Marketing your property - Are you getting what you think you are getting?
One of the primary roles of a real estate agent is to take care of the marketing of your property. Many people believe that this part of selling a property is straightforward and that the Internet will take care of the advertising. These days there is so much more to marketing than just internet advertising and ultimately the way that you go about the marketing will have a critical bearing on the price you receive. This article examines the various marketing options for a home seller, their costs and the potential risks and benefits of using or not using particular types of marketing.
There are thousands of properties available at any given time for property buyers. When we embark on the selling mission, we might expect the uniqueness of our property and it's features to carry it across the finish line. Buyers however can be fickle and change their mind and buy another property instead at the last moment just when we think we have the sale all wrapped up! With so many options for buyers who are ready to hand over their hard earned cash, anything we can do to help them decide on our property instead of the competition is going to be beneficial to our cause. Research shows that properties that are marketed more thoroughly and to more potential customers obtain better prices than those that take short cuts on the marketing. It stands to reason that if more people know about a product or service, the greater your chances of reaching the right customers. Professional marketing also has the power to influence buyers by making a product appear to be more appealing or desirable to the customer. Consider the following example;
Tap water is 1,230 times cheaper than bottled water (at supermarket prices - restaurant prices may be more than 3 times higher again!)
It's the same water but packaged differently and advertised differently! Why is it that people pay so much more than a product is worth just because of the way it was presented to them? This is the field of the professional marketer who understands consumer psychology.
Many home sellers will allow their trusted estate agent to design a marketing campaign to fit their property and agree to a predetermined budget to be used for promotion. Sadly many real estate agents are more focussed on getting the property owner to sign up with them and present the owner with a marketing campaign that may be inadequate to their goal of obtaining top dollar. This may be through a lack of understanding of the power of marketing or a desire to be the least expensive agent on the shopping list. Either way, many home sellers fall in to the trap of poor marketing.
Photography and more
Thankfully most estate agents will use a professional photographer in their marketing these days which is a necessity for those looking to maximise their sale result. To the inexperienced or those unfamiliar with marketing it's easy to misunderstand it's role in the process. Many sellers equate professional photography to professional marketing however this is just one element to creating the right image for your valuable asset.
There are two parts to the puzzle. The first is the way the marketing makes your property look which includes the physical presentation of the property, photography, floor plan and site plan, advertising copy, videos and more. Video is a relatively new media being used in the promotion of homes unfortunately however it is frequently misused by being used more as a commercial for the estate agent rather that what it is supposed to do which is present the property in a positive way. Contrived videos starring your smiling real estate agent often spend valuable seconds on developing the agents profile rather that developing a positive impression of your property in the mind of the buyer. Video can be an excellent tool in some circumstances however it should be your property that is the star of the show and not the guy in the suit.
The second part of the marketing puzzle is the 'reach' that your advertisements will have. Presenting your property to additional prospective buyers naturally gives you more opportunities to reach the right buyers and more importantly, several of the right buyers who may compete for your property, driving the price up. There are many ways to increase the reach of your marketing campaign including multiple web portals, printed media, social media, online campaigns, electronic digital marketing in the form of emails and SMS.
The right combination and the difference in cost
Getting the right mix of creating a positive impression and reaching as many buyers as possible is often not achieved and a large number of home sellers instead opt for the less expensive option because they were not explained the difference. Whilst properties will often still sell despite being inadequately marketed, the result will usually not be phenomenal and it is the agent who is responsible. A strong real estate market has led to many new agents joining the industry who have not understood nor been trained in the art of property marketing. Because those properties still sell, it may be due to strong buyer demand rather than effective marketing. Agents do not stand to gain as much as the property owner in the transaction so it is often not their focus, however for the intelligent seller who correctly utilises marketing to their advantage, it may be the difference in tens of thousands of dollars or even as much as 10% to 20% of the final outcome. The difference in cost to the home seller between an 'okay' campaign and an excellent campaign may be as little as $2,000 or less so given what we stand to gain by doing it right, the initial outlay can be seen as an investment with a return. As the old adage goes, "we only get one opportunity to make a good first impression".
Despite the risks of selling with inadequate marketing, the fact that so many vendors and agents elect to do a substandard job, creates many opportunities for property buyers who benefit from reduced competition on the property they wish to purchase.