Deck Your Halls This Season

Thanksgiving weekend is behind us and we are all heading full force into the December holidays. It seems as though the exterior decorations go up earlier and earlier each year in my town. No complaints from me! I enjoy taking the long way through the neighborhood on the way home to see all the lights on the shrubbery and pines, the wreaths on the front doors, and the red bows on the mailboxes. I think holiday decorating is a great way to attract attention to your home and give it a different look than the every day.

Traditionally, real estate winds down toward the end of the year, as do most businesses. People vacation, focus on family, host gatherings, etc. and sellers don’t want to have the added stress of having their home listed forcing them to entertain showings on top of all the other things on their To Do list. As Realtors, our job is to make sure sellers are getting the most exposure for their home. Whenever a seller approaches me about removing their house from the market for the holidays, I discourage it.

Here’s why:

  • Some sellers insist on taking their houses off the market which would mean that those remaining will get more attention.
  • Buyers that are out looking at this time of year are serious buyers. We all know how distracting the holidays can be. There’s always shopping to do, cooking to do, cleaning to do, wrapping to do. Serious buyers, buyers that need to make a move in the next 30-60 days, are the ones out looking. You don’t want to miss these buyers.
  • This is relocation time. Many large companies will ask employees to start their new jobs in the first quarter. Relo buyers are out in force this time of year looking to find a home for their families that will allow them to be settled in by February.
  • Your house looks pretty this time of year! Spend some time decorating outside and in to make your home warm and inviting to potential buyers.

Wishing all of your a joyous holiday season and best wishes for a happy 2013.

Allyson Kane is a certified professional Realtor(R) and is licensed in the State of Connecticut. Having lived in the area for nearly 20-years, Allyson brings hometown knowledge together with her corporate marketing background and passion for the real estate industry to provide her clients with the best professional service in northern Fairfield and southern Litchfield counties. Wondering what your home is worth? Contact Allyson today for a full market analysis report.

Why We Really Should Be ‘Marketing Executives’

Much of what Realtors do is perceived as Sales, but when I think of a salesperson, I think of 1960 when men in suits traipsed door-to-door with gigantic vacuum cleaners or suitcases full of Encyclopedias. These were real sales people. These were unique skills that persuaded folks to purchase items they didn’t necessarily need. This is much different than what I do.

Once I list your home, I have a checklist of mini jobs to perform. I’ll be advertising the property in the local papers, scheduling Open Houses and Broker Tours, developing print campaign mailings, utilizing my social media and web outreach, and maximizing the Prudential name. By doing this, I am working to get your property the biggest and best targeted exposure that I can. Each of my listings has a personalized marketing plan based on demographics such as first-time home buyers, unique homes, commuters, etc. I am marketing your property, not selling it. I can’t force the buyers to be interested in your home. Perhaps it only has three bedrooms and they need four. Perhaps it boarders a main road and they’re insistent on a neighborhood. Perhaps they need a two car garage for their motorcycles and boat and your home only has one. Remember, you can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make them drink.

The selling part comes into play when the buyers show interest. Once a buyer starts to envision themselves in your home, Realtors are able to reach into their sack of sales skills and start selling. That’s when I would point out the benefits your home has to offer – for example, how the pool is great for those hot summer days or the fact that there are so many kids in the neighborhood, the local elementary school can only send one bus to the neighborhood. I’d mention how low the taxes are for such a great house or how the home is wired for a generator. This is our time to shine and get the sellers the best possible market value dollar for their home.

When you hire me to represent you as a seller, we become a team. I’m out there looking out for your best interest. You can trust that I’m working daily to make sure your house is getting market exposure through every possible avenue I can access. My passion for this job is unlike any other role I’ve ever had and I want to help you meet your goals while also meeting your expectations.

“Well, Zillow told me…”

Whether I’m meeting someone for the first time or gathering at a family function, the topic of Real Estate these days always surfaces for conversation. It often starts with, “Oh you’re a Realtor? Tough market, huh.” or “How’s business, Allyson? I hear it’s just a bad time to sell.”

My question back is, “Where did you hear that?” and most of the time the answer is “From Zillow (or Trulia, or some other third party website).”

Zillow and Trulia and other sites are fantastic resources for people who are just beginning their search as buyers. They help provide a lay of the land so to speak – a 100,000 foot view of what each town is producing as far as home sales. They know what sold last month versus what sold that same month last year and they can provide a nice visual graph to illustrate that.

These websites compile their information from public record. They know what a home is assessed for (which is the amount the homeowner pays their taxes on, NOT the market value of the home), they know the price it was last sold for and the date it was sold. They are able to compare your house to your neighbors house or any other house on your block or in your town. They know how many bedrooms you have, how many bathrooms you have, how many acres you have. They know if you have a pool.

Here’s what they don’t know:

They don’t know if you just updated your kitchen with granite and top of the line appliances.

They don’t know if you have beautiful crown molding or other unique architectural flair.

They don’t know if the barn on your property has a legal in-law apartment above it.

They don’t know if the neighbors house has an easement in place allowing the other neighbor to use part of their property to access their own.

They don’t know if you have a shared driveway or own the private road leading to your house.

They don’t know that you just put on a new roof, put in new windows, replaced your boiler, or resurfaced the driveway.

They don’t know that the square footage on the tax record doesn’t include your finished basement that also includes a pool table and wet bar.

And more…

Yet they give you an estimated market value price without this knowledge; without the whole picture. These prices are very skewed from the REAL market value of your home.

When I come to your home to give you a complimentary Qualified Home Assessment, I want to hear all about your home. I want to know about the updates and changes you’ve made while you’ve lived there. I want you to point out the fresh paint, the new molding, the new windows. These are all things I will take into consideration when giving you a list price range and a sales price range. I will also take into consideration all the recent home sales and which were foreclosures, short sales, or flip homes. This is another factor that third party websites can’t figure in with their numbers.

If you are a homeowner that’s thinking of selling and you are waiting for Zillow to tell you when the time is right, you are missing out. Give me a call or send me an email. I’d be happy to meet with you and discuss your needs. Now is the time to make your move. I’m here to help.

 

Allyson Headshot

Allyson Kane is a certified professional Realtor(R) licensed in the State of Connecticut. Having lived in the area for nearly 20-years, Allyson brings hometown knowledge together with her corporate marketing background and passion for the real estate industry to provide her clients with the best professional service in northern Fairfield and southern Litchfield counties. If you’re looking to sell your home, contact Allyson today.

Getting My Feet Wet With Video Marketing

Before I began my career in Real Estate, I worked for nearly 15-years in the field of marketing. My job titles varied and therefore, so does my experience. Coming into the working world in the late 90’s, I was right at the beginning of the Dot Com bubble (but luckily, had the sense to stay out) and the early part of my career was filled with print campaigns and fax blasts (fax blasts!). Email was used as a replacement for Office Memos, but no one had discovered the power of email marketing just yet.

Over a few years, the paradigm shifted and online marketing launched with gusto. Digital ad campaigns, email blasts, website redesigns, user generated content, blogging, Social Media(!), viral videos and more. Social Media is at the top of search results right along with video.

When I’m working for sellers, I’m always looking to get the property in front of the most people; casting wide nets on social media networks and in advertising campaigns. I always offer my sellers tailored marketing plans specific to their listed property. While a Visual Tour video might make it to the top of search results, it loses a viral component. Buyers want to identify with the property. They want to see someone point out the positives and unique property features before they can really begin to envision themselves in that home. By being in front of the camera, I’m able to engage my audience, bring them up to speed on exactly where we are with regard to nearby roads, the neighborhood itself, as well as the actual property details. I’m hoping this is what would cause someone to ‘share’ the video.

Personally, this is a big deal for me. As someone who has always hated the sound of her own voice and feels much more comfortable scripting from behind a computer screen (with the luxury of a delete key), video tends to be off the cuff, quick thinking, real time, and consistent eye-contact. I launched out of my comfort zone and gave it a shot.

My first Property Listing Video is currently in production and I’ll be happy to share it with you here as soon as it’s complete. Here’s a sneak peek still shot taken by my seller while I was recording.