I have continuously updated my real estate marketing plan over the past 21 years to help home sellers meet the ever changing demands of home buyers. Today, home buyers can get their data from many sources on their Smart Phones, iPads or PCs, and 70% of the marketing data seen on all those web sites still comes from one source (yes, the Realtor).
… and I am that primary source!
A little real estate history: In 1991, a sign post, an ad in the Sunday Washington Post, an open-house with fresh baked cookies and some Xeroxed hand-outs was enough to give a home significant exposure. The MLS, obviously, was important to syndicate the home to all 5,000 REALTORS in Northern Virginia.
Believe it or not, on my first sale I had to explain to an agent that she could fax me the counter-offer rather than drive it to my Vienna real estate office!
In 1993, I asked my business card printer to add my AOL e-mail address to my business cards instead of my home telephone number (many agents thought I was nuts). Having worked for a Fortune 100 company before entering real estate, I had become accustom to communicating with my office and customers electronically and understood the benefits for everyone.
In 1999, I registered the domain, dougfrancis.com , and provided a link so that clients had access to the regional MLS complete with e-mail alerts.
Welcome to Real Estate Marketing 2013
Today’s real estate is marketed 24/7 through the Internet and each listing is syndicated to hundreds of consumer web sites such as Zillow, Trulia, Sawbuck, Redfin, Realtor.com or FranklyMLS. Home buyers typically pick a site they like, add the “app” to their smart phone, and then get text alerts when new properties are put on the market. In fact, since these “apps” are free, most of my buyer clients have multiple real estate “apps” on the same phone because one may do things differently than another. We are in the age of the mobile internet, and most agents still don’t know that buyers are pulling up listing information while they sit in front of homes in their cars. So all those sites need to be removed, comments added, and extra photos uploaded. Hey, it is how today’s home buyers do it.
Technology on my iPad has transformed my business
The statistics show that 90% of home buyers start the process shopping for real estate online. I actually think that number should be 100%. Having custom web pages for listings like this one in Vienna, or this one in Fairfax give your home some extra Google Juice – basically, exposure!
Did you get to my site because of Facebook? Yes, I use their technology because they offer a very effective target marketing strategy that will help expose your home to the local market, at a hyper-local level. A recent ad had over 124,000 Facebook “impressions” in 2.5 days (I can show you the data) to a target group of people in Northern Virginia. Maybe you?
The strategic role that I play in the marketing of your home has actually increased in importance from the old days of 20 years ago. You see, that core marketing data, marketing description and photographs for all those sites mentioned above comes through syndication agreements with MRIS. If the information is wrong, lacks photographs, has a poorly worded description or just shows poorly then your best prospects are going to pass you by. For example, there is a current vacant listing in Vienna without school information… sorry, but this an agent mistake since most buyers in Vienna are moving here specifically for the schools.
Digital photos are essential when your first open-house happens online
As a test, put on your buyer hat and look at these San Diego, CA homes as posted on Trulia, one of the largest syndicators of real estate information on the Internet.
The properties with good photos (more than 20) and a decent description are much more interesting. My point is that it is important for you to think like a potential home buyer when marketing your home. So brochures and flyers will use Quick Read codes to help buyers see more photos on their smartphones when they drive away in their cars. If it is good enough for Best Buy, then it is good enough for your home.
With that in mind, here are key points of my marketing plan for your home:
- A get-acquainted meeting at your home to cover expenses, your competition, your goals and time frame, the listing agreement, and to take a look at your house.
- Review a Pricing Analysis including a close examination of recent comparable home sales, pending sales and an evaluation of overall market trends.
- Answer questions you may have on the real estate market or about how I work and can help you.
- Put together an initial project list.
- Have professional home-stager make suggestions after initial project list is complete.
- Take 50 to 100 digital photos and select the top 20 to 30.
- When ready, add property to MRIS to start syndication process, including all 12,000+ REALTORS in Northern Virginia.
- Add a custom page to dougfrancis.com for Google to index for top placement.
- Create a custom color brochure and place in the home.
- Place an internationally recognized RE/MAX For Sale sign on the property.
- Place a SentriLock Lockbox on the home for easy Realtor access.
- Try and get feedback on every showing.
- Provide feedback, both positive and negative to you.
- Monitor sales and listing activity and keep you informed of the real estate market. For example, new competition.
- Personally answer calls about you property.
- Train you on using digital signatures or Cartavi document management. (Paperless)
- Be available to show your home either personally or by an associate on my team.
A paperless real estate transaction? I’m trying!
Know that I send digital documents using DocuSign which allows you to sign or initial a document from any computer or iPhone that can access your e-mail. As easy as 1-2-3! Even if you are in Chicago, Seattle or San Diego, signing your offer /counter is quick and responsive.
The goal is to get an acceptable offer on your property which will have the greatest probability to close and settle on time. Inspections, contingencies, and mortgage financing all come with new hurdles that may surprise even an experienced home seller.
Digital paperwork is managed through a secure system that will help everyone see and sign paperwork (for lack of another term) , manage the workflow and stay on track. As a client, you will be able to handle many tasks on your smartphone or iPad securely.
Once there is a Ratified Contract, my professionals will…
- make sure the home inspection is scheduled
- deliver any Home Owner Association Documents
- send contract to the Settlement Agent
- send your current mortgage information to the Settlement Agent
- ensure appraisal is scheduled and provide property access to appraiser
- order a termite or pest inspection
- help with any repair estimates if necessary
- follow-up weekly with all parties: you, lender, settlement agent, contractors, buyer’s agent
- schedule the settlement time
- remind you to notify your utility companies and provide details for final bill
- help with Power of Attorney if necessary
- establish the “final walk-through inspection” with the buyer’s agent
Working together, your home will sell! Want to read more seller tips?
If I sound like an agent you should hire, or at least interview, send me an e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or call me at 703-304-6827.
I look forward to discussing your plans with you!
- Real Estate Apps meet the Mobile Web (dougfrancis.com)
- How to Get Your Home Ready to Sell in 30 Days (dougfrancis.com)
- 8 Tips for Selling your Vienna Rambler (dougfrancis.com)