Invite a Prospective Buyer to a Cook Out or to Spend the Weekend

This one is a little bit “out of the box,” but has actually resulted in a sale for one of our agents, and I think under the right circumstances is worth a shot.  Invite a prospective buyer to spend a weekend in your listing; let them “experience” first hand what it is like to live in your home.   This can be especially effective if you have waterfront property or a special view, or it would be a significant move up for the prospective buyer.  You could also arrange a small social gathering at your home to introduce a prospective buyer to the neighbors – perhaps a cook out or an evening of bridge or bunko?  Anything to let them “try on” the home and the community, to see if it’s a fit.

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Co Op Agent Feedback

One of the most frustrating tasks for listing agents is to try to garner oh-so-important feedback from cooperating selling agents.  Whether it’s simply that they are busy, or that they don’t want to “show their hand” by appearing too interested before their buyer is ready to make an offer, it drives agents and sellers alike crazy waiting to hear what a prospective buyer thought after a showing.

At Liz Moore & Associates, we’ve decided that even if it takes bribery, it’s worth the effort. Accordingly, we have developed a proprietary e-feedback program, where we e-mail coop agents for their thoughts, and in return, they are entered into a monthly drawing for a $100 prize, supplied by the company.  We seem to get better feedback via e-mail (plus, that enables us to forward the input directly to our seller clients), and local agents are now genuinely engaged in sharing that info, because they know that there may well be something in it for them.

One of the most important questions we ask:  “has your buyer bought another home?”  If not, there is still an opportunity to put a transaction together by overcoming whatever objections they may have.

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Target Renters

Depending on the price range of your listing, folks who are renting nearby may be the perfect candidate.  Modern technology makes it relatively simple to target a high rent apartment complex (For instance, at Liz Moore & Associates, we offer SalesLeadsUSA to our agents at company expense, which is a subscription list service where they can access mailing addresses and phone numbers and easily cross reference with the Do Not Call list).  So, one approach would be to send a mailing championing the benefits of home ownership, and demonstrating that the after tax benefit payment may be comparable if they were to purchase your listing.  Deliver flyers (and a pop by gift!) to resident apartment managers of nearby complexes, so that they might pass them along if they hear of residents interested in purchasing.

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Open House Slideshows

I must admit that I “borrowed” this one from HGTV, but I thought it was it was too cool not to share.  Create a slideshow that sells either the area in a hyper-local way (think farmer’s market photos, favorite cafes, local parades…insider photos!), or tells the neighborhood story (different seasons, clubhouse functions, pool or other amenities, neighbor testimonials).  Then, play it during an open house on the seller’s computer or TV.  Don’t want to fool with that?  Invest in an electronic photo display!

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Offer a Buy Down

Of all the consumer incentives that sellers will offer prospective purchasers, one of the most effective is a buy down of their interest rate.  Usually the investment is far less than a typical price reduction, and yet it can have a dramatic affect on the new buyer’s payment.  Additionally, it enables the seller to yet again differentiate their property.  A mortgage lender can estimate the cost (usually 1 discount point will correspond to a 1/4 or 1/8th drop in interest rate, depending on market conditions).  Be sure to check Regulation Z before advertising finance terms!

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Subliminal Marketing

Okay, I don’t want you to think I’m practicing voodoo or anything, but there are some opportunities in staging a home for sale to take advantage of sending messages.  One of my agents invested a few extra minutes when staging the game room of a new listing to send this message on the scrabble board:

Buy Me!

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QR Codes

Get the latest, greatest technology working for you like we do!  A QR (“quick response”) code is a square barcode that makes getting URLs, location coordinates, any text or contact information onto a phone quickly.  Software called a  QR-Code Reader can be downloaded for most of today’s smartphones.  The user simply opens their QR app, points their phone’s camera at the code, and it will magically whisk them away to the desired URL.

Lots and lots of real estate applications, from for sale signs to flyers to ads…all of which can quickly deliver the prospect to a specific website for details, photos, etc.  Try it!

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Control the Experience

Getting prospective buyers into your listing is only the beginning.  Insuring that their experience during the showing is a positive one is paramount.  Pay attention to all the details, such as smells and sounds.  A famous REALTOR trick is a dab of vanilla extract on light bulbs…as the lamps warm, a fragrant smell is emitted.  The same is accomplished by baking cookies or bread just before a showing.  Soft (and I emphasize SOFT) music playing in the background can also have a positive effect.  Televisions should be off.  Draperies and blinds should be open to allow as much natural light as possible, and lamp light is always a nice touch, even during the day.  We recommend setting dining tables when possible.  This should go without saying, but your pets should be invisible…in other words, out of the house, with no trace of food bowls or kitty litter boxes.  Not everyone is an animal person, and you don’t want to eliminate prospects over fear of pet dander, etc.

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Twilight Photography

One of the greatest marketing challenges that we face as REALTORS is how to make our inventory stand out among the sea of available homes for sale.  At Liz Moore & Associates, we are continually striving for ways to showcase our listings, and show off their best features.  Photography can be challenging this time of year, when the lawns aren’t lush and the flowering shrubs haven’t begun to poke their heads out yet.

Dulcie Holland, our photographer, has recently come up with a brilliant solution to make our listings pop:  twilight photography.  In a nutshell, she photographs the home at just the right time at dusk, with all the interior lights on and carefully selected exposure settings on her equipment, and the effect is spectacular.

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Photography is more important than ever, now that 96+% of prospective homebuyers are searching online, and whether or not a photo is compelling could mean the difference in whether or not a listing is shown and/or a buyer is interested.

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Just Looking

One of our local newspapers, the Daily Press, features a section called “Just Looking” each week.  They select a notable house {usually categorized as over $750,000 in asking price}, and do a feature story, including a photo and agent contact info.  The best part?  It’s free!  This is great exposure, because it’s in an editorial format as opposed to an ad, so your listing reaches an audience it may not otherwise reach.  If your listing is truly remarkable, consider creating a press release and submitting to all the local newspapers and magazines that may be looking for fresh and interesting content.

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