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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.

Why Sellers Have to be Sellers Before They Can Be Buyers

I read an article a long time ago that said the Top 3 Most Stressful things in life are Death, Divorce, and Moving. There is absolutely no doubt that Death is terrible, Divorce is traumatizing, and Moving is really, really hard. Like most things, we are resilient human beings and we push through continuing to make lemonade out of lemons.
I love it when people call me and tell me they want to move, that they’ve outgrown their house and they’re ready for the next step, or perhaps they’re ready to downsize. Whatever the next phase of their lives may be, it’s typically the same conversation. “We don’t want to sell it until we figure out where we’re going to go”.

Obviously, we’re taught our whole lives to have a Plan B. Leaving yourself homeless is a pretty reckless thing to do so what would we do if the house sold quickly and we didn’t have anywhere to go?

Here’s two reasons why this process sounds like an excellent plan at first, but doesn’t usually work in the world of Real Estate.

Reason 1: Absorption Rates
If you’re looking to hire an agent to sell your home, ask them about the Absorption Rates specific to your town and in the price range in which you’ll be selling. This is a huge factor that will play into how much an agent spends marketing your home and when they roll out that plan. It should also tell you about when you can expect to start looking for your future home. Absorption Rates by definition are an average estimate of how long it takes for your property to go from listed to contract to sold. We pull these statistics using the data from the last 6-months. To make it easy to explain, say your home is listed at $475,000. Currently there are 6 active properties listed between $475 and $500K (your competition). Over the last 6-months, 2 properties in that price range sold and 1 of them went under contract. This brings the Average Months of Inventory to 12. That’s one year. It’s just the average, so you don’t have to consider it a rule, but it should definitely be considered when it comes to planning your next steps.

Reason 2: Heartbreak
Home selling and buying are emotional. As a buyer, you have to walk into a home and be able to visualize yourself there. You want to be able to picture your kids playing tag in the back yard, posing for prom pictures on the front porch, and playing basketball in the driveway. When I take out buyers they know the second they walk into a house if its going to work for them and for their lives and lifestyle. If we head out looking too soon and your find a house you love before yours is even listed, it often leads to disappointment. The main cause of Reason 2? See Reason 1.

The Big What-If
So, what-if your house sells in a week? What if, just by chance, the first people that see it on the first day it’s listed, write an offer? What if the inspections all check-out, appraisal goes through, and you are cleared to close in 30-days? And what if, because of all of this, you have NO idea what’s out there to buy? Well, here’s why you hired an agent. Agents have connections and access to a ton of information that sellers don’t. We network with other agents and brokers. We know that there might be a house that is vacant that has been on the market for almost a year and the sellers would love to rent it. We know of plenty of short-term rentals that we can make work for you. We also know great mortgage reps that can get your own loan approved quickly and jump-start the process. This is what we DO. Unfortunately, we don’t get to do it often because the What-If scenario is rare. However, the What-If scenario is FAR from a bad thing! It’s every seller’s (and Realtor’s) dream!

If you’re thinking of selling, you should focus on just that piece of the process. Invite an agent to do a Market Analysis on your home (I offer them free! Just click here!) and ask them about things you should do to the house that would ensure getting top dollar when it sells. Perhaps it involves updating an entire bathroom, but most of the time it’s smaller things like painting, decluttering, and moving furniture to maximize space and aesthetic appeal. Once your agent has researched the comparable properties and you have agreed on a list price, the ball is set in motion. Your agent should have an extensive marketing plan to roll out during the length of your listing contract and should share that plan with you. Paying close attention to the ever changing factors such as new competitive listings, changes in the market, etc., your agent should be most concerned with positioning your house front and center. Work together to make the process smooth and as easy as possible. After all, it’s one of the hardest things you’ll ever do in your life. Lean on the professional to get you through! Realtors are in this business because we love it. Remember that you’re on the team.

 

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.