Marketing Spec Homes

15 Replies

I wanted to see how people are marketing their spec homes outside of the MLS and signage. I have been using traditional open houses, brokers opens, newspaper adds, etc. I am just starting to use Twitter, Facebook, Youtube, and blogging. My idea is to provide more of a value add/ informational social media marketing approach. To target buyers I have some interviews scheduled with the local government officials, (small beach town) to talk about the area etc. I was also thinking of doing interviews and some sort of joint marketing with local restaurants, outdoor shops etc. Around 30 percent of the buyers are from Canada so wanted to try to reach them as well. We also do build to suits, about 50 percent of our business, so if people don't like the home they are doing a tour of there are other choices, basic 3 page flyer with features and floor plans. I feel like the social media aspect is important, just don't know how to execute getting the content out there.

Hi @Chad Lubke  great question. I would love to have an expert on social media marketing add their 2cent to this post. There are so many platforms available and each would take a lot of time to even set up. Which one's are better and allow higher exposure? Which are better for certain niches, like real estate? How much would hiring someone to do this for you cost?

I'm no social media expert by a long shot but I am a Realtor here in San Antonio and worked for a new home builder for 5.5 years.

What I currently do to market my properties on social media is the following:

I create a Facebook Page for the Spec property address.  In this page, I'm able to add a picture gallery, insert a map to the location, add video, and give details about the property, the neighborhood, and whatever else (school district, shopping, etc...)  I then run a Facebook ad (usually no more than $2-3 dollars a day to bring people to my page.  Usually this is done by "Promoting the post" of my photo album.  That seems to get the highest click-thru.  From here I get likes, people send me direct messages, people link other users to that Facebook page who they feel may be interested, etc... The best thing about Facebook is that you can target exactly who your target audience is.  Since Facebook has access to things like marital status, age, current location, kids, etc... When setting up your ads, there are many properties you can select to make sure your ad is going to be seen only by those who may actually be interested in your home.

Here is a page that I recently did:

If you go down to the photo album post, you'll see I was able to gain 91 likes, 24 comments, and 20 shares.  Again this was just from $2-3/day for around 90 days.  I would think with a spec home there would be plenty of use to update interested people with when the home is sheetrocked, c-tops in, flooring, etc.. Lots of ways to get new likes and interested parties.

In addition, I also create a youtube video for all my properties.  I then use Google Adwords to help promote the video.  With Adwords, it's a little harder to target certain segments like Facebook but you can still target people who are located in a certain area and have marked general interests or are watching other youtube videos related to real estate, homes for sale, etc...

Here is an example of the video I have being marketed for the same property as the above Facebook page:

You'll see I've had 1034 Views.  This again is off just $2/day. I don't get as much interaction with YouTube like I do with Facebook but I think it's important that people be able to see a video of the property to get them interested enough to seek additional information (like my property specific Facebook Page).

You can also do a property specific Twitter page, but I haven't gone down that route yet.  Also, just thought I should mention that we just received an offer on the property I linked above and it should be under contract by today.  

Hope this helps!

Something I have used very effectively is the free ad on Postlets, it sends out info to a few hundred different sites. You can also pay to set up a single property website for each listing at a very low fee. 

However; as brokers, we always list on MLS, because honestly, most buyers are working with brokers. Though the last house we sold was sold before we had even started construction, by a feeler ad I had put on Poslets as soon as we had the land tied down!

I published a postlets page today and am going to do the Facebook page for the listing this weekend.  Thanks for the info, don't mind spending the time on social media, just haven't gotten any return on money in traditional advertising.  Social seems to be a good value add.

@Shane Woods  Once you have your website set up, have a banner or real estate sign done for the property,(this one is 8') with a rendering if you have one (if not, it's ok) put your website address on the sign, and your phone number, put a take one box and fill with flyers (I actually made postcards just like this banner that I'll put in mine) and start generating interest! I had the banner and postcards made by Vistaprint. You can actually use them for a website too. I used to have one with them, but couldn't use my domain there and for my email, so had to switch to go daddy for website. I actually have one now for the projects we now have under construction or in process. Check out my website if you'd like. Good luck. @Chad Lubke 

Thanks again @Karen Margrave  .  We've been working on many of those items you mentioned.  The website will be along soon, and I am looking forward to sharing it here for some feedback before we go full live with it.  it will be like yours, showcasing past projects we're proud of, plus all current and upcoming listings.

I love the banner idea (with or without rendering) to go along with Postlets and other pre-marketing.  Any issues with banners being vandalized if the property is vacant and "waiting" for months?  Not that they're terribly expensive to replace, just wondering your experience with it.

@Shane Woods  As with everything, it depends on the neighborhood as to whether things are vandalized, just use your judgment. I look forward to seeing your progress! 

Originally posted by @Karen Margrave:

Maybe @Jon Klaus  , @J Scott @Kenneth Bell  can weigh in on their marketing. 

I've done the social media stuff, postlets, Craigslist, open houses, etc., but when it comes to selling retail properties (to homeowners), there is nothing that compares to the MLS. Between the MLS and personal networking with buyers agents, that comprises all but one of our sales over the past 6 years (the one outlier was an open house sale).

@J Scott is right in the value of MLS. I should have clarified that. We are licensed brokers and belong to MLS. A lot of the marketing I do is during construction period, before we put on MLS, while projects are being built, to generate interest. Also, J and his wife are THE masters of taking advantage of social media, so be sure to check out his website that follows his build (though the current build is his personal house - or so he says ;) , we'll see if that holds when someone brings in a high dollar offer!) The Scott Pad

@Kyle Handy  Now on FB, do you actually set up a whole new account, or is it a page off your main account? Because I have a page I created once I signed on to my main account (which is my personal account) and I can sign in to post as our business, but if I'm not on Facebook, and want to post a comment on something and have the option posting using FB, it always shows my personal FB profile pic, and I don't like that. 

I honestly work with realtors that do all of this, from Facebook to twitter to whatever else. I try to make sure we have a product that stands out in the market. I am also not easy on realtors we usually do a nightime brokers only open house that I have good food, wine and cocktails. Brokers don't often miss free food and drinks. I will say also that the markets I am in are usually sought after(or i would not be building spec there anyway) so traffic has not been a problem. I leave the marketing to the marketing people....If Ihave to think about getting more traffic then I have built the wrong house or have the wrong realtor!!

Here are the signs we use on homes, we place on vacant lots, keep up during construction and usually add a large banner if there is visibility from the road.  We have been getting our signs printed on die bond, metal sheets, $150 for a 3'X5' sign...

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