By Geoff Kirbyson
Putting a “For Sale” sign on your lawn is the most-visible means of marketing your house but it’s far from the only one.
As REALTORS® become more technologically savvy and adept with social media, they open up additional avenues to generate interest in properties they have listed.
Much of the work is done behind the scenes, says Catherine Schellenberg, REALTOR® and president-elect of WinnipegREALTORS®.
Before she lists a house, she runs a title and zoning search, verifies the property size, double checks the cost of utilities, makes a note of the house’s unique features and also what needs to be upgraded.
For example, if you’re selling a smart home, where you can control the heat, air conditioning and garage door remotely as well as activate cameras and livestream them to your phone, you’ll want to list that high up on the selling features.
Nothing goes on the MLS system until new photos have been taken of the property. Before a photographer walks in, she makes sure she has discussed what needs to be done with the seller, such as cleaning the windows or carpet, painting a room and doing minor repairs.
“We want to address all of the little things that could leave a bad taste in a potential buyer’s mouth,” she said.
“A first impression of a house is no different than going into a retail store. If the first thing I touch in the house is broken or the door lock is sticky, people will think, ‘You can’t even get in the front door of this place without finding something wrong with it.’”
Open houses are still a very popular way to promote a home because they serve the interests of sellers, agents and buyers well, she said.
“They allow (would-be) buyers to come in without making a formal commitment to a REALTOR® to get their search started. They can gather some information and start to understand how houses are valued,” she said.
Marketing a house online is much more than simply listing off how the centre hall plan has the dining room to the left and the family room on the right. Any description should include recent investments in upgrades, such as a new kitchen, the in-wall cabinets are from Europe, the light fixtures were custom ordered from the U.S., the lock is fail-safe and the hot water tank has a lifetime warranty.
“When I coach somebody through the listing, it’s about buying the complete package. They want the things that come with the house, such as the appliances and TV wall mounts. Almost everybody has a flat-screen television,” she said.
Marketing homes via social media can be very successful provided it’s done right. You have to know who the end customer is. With a starter home, for example, you’d want to put it on Instagram or Snapchat to target millennials while it would be more appropriate to put a condo listing on Facebook. Commercial buildings, income properties and move-up homes for young families or executives, meanwhile, would be better suited to LinkedIn, she said.
Remember, every market is local so she encourages buyers and sellers to use forward-thinking REALTORS® who use hashtags such as #bungalowsforsaleinriverheights rather than #realestate with online listings.
“Engagement is the key. I want you to come and ask me questions, where is it located, how many bedrooms, so I can start to engage,” she said.