Skip to content

Posts tagged ‘marketing’

25
Sep

Truth in Advertising

office meetingHi Everyone. I have another great meeting for you to try out. It was a lot of fun and a great learning experience and really, isn’t that the point? The idea came from my daily peek at the new listings. For a few weeks now the same property kept showing up. I found it strange that it was always appearing in my “new” feed. Upon closer look I saw that over the past 4 months it was listed in one way or another about 6 separate times. The price was up on one listing, down on another and then back up again. I started to wonder what the problem was. Could badly worded descriptions, lack of room sizes or poor quality pictures be to blame?

A thought was born. I looked through MLS and picked out the 4 listings (and pictures) with the longest days on market. Boom. At our meeting I divided everyone into four groups and gave them one listing each. The first part of the task was simple; circle every mistake or missed opportunity on the actual listing. Next they were asked to come up with 5 marketing strategies that the current listing agent didn’t appear to do. The problem with not knowing the motivation of the sellers, the condition of the property or special circumstances is that it is easy to blame the longevity of the listing simply on the property being overpriced. To make it a bit more interesting I created some made up back stories on the owners. One owner was an absentee landlord who lived in Dubai, one lived in the home but rented out rooms, one was tenanted with difficult tenants, and one home was owned by an elderly couple that didn’t speak English. I threw in a couple of zingers to…just to make it interesting. Days on market ranged from 91 to 442.

Each group had a leader who presented their findings. All MLS listings were missing information in one way or another. Of course there was enough information to write an offer but things like room sizes and descriptions were missing, two didn’t have inclusions mentioned, one had very limited showing ability, and all had terrible spelling and grammatical errors. Listings had between 8 and 12 glaring errors. As for new marketing techniques well every group came up with something unique however there were a bunch that were similar. They included professional photos, floor plans, staging, and utilizing every inch of the very limited space in the client and broker fields to mention some of the positive selling features of the home…like location, walk out basement and income potential. Surprisingly two groups thought the offering price on their homes wasn’t all that bad and were willing to market the home at the existing price for a couple of weeks if everything could be put into place.

At the end, the meeting outlined a couple of key points. The first was the value of well written remarks. Check your spelling and don’t leave any field blank if you can help it. The second point was that you can’t underestimate the power of the first impression. As they say, you never get a second chance to make a good first impression. If you are going to list a home you have to come out of the gate strong. A lengthy conversation outlining your strategies for maximizing exposure to the market and ultimately receiving the most money for a home may include making some difficult decisions like evicting tenants, painting, staging or cleaning. That’s when your team comes into play. Clients have to know that you have to spend money to make money. What’s the alternative? How about honesty? Years ago I remember seeing something like this in the client remarks; This house is a dump. A little elbow grease, a broom and a coat of paint will add thousands of dollars in value. This could be the deal you have been waiting for. If I had the money I would by it myself.

mark mclean is the Broker/Manager at the Bosley Real Estate Queen St W office and President of the Toronto Real Estate Board. The opinions expressed here do not reflect the opinions of TREB or Bosley RE.

10
Apr

What Does It Cost To Farm A Neighbourhood?

farming So you want to be a Realtor? Well most books you read out there will tell you that you need to farm a neighbourhood. Hey, I’m not saying that rule is written in stone because in this day and age you can prospect from your social groups or by targeting a particular age or demographic through tools like Facebook. But there are advantages to working one neighbourhood…especially one that you live in. Obviously you are familiar with it. People see you out and about (maybe with your dog) so there maybe some recognition. You go to the local stores and of course you tour properties in the vicinity to gain expert knowledge. Your geographic farm is only as big as you determine, but the realities are that the bigger the area, the more expensive it is to farm it and promote it. I like to tell new agents that you should target one or two buildings or about 500 homes before taking on more. So, last week we did a little noodling in our office about just how expensive farming can be. We outlined the action and the cost associated with it. Here’s what we came up with;

farm 2

farm 1

As you can see there is a healthy mix of the good old tried and true techniques that I believe should not be disqualified. They still work and provide the public with name recognition. They include newsletters, flyers, local paper ads, door knocking, cold calling. Add into the mix some ideas, like joining local BIA’s and neighbourhood committees, holding buyer or seller seminars and sponsoring kids teams and you have the making of a fairly substantial marketing program. On top of those more traditional approaches, social media has given the savvy realtor even more tools. Agents are creating neighbourhood channels, websites and Facebook groups, to speak with authority about what’s happening in the area. They are using video to promote local attractions and businesses and are tweeting out the latest gossip. They aren’t mentioning that they are Realtors right away though. It’s a round-about marketing technique that aims at gaining trust before asking for the business. It’s about proving to buyers and sellers that you are more dialed in to the nuances of the neighbourhood than the next guy.
You do all these things are for the sole purpose of networking (prospecting in real estate parlance). For the most part the things that you do take more time than money, but when you are starting off, you’ve got nothing but time.
Add it up and you have an idea on what it’s all going to cost you. About $20,000 per year. That falls in line with our company’s belief in spending about 10% of your earnings on marketing. The cost associated with the actions we came up with were based on actual costs that agents in my office spent and we tried to limit the size of the farm area to 1000 doors. Obviously there are some economies of scale in farming. For example, the cost to produce a video isn’t going to change depending on the size of your farm but the cost of gifts, newsletters and flyers will. There is one other factor to consider and that is location. A billboard in Rosedale (one of Toronto’s most affluent neighbourhoods) is going to cost a lot more than one in Kingston Ontario. Don’t let these numbers scare you. In a perfect world you would accomplish all this and more. For now though it’s important to recognize that some of the best things you can do is get out there and shake some hands. That’s the most cost-effective farming you can do!
Is there any downside to geographic farming? Sure. a Client you’ve taken out a bunch of times decides to look across town and thinking that you don’t know anything about it hires another agent. The best defense is a good offence so while you are out, let the clients know that you are familiar with all the neighbourhoods of the city.

mark mclean is the Broker/Manager at the Bosley Real Estate Queen St W office and President-Elect for the Toronto Real Estate Board. The opinions expressed here do not reflect the opinions of TREB or Bosley RE.

8
Oct

Mission Possible. The Ultimate 12 Week RE Sales Contest. Task 5. Know Your Competition.

When all is said and done, there are only a few simple truths about real estate….First, it’s a numbers game. The more people you know and the more often you contact them, the likelier you are to get their business and make some money along the way. We like to call it prospecting. The second truth is that in order to prove your worth, you need to know everything about real estate, and you have to be able to answer questions quickly and accurately. That knowledge starts with big picture information about interest rate trends and market conditions, and filters down to new neighbourhood statistics, then to the most minuscule information about home improvements and how to maximize your return on a bathroom renovation.
But there is another truth about real estate that applies particularly to our market. If you are going to win an offer presentation, you need to gain any advantage you can find. One of the best and easiest ways to do that is to have a solid relationship with the agents in your market. In many ways this is a hard concept to wrap our heads around but hear me out on this one. Many years ago, before MLS, there were only a few hundred people practicing real estate. Agents survived on relationships. They would trade “pocket listings” like baseball cards. If an agent didn’t like you, he kept his cards close to his chest and didn’t share. If his relationship with you was great, you’d be the first person he called when he got a new listing. Sure this may not translate as well when you have 40,000+ agents in our city and an active MLS system but the reality is that, for the most part, our trading areas are relatively small. After a few months in the business you start to recognize the same players over and over again. It is important to nurture these relationships as best you can because you will be doing business with them at some point and if you are good to them, they will be good to you. I’m not suggesting they would break their fiduciary responsibilities, but being on good terms with your opponent will go along way.
So this week’s task is to go out and build relationships with agents in your farm area and it is especially important to agents who are new to the business. Why? Because, they will put you in the loop. Consider that the work you do over the next 7 weeks will help you gain access to an exclusive club. I equate it to the crossing paths with another runner and getting that quick little wave or a simple nod of the head that says “Hey good to see you out. Isn’t this awesome?” That, in itself, will help you more than you will know.

mark mclean is the Broker/Manager at the Bosley Real Estate Queen St W office and President-Elect for the Toronto Real Estate Board. The opinions expressed here do not reflect the opinions of TREB or Bosley RE.

%d bloggers like this: