Deciding on a Real Estate Agent can be overwhelming. The biggest consideration is your relationship with them, but almost as important is how they are going to market your home. They have one job – selling your home – and the best way to get a good buyer at a fair price is to make sure they are spreading the word far and wide, and attracting eyeballs to your house. Once a potential Buyer gets inside, it depends on how they feel in the home. But if they never make it in the door, you never have a chance to sell to them.
When interviewing an Agent, ask specifically about their marketing plan for your home. They should offer at least the following marketing tools:
Traditional Real Estate Marketing Tools
- A Good Entry in the MLS – Agents who are working with Buyers are spending most of their time on the MLS looking for homes. This is the main group you want to connect with. If you have an agent who writes lousy descriptions, you’re going to have a lower rate of response. Good descriptions are a great way to sell a house to an agent, and therefore their buyer. Ask to see other listings prepared by your agent – you’re looking for strong description, lots of detail and an emphasis on good aspects of the home. “3 Bedroom Ranch on large lot with new windows” is a lousy description, and an indication of an agent that’s not engaged with a home. Also try to avoid agents that use a lot of capital letters (“GREAT STARTER HOME”) and/or non-letter characters (“L@@K!!! Why pay rent!!???!!!)
- Excellent Photos of your Home – Both Agent and Buyers are looking for pictures. Lots of pictures. Since there are a lot of options in our area, pictures are used almost exclusively to reject a possible home. Ask your agent what types of pictures they usually take, and what pictures they would take of your house. You’re looking for an agent with a good eye – not necessarily a good photographer, but someone who can identify and capture the uniqueness of your home. Sometimes a small thing like a nice stairway can be the star of a photo, and be exciting enough to draw Buyers to your home. Again, ask to see an agent’s prior listings – look for the number of pictures, the types of pictures they took (exciting or just meh) and what quality the photos are.
- A For Sale Sign – Sometimes the smallest thing can be very important – in this case, a For Sale sign in your yard. This is the easiest and cheapest marketing tool, but one with great impact. Everyone driving by can see that your house is for sale. They can tell their friends, they may have a relative who’s wanting to move to your neighborhood, or they may be interested themselves. This is marketing directly to the Buyer, who can then tell their Agent they want to see your house. Some neighborhoods have HOA guidelines that prohibit For Sale signs – if yours does, check with the HOA to see if they will allow a sign hung in the window, or allow a small flyer box on your mailbox or your property.
Digital Real Estate Marketing Tools
- Your Agent’s Website – Every agent should have a good website, either through their brokerage or a website of their own. This is important – a lot of buyers just go to Google and search something like “NW Indiana homes for sale” and go to the first website that pops up, or search an address that they saw on your sign. Search for your agent’s name and see what appear – you’ll see websites like Zillow and Trulia, but you should also be able to find a an agent website for them. Click through, and see how their website is set up. It should be easy to read and easy to navigate, and there should be at least three things on there – a way to search listings, contact information for your agent (both phone and email) and a basic contact form for a Buyer to fill out for more information.
- A Virtual Tour – Technology had progressed to the point that a virtual tour should be a basic part of every marketing plan, for even the most old-fashioned Agent. Younger Buyers search for homes almost exclusively on the internet, and you want your home to stand out from all of the other homes that just display static pictures. Virtual tours can be an excellent tool for marketing, and gives your agent another venue for promoting your home. In addition, MLS listings are limited in terms of picture and word count, so a virtual tour gives them more room for detailing your home, with the added bonus of putting it together to music and making a moving picture. Virtual tours can also be promoted on video only websites like You Tube, and can be linked from you and your agent’s social media pages.
- Facebook/Twitter/etc. – A good agent will have a strong social media presence, including Facebook, Twitter, You Tube and other platforms where they can spread all of the above marketing tools. Ask your agent if they have a business Facebook page, a Twitter account, a You Tube channel, along with profiles on real estate websites like Zillow and Trulia. The real estate industry has changed tremendously in even the last 5 years, and any agent who isn’t promoting themselves (and your house!) that way is missing a rather large portion of the Buyers that are looking. Also ask about non-mainstream online marketing like Craigslist and community bulletin boards.
You need to like your agent, and there are certain tasks you need to take care of as a Seller, like maintenance. But you’re really paying your Agent to do one thing – get your house sold. Make sure that they are doing their job, using available technology and marketing your home properly. A good agent will be excited about your home, even if it’s some dinky one bedroom cottage. If your agent truly loves homes, they will be able to find the good parts of your house and market the hell out of it!
Thinking of selling your home? Contact me and I’d be happy to develop a marketing plan for you! Call or text me at 219-765-2062, or email me at ericag@C21Affiliated.com.