The Art and Science of Marketing a Home

Sounds rather lofty, doesn’t it? Believe it or not, marketing truly is an art. But, a science?  Well – maybe not, but it made for a snappy title! Then again, since a robust marketing plan requires a formula of sorts, perhaps there is a bit of science to the process after all.

My current and past clients know that I can be a bit obsessive over how I market my listings. I’ve been kicking around the real estate business long enough to have witnessed some pretty shabby campaigns so I’ve developed some pet peeves.

Here’s how I look at it – homeowners pay hefty fees for professional representation in the sale of their home. What do they get for this money? Typically, another agent will bring in the buyer, so they aren’t paying their listing agent for that. There is, on the other hand, all that paperwork that the agent deals with, but is that task alone truly worth all that money?

Marketing is Job One

Some agents will tell you that coming up with an accurate list price is the most important job of the listing agent. I disagree. While pricing is an important aspect, marketing is king when it comes to selling a house quickly and for the most money the market will allow.

How the home is marketed determines how many potential buyers will view it, both online and in person. And, like any other item for sale, the more potential buyers in the pool, the likelier it is to sell quickly. Time is of the essence, by the way, when a home is on the market.

Lots of studies show that when a home remains on the market too long, when it does sell, it will sell for substantially less than the original asking price. That first week or two that it’s on the market is critical. Which brings me to Lindahl’s Pet Peeve Number One.

Photos

Human beings are visual – we love our photos, as is evidenced by the massive popularity of websites such as Pinterest and Instagram. The big ad agencies understand this, which is why a photo session for a product can take days, sometimes weeks. Even for mundane products, the agency will bring in a stylist, whose job it is to make sure the product is presented in the most attractive, compelling way possible.

The whole idea is to influence us – the consumers. Can you imagine Nike printing blurry shots of its shoes or ads for the Apple iPad taken with a cellphone camera?

Since 92 percent of potential home buyers search the Internet as a first step, clear, professional photos of a home, at least to me, are mandatory. But too many agents don’t agree and they do such a disservice to their clients.

Just yesterday I saw a listing for a home that’s been on the market for more than 200 days. The MLS listing contained one blurry and crooked photo of the home’s exterior. That’s it. Just one. Oh – and two lines of text to describe the home. I’m sure the homeowner is wondering why his home is languishing on the market and I’m almost positive he has no idea what his MLS listing looks like.

More Money

One of the big national real estate groups recently released the results of a real estate photography study and came up with conclusive evidence that a professional photographer is the only person that should be allowed to use a camera to take marketing photos of your home. First, they found that professionally photographed homes are more likely to sell for more money.

Then, researchers learned that professionally photographed homes sell faster as well.

Then they looked at photo sharpness (photos that aren’t blurry as opposed to those that are sharp and crisp) and found sharper photos increased the likelihood that a home will sell for more than list price.

In fact, for homes listed between $300,000 and $1 million, a 10 percent sharper photo made a home 44 percent more likely to bring in an amount over the list price. Home photos considered “average” led to only a 13 percent chance of bringing in more than list price and blurry photos 9 percent.

If you have already listed your home with another agent and that agent starts snapping marketing photos with her iPhone, demand that she hire a professional. You are paying for it and you have a right to the service.

Team Lindahl pays for professional photography for all of our listing clients. It’s a central part of our marketing plan. We wouldn’t have it any other way.

Have a great rest of the week!

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