Business information written specifically for newspaper advertising departments

Market Right

Uncovering six of the biggest mistakes real estate agents and sellers overlook when listing a home for sale.
Help the agents and sellers in you community promote their listing appropriately by knowing the biggest marketing mistakes, and advising them on what to do to fix them.

As the real estate market stands nearly stagnant post-recession, there are some homes left listed while others are receiving offers. So what’s the difference between these homes? And, why is it important to you as a newspaper sales rep? As many agents oft say, the riposte has very little to do with the home itself. So why are they still sitting on the market? Likely the answer lies within the poor quality of the marketing of the home. Help the agents and sellers in you community promote their listing appropriately by knowing the biggest marketing mistakes, and advising them on what to do to fix them.

Mistake One: Poor Quality Photographs

One of the biggest advantages to online real estate classifieds is the ability to upload multiple photos of a listing. Some papers even require a minimum number of photos per listing, as it increases readership per listing. But, uploading poorly shot photographs online is a definite no-no when it comes to appropriate marketing. Remind the client listing the home that the last thing they want a potential buyer to see is an unpleasant picture, giving them a bad first impression on the house. The first impression is the make it or break it factor when enticing a potential into the home. Sure the home may be great, but if there are bad photos (or worse, no photo) people tend to get wary and shy away from exploring the house.

Do not publish photos that are:

  • Too dark—try opening the windows or turning on a light
  • Awkwardly angled
  • Cluttered
  • Pets
  • Vehicles
  • High-resolution (without adjusting the pixels for Internet use)

Mistake Two: Underestimating the Importance of Previews

Not all agents have the time to look at every home on the market. Targeting them as your core demographic can entice them to come see a particular listing. Why is that beneficial? Simple; agents are more likely to sell a home they have toured. Buyer’s agents are likely to boast about a pleasant experience to their clients. So, encourage the boasting by suggesting the lister advertise an event held at the home. Suggest creatively catered lunches or raffles during an agent only open house. This event will surely bring more potentials to the seller, and more repeat revenue to the newspaper from the agent. 

The riposte has very little to do with the home itself. So why are they still sitting on the market?"

Mistake Three: Restricting Access

If an agent or seller comes to you requesting the ad to disclose restricted hours to show, dissuade them. Remind them that by doing so will be giving a potential buyer reason to pass up your home. Avoid listing homes with any of these phrases:

  • Restricted hours to show
  • 24-hour notice required
  • By appointment only.

If they insist on limited access to the home, suggest using the phrase, “Call first, lock box” rather than any of the above. This still gives the seller privacy and the comfort of knowing potentials won’t just walk in, and will allow an agent to easily call for the code to the box.

Mistake Four: Forgetting the Details

A listing should give a buyer a reason to make an appointment to see the home. Sit with the lister and work together to create descriptive copy that tells buyers why this particular home is better than the 1300 other homes listed in the surrounding area. Things to bring to their attention are:

  • Land or quality of the neighborhood
  • Why they bought the home in the first place (starter home, growing family, empty nester, etc.)
  • Unique features of the home
  • Size
  • Bedrooms
  • Fenced-in backyard
  • Fire places
  • Recent renovations
  • When the roof was last replaced
  • When the exterior was last maintenanced
  • Appliances that are staying with the house

Mistake Five: Forgoing Buyer Incentives

The incentives needn’t be extravagant, but it is beneficial to note any and all incentives a seller is offering. You may worry some listers when you suggest this notion, but realistically an incentive doesn’t necessarily need to cost the seller, especially if the price is structured to account for the discount. Here are a few ideas to throw out at the seller:

  • Credit toward the closing costs
  • One-year home protection plan
  • Pre-paid homeowners association fees for one year
  • Updated appliances
  • Energy-efficient appliances

Mistake Six: Avoiding Virtual Tours

According to the NAR’s® 2010 Profile of Home Buyers and Home Sellers, “Ninety-nine percent of home buyers are using the Internet in their search for homes.” That said, there is no better way to entice potential buyers to initially view a home than to offer a tour at their convenience in the comfort of their own home. Including virtual tours on your website will also increase your readership, and for a nominal fee you can advertise the tour in your print publication. Your newspaper can begin offering a service to conduct the tour, bringing in an added revenue stream, too!

A few ideas of what to include in a virtual tour:

  • Go through every room in the home looking at it from 360-degrees
  • Make at least two spins per room
  • Allow downloadable still photos so buyers can print and save them