Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Tasks I Perform to Market a New Listing

[Adapted from a much shorter column printed in the Denver Post on June 14, 2012]


One of my broker associates asked me to list all the things I do when I put a new listing on the market, so I decided to make that the topic of this week’s column.

1) After completing the listing agreement and the different disclosure forms, I consult with the seller to make sure the MLS data entry is complete and accurate. I don’t leave any data fields blank. Before shooting the pictures, I arrange for one of my broker associates, Karon Hesse, to provide a staging consultation. (She’s really good at this.) This helps the house to show its best.

2) I shoot the still photos myself (with a Nikon D3100), and then the video tour (with a wide-angle Sony HD digital Handycam). I then create the virtual tour (a slideshow with music) from the stills, and edit the video for uploading to YouTube.  I upload two versions of the video tour — the unbranded one required by the MLS, and one in which I provide my contact information for other websites. (In exchange for her staging consultation on my listings, I also shoot the pix and video tours for Karon’s listings.)

3) I create a web page for the new listing under “Our Listings” at www.GoldenRealEstate.com.  In addition to a lengthy description of the listing, I provide links to the YouTube video tour, the virtual tour, and to a printable PDF of the 2-sided flyer. On that web page I also promote the free use of our moving truck, even when the buyer has his own agent. If the buyer doesn’t have an agent, we promise free labor and gas, too, which has helped us “double-end” many of our listings. Since I discount my commission if I don’t have to pay a buyer’s agent, this is a win/win for the seller, the buyer and me.

4) I purchase a web URL from godaddy.com especially for each listing (for example, www.NorthGoldenHome.com), or I use one I already own, and I order the decal for a sign rider with that URL on it.  (Golden Real Estate currently owns over 60 URLs.)  The URL can’t be displayed on the MLS, but I can and do promote it on other websites.  I link the URL to the branded YouTube video tour and create a sub-domain (for example, http://details.NorthGoldenHome.com) that forwards to the listing’s web page on www.GoldenRealEstate.com.

5) I only enter the listing on the MLS when I have all the pictures to upload, and I write captions for all photos and put them in a logical order. If the seller has agreed to it, I order the home warranty from Colorado Home Warranty, and I promote it on the MLS and other websites, as well as on the listing flyer. When the home goes under contract, I alert the warranty company so they can provide the warranty policy to the buyer after closing.

6) I enter the showing instructions on the Centralized Showing Service website. I arrange for the seller to receive showing feedbacks as soon as I get them, and I provide the seller with a login on the showing service website so he/she can change showing instructions and review feedback. When an agent has not supplied feedback despite three email requests for feedback, I email or call the agent personally and obtain that feedback, which I then forward to the seller.

7) From the virtual tour software I create a flyer.  On the back of each flyer, I provide the full MLS print-out.  I print 30 or more two-sided color copies for the brochure box.

8) From the same software I create an html craigslist posting. I adapt that html code into an eflyer which I send to 7,000 other agents using eflyermarketing.com. .

9) I put a lockbox on the house and a sign in the ground, using a wooden yard-arm post (which my handyman Mark and I personally build) with a solar powered light fixture atop it. Instead of digging a post hole in the yard for this wooden post, I use a 24-inch spike which leaves no mark in the grass when the sign is removed after closing.  Below the main sign, I hang a "sign rider" promoting the URL for the listing’s YouTube video -- for example, "Tour This Home Online At www.NorthGoldenHome.com -- and another rider promoting the free moving truck and free moving boxes.  When appropriate, a third sign-rider promotes the open house.  I also mount a brochure box for the 2-sided flyer I have created. When appropriate, I also put one or two “Home for Sale” arrow signs with brochure boxes at nearby intersections.

10) I enhance the listing on realtor.com, trulia.com and zillow.com.  It costs Golden Real Estate about $1,500 per year to enhance all our listings on realtor.com, but it's well worth it.  It costs less on Trulia and Zillow. On realtor.com I have to upload the video tour.  On other websites, I simply link to the branded video tour on YouTube.

11) I order a jumbo “Just Listed” postcard mailed to 100 neighbors by Top Marketer.

12) I promote the listing in my weekly YourHub column, usually noting that the listing will be open on Saturday, 1-4 pm.  I then post that column on this blog, and I archive a PDF of the column to www.JimSmithColumns.com.

13) I hold that featured open house myself, or enlist a broker associate or unlicensed person, such as mortgage broker Daniel Raffield.  I promote each open house on the listing’s webpage, realtor.com, recolorado.com, trulia.com and zillow.com.

14) For many listings, when appropriate, I print up several "wall notes" -- like Post-Its that I stick around the house, alerting visitors to special features that may not be obvious to the casual observer.
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What you have read above is just the list of tasks related to putting a home on the market. Once a contract is received from a buyer or buyer’s agent, there’s a whole new list of tasks to be performed by the listing agent to produce a successful closing. If there is no closing, the agent gets no payment for the tasks performed, many of which required an outlay of money.

I have heard sellers complain that agents are overpaid because they put their listing on the MLS and do little else.  Perhaps there are some agents like that, but I hope, dear reader, that this list of tasks performed gives you an appreciation of the fact that this Realtor, at least, earns the commission which he is paid at closing.

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