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How to Take the WORST Possible Listing Photos

Worst Listing Photos

Many times we like to offer advice on how to succeed and do well. However, sometimes it’s extremely informative to look at how folks do it wrong.

In some cases, terribly, terribly wrong.

In that spirit, here’s a light-hearted look at how you can take the WORST possible photos for your client’s listing.

Enjoy!

Focus on the Throne

When you photograph the bathroom, be sure to focus on the main point. Buyers don’t need to know what the appearance or size of a bathroom is. Instead, the need to see a solo shot of the most important element of the room – the porcelain throne.

You get bonus points for this one if the toilet has a fuzzy rug cover and a fuzzy rug foot mat. Nothing like a fuzzy rug set in the bathroom to scream cleanliness and style!

While you’re at it, be sure to impress buyers with the details of your client’s personal sanitation and grooming. They need to know what brand of makeup they use, the fact that they still need feminine supplies, and the fact that they stack toilet paper in the corner.

You know they’ll snoop during a showing, why not just lay it all out up front?

“Clean” By Any Other Name

Remember, everyone has the same definition of “clean” embedded since birth. So when you tell your client that the home needs to be “clean,” there’s no need to explain that term or make sure they understand what you’re talking about.

In fact, it’s more fun to just find out what happens. Does “clean” mean that your client’s home will look like a photo shoot, or just that the dog vomit was picked up and the clutter shoved to the corners? Like a blindfolded piñata game, just swing the stick and see what happens.

Besides, the client displaying their own version of clean helps the buyer see the seller’s unique personality!

Show Off All the Zany Collections

Speaking of personality, every buyer needs to know that this is your client’s home. So, keep all unique and unusual collections on full display. A collection of rubber bugs? Perfect! Dozens of creepy dolls? Amazing!

Clutter and collections show the unique style of every seller, and that’s what matters. Buyers need to see how the sellers enjoyed their home. Buyers care deeply about the unique idiosyncrasies of each seller, so don’t worry about showing off the home.

Besides, sellers are attached to their stuff, and mentioning that it should be moved can cause an argument. Instead, let them know how much buyers love seeing a variety of angles on that fly-fishing bait collection.

Seasonal Decorations Front and Center

Decorating for the holidays can bring out the best in a home, so encourage homeowners to have listing pictures taken during Christmas. So festive! So much cheer!

Who cares that the listing is in May?

When buyers see photos adorned with Christmas lights, cookies, decorations, and more, they will be warmed from the inside out. They’ll be reminded of the snow, cold, and grey that ruled just a few short months ago – and they’ll be that much more appreciative of the spring sunshine.

Everyone has great memories of Christmas. It’s not a hard season for anyone, and folks don’t struggle with holiday stress or difficult family members. Because the holidays are universally amazing and give such great photo opportunities, use those holiday listing photos at any time of year!

Go For the ‘Shop – Photoshop

Hey, even million-dollar fashion models have their assets enhanced. Why not a home? Photoshop is the perfect tool for any listing photo.

Got a dog in the picture in an unfortunate position? No problem – just cut it out! Do power lines mess up a home, or nearby traffic look uninviting? No sweat. The ‘shop can take care of it all.

The goal is to get people to the home, and they’re bound to fall in love. If you have to take a few creative liberties… well, so be it, right? Certainly not an ethical concern, after all.

While you’re at it, see what you can do with filters and magnification to improve the appearance of every room. People want a large master bedroom and a light, airy, feel – you’ll be amazed how much Photoshop can help you!

Have a Laugh, Then Do it Right

Ok, ok, you know I’m not advocating any of this – especially the ethics violations! However, we’ve seen them all multiple times in listings.

So, learn from these and do differently – and you’ll having listing photos you can be proud of!

What hilarious listing photo mistakes have you seen? Share in the comments!

Ready to put those beautiful listing photos to great use? Check out our Just Listed postcards today!

How NOT to Do an Open House

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Open House

If you’ve been following Printerbees for a while, you know that we love live video and video tours as an alternative to open houses. The technology is amazing, and you’re much safer than when strangers are in the home with you.

However, there are still markets where open houses are the preferred method. Perhaps your buyers are not of the age where they are familiar or comfortable with technology. Or perhaps the market is so strong in your area that an open house is a great way to get multiple bids.

Regardless, there are still plenty of reasons to do a regular open house. However, you want to ensure you do them the right way. So AVOID making these crazy mistakes – some of which I’ve seen this week!

Don’t Have Pets in the Home

Somehow sellers realize they have to leave the home during the open house, but think they can leave their pets behind.

Nope.

There are folks with allergies, there are folks who hate snakes (or lizards or rabbits or…), and it’s just an all-around bad look.

No pets.

Don’t Schedule Professional Work During the Open House

I actually saw this happen. An open house was going on in my area, and then the lawn service showed up, parked RIGHT IN FRONT of the Open House sign, and proceeded to mow during the event.

I cannot figure out who thought that was a good idea. Make sure that your sellers know what professional services are supposed to happen during the open house, and cancel them in advance.

You do NOT want that level of unprofessionalism when you are trying to sell a home!

Don’t Overdo the Scents

It’s important to have a home smelling fresh and pleasant during an open house. Unfortunately, some sellers and agents go overboard.

Some buyers may be allergic to fragrances, and overusing an air freshener can make buyers wonder what you’re trying to cover up.

And don’t get me started on the dozens of candles thing… not only does it look a bit odd sometimes, there’s a definite fire hazard involved.

Don’t Stage Halfway

Staging is a vital part of helping buyers see themselves in the home. If the seller agrees to staging, make sure they agree to doing the whole home.

It’s really jarring to see a beautiful front room but the rest of the house is vacant. An empty home is hard to imagine yourself in.

And while I know you want to help your sellers, don’t bring secondhand furniture in and try to stage unless you truly know what you’re doing. Let a professional stager handle that part.

Don’t Skip Cleaning – Everywhere!

As a real estate agent, you must impress upon your sellers how important it is to clean everywhere if they want to sell the home.

People will look in the sinks, in closets, and in the garage. They won’t care that part of your basement is storage. They’ll even open the junk drawer.

If things are dirty, disorganized, and unattractive, buyers will assume that the home is not cared for. If you don’t clean your closets, can you really be trusted to keep the furnace in good condition and take care of water before it causes damage?

The buyer will think not. And they’ll look elsewhere.

What Have You Seen?

So what have you seen that’s a huge open-house no-no? We’d love to hear. And if you’re getting ready for an open house this fall, be sure you have your flyers and brochures in order. We can help – just give us a call at 877-939-2337 today!

3 Ways to Use Video to Promote Real Estate Listings

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Video Marketing Real Estate

If a picture is worth 1,000 words, a video must be worth a million. When you can take images, sound, and a clear understanding of space and dimension and put it all in one package, you can’t lose.

If you have been avoiding video because you think it’s too difficult or too expensive, I’m about to change your mind. Cell phone cameras have been increasing in quality, and people’s enjoyment of less-professional “raw” video is increasing.

Whether you want to invest in professional video or use a Facebook Live, there are many ways to use video to promote a real estate listing.

Keep it Simple: Use Facebook Live to Give a Tour

Facebook Live is an incredible marketing tool for real estate agents. You can showcase your business, build your brand, and replace your time-consuming open houses with Facebook Live tours.

Why use Facebook Live instead of holding an open house?

  • It’s much safer than allowing strangers into a home with you
  • Your homeowners don’t have to worry about damage or theft
  • You control how the home is showcased – you can point out the best features
  • It takes much less time than a multi-hour open house
  • You have the video to use in multiple marketing efforts!

You don’t need any fancy equipment, and Live viewers don’t expect everything to be perfectly polished or flawless. So skip the script and just be yourself! Use your phone to show off a home in a video open house.

Once you have the video, share it everywhere. Post it with the listing on real estate websites and your own site, share it on social media, and more.

Step It Up: Create Videos of the Area

Besides the home, buyers want to know what the neighborhood and city are like. Use video to let them know! You can use a basic video camera or your phone, along with a bit of editing, to create an excellent promo video for the area.

Talk about, and show, features of the neighborhood, such as parks, schools, and shops. Indicate how close train stations, park-and-rides, or restaurants are. Cover everything you know about an area – this is your chance to show off your expertise!

By simply walking, driving, or both, you can show off the best parts of a neighborhood. You can even film short clips and edit them together. You can keep it serious or make it silly. Your imagination is the only limit!

Hire a Pro: Take Advantage of Drone Marketing

Drones give you the opportunity to showcase a property in an entirely new way. Some Realtors® use drone imagery only for very high-dollar listings. However, think about standing out in the mid-level market with drone video as well.

As a Realtor® who uses drone marketing, you’ll have an extra benefit you can pitch to potential clients. Show them drone videos of other homes you’ve marketed, and you’re sure to impress the sellers and win their business.

Drones have to be operated by qualified personnel, so be sure to pick your professional carefully. If you have the interest and the time, you can get qualified yourself. Operating drones for yourself and other real estate agents can give you a nice side income.

Whether you do drone video inside the home or outside – or both – having this type of video in your arsenal will give you a huge wow factor. You’re sure to impress buyers and sellers alike!

Ready to Tape?

Whether you want to keep it simple with Facebook Live or amp it up with drone video, using video is an essential way to draw attention to your listings. It’s a fantastic addition to your marketing mix, along with Just Listed and Just Sold postcards, door hangers, and more.

Do you use video in marketing? Why or why not? Share in the comments!

 

Ready to get your listing marketing in order? Check out our materials today!

Words to Ban from Your Real Estate Marketing

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Words to Ban from Your Real Estate Marketing

If you’ve ever watched a show like “What Not to Wear,” you know how unique people can be. Knowing what looks good does not come naturally to everyone.

Of course, in my own business, I see a real estate version of that. So on today’s episode of “What Not to Say,” I’ll share some words that you should NEVER use in real estate marketing.

Skip the Hip

Unless you are part of the age group that uses specific slang, you should not try to work it into your marketing. You’ll come off completely ridiculous and inauthentic, and are more likely to be mocked than listened to.

So please don’t use words like:

  • Bae
  • Fleek
  • Lit
  • Turnt
  • I can’t even

Most real estate agents wouldn’t say these things, but there’s always someone who’s tempted to try it so they can be unique and relevant.

Again, if it’s not part of your actual personality and communication style, don’t do it!

Skip Jargon

All professionals, including Realtors®, tend to use industry language instead of customer-focused language. A lot of it has to do with the education you’ve received. But remember that your training uses “shop talk” that won’t make sense to prospects.

Be sure to avoid:

  • Unit
  • Lot
  • Deal
  • Project
  • Spec House
  • Restrictive Covenants

All of these are terms we use with other agents, but they do not make for great marketing. There are better alternatives in every case, such as home, homesite, opportunity, community, showcase/featured home, and protective covenants.

Be aware of the picture you’re painting in a prospect’s mind!

Exaggeration or “Stretching” the Truth

As you describe a listing, it can be tempting to try to cover up flaws with language. However, customers’ BS detectors are on high alert, so don’t think you can describe a neighborhood as “up-and-coming” and get away with it.

Skip language like:

  • Cozy
  • Rustic
  • Quaint
  • A kitchen with everything within reach
  • Charming
  • Practical
  • State of the Art

Instead of trying to gloss over the poor aspects of a home, focus your marketing on being super specific about the great elements of the home.

Write it Right

Instead of using words and terms that will push people away, focus on writing excellent listing descriptions.

One of the best ways to do this is to tell a story so the prospect can see themselves living in the home. Words always create emotion – the key is to build the feeling you want in the prospective buyer.

If you’re trying to attract listings rather than buyers, remember that folks love to buy, but they hate being sold. Use your marketing to invite sellers to contact you. Focus on how their needs will be met. And don’t forget to use a call to action in every marketing piece, no matter who you’re targeting!

Do you need to update your marketing flyers or postcards to remove some of these ineffective words? We’re here to help. Contact us today!

3 Essentials of Marketing Real Estate Listings

Essentials of Marketing Listings

With summer in full swing, marketing listings is top-of-mind for many Realtors®. Listings are the core of many agents’ businesses, and it’s always useful to make sure you’re covering the essentials.

You want to move well beyond the “Put up a sign, put it in the MLS, and pray” strategy. Here are three essentials that will get your listing in front of the right buyers so you can close the deal!

Avoid Obvious Problems

It’s no secret that some listings sit for months due to completely avoidable issues. Pricing is one of the biggest. A home should be priced appropriately for its condition, location, and market conditions. If a seller won’t agree to those terms, don’t compromise. Move on!

Social media has made buyers more visually motivated than ever. If you don’t have beautiful pictures of a home, and the home isn’t gorgeous to buyers who tour it, you won’t move the property quickly. Some sellers completely miss the point that the home shouldn’t be decorated for them anymore. It should appeal to the largest base of buyers possible.

Finally, make sure your writing is compelling as you promote the home. The best pictures in the world won’t cover for bad copy! There are a variety of ways to make your listing description captivating to draw in agents and buyers. Highlight the home’s character and how it differs from other properties in the neighborhood.

Use a Variety of Marketing Methods

Every listing should have a clear marketing plan created. When you have a plan, not only does it help you win listings up front, it also directs your daily actions. You can move forward purposefully, knowing that you have a set plan, you’ll be focused and sell the home quickly.

A marketing plan often includes:

If you only market one way, you’re missing out on potential buyers. People are active online in a variety of ways, and there’s less competition in the mailbox than ever. By taking a multi-faceted approach, you’ll be able to access all potential buyers.

Network with Other Realtors®

Other agents aren’t your competition, they’re a great source of buyers for your listing! There are a variety of ways to connect to other real estate agents to find buyers.

Reverse prospecting on the MLS is one idea. Through saved searches, you can find Realtors® who have buyers that might be interested in your new listings. Once you ensure that the buyer is still active, don’t forget that you need to sell the agent on why your listing is perfect for their client.

You can also find other agents on Instagram. When you have an active account, Instagram is a great way to showcase your listings and connect with other Realtors®. You can find buyers, or buyer’s agents – either way, you win!

Of course, networking with other agents in person and through agency and industry events is important as well. You never know when the Realtors® you meet will be just the connection you need.

When you cover these three fundamentals, you’ll be doing a very solid job of marketing your listings. The more creative you can be, the better! We’re in a powerful seller’s market in 2017, so there is no excuse not to move homes quickly.

Are you ready to set up a Just Listed and Just Sold campaign? Interested in other print marketing materials? We’re here to help. Contact Printerbees today!

How to Help First-Time Sellers Through a Sale

Helping First-Time Sellers

Winning a listing is always exciting because many Realtors® see them as the bread and butter of real estate. However, you can end up putting in a lot of extra time if you’re working with a first-time seller. You certainly don’t need to shy away from these listings, but it does help to have a plan. Here are some ways you can help a first-time home seller through the process.

Help Them Handle Emotional Attachment

A first-time seller is parting ways with a home that has hosted a huge part of his or her life. While people move apartments frequently, many homebuyers forge a special emotional attachment to their first home.

The longer the seller has lived in the home, and the more that has happened there, the stronger the emotions are likely to be. Here are some things you should be prepared to handle:

  • A desire to price the home higher than the market
  • Wavering about whether they should sell right now
  • A tendency to leave their collections and knick-knacks out during showings
  • Resistance to changing the home in accord with buyer requests

You aren’t in real estate to be a therapist, but with a first-time home seller, you will need to do a little hand-holding. Encouraging them to let go of their emotional connection and helping them look forward to their new home is step one.

Provide Clear Expectations & Frequent Communication

First-time homebuyers are nervous and don’t know what to expect. They will assume that most showings are serious buyers and that open houses will lead to offers in a few days. If this does not happen, they may become frustrated or even re-think the listing entirely.

By helping them understand exactly what will happen and what likely timelines will be, you can calm their nerves. Ask them how often they would like updates, and if they want to hear from you even if nothing has changed. Provide the communication they are looking for, and they will be thrilled with your service. A happy seller means more referrals and more listings!

Even Previous Sellers Can Feel Like Newbies

If it has been 20 years since a homeowner last moved, they are likely to feel incredibly uncertain and out of place. Even though they have sold a home in the past, the market conditions and marketing techniques have changed dramatically.

Reassurance is a valuable tool for this type of home seller. Let them know that you are an expert in all the new marketing avenues and that you know exactly how to position their home for a quick sale. Remind them that people’s basic needs don’t change even when technology does and that the perfect buyer is out there. You just have new ways of reaching them.

No matter who you’re helping sell a home, it’s a competitive marketplace out there. Your goal isn’t just to find a buyer, it’s to find a serious, qualified buyer whose offer will hold up through closing. That’s the expertise you bring, and by providing that service, you’ll be sure to delight new and experienced sellers alike.

Ready to market a new listing? We have all the print marketing tools you need. Check out our postcards, fliers, and more today!

The Art of the Deal: Marketing to FSBOs

Marketing to FSBOs: Art of the Deal

When I see a FSBO sign in someone’s yard, I always feel a bit sorry for them. Not in a condescending way, simply because I know they are leaving money on the table. And because I know they are getting themselves in over their heads.

Homeowners don’t seem to understand everything it takes to close a deal. I think that represents a huge marketing opportunity as you reach out to FSBOs this summer. Letting a seller know who has to be involved in a home transaction and what it takes to make things go smoothly can really open their eyes.

First Part of the Deal: Time

Homeowners don’t realize how much time it really takes to market a home correctly. Simply placing it on the MLS is not enough to get a great offer. You have to take professional pictures, create marketing materials, and spread the word.

The value you bring as a Realtor® isn’t just your time and money. It’s also your network. You know other real estate agents who represent buyers. You know who you can contact to get great Just Listed and Just Sold postcards. You have connections on social media and through your website that can help you sell a home.

A homeowner doesn’t have these specialized connections. They also don’t have the time, money, and expertise it takes to market their own home effectively.

Second Part of the Deal: Negotiating

Do you know how to drive a hard bargain? Do you know exactly how to price a home to maximize the value to the homeowner? If you’re a Realtor®, your answer should be a resounding YES! But most homeowners cannot say the same.

Negotiating starts with setting the right price, which takes market knowledge and business skill. Then, you weed out the looky-loos and negotiate with serious buyers. Sometimes you need nerves of steel to stand your ground against an aggressive buyer’s agent.

Let’s be honest. People are afraid of negotiating over a car. Dealerships market themselves as “no haggle” to attract customers. What makes homeowners think they can handle negotiations on a house, which is worth 10 times as much, by themselves?

Of course, you can’t say things that way in your marketing outreach to a FSBO, but you can point out that negotiating is hard on small things. It’s even more difficult when hundreds of thousands of dollars are at stake. A buyer’s agent won’t respect a FSBO and may take advantage of them. Having a Realtor® on the seller’s side offers protection.

Third Part of the Deal: People & Paperwork

Remember when I mentioned how much your network is worth? Your sales network is only half the story. The people you know that help you close the deal are equally valuable. As I mentioned in a previous post about the five people you should know, a great Realtor® is well-connected.

The connections you have with mortgage brokers, home inspectors, insurance agents, and escrow officers are extremely valuable to a seller. They almost certainly don’t know how to connect with high-quality professionals and may be in for a shock when an inexperienced inspector or escrow officer scuttles a deal.

Then, of course, there’s paperwork. The mountain of paperwork and disclosures required to sell a home would intimidate anyone, and it all has to be done right to protect the buyer and the seller. Without proper documents, a seller may be hit with extra fees or find themselves on the hook for post-sale repairs. Having a professional prepare and execute the closing documents is a huge relief for a seller.

You’re Worth More Than You Know

The next time you’re reaching out to a FSBO, look over all the value you bring to the table. Consider how much training, experience, and knowledge you bring to a transaction. You have mastered the art of the deal.

That poor FSBO doesn’t know what he or she is missing. But with the right marketing focused on the many services you provide, including time, negotiation, your network, and making the transaction go smoothly. How can a seller say no to that?

If you’re ready to reach out to FSBOs in your area, let us help. We have a variety of FSBO marketing postcards that can help you connect. Check them out today!

Taking Zestimates to Court

Taking Zillow to Court

Well, it finally happened. I had guessed that Zillow would eventually run into trouble with its estimates since the error rate is 5% or more on most homes. Given that the median sale price of a home in May 2016 was $230,000, Zillow costs people $11,500 or more per home.

5% may sound modest, but keep in mind that 25 percent of the time Zillow is off by 10%, and ten percent of the time they are off by 20% or more. That can represent an enormous amount of money.

Of course, Zillow claims that their estimates don’t cost anyone money, after all, it’s just an educated guess. But tell that to this seller, who alleges that the Zestimate for her home is inaccurate to the tune of $100,000 and as a result, she can’t sell her home for a fair price.

She is filing an injunction for Zillow to remove or amend the estimate for her home. She also wants Zestimates to be regulated as appraisals or removed. Currently, she’s not looking for financial damages.

An Appraisal by Any Other Name…

Realtors® have known for years how inaccurate Zillow’s estimates are. Unfortunately, consumers tend to take what they see at face value. That leaves sellers fighting an uphill battle if their homes are undervalued.

It can also cause headaches for Realtors® who are trying to sell a home at a fair price that happens to be below the Zestimate. Some sellers consider the Zestimate to be the price they should sell their home for and won’t take no for an answer.

It makes sense to me that something advertised as boldly as Zillow’s estimates cannot be protected by an asterisk. Both buyers and sellers are taking these numbers seriously, and I personally am glad someone is trying to hold Zillow accountable.

Protecting Yourself from Zestimates

In the meantime, Realtors® need to have a clear strategy for defending against Zillow’s faulty estimates. Both buyers and sellers can be fooled, and as a real estate agent, it’s important to be prepared for both.

Talking a Seller Out of a Zestimate

The first step is to point out Zillow’s own disclaimer that they are inaccurate on a regular basis. From there, you can educate a homeowner on the specific factors that affect home pricing.

After you’ve discussed general pricing influences, you can talk to them about their particular home and how those issues impact them specifically. You can wrap up with an honest opinion about how much they should price their home for, and let them know that the over-high Zestimate will help their home sell faster because buyers will think they are getting a bargain.

At the end of the day, if a seller won’t back down from an illogically high price, you don’t want the listing. There are plenty of other folks you can help that are ready to sell at a reasonable price.

Talking a Buyer Out of a Zillow Estimate

Buyers can be harder to reach because they may not even ask for a showing if they feel the price is too high. They also won’t believe you have their best interest at heart since you work for the seller.

The best thing to do with buyers is to point out the features that make the home worth the price, and mention how much nearby houses are selling for. You might also approach the buyer’s agent and explain the Zillow situation, and have them talk to the buyer directly about how Zestimates are often wrong.

The seller may be able to update their home’s facts, but that won’t necessarily improve the Zillow estimate, which is based on an undisclosed algorithm. If the home is dramatically wrong on Zillow, you may just need to take the bull by the horns and address directly in the marketing you do for the home.

Having a flyer that specifically says, “Why is Zillow so wrong about this home?” and talking about true pricing factors can be an excellent way to address this issue.

Will the Court Case Change Anything?

Given that Zillow discloses that estimates are 5% or more incorrect, they don’t expect to get in trouble for Zestimates. However, if a court finds that the estimates are causing material damage to homeowners, the situation could change quickly.

It’s certainly worth keeping an eye on this case and seeing what happens!

If you want to do consumer education about Zestimates, brochures are a great way to get the word out. We have several templates you can choose from – click here for more information!

Creative Ways to Market Real Estate Listings

Real Estate Listings Marketing

For some reason, spring always gets me thinking about listings. It must be the warm weather and the fact that the busy season for real estate is just around the corner.

Marketing for real estate listings is something that you can develop a system for. You can make sure you always take certain steps to get the word out – Just Listed postcards, open houses, letting other Realtors® know about the property, and so on.

But I like to think outside the box too. So today, I’m sharing some creative ways to market your listings this spring.

Offer an Immersive Neighborhood Experience

Buyers looking at real estate listings often have a hard time imagining themselves living in a new community, and they may worry about what there is to do or whether they can fit in. One great way to set yourself apart and help the buyers see themselves in the new location is to offer an “Uber and Dinner” package to serious customers.

This just involves making a reservation at a local restaurant – the more unique, the better – and ordering an Uber to take the buyers to and from the dinner. Having a ride allows the customers the chance to notice things they might not see otherwise. And a nice dinner helps them relax.

Of course, this is a “Wow” experience that sets you and your sellers apart as you compete for the buyer. It will impress sellers that you think outside the box and help you win listings as well.

If you don’t like Uber and Dinner, you can offer a guided tour of the neighborhood or take advantage of any local, fun activities that would help the buyer feel like they’ve experienced the area in a new way.

Hold an Event Instead of an Open House

Open houses seem to be on their way out, for safety reasons as well as because they’re poorly attended. People prefer to look online at pictures and videos, view the house on their own time, and then make a buying decision.

Unfortunately, this doesn’t give you the opportunity to build buzz about your real estate listings, get more prospective buyers in, and create interest. So, try something new – hold an event instead of an open house.

You can choose and host the event yourself, or you can contact charities or organizations you know that are looking for a space to hold a fundraiser or public activity. Work with your homeowners to see what they’re most comfortable with – maybe they’d prefer a backyard affair with tours available, for instance, rather than an indoor event.

Inviting people from the neighborhood is a good start, and then you’ll want to let other Realtors® know about it. Realtors® will be a lot more likely to bring buyers over if there’s something fun going on, so your event will attract a lot of attention!

Hold a Virtual Open House on Facebook

Facebook allows you to host events online. You can invite people you know, or even target people using Facebook’s demographic and psychographic tools.

Facebook has an excellent guide for creating and managing events on their platform. Also, consider these ideas:

  • Use Facebook Live to do a virtual home tour. Because it’s live, people can ask questions and you can answer them in real time. You can highlight areas that people ask about and share specific features. Best of all, when you’re done, the video will be available to others who visit your event page.
  • Invite the friends and family of your sellers, and ask them to invite people they know. You can get a big organic reach by starting with who you know and moving outward from there.
  • Use Facebook ads to reach those who live in the area, are in the target demographic, and/or are likely to move soon. It’s amazing how specific you can be when you use Facebook for targeting. Don’t miss the opportunity to bring in a very specific audience!

A virtual open house saves you and your sellers time and money. It secures your safety and the security of the home. It also shows that you’re savvy with technology, which can help you win a listing from an uncertain seller. Win-win-win!

These three ideas are just the surface of what you can do to be creative in your marketing. Of course, you should do the things you already know work – postcards and flyers, featuring the property on your website, networking, and more. These new ideas just add to your arsenal!

Incentives for Listings Beyond Price

Incentives Beyond Price

You’ve got a great listing and it’s priced right, but it simply isn’t getting the attention you know it deserves. What do you do to drum up more customers?

There are a lot of answers to that question, but there’s one you may not have thought about: adding additional incentives to the sale.

Builders use incentives to sell new construction all the time, but Realtors® often skip this tactic when it comes to reselling a home later. Thinking outside the box regarding incentives may be exactly what you need to sell homes quickly at top dollar.

Closing Costs

Since many buyers will be cash-strapped after buying a home, offering a hotel package or another incentive that will cost the buyer additional money isn’t likely to get much traction.

Instead, focus on saving the buyer money in places other than the price. By offering help with closing costs, you’ll be able to get budget-minded buyers interested in your seller’s home instead of another property.

If you phrase closing costs in terms of percentages – covering 10% of closing costs, for example – you can offer an attractive incentive for far less cost than a price drop on the home.

Help With PMI

Many buyers have trouble saving up 20% for a down payment, so they will be saddled with PMI when they buy a home. If you offer an incentive to help pay for that, you can get a lot more interested buyers.

Since PMI is generally 0.5% – 1% of the total loan amount annually, a buyer could be looking at $1,000 per $100,000 of home. Offering to cover 25% of the PMI for one year could be an excellent incentive that would attract buyers’ attention.

Items of Value to the New Homeowner

Not everything has to be financial. While arbitrary free items may not hit the radar of most buyers, you could offer freebies that are directly helpful to a new homeowner.

If there’s some high-quality furniture that fits perfectly in a room, see if the seller would throw that in as an incentive. Other items that may be helpful include exercise equipment, child’s play equipment in the backyard, and more.

Of course, all of this must be high-quality and in top shape. No buyer wants to end up with broken or worn-out items that the seller was just tired of!

Think Outside the Box

The goal with incentives is to find a new way to compete for buyers’ attention. Dropping the price can cost your seller thousands of dollars. Many of these incentives will only cost a few hundred, but they are unique and will stand out in a sea of homes for sale.

Continue to think outside the box and consider what incentives may work. Often, the solution will be very individual, depending on the type and location of the home, the property the sellers have, and what stage of life potential buyers are in.

Ready for some just listed postcards to highlight your unique incentive? We’ve got just what you need – contact us today!