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Three Marketing Ideas Your Real Estate Agent Probably Won’t Do (But You Can…)

by Brandon Turner on November 11, 2012 · 38 comments

  
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Today I want to share some of my favorite “secret” home-sale marketing techniques with you – but only if your promise not to use them against me if you decide to sell a home in my neighborhood.

As it stands now, when I remodel a home and put it on the market to sell – that home stands out and is seen by more people than any other home around.

No, it’s not magic.

It’s creative proactive marketing and it’s above and beyond what most real estate agents will ever do. However, if you are serious about taking control of your destiny and not just “waiting” for a buyer to come to you then this article is for you.

If you’ve ever used a real estate agent to sell a home, you know that they have a number of important jobs. They:

  • list the home
  • put the sign in the yard
  • show your property to prospective buyers
  • market to the best of their ability
  • and handle all the paperwork.

I am a big fan of using a skillful real estate agent to sell properties and selfishly, I want them to devote all their time to selling my property – but the simply fact is: my agent has other listings. My property is probably not my agent’s number one priority and it would make no financial sense for him or her to devote all their time to selling just my stuff.

Furthermore, my listings are a small fish in a big pond. While the market might be different where you live, the competition is fierce around my town due to the vast number of homes on the market and the very few buyers who can purchase. My most recent home listed just two weeks ago is one of hundreds within the community and is easily lost in the “pond” of the MLS. While I have done my part in making sure it looked the best and was priced to sell – it still is just one in a vast sea of homes.

Therefore, I have begun using several unconventional methods to make my home stand out above the competition. There are numerous “out of the box” techniques that can be used to sell a property but most agents simply stick to the list I’ve given above (and I don’t blame them – these techniques would be very difficult to scale for a big agent with lower-priced homes.)  By using creative techniques to sell my homes I am aiming to put my property in front of as many eyes as possible and bring in a quick sale.

So, without further suspense, I give you:

Three Marketing Ideas Your Real Estate Agent Probably Won’t Do (But Your Can…)

1.) Dedicated Website

Beautiful websites serve the same purpose as incredible curb appeal: because first impressions matter. (Click here to Tweet this quote!)

When I say “dedicated website” I’m referring to a web address specifically designed for the property. Most agents will list the home on the MLS and perhaps even on their company website but few agents have the ability or desire to create a specific website just for your property (such as www.12345ElmStreet.com – not a real site). While I’ve seen this technique used a few times over the years (especially with higher end listings) – honestly: the design generally sucks.

Most real estate agents are not designers and the websites usually look like they came out the internet circa 1997. However, incredibly good looking websites today are easy (and fast) to make and publish without using any code at all. I’m not saying the website needs to be designed by a graphic artist – but basic a basic aesthetic appearance shows you buyer you are offering a quality product.

Check out an example by visiting the most recent website I created for my recent listing: www.752WMarcy.com.  Total cost of this website was under $100.00 for an entire year and that included $125 worth of online advertising, which brings me to my next marketing idea.

2.) Facebook Advertising

I’m going to make a guess and say that you probably have a Facebook page; as do I, my business, your business (you better!), your neighbor, your family, and the guy who is going to buy your next house. So why not target that guy using the same social media? You can even send him directly to the dedicated website you created from above!

I’ve written extensively on Facebook ads before (check out this article to read more) and the world of Facebook ads have gotten even better since Facebook’s decision to allow users to “promote” their status’ for as little as $7.00.

Facebook ads allow you to target individuals who live in a specific geographic location – which in turn allows you to create ads that target and mention those locations specifically. These type of ads are clicked on much more often due to the “local” feel that ad has. For example, here is the most recent ad I used to market a recent home:

I used this ad to target individuals who lived only in the city of Aberdeen, WA between the ages of 24 and higher who want to move from the city (higher crime, drugs, and rough living) to the nicer suburb town of Montesano. I also included the price (to minimize the number of people clicking just to find out the price) as well as a specific call-to-action. Total cost:  $.35 per click and 42 clicks in four days = about $15.00 (so far). However, when I signed up for my hosting plan I received $75 in Google ads and $50 in Facebook ads – so I’m still below that number!

3.) Staging

You’ve all heard of “staging” before and probably have seen amazing pictures on television shows like Flip That House or websites like “123Flip.com” so I don’t need to belabor the point. However, staging is incredibly important for making your home stand out above others in a crowded market but unless your home is selling at the top of the market don’t expect your real estate agent to offer any staging help.

If you don’t have staging furniture of your own or don’t sell enough property to make it a worthwhile investment, consider renting furniture from a “rent to own” furniture company like Aarons or Colortyme. I recently rented the furniture set in the photo below for just $110 per month – which included delivery and pickup when the home sells.

Final Thoughts

While those aren’t the only marketing strategies I’ve been experimenting with lately, they are some of my favorite techniques that utilize both classic and modern methods of marketing to allow your home to be seen by the highest number of people possible. The more people who are exposed to your home, the greater the chance you have of selling.  Marketing is not an exact science, but rather a fluid art that changes with each experiment – so play around with these techniques and let me know how they work for you!

Now it’s your turn! What are your favorite methods to market your properties? Do you do anything extra or just let the real estate agent take care of it all? Let me know below in a comment!

Image Credit: Laverrue

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{ 35 comments… read them below or add one }

Coby Hebert November 11, 2012 at 4:23 pm

Brandon, I have tried promoted Facebook posts a few times recently and I didn’t notice much of a difference in comparison to a regular post. Facebook claims that it will help your post stay higher in the newsfeed of your friends, however, that didn’t seem to be the case for me. Facebook seems to be very vague on what you actually get for that $7. Have you had any luck with promoted posts? Thanks

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Brandon Turner November 11, 2012 at 5:48 pm

Hey Coby- I tried it once (for something completely un-real estate related) and it said it was seen by a lot of people. I’m not too sure though, as it’s pretty new. I was going to start playing with it more – but I got an offer on that house and we accepted so it wasn’t as important anymore! (yay!)

Let me know if you ever find out more info on it!

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WRobynne McWayne November 11, 2012 at 10:33 pm

Just want to point out the abiiity to put an unlimited number of LARGE photos within the ‘text’ in a CraigsList ad, by using the instructions from photobucket.com.

Hint: you also want to put at least one photo in the regular upload photo area of the CL ad so that the listing says ‘pic’ etc.

The last house I had for sale was listed with a very good agent, but 9/10 people who made appointments to see it, found the listing THEMSELVES from my CraigsList ads.

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Brandon Turner November 12, 2012 at 10:41 am

Hey Robynne,

Thanks! That’s actually really really good info. I meant to include something about that, but forgot! I did a whole “Craigslist tutorial” on my blog a few weeks ago that talked about that stuff. It’s amazing how few people actually do it but it helps the Craigslist ad stand out so much! Thanks!

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Mike November 12, 2012 at 8:28 am

Another great post Brandon, I’ve learned a few things on this one I gotta try! We have not done the FB ads stuff yet or the website idea, but very cool fresh ideas there.

We do a lot of staging and have spent a few more dollars than you’ve spent on the ones Ive done so far (although I cant complain about the end result :-) ). Im curious how you’ve done it with the furniture rental companies – do you pick all the furniture yourself or do you have someone do that for you?

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Geoff November 12, 2012 at 10:14 am

I would just like to add to Mike’s comments….
do you also make arrangements with the rental place for the potential buyer to be able to buy or continue to rent the furniture?

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Brandon Turner November 12, 2012 at 10:45 am

Hey guys, thanks for the comments. I took my wife to the furniture rental place and she picked out her favorite :) And yeah, Geoff, the rental place has a “buy now” price that I could use in negotiations on this deal (I think it’s like $1500 or something).

Good news though – we now have an offer on that house and are in escrow. I think the staging made a HUGE difference. The lady fell in love with the house!

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Sharon Vornholt November 12, 2012 at 9:02 am

You have some great ideas Brandon.

One thing I would add, is to make up a quality flier like one from Postlets, and pass them out to all the folks in the neighborhood. My aunt just listed her house with a Realtor and as soon as the sign went in the yard, the neighbor two doors down called. She said she wanted to move her folks into her neighborhood and the house was perfect. She has the house sold within a couple of days. By doing just this one thing, you might not even need that Realtor sign in the yard.

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Brandon Turner November 12, 2012 at 10:46 am

Great suggestion Sharon! Neighbors are a great source for helping to sell a property! I’ll have to do this too! (on the next one… this one just went pending!)

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Sean November 12, 2012 at 12:07 pm

Hi Brandon,

Do you have a template that you use for listing your homes? I assume you use wordpress, have it hosted with godaddy, then upload the theme or is it simpler than that? I would love if there was some sort of easy template to use, but still have a unique website created.

In addition to the traditional listing, we use craigslist ads and staging as well. One thing I will be trying soon is a post card mailing to every address within a .5 mile, letting them know a house is for sale and if they refer family/friends and we receive a full price offer, we will give them $500 cash/gift card. We call it the “pick your neighbor” program.

One thing my developer friend does is offer a $5k gift card to a local furniture store with a full price offer. It takes a little off the top, but if you build that in to your offer, it can be an incredible sales tool.

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Brandon Turner November 12, 2012 at 7:23 pm

Hey Sean,

I use to use Wordpress themes, but I recently started using Wix.com because it’s so much faster and about the same price (plus you don’t have to buy a separate theme.) I think it’s like $99 a year. I have a tutorial on my blog right (and a Youtube video) now on how to set it up, but it’s pretty easy. Check out Wix! And thanks for the comment!

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Frank November 14, 2012 at 7:16 pm

Good read. For some many agents, the MLS is it for marketing. While a key tool for sure, there is so much opportunity left on the table. When a realtor brings more than MLS to the table, there is a good chance you are in good hands!

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Terry Nation November 18, 2012 at 11:28 am

I like this Marketing Idea. I hope, it will help us.

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Kevin Yeats November 20, 2012 at 7:44 am

Great ideas Brandon.

Just curious. If you have more than one property and have a dedicated website for each, do you cross link the websites? And do you have a “master website” that has all of your properties available and maybe some completed or under construction properties?

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Karen Margrave November 29, 2012 at 6:18 pm

I sold the spec house we are building in Lake Forest, CA to the first caller on my ad from Postlets. Postlets is free, and puts the ad out to an incredible number of websites, including CL. Postlets allows you to change the background on the listing, post pics, etc. They also have a paid ad, that’s extremely affordable, but I didn’t need one!

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Sky L. December 8, 2012 at 11:46 pm

The three points which you have focused is absolutely perfect. YouTube advertising is also a good option for the same since videos can be seen by anyone anytime with no bindings of selected people by the person. A video can add a lot to the thinking of a person!

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John M December 12, 2012 at 9:21 pm

I am a Realtor and like your ideas. I have a Wordpress website and create a post for each of my listings. The posts are set up to rank for the address of the listing. Is this in alignment with what you are recommending. You did not speak about craigslist. I have great success posting craiglist ads the linking back to the post for that address. Thanks for the post!

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Brandon Turner December 12, 2012 at 9:45 pm

Thanks John! Yes, I use Craigslist as well but I left it out because I figure most agents use it already. I think your plan is great too. The only difference is having that “123MainStreet.com” domain name – which you can buy for $10 and then just forward to your current Wordpress site. Thanks for the comment!

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Susan Barnett January 1, 2013 at 5:31 pm

Brandon, All good ideas and here’s another to consider – sites like Zillow have blog content and they’re hungry for good properties to feature. It won’t work for a cookie cutter house, but if you’ve got something special or unusual, they just might go for it. They were interested in one of my luxury listings, and we’re planning to do the article in the spring. http://www.zillow.com/blog/tag/house-of-the-week/

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Tina DuBrule January 3, 2013 at 9:42 am

Hello Brandon:

I enjoyed reading your article. I am one of those Realtors that actually already do what you mention in your marketing tips. (just wanted you to know that there are agents out there that do include these items as part of their marketing tool kit).

Best Regards-

Tina DuBrule

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Brandon Turner January 3, 2013 at 9:44 am

That’s great to know, Tina! Your clients are lucky to have you :)

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Tina DuBrule January 3, 2013 at 10:00 am

Thank you Brandon,

Best of Luck to you in 2013!

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David Marketing January 22, 2013 at 4:48 am

Hello

Great article that everyone should read.

Great free marketing for your business you have to use:

– Tell everyone what you do
– host an event to become a lot of people
– Use the Internet to promote yourself
– provide special offer to other businesses
– Do as much public speaking as you can

Best regards, David

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Richard Smith January 24, 2013 at 10:45 am

This is one great post!!! Real Estate Agents especially starters can learn more on this post and grow their real estate business in unprecedented levels in the industry! They will be the forefront!! Definitely must shared and recommended!!! Way to go!!!!

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Richard Smith February 25, 2013 at 8:48 am

This is one great post!!! Real Estate Agents especially starters can learn more on this post and grow their real estate business in unprecedented levels in the industry! They will be the forefront!! Definitely must shared and recommended!!! Way to go Brandon!!!!

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Muzdan May 9, 2013 at 4:13 pm

hi Brandon, I agree with your third method Home Staging, I have been in the business of home staging for quite some time and can 100% guarantee it works and really well I might add. Every property I have staged has sold within 45 days and sold for more than the client was hoping to get each time. It just makes sense if you can show a customer how their home will look with furniture in it they will love it even more. Thanks for the great post, keep up the great work.

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Marc A. Donald May 28, 2013 at 7:26 am

Nice tips, but what I think the most important is that since the biggest financial move in your life is buying or selling a property, So you need to find some time to interview at least 3 agents before choosing one to deal with. Choose someone who’s familiar with the area you want to buy/sell your property in, also a good real estate agent should be aware of other technicalities such as inspection, negotiation. What really matters before all this that you need to be comfortable dealing with this agent.

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lloyd Irvin July 19, 2013 at 2:42 pm

Social media is really a great way to get quality customers and engage with some clients who can drive you good sales and only sky is limit.

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Tony McCarthy July 27, 2013 at 8:33 am

Hi,
I started my estate agency only four months ago and have been looking for any help I can get with marketing it. I have a website and a social media presence but never thought of “staging” except in the most simple sense – keeping the place tidy for the publicity shots. It’s given me a bit of an idea to work on, as I am also a developer with several show homes – the two businesses could help one another out!

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Gary O August 13, 2013 at 6:53 am

I agree, I want my listing agent to function like an account executive, where my home is his/her only property to sell. There’s nothing wrong with being selfish like this, as it is a competitive world out there and sellers that leave things ‘up in the air…to chance,’ are in for a big letdown. This was an informative article. Thank you.

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delia August 14, 2013 at 8:29 pm

Help,
I have a great house with an amazing view. MLSN 487312. I have reduced the price twice. A couple open houses, and on craigs list, zillow, tour factory. No action. The price is be low assessed value and lower than comps in area. As well as staged.
I really would appreciate more options to market it. Price : 619,000.

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Joshua Dorkin August 14, 2013 at 8:57 pm

Della – I hate to say it, but if it isn’t selling, your price has to be too high. If a property is well priced and there is demand, someone will put in an offer.

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Caleb September 23, 2013 at 7:55 am

There are steps you can take to help yourself and the realtor get your home noticed on the market. Make sure that you are working with a realtor that will work with you and use all available resourced to get your home sold.

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Lisa September 27, 2013 at 6:27 am

It’s amazing what estate agents won’t do to market your property these days but expect the commission. When selling my house recently I was not getting much interest until I took some new photos (the agents pics were terrible), put out some mentions on Facebook, tweeted info on Twitter and started doing viewings myself. After 3 weeks of my own work the house was sold.

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Mark Harris February 28, 2014 at 7:46 am

Hi Everyone,
Brandon, this is really a great site with great info.

I am based in South Africa and its really great to read what Realtors around the world are doing. I am not a Realtor, however, I offer a service to local Realtors where I do marketing for them so they can concentrate on the selling etc..

The most important advice i give all my clients, is to remember that you are not only selling a product (House/Property etc) but you are selling YOURSELF!
Your Reputation is critical, so work hard at building your personal brand.

Your tips and advice are really helpful and informative, thanks guys, keep the excellent posts coming

Reply

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