FADE IN FROM BLACK
INT. RESIDENTIAL KITCHEN TABLE — EARLY EVENING
A cheery home warmly lit with the long rays of the early evening sun streaming through the sliding glass patio door.
Three adults sit around the kitchen table, coffee mugs steaming in front of each of them. A HUSBAND, WIFE, and REAL ESTATE BROKER engage in lively small talk.
With a break in the conversation, the REAL ESTATE BROKER leans forward with earnest intensity.
REAL ESTATE BROKER
Believe it or not, I started marketing your home 10 years ago! As a matter of fact, I have been marketing your home every day I’ve been licensed as a real estate broker.
How is that possible (skeptically)? We didn’t even own this house 10 years ago.
REAL ESTATE BROKER
(smiling and nodding like he’s heard this all before.) That’s the secret to my success in this community. Let me tell you how it works and why this is such a tremendous benefit for you...
(somewhat dreamily, clearly smitten with the handsome BROKER) Yes, tell us how it works!
Okay, okay, so the WIFE isn’t always smitten with the handsome BROKER, but that’s the only piece of fiction in this little vignette from a sample listing presentation. Sellers and many Listing Brokers assume the marketing for a property begins once the listing agreement is signed. In my opinion, nothing could be further from the truth!
Just think about how much time and energy and money is focused on the “stuff” that many listing brokers tell their sellers will help distinguish their home in the market place: Full-color, double-sided, tabloid-size property brochures; full-color jumbo size just listed postcards; full-color magazine ads; call capture 800 numbers; QR codes; and yes, even full-color newspaper advertising! (Isn’t it funny that we still highlight “full-color” as something extra?)
But seriously, do any of these activities really sell houses? Do any of these activities really put the property in front of more buyers? I don’t think so.
Take a look at Dick Greenberg's post (ActiveRain registration required) on where buyers find properties. The stats are from the 2011 NAR Survey of Home Buyers and Sellers. As expected, a large chunk of buyers (39 percent) found the home they purchased online. But in a very close second place (35 percent), real estate agents were the source for finding the home that the buyer eventually purchased. This is HUGE! Let’s not forget that 89 percent of home buyers purchased their homes through a real estate agent or broker. That means for every listing you take, nine times out of 10 the buyer will be represented by a fellow Realtor, or at the very least a real estate licensee.
In my mind, there are only two places where a seller’s property needs to be marketed in order for it to get sold: 1) Online (this includes the MLS) and 2) to other brokers. The online marketing of a property can take many shapes and forms and channels. Greenberg mentions several ways that he and Mary have mastered the art of effectively marketing to our cooperative broker brethren.
However, there’s a distinction here that I think is critical. What Mary and Dick do, and what my wife Pat and I do, and what other solid agents in our community do every day, is engage with each other. Whether it is posting meaningful updates on Facebook or LinkedIn, checking in at local eateries and watering holes, attending local and regional Realtor membership meetings or fund-raising events, teaching classes, or simply writing blog posts for other brokers to read, we are known quantities not just within our respective brokerage houses, but in our communities and local associations.
When another agent in town sees a listing come on the market from a known agent, I’ll guarantee you that agent has a pre-formed opinion of what to expect—good, bad, and ugly. The question is this: do you know what your reputation around town is, and does it help you sell homes for the best price and the least amount of time?
I’m not currently a top producer, and I don’t think you have to be in order to have a solid, positive, and upstanding reputation in your community. You have to be good at what you do, fair in the way you treat others and practice real estate, and fully recognizable in the minds of those with whom you will likely do business. Part of what I do every day as a Realtor, whether I’m showing property, going on a listing presentation, researching market trends, or leading a class, is to ensure that EVERYONE I know in the real estate industry knows me and has the confidence that I will price listings appropriately and that I give good counsel to my clients and that the transaction will be filled with impeccable communication to all concerned parties so misunderstandings and hurt feelings, and misconceptions are kept to a minimum.
That’s how to market not just the properties you have listed right now but how you can market properties you have listed 6 months from now or 6 years from now. Don’t wait until you have a property listed to start marketing it. Start now ... right now!!
Chris Hardy is a Broker Associate for Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage in Fort Collins, Colorado. In 2011 he was named Realtor of the Year by the Fort Collins Board of Realtors.