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Real estate can be a tough, lonely business. Even top agents need a continuous flow of guidance, support and new ideas to keep going strong. When you share your best stuff with our community, everyone wins!

AND…remember, each month we hold a drawing to award one amazing FLIP video camcorder to an agent who submits an idea we use. So submit your best prospecting, marketing, horror story, or other real estate idea that makes you more successful, and you'll automatically become eligible to WIN a BRAND NEW FLIP video camcorder. Be sure to include an example if you have one! Click Here

How To Sell Your Listings Faster In Today's Market

Are you sitting on listings that won't sell?

Every day I hear the frustrations from agents victimized by a stagnant market. Cautious buyers, unreasonable sellers, and marketing and “carrying” expenses from home inventory are slowly bleeding agent's profits.

What's the real problem? We have opposing market forces working against each other right now, and the market is simply out of equilibrium.

Sellers think their home is worth more than it is, given an unusually high inventory and competition with foreclosures and short sales. Or they're upside down or otherwise not willing to reduce their home's price to get it competitive. The pressure is upward with sellers.

Meanwhile, there are fewer buyers in the market...and those who can qualify are hesitant about buying on a downturn. The pressure is downward with buyers.

And who's caught in the middle? YOU.

If you're feeling the squeeze, here are a number of proven strategies, tips and tactics (used by the most experienced home marketing pros) you can use to market and sell your listings faster and for more money than ever before.

The most important thing you need to understand when selling your listings is...

You Actually Have THREE Clients

And once you learn how to “hit on all cylinders” by marketing to all three clients, your life will become infinitely better (and richer!). So let's talk about each client and what you need to do...

Client #1: Your Seller

Sellers don't determine the price at which their home will sell, but they do determine how FAST it will sell by establishing a marketable price. Every factor in the home – from location, sighting, features, design, condition, cosmetic or functional obsolescence – are ultimately all reflected into price.

Taking overpriced listings in today's market is hazardous to your career. The truth is, homes that sell the fastest also sell for the most money. This means they're priced correctly up front to sell – and so they sell quickly.

If they're priced wrong, you run the risk of stigmatizing the property as a bad value in relation to other properties in the market. It's very difficult to get buyers agents back to a home stigmatized as a poor value.

If you find yourself in a situation where your sellers won't price their home where you believe the market will present an offer, you have 3 options:

  1. Take the listing and get ready for a protracted waiting period, bleeding your cash flow, and you'll be endlessly blamed (and possibly fired) for the home failing to sell...

  2. Walk away from the listing – which will be hard to do because you're in the business of selling real estate...

  3. Take the listing, but write into the contract that, if the home doesn't sell in “x” days at their price, they agree to lower the price to one you feel is marketable. Remember: Get it in writing or you won't get the price reduction.

Your sellers need to know that their home is competing not only against other homes for sale in their area, but foreclosures and short sales too. And they need to know that buyers agents only show home they believe can sell.

So if their home isn't priced within a price range where a prospective buyer would even consider starting the negotiation process by making an offer (or worse, buyers agents won't even show the home), they run the risk of creating a stigmatized listing. That's bad news for everyone involved.

Handle your sellers correctly right up front, do your homework to prove your case with pricing, and you set the stage for a successful sale.

Client #2: Buyer's Agents

Did you realize that other agents may be your clients? Most agents don't. But they are and here's why.

Buyer's agents hold the key to bringing buyers to your listing. And we now know they they're not going to show any listings they don't believe have a chance to sell. They don't work for free.

So the question is: “What can you do to motivate the most active buyer's agents to show your home to every buyer who fits the bill?”

Here are 2 Quick Steps for getting your listings shown more than any other home in the area – thus motivating a faster sale:

Step 1: Put your listing on their radar screen. When I was building spec homes and infill subdivisions I used to hop on the MLS and locate all the buyers agents who actively sold homes in the area and price range of the home(s) we were selling.

Then we created a small database by subdivision of these agents, ranked from most active to least. And we used that list to initially market our homes (many before they were even built!).

What did we do with that list? First, we'd create beautiful brochures of the homes and make sure a pile of them sat on the agent's desk (90% of success is just showing up – and we showed up!).

Next, we'd hold very exclusive agent tours just for the agents on our list. Again we're getting our homes on their radar screen, right?

Next, we frequently asked buyer agents for input on a home (features, sighting, etc.) even when we were in the planning stage. Imagine how important these folks felt, and how bonded they were to us, when we actually included them in the product design?

Finally, we established a regular monthly contact system so they were always up to date with our homes (and we were always top of mind with them).

The result? We sold 57 $1 million+ homes in 3 years, and all but a handful of them were sold before we completed construction!

Step 2: Consider ethical incentives to get your home shown first. A lot of agents cringe when they hear financial incentives, but let's face it...they work.

For example, we used to offer cash and other incentives to agents who sold our homes at certain times in their construction process. An agent might get a $2,000 bonus or trip to Hawaii if they sold the home prior to breaking ground.

Or they might get a $1,000 bonus if they sold it prior to construction completion. And in some cases we'd just send out Gift Certificates or other valuable novelties when agents showed the home multiple times.

This strategy not only gives incentives to show your properties first, but keeps you top of mind with a reference to a “unique benefit” in the mind of the buyer's agent.

Now, I'm not asking you to give away your commission (and by all means run this by your managing broker before considering), but think about small but meaningful incentives you can offer to agents to stimulate more showings to your home.

The more showings, the more likely your home will get an offer.

Client #3: The Ultimate Buyer

Buyers have a lot of choices today with the abundance of “bargain” homes on the market. Now more than ever you need to generate as many buyer inquiries on your listings as possible.

Again, make sure you're hitting on all cylinders with your listings, and consider creating a “Marketing Strategies Checklist” to be implemented with every listing you take.

I've included here a 28-Step Home Marketing Plan you can use not just for your own listing checklist, but as a presentation device in your listing presentations.

Download it as a pdf by clicking here.

And don't forget: Buyers are attracted to the “lifestyle benefits” of a home. All homes have bedrooms, baths, etc., but you need to become a “sales detective” and locate the most powerful features and benefits of the homes you list.

Then, use those “lifestyle benefits” as the central focus of our marketing efforts.

And finally, you need to make your listing as “affordable” as possible to prospective buyers. What do I mean by “affordable”?

There's a difference between price and affordability. With the right financing programs you can make your home much more attractive over other homes in the market.

So team up with a great mortgage professional and create some financing options that highlight the affordability of your home. You must make it easier to buy your listing than the foreclosure down the street.

Follow these steps, focus on what buyers and buyers' agents ultimately want, and you'll be surprised at how much faster your listings will sell.

Look Who's Now the Proud Owner of a
Brand New FLIP Video Camera!!

Flip video camera winners

Why is Jane Flood smiling these days? Because she just won a brand new FLIP video camcorder! You can see her idea, “A Successful Relo Prospecting Idea” in issue 1140. Congratulations Jane!

Want to get your very own FLIP camera? It's easy. Just submit your very best marketing or success strategy (or QuickTip or Horror Story) by Clicking Here. Then, about every month we select the ideas we used in the last few issues and throw'em into a hat where the winner is selected randomly. The better your idea (examples help!), the more likely we'll use it, and the greater your chances of winning – just like Jane here.

Turn these Announcement Cards Into Instant Referrals...

Post-closing referral programming begins with how you communicate you will still be around to provide service to your clients. That you are not going to disappear, moving on to the next deal. Here's an easy way to give buyers a practical tool to tell their network about their new home.

After closing, agent Tami Monheiser puts a picture of her buyer's home on the front of note cards and gives a stack to her client. This simple gesture provides a valuable service to her client that makes them feel obligated to reciprocate. You'll also notice how the note cards include her contact information on the back (a smart way to get free advertising to people who will read the cards).

Here's Tami's description and you can click on the image to see her note cards as a pdf...

“This is a great closing gift I give to my buyers. I take a picture of their new home, have it printed onto the front of note cards with a saying on the bottom that says "The Smith family proudly announces their new address at 123 Anywhere Ave, Beautiful, WA, 12345”.

The note cards are left blank on the inside for them to write their special note, and on the back side I have printed "Presented by Our Real Estate Professional Tami Monheiser 425-123-4567.”

I have 50 of these printed in color and provide envelopes to match. They are shrink wrapped together with a pretty bow around to present at closing or shortly after. Every one of my clients has been so appreciative of this little gift and thankful that they now have new address cards to mail to all their friends and family. It's a great closing gift and terrific way to market yourself for referrals to their friends and family.”

Tami Monheiser Note Cards
QuickTip: Talking To Sellers About Price

“Most future clients who want you to list their home have one question to ask an agent: 'How much do you think my house will sell for?' My immediate answer is, 'What someone will pay you for it.' The looks I receive are anywhere from surprise to the statement, 'I didn't think about it that way.' Being truthful and honest with clients is the only acceptable way to deal with sellers, however the presentation and the tone in which it is said can either get you the listings or get you escorted to the front door. Sellers want the truth but any agent should regard the feelings of a seller as he relates the reasons for why he feels his home is so valuable. Lesson learned, be ever mindful of the seller and the way you deliver your opinion in a listing presentation.”

Let Your Local Chamber Advertise For You

This idea submitted by agent Melody Pike explains how her local chamber of commerce sent out a spotlight article with her name and picture to all area residents... at no cost to her beyond the normal dues.

Here she is in her own words...

“Find out what it takes to become a chamber member and the benefits. In some smaller town's chamber of commerce, if you become a new member they will do a spot light article on you in the monthly news print.

Check with the chamber to see if they do this and ask if you could be of some help by writing the article about you and provide a photo. The chamber I became a member of loved the idea and gave me a larger spot with the photo in the middle of the article.

It saved their staff time and allowed them to adjust the ad or space as needed. I ended up getting a great spot in the local chamber of commerce mailing that went to most of the area residents all for the price of the yearly chamber fees which I was going to do any way.”

Horror Story: Two Snakes and A Gila Monster Later...

“I sell land in Cochise County Arizona, so it is not unusual to be out with clients and see coyotes, birds of prey, javelinas, deer, etc. Ordinarily, if my clients are not used to such things, I suggest that instead of walking a property, we take an ATV or other four-wheel drive vehicle.

However, these particular clients did not feel the need to drive the property opting to walk this 40 acre parcel. Things were going fine until we ran across the first rattlesnake. Yes that's right, I said "first rattlesnake."

The wife screamed at her very first ever sighting of a live rattlesnake, running backwards into a thicket of mesquite where she was badly scratched. After what seemed like an eternity of myself and her husband calming her down and treating her mesquite thorn wounds (the snake having long since left the scene) she decided it was just a fluke and wanted to continue. I suggested strongly that we return for the ATVs I had left at the property for just such showings, but they were determined to continue on foot. Enter the second, much larger, snake.

Just as we rounded the corner, in the middle of the trail, there he was stretched out in the sun. Another, much louder scream accompanied this sighting of the much larger snake. At this point I suggested that perhaps it was not wise to continue, at least not on foot. The wife was clearly upset and not accustomed to being out in such a remote area and I really feared for her safety under those circumstances. The husband wanted to continue and suggested we accompany his wife back to the cars where she could wait in safety while he continued his inspection of the property.

However, on the way back to the car we saw a Gila monster. That was it. She would have no more. Eventually these folks did buy something, a four acre parcel with a house much closer to town. I see them from time to time but so far I have not been brave enough to ask if they've seen any snakes at their new place.”

Issue #1142