Any agent can list your home on MLS®. The BEST agent, however, will reach more buyers and get you more money.
You can’t afford to make the mistake of not doing the best real estate marketing for your home. Especially when it seems like everyone you know has their real estate license. In fact, there are over 40,000 (probably even over 50,000) licensed real estate salespeople and brokers in the Greater Toronto Area alone.
How do you know who will do the right job for you?
And how can the right real estate broker get you more money?
The importance of real estate marketing for your home
“Marketing” real estate isn’t just taking a listing and putting it up on the MLS® as some ‘agents’ do.
Think you can get the most marketing and find the right buyer by paying 1% commission, or a flat fee of $995?
Many home sellers make the mistake of thinking that saving commission equates to getting more money.
But this isn’t the case.
In fact, saving (or cutting) commission will be detrimental to the amount of marketing and attention your home receives.
Less marketing means attracting less buyers, period.
And less buyers means you’re less likely to find the one buyer who will pay the true value for your home.
The basics of real estate marketing
There are a few basic, old school and traditional (whatever you want to call it) aspects of real estate marketing. Every agent should do this, at the bare minimum.
Ask your real estate agent if they’re going to do this for you. (Hint: they should.)
For Sale Sign
Unless you’re selling a condo, I don’t know of any real estate agent who would not insist on putting up a for sale sign on your home.
It’s the most cost effective way of potentially attracting a buyer. Why?
Because prospective buyers tend to drive around neighbourhoods to get a feel for how they like the area. And if they see your sign, you’ve got a potential buyer interested in your home.
Sure, the internet and technology means more buyers will find you online. But it doesn’t mean you should eliminate some of the ‘old school’ strategies that work. There are many times where the eventual buyer of a home find it just by seeing a for sale sign.
Not only that, but your neighbours may see your sign and happen to know someone looking for a home in the neighbourhood.
Putting up a for sale sign is easy, and doesn’t cost very much. Make sure your agent does this — as a first step.
Prepping/Staging Your Home
Yes, making your home look nice by preparing it and staging it is part of marketing. After all, the ‘product’ that you are selling is your home. And you want as many buyers as possible to fall in love with it.
I call this a ‘basic’ marketing strategy because every real estate agent (in my humble opinion) should make the homes the list look nice and presentable.
Logically, would a buyer be more attracted to a presentable home, or to one that looks like it hasn’t been cared for?
Cleaning up your home and staging it, if needed, isn’t a very costly thing to do. The real estate broker you eventually work with should have experience making your home look as appealing as possible.
As we’ll learn later on, the photos and videos that will be marketed to as many buyers possible will show off what your home looks like.
If your home doesn’t look good, you’re not doing the best marketing.
So make sure part of your marketing includes preparing and staging your home for sale.
Professional Photos & Videos
I had to include the word “professional” in there because, believe it or not, some real estate agents take photos with their smartphones.
Sure, smartphones have evolved and produce decent quality photos nowadays, but they pale in comparison to photos and videos done by a professional.
Remember, the first impression you make in marketing your home for sale makes a big difference.
Do you really want photos taken from the latest iPhone to be the ones prospective buyers see?
Home Brochures or “Feature Sheets”
Every home for sale should have home brochures or “feature sheets” — printed material that buyers visiting your home take with them when they leave.
In many cases, buyers will see more than just one home when they’re out looking at homes for sale with their agents.
How will they remember yours?
Make sure your real estate broker invests in high quality, professionally designed home brochures or feature sheets. They should have amazing looking photos, full details and information about your home, and even a floor plan. The more information you provide a buyer with to remember your home, the better your chance of selling it at the right price.
Multiple Listing Service (MLS®)
Unless you plan on selling your home exclusively, chances are it will be listed on the MLS®. This is the system that allows real estate agents to market listings to each other, and to the public via www.realtor.ca.
Listing your home for sale on the MLS® allows it to be exposed to many real estate agents working with buyers who may have an interest in buying your home. At the same time, buyers looking for homes on Realtor.ca will also see your listing.
As mentioned earlier, any agent can list your home on the MLS®. And this is one of the basic ways of marketing your home to reach the most number of buyers. There are more advanced options beyond the MLS® which we’ll discuss later.
Public Open Houses
Open houses provide a ‘no pressure’ environment where buyers and curious neighbours can visit your home. They’re typically held on the weekends, Saturdays and Sundays, usually from 2pm to 4pm (though times can vary).
Why would you want curious neighbours to see your home? Because they may also know a family member, friend or colleague who might be interested in your home.
Remember, the best marketing your home aims to attract the most number of qualified buyers.
Broker Open Houses
In addition to public open houses, your real estate agent may advise you to hold a broker open house. This is especially intended for other real estate agents to preview your home, in case they may have a buyer in mind.
Broker open houses are typically held during weekdays during the day. Real estate agents promote broker open houses within their office, their network of contacts, and on the MLS®.
Advanced real estate marketing
Now that we’ve got the basics out of the way, let’s talk about more advanced marketing. These real estate marketing strategies go beyond traditional and old school marketing.
The RE/MAX real estate website
Not only is your home marketed to Canada and the US through remax.ca and remax.com, your home is marketed through global.remax.com which is available to potential clients in over 100 countries and in over 35 different languages.
The RE/MAX website in Canada gets more visits than the MLS® website Realtor.ca. It attracts more prospective buyers which you can benefit from if you work with a RE/MAX real estate agent.
Targeted social media ads
Social media isn’t just for socializing. With Facebook attracting the attention of over a billion users around the world, targeted ads aimed at marketing your home to specific people is an effective way of attracting more buyers.
With social media advertising on Facebook and Instagram, you can target buyers by age group, area and demographic. You’ll be able to identify and reach out to people who may not be proactively seeking a home like yours. This generates more interest in your home and is a highly effective and measurable way of marketing.
Search engine optimization and marketing
Is your real estate agent’s website optimized to get as much viewers from potential buyers looking in your area? Real estate agents who focus on specific neighbourhoods are effective at bringing more people to see your home listing online than generalists who don’t focus on a particular area.
This is done by using ‘search engine optimization’ strategies that allow your agent’s website to rank highly on search engines such as Google whenever a buyer is searching for homes in your neighbourhood.
Another strategy is search engine marketing, where real estate agents pay to appear on certain search terms. For example, if a potential buyer is looking for your specific type of home in your exact neighbourhood, your real estate agent may have an advertising campaign that promotes your home for sale in the search results.
Ask your real estate agent to demonstrate their capability at attracting online visitors to their website and how this will benefit you.
Targeted email marketing
Highly focused real estate agents are more than likely working with buyers looking for homes like yours. They may have an email list of potential buyers and your home might match their criteria.
Targeted email marketing allows real estate agents to reach out to buyers looking for homes specifically like yours. This introduces more opportunities for you to attract the right buyer who will see the value in your home.