Thursday, January 28, 2010

You Might Not Need A REALTOR IF.... Reason #4

Reason #4: You Might Not Need A REALTOR IF….
You Don't Need Assistance with Developing a Marketing Strategy and Implementing Showing Plan
In a buyers market, this becomes increasingly important.  In a sellers market, the marketing and showing plan is a lot less work.  You can make a lot of mistakes and still sell you house for a pretty penny.  So, make sure you understand the market conditions FIRST, then evaluate your expertise in the areas of developing a marketing strategy and implementing a showing plan.
Step one is identifying the target buyer so the marketing and showing plan are designed to reach that target buyer.  

  • How will your buyer use the property? Residential? Commercial? Development? Vacation Home? Primary Residence?

  • Where does your buyer work? Live? Drive?

  • What language does your buyer speak? 

  • What kind of financing will your buyer use?

  • Why will your buyer choose YOUR property?  Lake? View? Great roads? Inground Pool? Huge Bedrooms?  Home Office?  Next to the Metro?  Or, is it simply an affordable place to stay?
Once you have an idea of who your buyer will be, then you have some idea about where to advertise, and how to get serious buyers to see your advertisement.  You also know what your ad should say, how it should be said.

You're showing plan must complement the marketing plan.  Once you have the buyers' attention, how do you get them in the house?

  • Will they "drive by" first?

  • Will they come to an open house?

  • Will they come with their own REALTOR?

  • Will they schedule with you to see the house?

  • Will they have other access (open door, someone to meet them, key in a lockbox, what kind of lockbox), and will this be available on short notice?  i.e. if you are showing the home yourself, do you mind leaving an important meeting at work and driving home immediately to meet people, only to learn that aren't planning to move anytime in the next year? (These are called tire-kickers.) OR Better yet, people that say they are buying right away, but they haven't come up with a financing plan, and later you find out they don't qualify?
With this information, you know where the ads should be, if you need a sign, if an open house or brokers open is appropriate, what kind of access should be given to the property for potential buyers. 

After more than 100 years of working together, REALTORS all over the country have formed associations and studied these questions and worked together to devise solutions and provide resources and information to one another.  One of the most powerful developments of this association of professionals is the Multiple Listing Services they offer, and most REALTORS have membership to those local MLSs.  Buyers usually think of the MLS as "the" place to look for properties for sale, particularly residential properties. (There are similar, but less well known, search engines for commercial and other types of properties.)  So, most serious buyers are intentionally sorting through the MLS regularly, with the help of their agent or through public online portals to this database (i.e.  So, being in the MLS if your area has one is almost a must. 

But, what do you know about HOW to advertise in the MLS?  Priority considerations include:

  • Price (buyers search this database by price and location FIRST); what are the search options and how do you ensure your home is being seen by the most potential buyers?

  • Pictures vs. Virtual Tours - what do you need? how do you get them?

  • Remarks

  • Field Specific Data
Beyond that, online advertising, in most markets, is the most powerful media for advertising homes for sale.  But, which sites?  Do you know where the buyers are looking?

TOO IMPORTANT NOT TO MENTION: There are always security and safety concerns with every property sale that relate directly to the showing of the property.  I know you've watched the evening news and know that there are bad, evil people in the world.  Can you identify the risks involved in the home sales process and minimize them?

  • Will the home be too accessible so that vandals can access and damage the property?

  • Will grandma be meeting the buyers at the door?  Is she safe?  Afterall, what do you know about the buyers?  Do you know that real estate agents are attacked all the time?  Think about it... their job is to meet strangers, usually by themselves, often at an empty home.  Everything momma told you not to do.
  • Do you have "latchkey" kids?  Do you want strangers to know this? 

  • Do you know how to give your buyers space while they are looking at your home without allowing them opportunities to steal your percocet or the diamond cuff links you inherited from your grandfather?
Remember, people are coming into your home.  When they leave they will know about the valuables in your house, who lives in your home, where everyone sleeps, and when they are usually at home.  STRANGERS will know this.  DO YOU KNOW WHAT PRECAUTIONS YOU NEED TO TAKE to minimize the risks?

    REALTORS have ways to allow convenient, but controlled access to properties (this may not apply to land unless it is gated property).  They use electronic and other special lockboxes that minimize the risk of someone stealing or breaking into the lockbox to get a key to your home, but make the property available to hundreds of other agents (all of whom have met brokerage and licensing requirements including criminal background checks) who can show the property for them at a time that is convenient for the buyer.

    • Most REALTORS have screening procedures in place for potential buyers, so they are showing homes to ready, willing and able buyers..... not just willing, or worse yet "wishing" buyers.
    • Most REALTORS  have regular safety plans when they are showing homes to people they've not met before, which minimizes their risk and your liability as an owner of the property.
    So, if you read this, and are sure you've either (a) got this stuff covered; or (b) don't need any of this expertise, then YOU MIGHT NOT NEED A REALTOR, unless you need any of their other services.... so keep reading.

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    Stay tuned to the REAL ESTATE WHISPERER for the rest of the posts in this series.

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