If you’re a competing real estate agent or a “For Sale By Owner”, this post doesn’t really have any good or applicable information so feel free to move along. There’s nothing to see here, please move along… are they gone? Good!
I thought I’d share just a handful of unique procedures I follow and various ways I market your home when you trust me enough to list it with me. These ongoing posts will be tagged as “Marketing” on the bottom right side.
Price and location sell the house. Everyone has heard this statement before. I find that a buyer always researches these things before ever deciding to see your home. The price is why your home shows up in their search in the first place, the pictures help them identify the acceptability and perceived value of the choice and finally the map search helps them decide if there are any geographical deal breakers. If the price, value and location seem OK they usually schedule a viewing.
You can’t do anything about the location but you can show the home in the very best light possible. I am a very good real estate agent. I am NOT a good photographer. There is a huge difference between my pictures and a professional photographer’s. The expensive lesson that taught me this was when I bought a Nikon SLR and thought that it would pay for itself by just taking my own pictures of the next four homes I would list. At the time I didn’t realize there were other things I would desperately need.
- A wide angle lens, purchased separately will always show more house. This lens is more expensive than the camera.
- A tripod will eliminate the possibility of blurring and if several shots are taken with a variety of settings from the same exact location, the photos can be merged and processed.
- Digital photo processing brings out the absolute best picture possible.
Professional photography is always the very first thing I schedule. I like to have the pictures available before or at the same time the house is first listed so that no viewing is wasted. There’s always a large group of real estate agents and buyers who are looking for new inventory, every single day and if a home is listed with poor quality photos or no photos at all, they sometimes never come back for a second look. If the photos look good they will also “View Map” and using Google or similar, look at the “Birds Eye” view and “Street View” if available. Viewing photographs is the very first point at which a potential buyer sees your home and seeing them helps buyers decide whether or not they want to visit your home in person.
As a former real estate trainer I was fortunate enough to get to know thousands of real estate agents many of whom are still selling real estate in Maryland, Virginia and DC. Hundreds of those agents are still my real and/or Facebook friends, Twitter followers and a growing number are joining me in my Google+ Circles. I’m hoping for some real estate agent participation in the form of comments at the bottom of this post. I’ll mention a couple of things I do to market my listed homes. Please share a couple of your regular habits as well.
A couple of things I try to do with every home listed:
- Professional photographs (usually DS Creative Group)
- Not so professional video (done by me and my shaky hands)
- Pictures always go to Flickr, Animoto and/or YouTube, my web site and the MLS
- Inside color brochures and outside black and white fliers in a box on the yard sign
- Disclosures and fliers avialable for download on this website and the MLS
- Property Specific QR codes on all advertising (new for me) Another QR related post coming soon!
- Regular postings on Craigslist, militarybyowner and social media of listed homes, daily activities and other items of interest.
- Quick responses on all property inquiries
What are you doing that you feel are good ideas (so I can start implementing them too)?
Home owners, is there anything you would like done to market your home that you feel is important?
In the 70′s and 80′s, we didn’t have pc’s(or mac’s), tablets, e-mail, internet, smartphones (or cell phones for that matter), GPS devices, CD’s, DVD’s, voice mail… nothing. If you’re young, believe me, it wasn’t that long ago. Back then, real estate agents were very limited with their advertising. They advertised in newspapers… Newspapers were printed material people used to read to stay informed about current events… and real estate specific books. Even when I started in 1994, I advertised in newspapers and local city and county papers. I remember also paying for ads in real estate booklets that one can still find at supermarkets, even though they are very thin these days.
Today, almost 100% of people start their search on the internet. Even when working with their buyer agent, buyers are finding homes online at the same time as their REALTOR.
Where do I advertise my Northern Virginia and Maryland listings? I start with having the home professionally photographed and I occasionally have them staged. I may take some video as well. The primary place to post the homes information and pictures is of course, on the MLS. The MLS is a direct conduit to thousands of real estate agents and the information on the MLS is semi-automatically “pushed” to dozens of other real estate specific sites like Trulia and Zillow. Equally important to me is my web site. Everything else I do to advertise my listings is meant to drive people to my “Featured Listings”. I drive people to my “Featured Listings” by advertising on craigslist and militarybyowner which don’t get the information pushed to them like the other sites. I also use social media like facebook, twitter and the rest. Why do I do that? Half of the people who “Like Me” or “Follow me” or “Friend Me” are my past clients, happily living in their new homes but the other half are real estate agents like me. Not just real estate agents but real estate agents who know me and work where I work both in Northern Virginia and in Maryland. So I don’t have to hope they find my listed property on the MLS and bring a buyer to it… I actually get to tell them directly anytime I list a home or when we have a price reduction or some other change. When information comes from somebody you know and interact with, it has much more impact.
What did I like about the 70′s and 80′s?
- My first car, a 1970 Chevelle, bought in 1980
- Records and in 1981 or so, the beginning of MTV (they used to play music videos)
- Original Saturday Night Live
- Drive-in Movies
- Motorcycles that you had to Kick-start
- Star Wars and the Rocky Horror Picture Show
- Ms Pacman
- Flying on planes like a normal person (instead of a criminal)
- A million other things!
I wonder if I could go back to that simpler time. Maybe if my memory were erased so I wouldn’t miss all of the wonderful pleasures mentioned in my first sentence.
Many home buyers make their decision to see a home based on pictures, they shouldn’t do this but they do. I’ve even had buyers eliminate homes altogether because of the lack of pictures. A home may take a day or two to have pictures if it’s a new listing. Foreclosures and short sales usually only have a front shot of the home.
Unfortunately a majority of real estate pictures are taken by the listing agent instead of professional photographers. Many of these photos are laughable and certainly most, don’t show the property in the best light. Two agents in the DC/VA/MD area that I can think of even use expensive, “fish eye” lenses opened all the way… for completely useless pictures. I can’t imagine what they’re thinking? Maybe they feel that makes them unique and sets them apart… to me it does, I tend to go right to the next listing.
Some things I may do myself for fun or fluff, like an iPhone video walk-through but that’s only for people who enjoy that kind of thing and only after I have the professional and primary photographs up.
I have a nice DSLR Nikon with a couple of different lenses and I use it for personal photographs. My camera could be used to take pretty competent real estate pictures too in the right hands. Professional photographers appropriately use wide angle lenses and tripods. They know how to use lighting and they process and enhance the digital photographs before they’re done.
Stating the obvious…
- If you needed your Gall Bladder removed, you wouldn’t “Google” instructions and do it yourself, you would go to a Doctor
- If you’re arrested, you wouldn’t represent yourself, you would hire an attorney
- If you need to sell your home, you would wouldn’t become a FSBO with a 95% failure rate, you would hire a professional REALTOR and…
- If, as a real estate agent, you need to showcase your listings, hire a professional photographer!
Examples of poor photography:
Fish Food Please
Lets not move the wire or straighten the blind
Office... um no... WAIT! It's a bedroom!!
I use currently use DS Creative Group. Every time I’m looking at listing data, I know when I’m looking at professional photographs. They JUMP out at me. All of the real estate photographs under “Feature Listings” are professional, I provide this to all of my listed clients. They rest of the pictures I take (like the photo blog ones)