An example of marketing

fresh salsa

I found this display at the Farmer’s market. It stood out from the average stall featuring the same fresh produce.

Marketing a home is a bit different than marketing produce but there are some similarities too.

The artistic display is created by staging, the home is photographed by a professional and words are included with the pictures on the internet. The home stands out.

Real estate agents like to use the word “fabulous”, I think I like the word “amazing” better.

This grower knows how to market produce. A trip to the Saint Paul Farmer’s market can be educational.

taking your house off the market

Sometimes home sellers change their minds and they want their home taken off the market before the contract with their real estate agent ends. In that case both parties, the real estate agent and the seller have to agree to cancel the contract. A real estate agent can say no to a contract cancellation.


Listing contract

During our current sellers market I have been offering shorter contracts for my clients. Most homes can be sold in less than three months so I offer a three month contract. When the contract expires if the home isn’t sold the seller can leave it off the market or re-list it with me or with someone else.

Keep in mind I do not get paid until the house is sold and the sale closes. It is possible to spend quite a bit of money and have a sellers change their minds.

Usually if a seller asks to cancel a contract I let them out of it without any hassle but I do not have to. A contract is a contract. People do change their plans or sometimes there is an illness or some other emergency that causes people to put their plans on hold.

I have occasionally started the conversation about canceling the contract myself. Sometimes I can not get the homeowner to cooperate and it compromises my ability to sell the home at a price that is usually higher than the value.

Selling a house without the owners cooperation is difficult. It is even spelled out in the contract that they need to grant access to people who want to see it and cooperate in other ways. Sometimes sellers want to list their home for a lot more than it is worth and they agree to future price reductions, but when the time comes they won’t reduce the price. Sometimes a homeowner agrees to certain repairs but they won’t make them and they want to price the home as if they did make the repairs.

The homeowners who get the most money for their home are often those who work with me and take an interest in the details of the process and the suggestions I make.

If the goal is to just take the home off the market for a few days or a few weeks there is an easy way to do that. The home can be made temporarily not available to show. In that status it will not how up on the internet as being for sale and real estate agents will not make appointments to see it or show it. The home can not be advertised as being for sale.

If you are working with an agent and you want to get out of the contract you will need to get the agent to agree. If the agent does not agree you may have to ride it out. Please read the contract before signing it.

A real estate team might not be what you think it is

McDonalds sign taken in August of 2015

There are teams in sports. On a baseball team everyone has a position and each player is responsible for playing his position to help the team win.

In business we use the word “team” is used to refer to a group of people who work for the same company. We like to use sports analogies in business.

A real team works together to achieve a common goal.

In real estate the point of a team is so that team members can get “leads” and so that the team leader can make more money. The leader gets some of the agents commissions. For new agents teams can be a great way to get some hands on experience and training but to be honest that is what a broker is supposed to provide.

Sometimes the clients of real estate teams get this mental picture of several people working on selling their home or finding them a new one but it almost never works that way. One agent works on selling the house while the others work with other clients or on lead capture.

If I call a team and ask about a home for sale usually no one but the actual listing agent knows anything about the home. In fact it seems like they don’t even talk to each other. They don’t actually help each other when problems arise and they do not tap into each others expertise. Homes do not sell faster because they are listed by a real estate team.

Teams are popular among agents because they are a great way for experienced agents to make more money and a way for inexperienced agents to get some experience.

Large teams operate like a company within a company. Some team leaders end up starting their own real estate company, other teams act and operate like a separate company, within a company.

It gets complicated. In the end working with a team may not be any different than working with an individual agent. Sometimes the lead agent gets the listings and the seller gets to deal with a junior agent and an assistant.

Go team!

How many people will see your home?

If your home is on the market a number of people will need to look at it before someone makes an offer. Maybe there will be more than one offer.

In general the number of showings per listing is increasing. I believe the reason for the increase is that there are fewer homes on the market per home buyer.

Home buyers are more willing to look at homes that are close to what they are looking for. Buyers will look at a house that is too small and then leave feedback stating the home is too small.

They will look at a house that isn’t right for them and then leave feedback indicating the house isn’t right for them.

The good news is that if your home is getting viewings it will likely sell soon. If there are no showings an offer is unlikely.

Showings per St. Paul home

Real estate is local. Ask your agent how many showings homes are getting in your neighborhood. There is a lot of data available to us.

Real estate agents who won’t write

Tappan 4000
Mid-century modern home has working Tappan400 cooktop and oven. Cabinets have original hardware.

My job requires a lot of reading and writing. I need to be able to communicate repairs, write amendments and provide remarks for my listings on the MLS. I need to be able to create property flyers that market homes.

Advertising is most often in writing and so are responses to emails that are sent by clients, lenders and other agents.

There are real estate agents who do not write. They answer emails with phone calls. They make a call to follow up on written feedback about their listings, and they leave a lot of messages.

Most home buyers constantly look at homes for sale on the internet. Photography matters more than words but words are needed. Pictures need descriptions and comment fields in our MLS should not be left blank.

We call the words advertising. They explain the home and point out features and benefits. The best practice is to take advantage of every field in the MLS where words are allowed.

Being able to read is also extremely important, but I won’t go there. 🙂

When choosing an agent choose one who is willing to write.