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Marketing Matters

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Posted 08-03-2012 at 04:19 PM by Roy Sanborn

Selling a home in this market can be challenging to say the least. I talk a lot about setting the right price and creating real value for any prospective buyers that are about to look at your home, but there really is a lot more to selling a home than just price. Marketing a home is what a listing agent’s job really is all about. And, if the truth be known, some agents and agencies do more than others to see that your home is exposed to the widest number of buyers possible. It takes a lot more effort than simply putting a listing into the MLS to effectively market and sell a home. Let’s look at some of the basics that you should ask your agent about and insist on if you decide to list your home.

Perhaps the biggest part of effective marketing is having high quality, professional grade photography of your property.Photos are, after all, the eye candy that attracts buyers to a listing whether it is on the web or in a print advertisement. The days of poorly lit, poorly composed snapshots of properties are long past. And, high quality photos are essential no matter what price range your home is in. Obviously, if you are going to have nice, professional quality pictures, the home has to be at its very best to start with. This is an essential part of marketing and this job fall to the homeowner. That means the house needs to be clean, neat, and tidy at the very least. No piles of stuff in the corner, no unmade beds with dirty clothes, no dishes in the sink, and no excess clutter. Even the simplest of homes can be made to look amazing with a little staging, good lighting, and great photography. Without good photography you just won’t get the buyers in the door. You also should have at least 24 photographs depicting your property as this is the maximum you can get onto the MLS.

You should ask about your prospective agent’s on-line marketing program and where your property will be seen. All listings that are put into the MLS are fed to all the co-operating real estate sites, but there are other real estate sites that agencies pay to have their listings on. Luxury Real Estate.com and Realtor.com are good examples. There are also many real estate blog sites or regional communities sites that have sections for real estate. Active Rain, Winnipesaukee.com, and Craig’s List are good examples. And don’t forget Social Media marketing as that is becoming more and more influential. Facebook, Twitter, Linked In, and other sites provide free exposure for your home so why not make use of them?

While black and white print advertising is much less effective than it used to be, glossy, full color property magazines are still a very important marketing tool. Some agents or agencies utilize national publications like Luxury Homes, Unique Homes, or the Robb Report for upscale listings while others use local publications like Homes and Land. The next issue of Redneck Quarterly might work well for some homes, while others not so much. A few agencies produce their own full color property magazines that are distributed locally or to their internal mailing lists. These are extremely effective and target local buyers likely to purchase property in the area. In any case, you should know where your property will be appear (and how often) in print as it is an extremely important part of an overall marketing program.

Having full color, high quality, flyers on your property to give out to prospective buyers is also a good marketing tool. After a long day looking at multiple properties and the buyers’ minds are near mush, the print materials that a buyer takes home may make a difference in whether he buys one property or another.

A virtual tour of your property is an absolute must in this market. Some virtual tours are made up of still photographs obtained from the MLS while others are actual video tours produced especially for that property. Video marketing of properties is the future of real estate marketing and that future is now. Over 3 billion hours of video are watched each month on YouTube so that gives you a little indication of how important it is to have a video of your home on line. And, YouTube's demographic is very broad, from 18-54 years old, which sounds like a lot of home buyers to me.

The age old standard, the yard sign, is also extremely important. If you have a lake front property you should also have a sign on the lake. While buyers don’t drive aimlessly about like they used to, we do get many calls on signs from both the road and the lake. Most of the time the buyers on the lake have no idea where they are. I have also been thinking about trying a new marketing approach as far as the riders on my signs. Instead of putting my name on the rider, I thought I might use some well known movie star’s name with my telephone number to see if that generates any more property calls. You know, something like “Brad Pitt - Cell: 603-455-0335 By Appointment Only” or “Call Julia Roberts today – 603-455-0335.” I can probably fake Brad’s voice., however, Julia’s could be a problem. “No, sorry, Julia would be happy to show you the house but she is not in today, can I help?”

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