• Professional, high-resolution photography is a must.
  • If you can showcase value through video, you should do it -- and make sure it's on YouTube.
  • Don't let cost-cutting be passed on to the clients. It's our job to sell their home the best way we can.

Awesome, you’ve got your first listing! Maybe you’re new in the business, maybe you’ve been a buyer’s agent and finally headed out to go solo. Congrats and welcome to the fast-paced and exciting world of residential real estate. Now let’s get real and talk about listing a home the right way.

One of the biggest mistakes a new agent can make is jumping into a listing without being acutely aware of the capital it takes to market a listing effectively. I hope that the following list will help.

1. Photos: $99 to 500+  

We all know that high-quality, professional photography is the heart of our listings, right? The correct answer is yes, and if you’re not using a professional photographer, please stop reading now and rethink your career choice.

Now that we’ve established that a pro photographer is a must, let’s talk price. A basic set of professional photos will cost around $100 and should include enough to showcase each room of the house, a couple of angles of the big living spaces and the exterior.

Add a little bit extra if your photographer does any post production or filtering. Where this starts to get pricey is when you factor in a twilight shoot or any drone work, both of which come at a premium.

Also, as listings get to be above that $1 million magic number, you will often require high-resolution copies of the photos for use in magazines or high-gloss prints, which will cost a little bit extra.

2. Virtual tour: $300+

Matterport has officially changed the real estate game. Interactive virtual tours are taking over our industry, and I’m thrilled about it.

Companies are now popping up in nearly every major market offering use of their Matterport cameras, which can take a real estate listing and map it into an interactive, 3-D floor-plan that the prospective buyer can virtually walk through with a mouse, or even a finger on a mobile devices.

Never before has a buyer in Boise been able to walk through an active listing in Boston — from the comfort of his or her home.

If you’re still stringing your MLS photos together with some cheesy background music and slotting it in your MLS’s virtual tour area, you’re falling behind my friend.

3. Video: $350+  

It’s debatable that doing a high-end listing video is essential to the listing. Every day, I see videos with actors, scripts, etc., and I’m not sure that is promoting the property or just the agent who is producing it.

Now with that said, if you can add value to the one-two punch of professional photos and the virtual tour by showcasing the lifestyle that accompanies your listing, you should be putting out some form of basic professional video content.

What you can’t ignore is that YouTube is currently the third-most-visited website in the world (behind Google and Facebook, more on them later), so your listing should be there.

Even though it’s highly trafficked, the quality of real estate video on YouTube is pretty low. As mentioned earlier, I am not a big fan of stringing photos together with cheesy music and calling it a virtual tour, the same goes for video.

If that is your video strategy, you’d be better off not doing a video for that property.

4. Prints: $50

Now print marketing can vary, a lot. The basic needs of print marketing in your listing will be taking your high-res photos and getting them on a high gloss card stock of some type to have in the home for showings, as well as for the clients at the open house.

Most cities will have a brokers caravan that you’ll want to have quality flyers on hand for as well. When the basics are covered, you’ll probably be spending around $50 on your prints to have them done correctly.

5. Open house: $250+  

Open houses have kind of a become hot button issue in real estate. I hear some agents bemoan open houses as just a way for new agents to get buyer leads.

I think that what we’re seeing is a bit of laziness creeping in. Not only does the open house (done correctly) serve as the grand introduction of a new listing to the market, but it’s also a vital way for a listing agent to get more listings.

But throwing out some signs on the corner and passing out water bottles is not going to cut it.

6. Print and online marketing: $50 to $1,000+  

Now that your listing is live on the MLS, and you’ve held your open house, how are you going to market your beautiful listing to the rest of the world?

Online marketing is essential in 2016. You need to put it on Zillow, Trulia and realtor.com — otherwise, you’re doing the listing a disservice, period. But are you paying to be a Zillow Premier Agent so that your listing stands above the rest? What about Trulia PRO?

What about the non-real estate sites? I’m sure that you have the property featured on your personal or company website, right? But how are you driving traffic to that site?

In the noisy world of online, you usually have to pay to play. That might mean creating an Adwords campaign on Google that leads to a tailored landing page with information on your listing.

Facebook has become an excellent source for buyer leads and listing promotion (Curaytor is doing big things), but unless you have tens of thousands of followers, you’ll need to boost your posts to gather any attention.

In the higher end, print marketing is almost a must. That spread in Dream magazine isn’t cheap, though, expect a bill for hundreds for an ad and thousands for a multiple page ad or the cover.

One problem that we’re seeing in the industry right now is that cost cutting is being passed onto the client in the listing process, which hurts the Realtor and agent brand as a whole.

Considering what we charge to sell a home; we should be pulling out all of the stops when listing a property. So, before you slap some cell phone pictures on the MLS, ask yourself “Can I afford to list this home?”

Jason Cassity is a real estate professional at City Consulting Group in San Diego and specializes in the downtown San Diego real estate market.

Email Jason Cassity.

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