Every week, we ask a real estate professional for their Short List, a collection of tips and recommendations on an essential topic in real estate. This week, we talked with Melanie Collins, a marketing consultant and co-founder of One Opening Door, about five not-so-obvious listing tips for clients.
5. Easy on the Photoshop – Invest in professional photography to bring out a property’s best attributes, but don’t go crazy with retouching and staged lighting. Photograph on a sunny day and avoid using a flash.
Although it should go without saying, tidy up the listing (trash cans and dirty laundry end up in listing photos often enough that there are entire websites devoted to bad listing photos). Artificial lighting will look artificial, and photo-chopping out cars and other large objects can look fake and turn an online shopper off.
4. Little Things Make a Big Impact – Unexpected and seemingly small things can add up to make a statement about a home. Light fixtures, switches and hinges all date home decor. Unless your selling angle is “great renovation” or “flip opportunity,” make sure those features are current.
3. Get Out – This is one of the biggest shocks to the system for homeowners once a “For Sale” sign appears in their front yard (especially those with small children or pets). It’s awkward to have strangers browsing amid your client’s personal belongings. But just like shoppers in a department store, prospective buyers need space to view a listing without pressure from a lurking seller.
Have a plan that includes being adaptable if possible. Have a go-to eating out spot or a nearby park for the dogs or kids to play during last minute showings, and use the weekends, when activity usually picks up, to take some of those road trips your clients have been talking about. If possible, take dogs to doggy daycare. A lot more people are afraid of or dislike pets than you’d think, and it’s less stress on Fido if he’s not on high alert every time the front door opens.
2. Give it Up – It’s funny what people suddenly become attached to in a negotiation. Seemingly ordinary items, like refrigerators, take on the importance of family heirlooms after two or three rounds of counter offers. Go beyond the fixtures list in the listing agreement and have an honest, if off the record, conversation with sellers about what they’re willing to put on the table. Categorize items into “must keep” and “willing to negotiate,” so everyone is on the same page at the outset.
1. Be Nice – Social media is tricky, including when it comes to real estate marketing. Be sure to educate clients on the “do’s” and “don’t’s” of social media leading up to and during the listing period. Bad-mouthing neighbors, complaining about traffic patterns and even seemingly innocuous comments about looking forward to moving to a better school district can create a bad impression of the property, the neighborhood or the area. Encourage clients to keep their comments positive or at least neutral; and, better yet, keep them off the Internet entirely.
Melanie Collins is a marketing consultant and co-founder of One Opening Door, where she blogs about local businesses and real estate in the Northern Atlanta Suburbs. With a 12-year background in corporate marketing, which included helping Fortune 100 and 500 brands market their products online, Collins uses her extensive knowledge of social media and marketing techniques to help Atlanta agents establish their professional brands online. You can find her restaurant reviews, listings, and real estate tips at MoreThanOpeningDoors.com. To contact her for marketing proposals, please visit www.analogiemarketing.com.