Marketing a home for sale is quite different from most other types of marketing and advertising. Unlike marketing many products, homes are each unique. Marketing decisions will be based on thorough examination of the home's features and comparison to the competition in the marketplace. Decisions must also be made concerning improvements that might enhance the home and sell it faster and for a higher price.
Selection of media, as well as timing and frequency of advertising, is a skill developed over time by real estate professionals. Local market experience, as well as knowledge of national trends is part of it.
Unlike products that are sold in multiple locations, stores or outlets, a home is fixed in location, and this is a critical factor in the marketing function. The saying that real estate is "location, location, and location" is quite true. This factor cannot be changed, nor improved upon. Both positive and negative location factors must be dealt with in a home's marketing plan.
These factors will determine our selection of marketing media, materials and strategies. Let's look at the various ways in which homes are marketed, as well as the benefits and possible drawbacks of each.
Newspaper ads. Whether classified or display, color or black and white, newspaper advertising is one of the most expensive media in the home marketing plan. Real estate brokerages, due to their ongoing advertising, gain experience and specialized knowledge in the types, sizes and layout of ads that are effective in marketing homes. Using their volume purchase discounts, brokerages can provide more newspaper exposure than most individuals could afford.
Homes Magazines. Magazines that specialize in real estate are also expensive, but they can be quite effective. Timing is an issue here, as there is a longer lead time from placement to publishing with these periodicals. The decision of whether to advertise a home in one of these magazines will be based on the experience of the local real estate professional. The lead time we mentioned, as well as other factors, will enter into the decision of whether to market a home in homes magazines.
The Open House. There is a great deal of debate in the industry over the value of the open house for marketing. This is a very local decision as well. Local real estate professionals will have experience with open houses, and can advise.
Specialty publications. What are these? Magazines about horses and riding for horse properties are an example. Golf course homes advertised in golfing publications are another. There are other examples, and again, the local real estate sales representatie will have the information necessary for decisions about them. As with other media mentioned here, the scattergun approach of placing ads everywhere is never the best decision. Careful placement in the most effective media is the key.
Web Sites. The Internet has changed the real estate marketing world significantly. With 80+% of home buyers saying they used the Web in their search for a home, it is quite an important piece of the puzzle. A local real estate broker or sales representative will be able to point out how your home will be displayed on the Internet. Email marketing to other real estate sales representatives and accumulated prospect lists is also an effective tool used by real estate professionals.
The Multiple Listing Service®. Though we listed the others first, the most important tool in marketing homes since its inception has been the Multiple Listing Service®, or MLS®. The vast majority of all homes sold are located via an MLS® listing, and sold via the cooperative commission arrangements in that system.
The listing broker places the entire home's information into the system. Almost immediately, hundreds or thousands of real estate sales people are exposed to that home's information via the MLS® reporting. The MLS® is by far the most accurate source of property information, as the real estate boards that run them are tasked with enforcement of the ways in which data is entered.
How does the system work? The listing broker posts up the home's detailed information. Other real estate brokers and sales representatives with access to that system, will see this home in their listings and daily reports. Sales people also network on behalf of their clients. They know who seems to bring the most buyers for properties similar to their listing, and they contact those sales people via email or phone to make sure that they are aware of the new listing's features and benefits.
Most Real Estate Boards using the Multiple Listing Service®, also do regular real estate sales representative previews, caravans or tours. On a scheduled basis, sales people are invited into the home to preview it on behalf of their buyer clients. Even if they have no immediate clients for that home, real estate sales representative is exposed and will have a better knowledge of the home's characteristics when a buyer comes along with similar criteria.
Since the inception of the Multiple Listing Service®, there has never been another system for marketing homes that comes even close to being as effective. With the entire membership focused on connecting buyers and sellers, it just works.
The trademarks MLS®, Multiple Listing Service® and the associated logos are owned by the Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA) and identify the quality of services provided by real estate professionals who are members of CREA. Used under licence.