The most noticeable difference between selling a single family home and a different type of property is marketing your home for sale. The #1 expert for selling single family homes in Las Vegas, Jeff Galindo, told us over a video conference that the difference in marketing a single family house “has a lot to do with targeting the end consumer.”
We did some digging for you to find out exactly who that “end consumer” is. The 2016 Home Buyers and Sellers report by the National Association of Realtors found the most common qualities of home buyers nationally, which gives a clearer image of who is most likely to buy your house.
The report lists 66% of home buyers as married couples with an average age of 44. 35% are first time homebuyers, which means that 65% are purchasing their second home. These buyers have a median household income of $88,500. 31% of these buyers listed “desire to own a home of their own” as the primary reason for purchase.
44% of these buyers first looked online to find their home.
You and your real estate agent also need to understand the makeup of buyers in your specific area, as it varies from market to market.
According to Jeff Galindo, “Understanding who we think we’re going to reach from a targeting market is something that I don’t think [real estate agents] do very well in our industry.” That’s why it’s imperative that you know who your agent plans to market to and you make sure that he develops a cohesive, well thought out marketing strategy.
Who’s Going to Buy Your Single Family Home? Giving Life to the American Dream
An effective marketing strategy hinges on the image of the lifestyle buyers could have in your specific single family home. According to top agent Jeff Galindo, the core theme of this lifestyle is the “American Dream:”
“As a buyer buying a single family home you’ve got the opportunity to do nice things in your backyard and become a part of the neighborhood, and paint your walls and do some interesting things, and really have what hopefully is still that American dream. And it really truly is. [The American Dream] is an achievement.”
The American Dream has developed over the years; it’s not the Norman Rockwell painting it used to be, and it’s going to be different for every single family home across the U.S.
That’s why you’ll need to use the quirks and unique characteristics of your home to build an image of the “American Dream” for your specific property.
Take a minute and picture what that looks like for you.
Maybe you love reading to your kids in the big bay window or doing puzzles on the hardwood floors in the family room. These sort of lifestyle activities help create an emotional connection between a prospective buyer and your home. They help you tell buyers why they should want your home and pay more for it instead of signing a contract for the neighbor’s home down the street.
Use these experiences to your advantage. Paint a picture in the listing description and visually create the image when you stage the home, like we talked about earlier.
Market the house with an eye to what makes your home different.
Think about this when you put every marketing strategy we’re about to list into practice. How can you tap into what makes your home unique when you add a link to the listing in your email? When you write a letter to prospective buyers? When you get the listing up on Facebook, or stage it for photos?
Your real estate agent takes on the bulk of marketing for your property, but you know what makes it special. That’s why we came up with four ways you can help your real estate agent market your home.
What You Can Do to Help Market Your Home: Tips From America’s Top Agents
Most of these marketing efforts fall on your agent’s shoulders, so it’s up to you to stay informed and involved about what they’re doing and what you can do to help. The best thing you can do is talk to your real estate agent about how you can best assist during this part of the home selling process.
We asked America’s best agents what you as a home seller can do to help your real estate agent when she markets your home. Then, we put their advice into four specific and actionable tips you can do right now.
1. Add a Signature In Your Email That Links to Your Listing
Mynor Herrera, a top 1% seller’s agent and single family home expert in D.C., Maryland, and Virginia advises his sellers to add their listing to their email signature.
Herrera told us that sellers: “Can help market the home by putting an email signature on the emails that they’re sending out to their friends with links going back to the home. Every Realtor® probably has [the home] on their website.”
The email signature should link to the home listing on the agent’s website with a short message like, “Here’s a link to my home, if you know anyone who’s interested, contact my Realtor®.”
The purpose of this is to reach out to your network so that they can connect you with people in their network who want to buy in your neighborhood. This is an extremely effective tactic because it targets prospective buyers who already know that they want a home like yours.
2. Write Prospective Buyers a Letter Explaining Away Any “Negative” Features of Your House
Jody Parrish asks her sellers to explain away any negative features and focus on the assets of their house in a letter to potential buyers.
Parrish told us, “We ask the sellers to write a letter, especially if there’s a challenge in the property. I have a house that’s right next door to a high school. The high school parking lot touches the seller’s driveway, basically. There’s about a foot in between. So it’s a bit of a challenge. So one of the things that we did was had the sellers write a letter about how much they love the high school being there, and why, and that sort of thing. And we put that letter in the house so that other people can say ‘Oh it’s really not a bad thing that it’s next door to the high school!’”
The letter should list everything that’s positive about the perceived “negative” feature of your house. For example, the sellers with the house next to the high school wrote, “If I have a party on Sunday my people could park in the high school lot” as one reason the location was an asset.
Parrish also advised, “We don’t give them any direction on it other than to say, ‘Tell us why it’s not a problem for you,’ and the sellers come up with really great letters. If we need to help them tweak it, we’ll help them tweak it, but really we want their words, not ours.”
Often real estate agents advise a lower price for homes with an unchangeable issue like a bad location. Writing a letter could convince buyers that the “bad” is actually a positive, which means that you wouldn’t have to lower the list price and you’d get more interest for your property.
3. Get Your Home on Social Media, And Ask Your Agent to Run a Paid Ad
“One thing we’ve been playing around with that seems to really make a difference is the Facebook boost for the particular zipcode that the property’s in. We create a Facebook ad and we boost it through Facebook for that zipcode to let people know that there’s the house for sale that we’re going to be holding open for the weekend. We definitely see the difference as far as the number of people who come through when we do and when we don’t. ”
Graham has had tangible success with his paid efforts on Facebook: more activity at open houses. If your real estate agent is not on the platform already, you should ask him to create a paid ad for your listing and blast it to people in your zip code.
You should also jump on the social media bandwagon yourself. Mynor Herrera, our expert on the East coast advises you to “share [your listing] on social media” and to “share it on [your] neighborhood listserve.”
Post the listing on Facebook so that your Facebook friends can see it and easily share or repost it to people they know. You should also post your listing to online neighborhood communities like Nextdoor where other people in your zip code you may not know can find it.
4. Encourage Your Agent to Get Professional Photos of Your Home
Jeff Galindo notes amazing pictures and a virtual tour of the property as “critical to success,” and his clients agree.
Melissa P. told us that Galindo “Made a lot of really great visual material. He had virtual renderings of every feature of the house, he even has a drone license, which not a lot of people have. He did great aerial images with a drone that took pictures of the whole lake area and zoomed down into the property to show the property.”
Melissa went on to tell us that, “All of those things made it easier and [they] made the house sell.”
Though your real estate agent should get a professional photographer to take your photos, you can still make a big impact on the process. The biggest influence on photography is the way you clean and stage your house. This is your opportunity to tap into that “American Dream” ideal we talked about in the beginning of this chapter.
You need to create the suggestion of a beautiful life with a clean home and furniture that suggests a home where a family could eat Sunday morning breakfast in the kitchen, do art projects together, or sing karaoke on a rainy evening. A clean house and an intentional, clutter-free furniture layout is essential to great photos and a strong profile online.
Marketing Your Home for Sale: Advertise the Lifestyle
When a prospective buyer walks into your home, “They’re not only buying a house. A lot of these people are really attracted to the lifestyle that they see,” according to George Graham, top agent in Seattle.
These marketing strategies amplify the image of the lifestyle that a buyer could live in your house. Not only should they boost the reach of your listing to prospective buyers and explain away any perceived negative features, they should also tap into the emotional connection between your home and it’s new owner.
If you’re interested in reading more on new internet marketing strategies your agent may use, we wrote an entire book dedicated to selling your single family house on the internet.