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Although the red-hot market of the past couple of years made folks a lot of money, it also brought about a lot of what I can only call “laziness” in the way that listings were marketed.
When all they had to do was put a house up on the MLS to get multiple offers, many real estate professionals took that route, ignoring best practices and forgetting that, at some point, they’d have to get back to them.
Now, homes are sitting longer, sellers are getting anxious, and some homes that weren’t properly prepared for the market are seeing the results in price reductions and repair requests. In addition, with an influx of new agents coming into the industry over the past couple of years, there are many newly “experienced” agents who have never properly marketed a property.
Not to sound like an old fuddy-duddy, but it’s time to get back to basics and revisit what works to help a property stand out from the competition. Whether you’ve never prepared a listing for a competitive market, or have just forgotten how, here are some of the things to do so that you come to market with the best, most exciting and “sexiest” product possible.
Manage client expectations upfront
It can be difficult to talk to clients, especially if they are panicking and worried that they have missed the best part of the recent market. They may be rushing you to list ASAP, even without properly preparing the property for buyers.
Treat the listing opportunity like a business process review, making sure that your clients or potential clients truly understand what is going on with their house in relation to what else is listed for sale and what is currently in escrow. While they will be focused on past sales, explain to them that due to the market’s current shift, what has recently sold is not always a direct reflection of where the list price needs to be.
Moreover, explain to them the importance of ensuring that their house is really ready to stand up to the competition. Show them what else is available in their price range and help them identify items that need to be repaired or replaced in order to ensure that the home shows at its best.
Remember, timing is everything
We’ve all seen great houses go on the market in the middle of the night or on a Tuesday afternoon because the clients insisted that it hit the MLS right away. This does not make sense and doesn’t allow the home to have the impact it needs to have.
Talk to your clients about timing the rollout of the listing so that it hits the market at the moment of maximum opportunity. Have a pre-listing process in place to build anticipation for the listing and make sure that you are reaching out to your colleagues and potential buyers in your pipeline. That way, when the listing hits, they’ll be eagerly awaiting the opportunity to see it in person.
Embrace professional marketing
Spending a few pennies more for the good paper instead of whatever’s in the office copy machine is worthwhile. It shows that you’ve thought about the way the property is presented. That’s a good look, both to buyers and to your seller clients.
Maybe you’ve been selling homes with iPhone photos and a couple of bullet points in the MLS remarks. The question is, can you honestly say that is the kind of service you should be providing to your clients? Don’t they deserve better?
More than that, every home you list is an advertisement for you and the service you provide. Is that how you want to convey your worth and value as a real estate agent?
Host open houses
Open houses are back and offer a great opportunity for you to connect with potential buyers, buyer agents and others who are interested in real estate in your market.
Many agents despise the “lookie-loo” neighbors who come through, assuming they’re just being nosy. In reality, however, they may be shopping for a listing agent for their own upcoming sale.
Open houses are not an opportunity for you to sit behind your laptop and wave at people as they walk in and out. Get out there and play the host to visitors, letting them know more about the home’s selling points and having the all-important conversations that will set you up for future business.
Communicate with your clients
Provide your clients with updates on the listing, marketing strategies and local market activity. If a new listing that is competitive with theirs comes on the market, let them know and help them understand how it may affect their listing and price point.
Keep a positive attitude and good energy when you’re talking to your clients. There are still a lot of houses that have to sell and a lot of buyers looking to buy. Help them to be realistic and continue to manage their expectations throughout the transaction.
If you’ve recently started your career in real estate, check with your broker about ideas that might have worked for them in the past in market conditions like the ones we’re experiencing. See if there are any masterminds that your company is hosting.
This real estate market isn’t something new. It is reflective of market conditions that we have seen in previous years as recently as late 2019 and 2020.
Let’s shake off the bad habits we may have developed over the last couple of years and put our time and energy into giving our listing clients the best possible experience. You will differentiate yourself, and your service, when you help them succeed, even in a challenging and competitive market environment.