I hate to admit it (although liking a reality TV is it a failing?) , but I do love the Bravo TV Reality Series – “Million Dollar Listing – New York” . I am always amazed at the prices traded for coop apartments, condos and townhouses, and the amounts the agents spend to market those properties. Obviously, when you are selling a property priced at $6 -15 Million, and the commission is that much higher, then it just seems obvious that the agent should spend that much more on the marketing process. I sometimes like to address commission by another name “marketing fee.” That is what many of us do – market.
Here in Westchester, the homes are considerably less expensive for the most part (with Houlihan Lawrence representing the largest sale last year in Westchester of $22 Million – while my largest sale was $6.875 Million in 2o13 ), and there is definitely more value for the dollar, and so while I like to think that I market more than any other agent I know of, I do spend less than the NYC agent. However, in stating that, if I spend say 5- 10% of what I might be earning for that special listing then I guess I am actually spending more than those agents in the city for marketing….Oh my goodness! It is all in the presentation!
What is marketing? It can be anywhere from posting the listing on Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, LinkedIn, Tumblr, and so many more sites, or it could be professional photography, floor plans, blog posts, postcard mailings, brochures, virtual tours, and more to-date – videos. a 30 second promotional video can well help sell a property. People like videos, are drawn to them, and they do help sell a home. Not a long video, but a 30 second snap-shot and quick representation of the home usually works well. I sincerely feel that I was the very FIRST agent in Westchester to utilize area photos to promote a listing. Going back to 2003, I would take area photos , and combining with the listing photos, make CD’s for potential buyers to take home with them – so they could better learn about the areas, appreciate same and then hopefully purchase the home.
Nowadays, agents will post photos of the area on to the MLS (Multiple Listing Service) listing itself, and agents like myself will also promote the different areas on other formats like Animoto which I have found to be very beneficial. I even won a runner’s up award one year for “Why I love Trulia” when I utilized an Animoto video. Fads change. I have used Xtranormal to make a cartoon and created an animated cartoon on “Open Houses’ which I thought was funny.. not sure how many people did..” but I basically tried to include into my cartoon the sort of questions we are asked at open houses, and hoping that people would see the humor in same.
The flip video was one of the first easy access video devices to use as an agent.. I went from the Flip to the Flip MinoHD… What I liked about those devices was that you could sit at a party, someone thought you were holding a phone, and it wasn’t intrusive… The downside was being able to hold it steady – especially if you were imbibing at that party! …. But it was so easy to use, and fun too. They went out of vogue with phones being able to film well, and Cisco Systems discontinued its help and support with the flip videos back in December 2013. After you have some success with that, then the next transition is to go to the camera and video and finally using the tripod.. I love my Sony Cybershot. Everything is a transition… and all to market a home.
Broker’s Open Houses are a must in introducing a home first to the agents who will then suggest the home to their customers and clients , and I have served luncheons… wine and cheese parties, wine raffles, and one year I even had a broker’s open house serving mint juleps! The date just happened to coincide with Mint Julep Day (June 1st) in South Carolina, and so I served mint juleps with cheese straws , cheese bites and spicy pralines . I have seen agents offer ‘free gas’ cards… I am not sure if that is a particular draw…. something about the title even though well intentioned… I have given seed packets to potential buyers at a home listed on Victory Boulevard… for their ‘Victory Garden’ – I am British ( and I can still recall hearing how the Brits cultivated their ‘Victory gardens during World War ll!)
Back in the early 1990’s, I made my own (awful wine).. I had spent a small fortune on the wine making equipment, and made the wine for 3 years… After poisoning so many friends and family (ha! – I would always say that if you were thinking of giving up drinking wine – try mine – and you will!)… However, being creative, I now use those bottles to dress up a listing…. In a vacant home/apartment/rental, I will feature the bottle of “Chateau Rosen” with 2 wine glasses, and the requisite cheese board and cheese knife.. I believe in writing/communicating to all relevant publications on behalf of my clients and their homes.. In marketing their home, I will write to newspapers, magazines, TV stations and shows and on-line publications pointing out the key points of my listing and why they should publish/film same. It does work. Hard work yes, but I am trying to please my sellers and obtain the highest and the very best price for them . After all, selling a home is one of the most important decisions a family/couple/single person makes…Agents will ask me for my contacts which is sad as they want the short cuts without the hard work. Sometimes I help out, and sometimes not.
Staging is important also, and if warranted, I will pay for a stager to make that initial evaluation. Yes, it should be the seller’s expense, but once again, if it helps me to market that home better then I will spend the fee. In always trying to be in the forefront and in always thinking out of the box and in being innovative, I am now creating web sites for my listings… Yes, we see homes with their own web addresses, but I am now posting relevant blog posts onto those web sites about the area, the history, transportation, perhaps the floor plans, videos, anything relevant… I can then print out the information into a small packet and leave at the home so visitors can learn about the area- all trying to help sell the home. Yes, it can be expensive to market a home, especially since we are only reimbursed at the closing table, but when we put our best foot forward on behalf of our clients, then I would like to think that success will follow. I have 2 web sites, 2 blog sites where I write about not only my listings but area information too. I am here for all of your real estate needs.
Westchester is GREAT!