Last week’s post questioned the value of open houses as a marketing strategy. Comments from readers raised the question: what does get a home sold?
Real estate agents will tell you all the cool things they will do to market your home. Many of the tactics (like open houses) are less about selling your home and more about client appeasement and/or agent self-promotion. There are three distinct, but closely tied parts to a successful home marketing effort, each of these corresponds to the steps buyers take in finding, qualifying and purchasing a home.
1. Hitting Buyer Radar (Computer) Screens – The real estate marketplace is electronic, characterized by computer matching of search criteria with the attributes of properties listed for sale. In order for a home to come up in agent and buyer searches:
- The home needs to be priced in line with its peers – an incorrectly priced home is often never even seen by qualified buyers (Undies in the Jeans Drawer).
- Information must be put into the MLS correctly (and sometimes strategically) – It seems simple, but it’s amazing how many listings have misspelled subdivision names, incorrect zip codes or the wrong school district; these listings are missed by qualified buyers every day. The electronic marketplace is very unforgiving when it comes to sloppy input.
All public-access real estate search engines pull MLS data. It is nearly impossible for a listing that is priced correctly and accurately entered into the MLS to be missed by a serious or buyer or by a competent agent.
2. Enticing Buyers to Tour the Home – When a home pulls up in an online search, it has to stand out as a “must see” property. Professional photography, effectively presented, entices a buyer to tour a home. Photo strategy is an art – it must wow buyers, yet be a fair representation of the property. A good photo strategy is less about “information” and more about “enticement;” getting buyers excited about seeing the home based on strategically selected and shots and compelling narrative.
3. Staging the Home to Sell Itself – Because most buyers have their own agent, the listing agent rarely gets to directly “sell” a buyer on the listing. Therefore, once a prospective buyer visits the house, the home has to sell itself. Professional home staging has become an important part of marketing and selling a home. Staging generally involves de-cluttering, neutralizing and de-personalizing a home, giving it a clean, spacious and cared for look and feel. It also highlights the best features of the home while downplaying potentially challenging attributes. A well-staged home will appeal to the broadest range of potential buyers and invite quality purchase offers.
As easy as 1-2-3? Not quite. Every home is different and every situation will warrant a unique marketing strategy. However, in every case, it really comes down to buyers finding your home, wanting to see it and liking it enough to make an offer. It is the agent’s experience, skill and savvy within this framework that ultimately determine marketing success.