I love marketing, and I always have. I've studied it for years as well as consumer behavior patterns and the psychology behind those patterns. Marketing is fascinating, and it's all around us daily. As consumers, we are targets everywhere we go, and people and businesses put tactics in place to grab our attention all the time.
I take my love for marketing into my approach in listing properties. When hired by a seller, it's my job to capture people's interest, promote that property in order to gather the most attention possible for it (both on the ground and on the web), to get as many people through the front door and into the home as possible, and to get the property sold quickly and for the highest price possible. Whether an $80,000 listing or a $2 million home, the approach needs to be the same - to market it professionally. The price of the property shouldn't matter if the end goal is the same.
The items below are far from my complete marketing plan of new listings, as there are many other ways I promote listings (i.e. inter-company marketing to the 1100+ other agents at my company, Realtor association announcements, targeted mailings/email blasts, Facebook neighborhood pages and other social media, community events, and more), but they are simple details many agents either overlook, or simply don't invest the time in doing.
Two things I incorporate into every listings are professional photography and detailed listing descriptions. They make a difference, as I see more buyer interest in properties with these methods used and higher sales prices than comparable properties. One would think this is common sense, but the majority of homes listed on the market lack the details.
1. Professional photography: This is a must. Unfortunately many agents don't agree with me, as the MAJORITY of listings in the Denver MLS don't include professional photography. iPhone cameras have come along way the past few years, but they aren't good enough. At the expense of sellers, it's what many agents are using. Not using professional photography is doing a disservice to sellers, as their homes are marketed with photos that are blurry, have bad angles, and poor lighting - ultimately getting less people in the door. What's interesting is that this is not just the case for lower priced homes, but is also common at mid to upper price points, and even includes new construction homes as well. Since most buyers will preview properties online nowadays prior to seeing them, the first impression is crucial. It's what draws their interest and gets them in the door. Yes, simply from the photos, you make an ugly property appear pretty...and vis versa.
Here are two photos of the same kitchen. One with professional photos, and one without. The difference is clear. If you were a potential buyer, which one makes you want to take a look at this house?
Again, here are 2 photo galleries (below), one of randomly selected photos from MLS listings, and one of photos from a few of my past listings. Quality photography matters.
Although this one (below) is not representative of most photos on the MLS, I had to include it as it's one of my all time favorites, for the entertainment value alone. I came across this one a few months ago as I was looking for homes for a client in southwest Denver. It serves to not only market the property, but also as an entertaining "I Spy" game. Can you find the 9 dogs? Surprisingly my client didn't want to see this one! :)
2. Detailed descriptions: I believe in details. If your house has value-adding features, the details of those features matters and helps display the home's value. Here's an example. Listing a property with a "new roof" compared to with a "new 50-year shingle roof with transferable warranty" makes a difference. Stating simply that the roof is new leaves out information that gives your home a higher perceived (& actual) value. Stating the house just has "A/C" when it in fact has a "new high-efficiency 16-seer A/C unit" is downplaying it's value. It not only cost 2-3 times more when it was installed, but it also will be cheaper to operate and will save the new homeowner on their utility bills. It also gives buyers the perception that the seller is a type of person who values quality, and if they put the best a/c unit in the home, they likely didn't skimp elsewhere. If your home has value-adding features, they should be listed!
3. Professional marketing materials & signage: Many agents don't stage the house with things like flyers and a list of property updates & upgrades. It's true that much information is online nowadays, and our industry seems to be going away with things like brochure boxes on for sale signs, but when buyers see 8 or 10 houses in a day, giving them something to take home will make that house stand out in their minds over others they saw, as they have something in front of them to remind them about it. Including a quality multiple page color flyer ads a professional touch.
When possible, I also stage my listings with other items that help emphasize it's value and uniqueness. For example, I recently listed a historical property whose value is connected to the famous architect who designed it. I staged the home with laminated copies of the original architectural drawings that I obtained - copies potential buyers could take with them, in addition to a detailed list of all updates in the house. Since I know the target market well and type of buyer for unique niche homes like this, I know most of them find these things very interesting. History and architecture is the main draw to homes like this. Also, I placed printouts of a relevant historical study on the neighborhood on the counter. These things emphasize the uniqueness of the property and it's value compared to other less-unique homes or those lacking similar updates. Now, every property won't have things like this available, but when there is something unique about the property, tell the world about it! Make buyers emotionally drawn to the house!
I also believe a high-end, clean & classy, professional post-hung yard sign presents the property well compared to a a low-budget, generic for sale sign. It may not sell the home in itself, but again, in combination with all the other marketing details done for a home, it's one more way for the property be promoted professionally. Approaching every aspect of listing the property with professionalism will display the home better in the minds of potential buyers.
These are just a few details that are commonly missed in property listings. They are just a few of the many steps in my marketing plan for new listings, but although they are small and simple details, they are important and often overlooked.