It is easy for real estate agents to get complacent in the marketing of their own listings beyond the hundreds of relationships their brokers and the association have already concreted for them. The past success of this is still winning new listings and sales. The majority of time in the recent past, another realtor would bring their client after the realtor emailed them the home or they found limited information online and contacted their agent to show them and get more details. In years past, the buyer did not have the access to information the internet now provides, hungry for house details, more consumers would engage agents earlier in the home buying process relying on them to provide this information, allowing this old school marketing to reach all consumers. This is only one side of the new world of real estate.
Realtors now have more access to consumers in the home buying process but its going to require more effort to draw them out. Realtors have traditionally spent more time trying to attract other realtors because they were the one in charge of getting their client to come. This model is weakening as the buying public is out in front of the search process exposing themselves to listing agents like never before. This is very cool as next generation marketing methods are changing as we speak away from traditional models. This will cause further innovation in the world of real estate and what has encouraged us to come out with the Real Estate 2020 podcast, to discuss the evolution of the industry and what it takes to be successful.
The advancement of technology, the explosion of photography and the acceptance of realtors letting the consumer control the house finding has decreased the engagement of their traditional buy side agents and empowered the consumers to shop alone until ready to write. This approach is not exposing the consumer to portals to get their data. This has also changed the influence that agents have on reaching the consumer directly through effective and enhanced market brought online. This enables listing agents to reach their intended target consumer directly, the buyer, making it easier to sell the house versus selling through the agent. The intent is not to cut out the buyer broker (I double dipped less 5% of my sales as I keep my reputation high) and often buyers have an agent they prefer to write the contract, but to get more traffic through your house in hopes of selling faster and for more money. Your goal as a listing agent is to drive maximum traffic through your listings, which leads to faster sales for higher return for the seller. Advertising directly targeting the consumer goes way beyond photos in MLS that are syndicated to agents and consumers, and now leading agents will win deals at massive rates when they understand how to leverage this paradigm shift.
Now that consumer friendly companies that are in control of the data, like Zillow, Trulia, homes.com and Realtor.com, that have eloborated and expanded the offering gaining the trust of consumers. I am talking about how realtors can leverage this versus selling against it. These portals are accepting consumer contact information hand over fist. It is best to get engaged with the portals, understand the offerings and benefits in hopes of luring their viewers to the homes you are trying to sell and this does not mean buying the leads. The best way to do this is clearly the open house. We have seen spectacular results having 50% of our homes sell from open houses over the past 6 months, which amount to 4-5 sales per month.
The video shows and most agents are underestimating this capability.
NOTE: The home in the video sold from the open house. 40+ people through the home. Buyer that bought the house walked in, two hours later their agent brought wife back. We ended up getting multiple offers after the second week on the market. Seller got TOP Dollar!
Open Houses work as the best possible tool to sell a home for top dollar, if you execute them correctly. The reason they work is they get people out from behind their computer, ipad or cell phone at home or work and give them a free look on their time. Often they already find themselves in that area during the time offered so them are impacted using their freedom of choice to swing by. This explains how we get 50%+ of our traffic for open houses from the Internet (Trulia, Zillow, Redfin are most named by visitors). The open house is actually free advertising offered to realtors for your seller and reaches more consumers by flagging it as so on portals, used as bait for visitors back to their portal and working as a great tool to get more showings for your seller. For example, at a single open house, we had 70+ visitors to the listing. The scheduling of the open house and putting it out there for online or the advertising through syndication in the Open Houses section of these portals well before the actual open house is critical to maximizing the traffic. Inherent delays with syndication, put stress on realtor to advertise in advance. Driving traffic to the open house online versus putting up a few signs at the gate and the home is the best way to drive traffic and sell the listing for more money. One key note is putting the time frame of the open house, both online as well as on the signs. For example, 4 to 6 p.m. on Friday, or 1 to 4 pm on Sunday.
“The game has changed as looky loos are far and few between as this online education and availability of information has transcended the open house into a way of meeting qualified home buyers for your seller.”
If you want to sell your homes for TOP Dollar consider getting better at your marketing strategy, if you need help please give us a call at 480-215-7365.
Being able to estimate renovation costs for home updates is impactful for both the buyer and the seller side. When working with buyers, they may see a home they’re interested in online but they’re concerned that the updates they desire won’t fit within their budget. They may overestimate the costs required for those updates, and perhaps won’t consider homes at a higher price point because of this in
When working with sellers, being able to estimate accurate renovation costs will help to convince the seller to set a more realistic listing price. Moreover, updating a home will help it to sell much more quickly. Sellers typically don’t have a realistic idea of the actual costs of updating their home. Setting up some estimates from contractors will go a long way toward educating your client about the actual costs of updating their home, and will help you to become even more of a subject matter expert as a seller’s agent.
Convincing sellers to make the updates that buyers want is a little more difficult in today’s market. Ten years ago, when the house down the street with the same square footage and the same floorplan sold for a higher price, it didn’t matter that that house had updates that yours didn’t, because you couldn’t see them without going inside the house itself. Nowadays the impact of the Internet and the syndication of listings with tons of photos has made price per square foot comparisons irrelevant. Buyers can see the upgrades they want, and if the listing doesn’t have those upgrades, the offered price will be discounted accordingly.
When considering what to update and upgrade, price ranges and impacts on the buyer should be considered. Buyers make a decision based on emotion within the first 7 steps inside the house. Consider where the seller’s updating dollars will have the most impact. For example, it’s important to focus first on the spaces where updates will have the most impact. Kitchens are the most important rooms in a home. Then, outdoor space is important in terms of updating, especially here in Arizona. Make sure the pool deck is in good condition, either by painting or replacing. Sun exposure fades the decking, and makes it feel old and worn.
Also, try to eliminate functional obsolescence. Sellers shouldn’t out-upgrade their neighborhood. Always consider the impacts of neighborhood on value of upgrades, and discourage upgrades more than the neighborhood requires or supports. Bottom line, sellers shouldn’t price themselves out of their neighborhoods.
What items or material costs garner the best returns?
Paint – inside and out. Recommended interior paint is light beige, light brown consistent throughout the entire home. Keep all one color. $.70 to $1.00/square foot range typically is the cost to paint.
Carpet–Carpet in bedrooms is fine to keep the budget down. #carpetinbedrooms.
Tile for bathrooms-minimum 18” tile is optimal with smaller grout lines. Or even 12” by 24” in subway tile pattern w
orks. If it’s a stone like travertine, you can get away with smaller size tiles. Estimate for 18” porcelain $6.00/ft to remove and replace tile, on average. Of course, get a professional in there to give a more accurate number. Types of tile vary: Ceramic, porcelain – regular and fancy, stone (travertine, marble, slate, flagstone,limestone). Saltillo tile from the 1970s with the heavy black lines is not popular with buyers because they fear costs of removal. Nicer Saltillo tile in a glossy finish that is consistent with existing decor/house theme will go over much better with buyers. Most buyers do not like flagstone.
Cabinets– least expensive updating option is to paint them, then, just replacing the doors is more expensive, or finally, the most expensive option is entirely new cabinets.
Countertops– solid surface such as granite or quartz, at minimum, to update.
Appliances – Stainless steel appliances are the eyecandy of updates. The power of photos of stainless steel appliances on the Internet is that stainless steel appliances make buyers assume the rest of the home is updated as well. Estimates of costs of appliances: $2,000-$2,500 for double oven, $300-$600 dishwasher, $1200 to 2000 for refrigerator. ($3,500-$4,000). Base level appliances are fine.
Bathrooms: estimate of updating the master bathroom is typically in the $7,000-$15,000 range. Shower: $2000-$2500 (glass door $800-$1000); stone surround on tub affects final price.
Hardware: remove brass hardware in home. Maybe paint the hinges, but replace the door handles.
As for the returns your seller can expect, paint, carpet and grass are the best dollar for dollar return. A note about permitting. As sellers, we stick to mostly surface level improvements, but always source general contractors for larger jobs so the right permitting and licensing are in place.
Special note: these upgrades are based on the research found in north Scottsdale in the homes from the last five years, 2011-2016. Everyday and every week trying to estimate will change, with that, please do your own research and do not rely on these numbers.
We started working with the Mador family in late spring of 2015. Having lived in their home approaching 25 years, they had done some updating to the kitchen and the master, and added a guest house, but they came to us looking to sell their home for top dollar. We have been watching the Phoenix Scottsdale market for the past few years, and a dichotomy has become apparent where a buyer will pay a significant difference for homes that have been completely redone, versus those homes needing some work.
We had our design team (www.SibbachDesignServices.com) go in and advise the Maddoxes as to which particular upgrade would help them get top dollar when the home sold. We assisted them with updating bathrooms, updating flooring and expanding some doorways to improve sightlines. Overall, we spent close to 90 days getting the house ready. We like to spend most of our time helping seller focusing on the right things to prepare their house to get top dollar, even with the knowledge that some of our services are beyond the normal scope of an agent. The Sibbach team believes that we and the sellers are in it together to get top dollar.
To list the Mador home, we put our marketing packets together, we took professional photos, we bought premium advertising, and we posted the listing on www.Sibbach.com, where we drove 150,000+ visitors last year. We were ready to get this home on the market right before the weekend, with a huge open house on Saturday, all in hopes of selling it for top dollar as we had discussed with the seller.
There I was on Saturday afternoon at 1 o’clock. I met the seller, Blare, in the driveway putting the last touches on his house. He and his wife Mari worked so hard in conjunction with us to convert their house and their guest house into something that is in demand by today’s buyer. No, I didn’t show up with the balloons and cookies of yesterday’s agents, but I did show up with tons of traffic, thanks to our strategically-placed Internet marketing of their open house, days before for maximum exposure. That day we had over 12 sets of buyers (30+ buyers) come through the home, with the majority coming from the Internet.
There was a young couple who came strolling in around 2:30, and I saw them taking a particular interest in the house. They mentioned they had a couple of kids, and they seemed to pay particular attention to the guesthouse. As the couple was leaving, I could see glimmer in their eyes as I asked the husband, “Do you have any feedback for the seller?” Jason turned to me and said, “Yes, we want to buy it!” Of course I was excited, because we had worked so hard, and this solidified our prediction that we would receive a reasonable offer from a buyer early in the process.
I asked the husband, Jason, where he found the house, and he said they had seen it hgonline. I asked Jason if he had been qualified to purchase the house, and if I could help them write the contract as soon as the open house ends. He then turned to me and said “Oh no, when I get home I’m going to call my agent and tell him we found the house. He’ll write it up and we will put the deal together.”
I represent the seller. So I was excited to sell the house, but this is a story that we’ve heard over and over again in the marketplace, as we have seen more and more agents letting their clients do their work for them, while still getting paid. We spent 90 days (transforming the home from lived in for 25 years, to a marketable home, with tons of man hours included in my listing side commission) and lots of marketing dollars to attract that buyer. Therefore, should the buyer’s agent who only writes the offer get paid the same as I do in this situation?
What is the value of finding the home? As a listing agent, do I still need to split the fees evenly, when I take on expenses, but the buyer’s agent swoops in and receives the full monty for minimal work? It used to be when I first got in the business the buyer’s agent would have to work very hard to find homes for people because there was not a lot of information online. Now, when listing agents post 35-100 photos of the home, buyers can preview homes online, doing all of the research themselves, and telling their agent which houses they want to see.
We do a lot of open houses, and in the past quarter, in 50% of our listings, the buyer came to us first, due to our marketing, but used another agent to write the deal. So has the buyer’s agent role changed? Is it fair that buyers are doing the work that the buyers agents are getting paid? We believe our industry is about to change! Come to our website www.TooManyListings.com, or Real Estate 2020 on YouTube to learn about how Real estate will be turned upside down in the next 5 years.
You’ve set up your agent website, you’ve tweaked your website design to reflect who you are as an agent, and you’ve filled out your About Me section. Now what? It’s time for content! Content that engages your target audience is what will keep your readers coming back, week to week. Blogging is a large part of effective online marketing strategy, but if your blog goes stagnant, and your content gets stale, you’ve lost your readers, and the chances of them coming back for more are pretty low. Creating fresh content, however, keeps your website dynamic and ever-changing.
Now how do you create engaging, interesting and relevant content? You don’t need to be a creative genius, or a professional writer. In fact, you don’t even have to be a good writer, technically speaking. What you do need to be is authentic. Today’s Internet audience is overwhelmed with information and marketing from every direction, and with that massive influx of information comes information overload and fatigue. To weed out this overload of information, today’s reader has learned to hone their relevance meter (aka, BS meter) to determine whether content is valid or true. Therefore, you need to make sure any content you create is a true reflection of who you are as an agent.
You aren’t like anyone else . . . so what makes you stand out from the pack? If a homeowner or buyer hires you, what will you have to offer them that is different from what the agent one office over can offer them? Then, the trick becomes, how do you convey this authenticity in a blog posting? You can do this by gearing your blog postings toward how you operate as an agent in various situations.
For example, a blog posting that describes exactly what a homebuyer can expect when they work with you is a great way to demonstrate to your readers how you stand apart as an agent. Do you prefer to meet with them before appointments to interview them about their current real estate needs, or do you like to learn about them as you go, in the interests of maximizing their time?
Another blog post could address the top three questions you usually receive as an agent about the listing process. For example, why is MLS relevant these days when most listings can be accessed on Zillow or Realtor.com? And, why are open houses still relevant in the age of the Internet? Finally, how can staging a home make it stand apart from the other houses for sale on the street?
Finally, consider writing blog posts about the area in which you specialize. For example, if you consider yourself an expert on Troon North, create articles written from your insider point of view that contain information your readers can’t easily get anywhere else on the Internet. Most people don’t realize that Troon Mountain is private, and not accessible to the public. Articles written from the point of view of a location or area expert will garner you more attention and respect, and will cement your reputation as an industry leader in that geographic area.