Advertising is the most important tool for selling your home. Whether you opt to sell the home yourself or work with a listing agent, you will want to make sure that your home is being seen by potential buyers.
First, let’s look at the advertising responsibilities of listing agents. A listing agent’s goal is not necessarily to advertise your home to potential buyers. Instead, the listing agent is probably more focused on getting the home noticed by other agents. The reason is pretty simple, actually. Under most listing contracts, buyers cannot view your home without an agent being present, so you need to get other agents to tell buyers about your home. A listing agent will place information about your home on the Multiple Listing Service (MLS), thereby making the information available not only to those looking for a home online, but also to other agents who have access to the MLS.
Because most agents have experience marketing homes, chances are that you will never need to worry about whether your home will be seen by interested buyers. Of course it will! When you work with a listing agent, keep in mind that for every marketing effort you see, many more efforts are being made behind the scenes. Have confidence, knowing that before too long that “for sale” sign on your lawn will be replaced by one that says “SOLD.”
The listing agent will place a “for sale” sign on your lawn, advertise your home in local newspapers, and most likely display information about your home on his or her personal agent website. Now that you know what the listing agent will do to start marketing your home, it’st ime to learn about what is happening when you aren’t watching. One question to ask before contracting a listing agent’s services is: Who will be on the other end of the line when an interested buyer, or agent, calls to discuss the home? Many buyers see a home that piques their interest and immediately call the listing agent for more information. Which do you think is better… a phone number that goes to a voice recording, or a phone number that is answered by a person during normal business hours? In general, there is an expectation that a person will be available to answer questions about the home. Most buyers understand that evenings and weekends may bring a voice recording, but between nine and five you should insist that a live person be answering those important calls from potential buyers.
The “For Sale” Sign Should Hold Brochures
Most Realtors® prepare brochures with information about for-sale properties. Ask your agent about such a flyer and request permission to review it for accuracy before it is distributed. The flyer should be left inside the home where potential buyers can take a copy and where agents can grab a few to pass along to other buyers who might be interested in the home. Additionally, the “for sale” sign in your front yard should have a box where a handful of these flyers can be placed for interested buyers who happen to pass by and spot your home. Stress to your agent the importance of keeping that flyer box well stocked. You might want to request a stack of flyers and check the box yourself every day. Your agent will appreciate your assistance, because the more flyers that are distributed, the higher your chances of selling quickly.
The MLS is Important!
The information that your agent puts on the MLS for your home is very important and its accuracy is critical. Review the information before it is posted and perhaps even tell the agent what you would like to have written in the commentary section. Some commonly touted items in MLS ads include new kitchens, windows, furnaces, decorating allowances, and home warranty inclusions. Potential buyers may see your home’s MLS information online, but the MLS is really aimed at buyers’ agents.
Buyers’ agents will meet with their clients in order to understand what they are looking for in a home. Then they will use the MLS to search for homes that meet their buyers’ criteria. Therefore, your MLS ad should be as inclusive and detailed as possible.
When your agent posts your home’s information on the MLS, you immediately have more than one agent working to find a buyer. Every agent in your local area will be viewing your home and recommending it to buyers who are interested in what your home has to offer. What an amazing technique for exponential advertising!
Similar to an open house, an agent preview is held shortly after a home is listed on the MLS. As the name suggests, an agent preview allows your listing agent to show the home to other agents as a preview. This technique lets agents see the property before they start recommending it to potential buyers. An agent preview also allows your listing agent to get valuable feedback while the home is still newly listed. For example, if several agents comment on a particular flaw, then it becomes obvious that correcting this flaw would make the home easier to sell. At the same time, if several agents praise one of the home’s features, then your agent may suggest ways to highlight or showcase that feature when potential buyers come to view the home.
There are two types of agent previews. The first is organized through your agent’s brokerage and involves inviting all the agents in the office to view your home. The second and perhaps more important type of agent preview is one to which all local agents are invited to preview the home. A good way to get an excellent turnout at both is to provide food and drinks for the visiting agents. Homemade desserts are often the best lure, as well as the easiest!
The REAL Purpose of Advertising a Home
As a seller, you need to know that the intention of listing agents who advertise homes for sale is to build a solid base of potential clients. Sure, they want to sell your home, but if your home isn’t right for a particular buyer, then they would like the opportunity to show that buyer other homes that might better meet their needs. Don’t be disheartened by this, because other agents will definitely notice your home through the same advertising efforts – and the buyers whom they bring to your home may be the ones who are ready to make an offer. Advertising is advertising, and it is meant to bring attention to both your agent and your home.
When selling your home through a listing agent, most or all of the advertising will be done for you. Talk to potential listing agents about the techniques they will use to market your home, and do not hesitate to make requests and suggestions if anything makes you uncomfortable. Always ask questions if and when you don’t understand something or just want clarification. Remember that the listing agent will be paid a commission when your home sells – so never feel bad about taking his or her time to ask questions about how your home will be marketed.