in fact, for buyers who may be buying sight unseen.
Virtual tours can also be quite useful when uploaded and advertised on Facebook. It’s not as fancy as the $8,000,000 home’s virtual tour, but still a great and affordable way to get your home attention!
The reason video virtual tours on Facebook work better than just posting the listing and pictures is that, as a video, it auto-plays in users’ feeds, which is shown to catch people’s attention far better than mere pictures and text. Below is an example of an ad I recently did for a home that got over 9000 views and an accepted offer after a week on the market.
Open houses are common features to advertising a home. An open house is an event, usually about two hours, where the Realtor will physically be at the home, allowing anyone to show up and have supervised access to view the property. Typically an agent might do one or two open houses for each listing, depending on the listing.
In my experience, open houses aren’t actually that useful for finding buyers. But what they can be great for, if done right, is getting other agents and brokers in the home. Why is that useful? In addition to raising awareness of your home, open houses are fantastic for getting feedback early. It is a lot better to hear in the first week of your listing that you are overpriced, rather than finding out six months later when you’ve had few showings and no buyers.
Often, several Realtors in a neighborhood might team up, often with a lender catering at one of the homes, to do a “property tour”, where each person who drops by each house (usually 4 or 5 homes) and gets their business card initialed and are entered for a $50 or $100 prize drawing. These open house tours are often well attended and a great source for feedback. (Samantha Jackson at Guild Mortgage is well known for coordinating these in the Fort Hood area).
Old school and yet still astonishingly important, yard signs are at least somewhat important for 51% of buyers. The most important element of having a yard sign is simply making your home easy to find when the agent is bringing buyers along!
A note on the timing – remember all the previous discussion about days on market? We do not want your home to linger on the market, which means we want it to explode on the market. That means not implementing the marketing strategy in piecemeal. Your home should be 100% ready before it goes live on the MLS. Everything is in place to make a great impression and capture buyers the moment they are aware of the home.
The Killeen market is not Austin – getting a home sold for top dollar means more than just slapping it on the MLS and letting the buyer’s flood in. It takes more effort in our area. Getting your home the exposure it needs is just part of getting your home sold, but an important part. Get professional photos. Ensure your listing is not only on the local MLS but Zillow and Trulia as well. Ask about paid advertising like Facebook ads, and get your home looking good for that first buyer inquiry!
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