Monday, September 10, 2007

Sshhh... It's a secret...

You'd never know this house in our neighborhood was for sale.

We wish we didn't have to tell sellers this over and over again: Yes, the sign in front of your house actually helps! The neighborhood this home is located in was recently named one of Chicago's hottest neighborhoods. It is filled with new developments with sales offices that drive tremendous traffic into their cars and those prospects spend their Sundays driving up and down the major streets that define the neighborhood. This house is nearly on one of the busiest corners in the area.

Other sales efforts undertaken read like a beginners course in "How Not To Sell Your Home in Today's Market"

  • No additional photos in the MLS. Our local MLS can host up to 8 photos. Our local MLS also pushes all those photos to the national databases and other real estate websites.
  • No virtual tour. Our local MLS will even link to an external virtual tour as well as include this link when the property info is sent to other Realtors' clients via email.
  • No additional photos or virtual tour on the listing data at It makes me wonder why the agent bothered to enhance the listing at all. It does have a headline and custom description.
  • Originally listed $400,000 too high. Recently reduced $200,000 - now only $200,000 too high.
  • Too low a co-operative commission to buyers' Realtors for our market. It's tough to entice Realtors to bring buyers to your listing when what you're offering is 20% less than they could earn elsewhere. There are 329 other houses for sale over $1-million to choose from in this area and the surrounding neighborhoods. A brief survey of these listings shows that only 3% of these homes are offering a lower than expected co-op to buyers' Realtors. In other words - there's plenty of others to choose from.

This transaction is being squeezed in all the wrong directions. From the choice of listing company to the sub-par co-op and the lackluster marketing materials, it's clear that these sellers had their eye on making the most amount of money on this sale as possible. The goal is completely understandable.

But all the cut-corners and choices on the cheap could actually be driving traffic to other homes in the neighborhood.

For a house of this caliber, the marketing materials needs to be first rate not half-hearted. Whether marketed by owner or listed with a Realtor, some inexpensive changes could make all the difference.

  • A professional photographer should take a photo of every room in this home.
  • A professional videographer should shoot a virtual tour of the major living spaces and two of the largest bedrooms in the home. Some companies here in Chicago will shoot the video tour and pro photos at the same time. This should cost less than $300!
  • The photos and virtual tour should be promoted in as many online avenues as possible.
  • This home calls out for a custom home web page. Go Daddy web hosting can walk you through a do-it-yourself website and do it all for under $100!
  • A professional brochure should be available for prospects when they visit.
  • A professionally produced sign (not a FSBO sign from the hardware store) should advertise the availability of this home!

The nicest home on the block shouldn't be such a well-kept secret.