How do you market homes for sale is a question we are being often asked by Lakeland home sellers. In fact, at my latest listing appointment the home owner asked me this very question, and cited the fact that we are a small brokerage firm as a reason.
How Do Lakeland Realtors Market A Home for Sale?
Buyers who are looking for homes not only want to know information about the homes. They also are interested in the city of Lakeland and what it has to offer. While any licensed real estate agent can sell a home in Lakeland, your best option is to obtain the services of a real estate professional who really knows the town.
What Lakeland Realtors do to market homes is certainly a fair question, but it cannot be explained in five minutes at a gas station during fill ups. Before I explain, it is important understand there is no one-size-fits-all marketing plan, nor are all real estate marketing plans the same. It’s quite the contrary. Let me show how we are different and how our marketing plan for Lakeland home sellers is second to none.
What is a Listing?
Just to be sure everyone understands the real estate lingo, a listing is the term we use to reference a property listed for sale in the Multiple Listing Service (MLS). The technical term is Exclusive Right of Sale Listing Agreement, which means you have hired one company exclusively to sell your home.
Market Homes – Lakeland Realtor or Real Estate Agency?
This agreement is always with the brokerage firm. The Realtor who completed and signed this agreement becomes your designated agent.
So who is going to do the marketing — the Realtor or the Real Estate Agency? It is the designated real estate agent who markets your home. The brokerage is not the active participant in the marketing, and this is the most misunderstood aspect of marketing residential real estate here in Lakeland. Property owners might gravitate to those big brand names, thinking the marketing with that particular brand is bigger and better than the smaller companies, like us here at CDV Transatlantic, Inc. Real Estate Brokerage. This is far from true. It is the Lakeland Realtor you choose to work with who does most, if not all, the marketing for your home. The “big name” brokerage firm you hired may have your home featured on their brokerage website along with their other listings. Rather than being a benefit, it is more likely that your home gets lost in the crowd on the brokerage site.
Reality check! What really happens is that by adding your house to the MLS, your home will be advertised on their website and also on hundreds of other Realtor websites. This is done via data feed. So Realtor Joe in Winter Haven has the same MLS feed as Realtor Jane in Orlando. Now imagine another real estate agent in Tampa and another one in Davenport. The issue is the feed, as there are thousands of real estate companies and Realtors in Central Florida that may have a feed on their website. The fact is, a big brand brokerage that sells you the line that your home is on their website really is a whole lot of nothing. This is just another home among the thousands of homes listed in the MLS. They all read exactly the same as the information published on our MLS – not exactly standing out from the rest, is it?
“How do you market my home?”
When interviewing real estate agents, you should understand what is being said. If not, ask for clarification. At the end of the presentation, ask yourself this question: “Does what I just heard meet my expectations, or does it sound like a lot of nothing?”
It’s your home and ultimately your decision. Most agents want you to sign their listing agreement right away, but don’t be pressured. It’s okay to sleep on it, because you want to make the right decision in choosing only the best real estate agent you are comfortable with.
The best way for me to describe how we market homes is by walking you through one of our listings.
As your Realtor, I do a lot of pre-marketing for your home. Once the listing agreement is signed, the seller and I come up with a pre-marketing strategy, Multiple Listing Service (MLS) and post MLS marketing. Let me explain:
Any marketing done before adding a home to our MLS system is considered pre-marketing. It’s a way to generate interest before the property is seen by other real estate agents. This takes typically 2-3 days after the listing agreement is signed. The first day I spend getting all the necessary information of the home, including features, measurements, amenities and neighborhood.
Next, I take pictures with my high quality camera. I take 40 to 60 photos using a wide angle lens— no smart phone pics or point and shoot cameras. Depending on the size of your home and the property, the count of the pictures may exceed 60 photos. I upload the pictures for editing and re-sizing, since our MLS system can’t handle large file sizes for uploading. The pictures are then added to Google. Some of the photos are watermarked for our Internet platforms.
My team of virtual assistants creates videos for YouTube and other online platforms. Meanwhile, I create a single property website with its own domain name. Check out this example: www.1122lakeshoreranchdr.com.
The next step is to add the property to Zillow & Trulia. Instead of the data feed from the MLS, our listing goes live within minutes of posting. This gives you an edge over your competition since our listings have better write-ups and more pictures.
The next step is to place your property on Realbird.com. Realbird.com is not part of the MLS. However, this site attracts lots of visitors all over the United States, Canada and the U.K. This site allows me to get additional domain names created, along with a virtual tour. This site is an excellent site to advertise homes for sale. Potential buyers from all over the country can view local information without setting foot in our city.
Check out this example: 5812 Lake Breeze Avenue, Lakeland FL.
At this point, your property listing is being syndicated to other Internet platforms for advertisement. Pre-marketing is almost complete. It’s time to share the home with the masses on all of our social media outlets, such as Facebook, Google Plus, Twitter, Pinterest, LinkedIn and Active Rain. Next, we begin MLS marketing.
On day two, we prepare the home photos and information for the MLS. We input in great detail the room sizes, features, school district and amenities. The allowable maximum of 25 photos is utilized. In addition, we generate a virtual tour to enhance our photo advertisement. Let me say a few things when it comes to writing a description of your home: We take pride in writing descriptions that grab a buyer’s attention. We point out the best features of your home and describe it narratively. Once the information and description of the home is proof read, the listing goes live. The feed will then be transmitted to real estate member websites and Realtor.com, which I’m a member of. By the way – we don’t stop here with our marketing!
Post MLS Marketing
So far we have spent about 24 hours gathering, writing and publishing. Our next step is to create a YouTube video of your home. We include a video and write more story-type articles about your home on Active Rain. Active Rain is a popular platform that attracts real estate agents from around the country and Canada. We continue to aggressively market your home on all social media sites, international sites, and create Facebook ads to obtain maximum exposure.
I do sometimes wonder how many Lakeland Realtors will do this kind of extensive marketing
There is so much to be done when it comes to marketing your home that can be done online to get your home the exposure it needs. If you are considering selling your home and want to know more about our process, I would be more than happy to provide you with insight into our continuing online marketing.