After several years of steady growth, the real estate market is showing signs of another downturn: an oversupply of available properties, stagnating prices, and increasing “days on market” are some of the signs that we are shifting to a buyer’s market.
Are you a real estate agent who has taken on several listings and has been working for weeks or months to get them sold? After a long period with no results, your sellers are likely to start calling you. Why hasn’t their property sold? What are you doing to market it? What else are you planning to do to make the sale?
I would like to share with you a few effective practices and ideas that have helped my own company get our listings sold, and hopefully these tips can help you, too—whether you need to revive a stale listing, or you need to convince a new seller why they need to list with you.
1. Start marketing the moment you sign the listing agreement
Once you’ve got a contract and secured your position, it’s time to get to work.
Harness the power of social media
Share a short preview of your new listing “coming soon to the market” across all your social media channels.
I applied this strategy in one of our most recent property flips, posting periodic updates on the renovation and its progress on Instagram (an ideal platform to share property photos), being sure to always tag the location, the neighborhood, and a combination of other pertinent keywords, as well as using the hashtag #miamirealestate.
On the day I announced we were ready to list, I got a call from a young woman who had been following my updates closely. She was looking to move into the area and wanted to know when we were hosting our first open house. Amazingly, this first caller and her husband ended up buying the home—all through the power of Instagram.
Let your fellow agents know
If your brokerage offers an intranet for agents to communicate, post a sneak peek of your property listing with the address and price for your fellow realtors to see. They might be already working with buyers who are looking to move into the neighborhood.
Don’t dismiss the good old real estate sign
Install your real estate sales sign as you walk away from the listing consultation. Add a “coming soon” sign to it, and make sure your contact information is prominently displayed. Anyone driving through the neighborhood will be alerted that the property is coming to the market soon, and they’ll have a chance to contact you for more information.
You can also be creative with your signs to make them stand out, like the one I saw recently that read “For Sale … Honey, back up the car!” It worked on me—I made my husband back up so I could read it.
2. Stage your listing to make it stand out
In those days when properties are flying off the shelves, sellers might be reluctant to consider the option of staging their home for sale, as it can be significant up-front investment. However, when competition is fierce, can you really afford to not stage and let the empty property sit on the market for months?
From the moment a buyer discovers the home online to the time they walk it during the showing, home staging provides many benefits:
- It creates an impeccable first impression in professional photos.
- It highlights the best features of a property (and can help to hide its shortcomings).
- It allows the visiting buyer to connect with the home on an emotional level and imagine themselves living in it.
- On a completely practical level, the presence of furniture allows the agent and the buyer to sit down and have a conversation, and remain on the property longer.
Imagine these shelves with nothing on them? It would make for a sterile and unappealing environment for the potential buyer:
photo credit: Mike Butler Photography
We started staging our flips and it quickly proved to be an indispensable strategy. We have sold homes within as little as 6 days, at or over the asking price, while similar homes sat on the market for 90 days or more, forced to reduce their prices over and over.
Today we stage every one of our flips and I recommend staging to all my real estate clients. We started to offer our home staging services in the Miami and Fort Lauderdale area last year and the results have been very positive. Our latest project scored a cash offer in just two weeks on the market.
3. Hire a professional photographer who understands architecture and interiors
Hiring a professional photographer to take photos of your property listing is essential. But beware: there are wannabe professionals and there are real professionals. The first is the kind who might take photos with the window blinds closed or at unflattering angles; the other is someone who knows how to make an interior shot look as good as possible.
Don’t just hire someone with a DSLR camera and who knows Photoshop; hire a photographer who understands interior design, layout, light, and composition.
What do I mean by that?
A true architectural photographer does not just come in and shoot photos of the space and its elements as they are. He or she moves, adjusts, and places pieces so that the pictures look just right. The image below is an example of a shoot at one of our staging projects:
photo credit: Mike Butler Photography
The dining table decor as well as the mirror are typically not in the position you see in this picture, but a skilled photographer knows how to rearrange things in order to compose an interesting shot. Photography is both an art and a science—invest in someone who can capture a feeling in their photos.
4. Give your listing as much visibility as possible
Of course, don’t forget the basics: publish your listing on the MLS (multiple listing service), syndicate with major real estate platforms like Zillow, Trulia, and Realtor.com, and claim those listings to follow statistics. However, there is more you can do to get more views on your listing.
List on Facebook Marketplace
If you’re targeting younger buyers, post the home for sale on Facebook Marketplace. You’ll be surprised how many enquiries you get from potential buyers!
Use email lists
In the United States, where collaboration between real estate agents is very common, do not underestimate the power of your email list. Make it a habit to send the property to your contact list on a regular basis. In the case of our local MLS, I’m able to pull realtor contact lists and add them to my email base. Make sure you keep the subject line interesting and relevant to increase your email open rate.
Change the featured photo regularly
This might not be obvious, so I will explain my reasoning. More than 90% of buyers use the internet to search for properties. They will use platforms like Zillow to do so, and they will only see the basic information of your listing and one main photo. Here’s the trick: change that cover photo periodically to attract new attention to your listing. The kitchen may appeal to one person, but the living room to another.
Host open houses
Open houses have always been and will always be essential when selling a property. They not only allow potential buyers to physically experience the space, but each time you hold one, it makes your listings pop on all online portals and gives your property renewed attention.
Broadcast on Facebook and Instagram Live
For those who can’t make it in person, offer a livestream tour of the home. Give your viewers a virtual view of the property and answer their questions in real time. It isn’t just a tour of the property, by the way—they are also getting to know you (and perhaps considering you for their future realtor).
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