First impressions very important in today’s competitive real estate market

In today’s balanced market — which is now slanted more toward buyers than sellers — selling your home is a serious business.

After all, with over 3,000 single-family detached homes and more than 800 condominiums listed on MLS®, selling a home in a week or two is no longer a sure thing.

Consequently, with so many more homes on the market today, a well-thought-out, all-encompassing marketing strategy is required to make a home stand out above all others so that it will sell quickly.

How can that be accomplished? Simple, by enlisting the services of an experienced REALTOR® who knows how to market your home effectively.

Marketing a home is a more comprehensive process than it appears to be at first glance, said Realtor Garry Hirsch.

“There’s more to selling a home than simply putting a ‘for sale’ sign on the front lawn,” he said. “These days, with the market tougher (to make quick sales in) than it’s been in years, it’s incredibly important for Realtors to be creative, and think outside the box when selling a home.”

Why is it so important for Realtors to use all the marketing tools at their disposal?

“Because the market has really changed,” said Realtor Jeff Stern. “With significantly more homes on the market today, buyers can be more picky about the home they’re going to buy. A few years ago, I might have shown clients maybe three homes, then they’d write on one, then they’d lose out on it, and then look at another two to three homes.”

That’s not the case today, he added.

“Today, I show clients maybe six to 12 homes. Buyers’ perceptions of homes have changed in the last couple of years. A few years ago, a home was a house. Nowadays, it’s a commodity because there are so many others to choose from.”

With that being the case, a burning question then arises, said Stern.

“As Realtors, when we’re selling a home, we now have to ask ourselves, ‘How do we position this home as the best one out there?’ With so much competition, you have to find a way to make a home stand out. That means we have to use whatever means necessary to reach every possible buyer.”

That starts at the most basic level — ensuring the home a client is selling looks presentable.

“First impressions are very important, so I’ll go through the home with a client and work with them on staging it so it looks tidy and uncluttered,” said Hirsch. “Then, I’ll bring in a professional photographer to take proper photos so the home is presented in the best possible light.”

Stern agreed.

“They’re (first impressions) incredibly important. In today’s market, you can’t get away with things you might’ve gotten away with a few years ago, like loose weather stripping, or rough paint. Vendors need to listen to their Realtor, and put their best foot forward to price their home right, and to present and prepare it properly. All those things play into the marketing plan.”

Realtors also have to do their part. That process should start at the most basic level, said Hirsch.

“One of the first things I do is get to other agents and let them know about the home I’ve just listed,” he said. “If the home’s price is good and the commission is good, then those agents will be more motivated to show their clients the home.”

While it’s an “old” technique, it’s an effective one, added Stern.

“Networking goes back to what we used to do before the market got hot. Today, the hard work is networking, bringing the home to the attention of agents, looking for active agents in a certain area and prepping sellers about the realities of today’s market.”

Finally, there’s the challenge of using the proper media streams to market a home — print, and, increasingly, the Web and social media.

“While we still use print, online exposure is becoming very effective,” said Hirsch. “When I put a home up on Facebook, calls happen. Other streams like Twitter and Instagram also seem to work, too.”

Getting the marketing mix right is the key to selling a home as quickly as possible, said Stern. “The Web/Internet is great, because people want instant information, and print is a good complement.

“Today, Realtors have to use all the marketing tools at their disposal to sell a home quickly in a competitive market.”