Marketing your home in a difficult market.

Another advertisement for another house? There are so many deals out there these days, why should anyone even look at yours? Why won't they wait until you drop the price just a little bit more?  Pricing it to sell is not enough.


How to get to your home

Map    Unless your home is in Beverly Hills, you should think carefully about what potential buyers will see on the way to visit your home. This has a large impact on buyers and is almost always overlooked..

   Suppose your house is between two highway exits, let's call them Exit 1 and Exit 2.

Exit 1 is the fastest and easiest way to get to your home and goes by a graveyard, the dump, crosses the railroad tracks and past a welfare hotel before you get to your lovely abode.

Exit 2 is a bit longer and more difficult, but goes by the park, a forest, and some expensive homes and the school...

   You are getting the idea. Make a map. Include it with the listing and on your online page if you make one.


100 Watt light bulbs

100 watt light bulbs sell houses!

Oh my God! What waste!


   Realtors know that bright homes with lots of light sell. So even if your home is already brightly lit and it is a very sunny day when you have your open house, TURN ALL THE LIGHTS ON!

  Change all your bulbs to 100 watt bulbs - as bright as you can find. Put those energy conserving little fluorescent things in storage for now, you've got to sell!

   Fix the light over the stove and in the fridge. Replace any bad bulbs and before the potential buyers come, turn them all on!

  Visitors will come in and say things like, "Wow, nice and bright"

This really works!



Marketing is work!


Home sale closingFace it, realtors are not marketing experts. They are more like shopkeepers. If you rely upon them to do all of the marketing for you, well, you will be disappointed. Look at realtors as 'shopkeepers' and the real estate office as their 'store'; when they list your home, they are merely stocking the shelves of their store. Customers come and go - some buy homes, some do not. They do not really care about any one individual home - BUT YOU DO! That's your house!

   While a realtor plays an important role in a tough market, they do not provide a turn-key solution that will fill your needs. You will need to play a critical role in marketing your home if it is to stand out among all the others. The realtor listing your home has dozens of equally nice and lovely homes just like yours to sell, and if she treats all customers equally, you have equal odds of selling - in a buyer's market, that's not good enough!



In my early days as a real estate investor, I made the mistake of using people I knew and trusted. Bad idea. It's better to use people WHO CAN SELL! When you list with a realtor, make sure it's an agency that has lots of nice picture ads of homes for sale in your local paper. Make sure they have a nice website that people actually visit. While you are doing that, be sure to:

  • Get rid of that old swingset - the kids are in college!
  • Cut the grass and pull the weeds!
  • Replace that dead shrub and trim the others!
  • DON'T SMOKE IN THE HOUSE! (More sales are lost from this.)
  • Cook something delicious before the guests come, or make coffee or even the old realtor's trick of putting some vanilla in a piece of tin foil and putting it in the oven will work for sensory appeal.
  • Light the fireplace if you have one! (Unless it's July.)


Make a simple web-page featuring your home


Simple web siteEvery little thing you can do will help. If you cannot do this simple task yourself, you can find a high-school student to do it for you for very little money. It is enough to use Microsoft FrontPage and their 'thumbnail' feature to create a simple page which features photographs of your home. Be sure to link to it when you advertise online.



What does your home look like from the curb. Before people make an appointment to see inside, they will always first look at the house from the street. You must do everything you can to entice them indoors! Do you have flowers? You had better get some then! There is almost no such thing as an ugly flower box! Even if you have no room for more flowers, you can probably stick one more right on the porch in a pot! Is the front freshly painted? Do you see the concrete of the foundation? Has someone been parking on the grass? OH NO!



You look at your home every single day and have not seen it deteriorate. Just like when a friend gets a new puppy, they don't see it grow every day - it seems like the same dog... but you see them once every three months, and you see a different dog than they do. It's sort of like that with th "invisibles". You don't notice "the invisibles" - those unsightly little nicks and dings that you don't see, stand out like a sore thumb to a prospective buyer and accumulate over time. Maybe it's a litter box, or a rusting boat trailer... if it does not add to the glamor of your home, it is taking something away. Get rid of that swingset! Don't let the cat stink up the basement! Re-tar the driveway and fill the cracks - come on, it will take a big guy/gal like you 20 minutes!



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