Those who seek to profit from a home sale may prefer to sell the property themselves, independent of a real estate broker. They soon find out that there is more to selling a house than a yard sign and some fliers and can often become quickly overwhelmed by the process. Real estate promotion and advertising a house for sale is a systematic process that, when done correctly, can attract strong offers from home shoppers. For Sale By Owner, or FSBO sellers can save thousands, by eliminating or reducing a the real estate commission. These savings are realized by owners that know how to effectively expose their home to the marketplace.
Before putting your home sale, it is important for you to present it in its best possible light. If you are considering doing any improvements, repairs or cleaning, then do so, before you ever put it on the market. Fixer-uppers are fine for real estate wholesalers and flippers, even some first-timers might agree to do the work. Yet if you are marketing a house to fetch the highest price, you want your home to be safe, comfortable and functional from day one.
Let’s begin with functional. Is everything working as it should? Loose doorknobs, a leaky roof, peeling wallpaper and poor water pressure, for example, are items that the seller should see to before releasing any house for sale advertisement. Of course, looking out for that all-important bottom line of the financial settlement statement could tempt you to skimp on these matters, but it is best not to. People do not want to spend much on a house that they will only have to spend more on after closing.
Well, maybe not affluence…but better offers are made on houses that are free of clutter and debris. Buyers have trouble imagining themselves occupying space that is filled up with your excess belongings. Sellers should remove some of their personal property, for example clothes, books, electronics, wall decorations etc., in order to convey a spacious and open atmosphere to prospective purchasers. Let the imagination of your prospects help do the selling for you.
For the same reason you want to eliminate clutter and thereby open space up, it also serves you to minimize those personal touches that make the house your home. Potential buyers not only want to envision how they would furnish the dwelling, they also want to identify with it. This might sound irrational, but it is not uncommon. Too many family photos, heirlooms, trophies or religious articles make it hard for buyers to feel that your house could be theirs. So, as many hours as it took to bring down that white-tail deer, taking its stuffed head down is advisable. Books on erotica should likewise be packed up. The aim is to make the house attractive AND generic.
Attending to the lawn and shrubbery does not mean creating spectacular panoramas of greenery. Simply keeping the grass cut and hedges trimmed improves the external appearance of a house considerably. Similarly, a fresh coat of paint can restore charm and appeal to a dwelling that is looking weather-beaten. These are low-cost maintenance measures that tell passers-by that the house is well cared for and, perhaps, worth a look.
Having repaired, put in order and spruced up the house and surroundings, you have one more task in making the property presentable: staging. Now that you have the space, the functionality and the appearance that interested shoppers like, optimizing these elements helps to close the deal. This means arranging furniture, wall décor and surface objects in a manner that helps prospects see their own belongings adorning the rooms. Staging is often performed by professionals, as budgets can bear, but a little research can assist the DIY stager as well. However, investing in a professional may pay big dividends if his or her services attract a lot of buyers and more bidders to your house.
After the work of making the house fit to be sold, the big challenge is to bring people in to see the fruits of your labors. Getting listed is paramount but what does that involve?
You can and should be on the MLS! There are over 600 MLSs in the United States, these are private databases used by real estate professionals to collaborate on what properties are on the market. The MLS is the main portal and source of information agents use inform each other of their listings.
The use of an MLS is ONLY available to real estate professionals. The public cannot post a property in their local MLS without first going through one of its members. Once a property is placed in the MLS it then gets syndicated out to dozens of other public web sites such as Realtor, Zillow, Trulia, Redfin, etc.
Full Service real estate agents all offer access to the MLS, but will often charge you up to 7% of the sales price for access. Discount and Flat Fee companies like ByOwner.com also offer MLS listings for a nominal fee, in many areas for as low as $99.
Visuals are of primary importance because most people think visually. Take plenty of pictures…. Most MLS’s online listing sites allow up to 50 photos. Quantity counts, according to the latest research, so post as many photos as needed to highlight the features of your home. You further enhance your visitor numbers if you employ video as part of the presentation, also knows as a “virtual tour”. Quality photos are helpful. A real estate photographer is a professional who, while collecting a fee, also will help capture the best angles and lighting.
Even in a sellers’ market, buyers have a limit to their financial tolerance. Too high a sale price will put off many otherwise interested purchasers, no matter how much work you put in on the house and no matter how professional your pictures look. Of course, owners are looking to walk away with a decent amount of money. Getting an appraisal is one way to obtain a benchmark figure. Less expensive are online calculators that take into account all kinds of property factors. They cannot, at any rate, gauge market conditions, which can change very quickly.
As important as photos and videos are, a textual description of the property is where you can highlight your favorite aspects of the house. As with all writing in this information age, keywords advance your description and listing in the search engines. Real estate promotion hinges on persuasive words like “smart home technology” and “marble counters.” Make the appeal…appealing. Make sure to mention items such as the, the view, appliances, upgrades, neighborhood, etc.
Other ways to utilize technology when marketing a house is to announce its availability to your friends and networks on social media. The great thing about friends and followers is that they, too, have friends and followers. Advertising a house for sale on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or SnapChat, for example, can send your videos, pics and description far and wide. Linking your home to social media posts adds substantial content to a posting announcing the home’s availability or the next open house. All that hard work and expense of a photographer or videographer reaches even more people in the market to buy a house.
No, you do not want to inundate your friends’ mailboxes with spam. Still, there is nothing wrong, and everything right, with letting them know that you have a property for sale. Such an e-mail can extend beyond your own circles to people unmet, a motivated buyer among them. Again, use discretion with frequency and avoid salesy language. Any e-mail should convey the sense of one friend updating another about a big event.
Recognizing the fact that a wider net is better that a smaller one, consider creating a blurb about the house on a classified site where one-on-one commerce is the focus. Craigslist, Facebook Market Place, and Offerup are such platforms among many. There are buyers just beyond the boundaries of your social reach and website visitors who might be willing to entertain your asking price. Meanwhile, the investment for such home marketing is minimal.
A good rule of thumb is to remember that many people live lives apart from their laptops and devices. Tactics or house advertising should similarly include more traditional marketing methods. Direct mail can cover a vast pool of prospects, and it continues to move property and products to this day. In the same way, a broad distribution of fliers advertising house availability is another way to reach the unreached, just make sure what local ordinances will allow in terms of hand-outs and postings. By the way, yard signs are not old-fashioned. They draw attention quickly and consistently.
Opening the home to buyer’s agents and the general public allows interested parties first-hand access to the property. Many savvy agents know that real estate photographers accentuate the positive and they will come to discover if the house matches its visuals. In addition, numerous people are simply curious and casually looking to see what, if anything, appeals to them. It is not unheard of that unmotivated lookers turn into motivated buyers at open houses.