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Online Marketing Doesn't Sell Homes
It's true, online marketing doesn't sell homes. It certainly helps, but it's all about the agent you hire.
The Dirty Secret About Online Real Estate Marketing
Many agents promise internet marketing that's better than the rest of the real estate agents who can list your home. In actuality, as long as you've hired a REALTOR, and that REALTOR places your home in the MLS, you're home will be provided with extensive online marketing.
It's now a level playing field. Every home that's listed in the MLS is syndicated to literally hundreds (if not thousands) of websites. Unless a REALTOR chooses to exempt themselves, homes listed in the MLS are automatically published to Realtor.com, Zillow.com, Trulia.com, all broker website (such as ours, and all other real estate companies in the area), every individual agent website, and numerous other online real estate search portals.
Some REALTORS subscribe to upgraded services with websites like Realtor.com and Zillow.com for their listings to appear as ShowCase or Featured listings. These additional subscriptions can highlight your home in search results, but it doesn't sell it.
You can highlight one of the most off-priced or ugliest homes on the internet, but it's not going to drive someone to go see it.
And, if the photos aren't well shot, and the description isn't very appealing, the highlighting certainly isn't going to help to offset those issues either.
What most of these upgraded services really do is provide REALTORS with lead capture services, and the ability to showcase themselves on the search portals.
What Really Matters When Marketing Homes Online
So, since online marketing is now a level playing field, and showcasing a home in search portals has a nominal effect, what can you do to set your listing apart? Stick to these basics:
1. Take great photographs
If your Realtor doesn't have a capable camera, or is not comfortable taking them, hire a professional photographer. In fact, I recommend a professional photographer 100% of the time. You can find a great photographer to do it for as little as $80, and it'll be worth every penny.
2. Draft a well written description
The description of your home should simply point out its features, and what sets it apart from the competition. Again, stick to the basics. Proofread it twice. Far too often I come across marketing descriptions filled with typos and grammar mistakes.
Don't use all caps, either. If someone's reading it, there's no sense in yelling at them.
Use more periods and less exclamation points - it simply doesn't look very professional when every sentence ends with one or more exclamation points (it's kind of cheesy).
Again, the point of the marketing description is to let the reader know what's important about the property and the way in which it's written makes a big difference.
3. Price it right
This should be a given, and should probably be #1 on the list. This goes beyond online marketing. Many sellers think that if they price it high as a starting point, someone that finds it online and likes the photos and description will see it and make an offer.
The truth is, if it's priced high, it'll show up in search results with homes that are priced correctly and are far better properties. Keep in mind, people search online using parameters, such as homes priced below $250,000. Even if you're a touch too high on price, you can be missing out on several potential buyers.
What Really Sells Homes
Do these things, and it won't matter what additional upgraded services your REALTOR subscribes to in Realtor.com and Zillow.com. It'll get showings, which will increase your chances of getting an offer.
As the title of this blog states, "Online Marketing Doesn't Sell Homes." Online marketing simply markets your home. Let's look at Mirriam-Webster's definitions of terms 'Marketing' and 'Sell'.
Marketing - The activities that are involved in making people aware of a company's products, making sure that the products are available to be bought, etc.
Sell - To exchange something for money.
Pretty basic stuff. However, many people confuse the two. Marketing is simply a tool to help you introduce the sale - you still have to make the sale.
So, you can do all the things mentioned above to effectively market your home online, but that doesn't mean it will sell. That's where your REATOR comes in.
Hire a Good Agent
A good Realtor, regardless of his/her online marketing, should be able to solicit an offer from prospective buyers, and close the sale.
This, again, means sticking to the basics. Following up on every call, and every showing appointment. When anyone shows the slightest of interest, soliciting an offer with finesse - this is were great salesmanship comes in to play.
It Ain't Over Til It's Over
Once you have an accepted contract, it's still not sold. Some of the Realtor's best work (salesmanship) can happen during the inspection phase. This is when many deals fall apart.
Often times buyers and sellers can become their own worst enemies, willing to walk away from a deal over a repair that might cost a couple hundred dollars or less. A good REALTOR will work patiently, and negotiate to find a solution that satisfies all parties and bring the sale to a close.
So, if you're thinking about selling your home, look beyond the online marketing aspect when choosing who to hire. All our agents are well-trained in every stage of a property sale, because there's more to selling a home than what just the internet can provide.
Steven Barks is the President & COO of Worth Clark Realty. He began his real estate career in 2009 as an agent for a small startup property management company in Minneapolis, MN. A natural self-starte....
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