Posts Tagged ‘Marketing Your Listings’

posted by on An Exceptional Agent

I’m going to pose a situation to you and ask for your honest feedback as to how you would respond if this situation were presented to you. 

Sometime in the next year, my husband and I will be selling our home and buying a new one. Since I’m not licensed in the state of Florida (and have no desire to be), we will be seeking the services of a local real estate agent.

Honestly, this scares me to death. I have rather high expectations for an agent who represents me – well, actually I don’t feel my expectations are unreasonable, but my past experience with hiring listing agents has been discouraging – my ‘I-consider-to-be-reasonable’ expectations weren’t even close to met and I spent a lot of my time frustrated.

So, how do I ward this off? I don’t WANT to be frustrated! But I want my agent to have a clear understanding of what I expect… and to be willing to live up to my I-consider-to-be-reasonable expectations.

Here’s my idea… to make a proposal to the agents we interview, outlining what we expect from them in terms of pre-market pricing research, photography, communication, marketing, ongoing market research, etc. And see who, if any, are interested in our business… 

How would you respond if someone took this approach with you? (Caveat – this “someone” has real estate experience and has maybe even written a book or two on the subject.)

Would you be offended and irritated? Or conversely, challenged and inspired?

Your thoughts?

Here’s a little survey on the matter – would love your input! http://survey.constantcontact.com/survey/a07e68ydadch5pidebu/start

posted by on Working with Sellers

Lean

Many years ago, I had a sweeeet little listing in Denver. A 1940’s stucco Tudor, with all the fixtures and features Tudor-philes love – glass doorknobs, art-deco light fixtures, oak floors with inlays, decorative tile window sills, vintage fireplace… it was an easy house to fall in love with.

And buyers did… over and over again. Fell in love, that is… UNTIL…

<key spooky music>

…they reached the back bedroom. Unfortunately, the entire northwest corner of this sweeeeet little stucco Tudor was sinking. Not only did the floor slope alarmingly, there were 1″-2″ cracks all along the back wall and across the ceiling.

Ouch.

How fast do think buyers ran screaming for the door?

(pretty fast)

Other than the minor issue of a quarter of the house falling off, the home was truly wonderful. It sat on an oversize lot, had a finished basement, an updated kitchen and 2 full baths. The price was great (since we knew we had an objection to overcome), it was staged and photographed beautifully.

BUT WE DIDN’T DISCLOSE THE STRUCTURAL DEFECT IN THE LISTING DESCRIPTION, hoping that buyers would fall so in love with the home, they’d be willing to overlook it.

Silly, silly Jennifer.

The house didn’t sell. And didn’t sell. And didn’t sell some more, even though we had scads of showings.

It finally occurred to me that we were attracting the wrong buyer – the adorableness of the house was bringing in the Pottery Barn crowd by the dozens, but … the Pottery Barn crowd ain’t much interested in a house with a serious structural issue.

So, I could finish this story, but I’d rather hear your thoughts on the matter. Do you “disclose*” an obvious defect (e.g. high-tension power lines overhead, a highway behind the back fence, water in the basement, a strong offensive odor, structural damage, etc.) in your marketing, or let buyers discover for themselves it when they look at the house?

Please share your thoughts and experiences!

* by “disclose” I’m not referring to our and our sellers’ legal obligation to disclose known defects; I’m asking if you mention the defect in your MLS description and other marketing.

 

posted by on Working with Sellers

A few weeks ago I posted a blog about whether it’s a good idea or not to “disclose” an obvious material defectdefect in your public advertising of a home, or let buyers discover it on their own when they visit the house. My opinion is that it’s usually best to be upfront about such things so that you are marketing to the “right” buyer, not just using a shotgun approach hoping that “right” buyer stumbles along.

Well, there’s more to the story; thought I’d share.

After the blog got featured, a member wrote to me privately telling me that she was currently in that situation with a new listing. The home is cute, in a great location, great square footage and tremendous potential. BUT (sigh – always a “but”), it has a material defect that will likely scare the pants off the majority of retail buyers. The defect is fixable, but at significant cost.

My reader had debated whether or not to disclose the defect in the public comments of her MLS listing. She (and her seller) had already priced the home properly (significantly below the non-defective comps), and she knew the price would be attractive to the market.

But… to mention the defect? Or not…?

After talking with her managing broker, my reader decided to be silent on the defect in the public marketing (with a brief mention of it in the broker comments), with the goal of generating as much activity as possible from a wide spectrum of buyers. Her seller agreed with this approach and away they went.

Well, the strategy worked, sort of. They had a bunch of showings the first week – woo hoo!

But…no offers and universally negative feedback. “My buyers loved the house until they got to the basement…then… yikes!”

At the end of seven days, her sellers asked her to change the marketing to more accurately reflect the reality of the situation. They admitted they were tired of all the showings, knowing that most of the buyers wouldn’t consider the home at any price, and the negative feedback was wearing them out emotionally. (The agent admitted to similar feelings – that she was starting to dread notices of showings and subsequent agent feedback).

So, the agent changed the marketing as requested and immediately was rewarded with two showings, presumably by buyers who were willing to consider dealing with the defect. The agent told me that her enthusiasm level improved dramatically once she felt she was advertising the home more accurately, and felt she’d learned a valuable lesson in marketing – “UNDERpromise and OVERdeliver!”

Which raises the question – while OVERpromising in marketing might get more buyers/customers in the door, if they don’t buy because they felt misled, was the marketing effective? (I vote NO).

But was the agent wrong in trying it “her” way at first? Did she dis-serve her sellers with her initial “more-inclusive” marketing?

I don’t think so, but I’d love your thoughts on the matter! I’ll share mine if you’ll share yours.  

EPILOGUE: Two weeks and six more showings later, the house went under contract and is scheduled to close this week.