Before I became an agent, I spent almost 10 years in advertising sales & marketing so when I became an agent, marketing a property was a no-brainer. I’d spent so much of my time coming up with great marketing and promotion ideas for the largest retailers and consumer product goods companies. I simply translated everything I knew about marketing and sales into selling a house/condo.
A house, a condo, your home is a product and it needs to be seen by as many people as possible so that you can get top dollar for it. For most people, their home is the largest asset they have so there is no time to fool around on the marketing and sale of it. There are many agents out there who will simply put your home on MLS and forget it and tell you that everyone who is looking will see it and notice it. But will they? I don’t like to leave things to chance when it represents the largest investment that you own. It deserves care and a serious marketing and presentation strategy. As they say, you only get one chance to make a first impression, so make it count.
11 tips to ensure you get top dollar for your place
1. Hire a stager.
A stager is worth every penny. It’s important to make a great first impression with buyers. Don’t make buyers try to see past your décor, paint colours and clutter. I’ve heard many sellers remark that they think buyers should be able to see past the flaws. But let me tell you they won’t. They will just move onto another property and not even know why they did. Over the years, I’ve seen that most buyers like the shiny object. Squirrel! They just can’t see past the flaws.
2. Hire a great photographer.
Haven’t you heard? A picture is worth a thousand words. We live in a very visual culture. Having stunning shots to post on Instagram, Facebook & Pinterest is incredibly important for capturing your place in its best light. There are international buyers who may need to purchase your place sight unseen, so great pictures will absolutely help them choose your place over someone else’s.
3. Have floor plans drawn up.
It’s important to have every room and space measured accurately. Having floor plans drawn up makes life much simpler for prospective buyers. When you make a buyer’s life simpler, they help you get you the most money for your place. Whether it’s a house or a condo, buyers will need to measure their furniture to make sure it fits. Even if it’s a house that needs lots of work, the architect, designer, contractor will find a floor plan useful. Before buyers come to see your place, they would like to do some research. After they come to see your place, they would continue to think about it and would like to do more research. So a floor plan would help them immensely.
4. Have a dedicated webpage or site.
Now that your place is fully staged with great pictures and a floor plan, the next step is to make sure that everything is housed in an accessible spot. It’s a given that your listing will be on MLS. It should access a dedicated web page or web site where all of this information is housed. Along with pictures, there should be a virtual tour for buyers to peruse. The best thing about the dedicated web page or site is that the number of visitors to your site can be tracked so that you can get a feel for how much interest there is in your property.
5. Have many open houses.
Some agents don’t believe in open houses. Some agents will only do open houses on the weekend. I’m at the total opposite of the spectrum. During the first week of the listing in the market, it’s important to have no less than 4 open houses. In order to sell your place for TOP DOLLAR, potential buyers need access to it so they must be able to come in and look around. The market has changed. Many buyers haven’t enlisted the help of an agent yet and just want to walk around on their own and view properties. Not having an open house is like having a retail store that’s closed all the time where prospective buyers can only window shop.
Open houses are imperative to ensure a quick and profitable sale of your home. And not just weekend open houses either. Not everyone is available on the weekends to see a property so it’s important to hold an open house during the week too. I generally host an open house from 11am-1pm over the lunch hour and 5–7pm after work during the week. This way, those at lunch can stop by and view the property and those coming after work have an opportunity to visit too. I’ve always found that the most serious buyers tend to come to view properties mid-week.
6. Have 10 open house signs.
Most agents only use 3 open house signs to direct prospective buyers to see your place. I believe that at least 10 open house signs makes the most sense. Your home is the product and you must drive traffic in to see the product so that you can ensure the most profitable and quickest sale for, most likely, the largest investment you own. 10 signs means that everyone in the area will know that there is an open house taking place and will stop by.
7. Give out treats at the open house.
Remember going to a birthday party as a child and getting a loot bag? Why should those days stop once we’re older? I hand out gummy bears when people walk into my open houses. Important decisions can be difficult for people while hungry. So why not give prospective buyers a little sugar and sustenance to help them love your place a little more. My treats are always well-received by buyers who aren’t used to the special treatment.
8. Send out a postcard.
Sending out flyers to let those in the area know that your property is for sale is always a smart idea. Of course, not everyone opens their mail, but many do. It is surprising how many people tell me when they walk into my open houses that they received the flyer. My web site analytics indicate a spike of web traffic when the postcards are delivered.
9. Post on social media.
Don’t be afraid to get people talking about your house/condo by posting pictures of your place on social media. I use Pinterest, Instagram, Facebook (business & personal), Linkedin, Twitter, Google+ and LMNOP (okay so that one is a joke) when I have a listing. The more people who know your property is for sale, the more who can spread the word to on their social networks. Now that a professional photographer has taken the pictures, there is no better place to utilize them than on social media.
10. Tell everyone (other agents, neighbours).
I always let other agents know about the listing because they may have a client who might be interested. Yes, I know. Those agents are on MLS but an extra reminder never hurts in case they missed the listing. In my brokerage we discuss our new listings at a weekly sales meetings. An email goes out to every agent in the brokerage mentioning the listings. There is nothing wrong with spreading the word when you’re trying to sell the largest asset you have for maximum dollar.
11. Post a note in your building.
If you’re in a condo building, it makes sense to post where they keep their bulletin boards. Make sure you get the property management approval if necessary. There are always renters in your building that love it so much that they contemplate purchasing.
These are the steps to ensure your house/condo sells quickly for the most amount of money. Selling your place is a numbers game. It’s all about maximizing the amount of people who know your place is on the market. This is most likely your largest investment so why not sell for top dollar in this market? Have full control over the sale of your house/condo.