With all of the homes available in the Baltimore/DC Metro Area, what can you do to make your real estate listing stand out from all the others? Here are four things real estate agents can do to get the best result for their homeowners:
Elsewhere on the blog we've stressed the importance of presenting a home really well. Make no bones about it, this is a key step in making sure that your listings stand out.
In Australia, one real estate agency surveyed their 50 top-performing agents on the importance of home presentation to see whether they believed that staging or styling a property would achieve a higher sales price. Of those agents surveyed, 98% felt that staging a home the right way could result in a higher sale price. In addition, 92% of the agents stated that staging a home could result in the home selling faster.
So what staging tips are recommended?
First and foremost is to declutter the home. This involves hiding or removing items in a room so there is less "stuff" lying around. Too much clutter nor only takes up space but makes a room feel much smaller, which is not what home buyers in the Baltimore/DC area are looking for.
Sometimes additional steps need to be taken, particularly when the agent or seller want top price for the property. The New York Times tells the story of a homeowner who took steps to declutter the property and then put it on the market. However, the homeowner also kept their eclectic mix of furniture. The home didn't sell, even after the price was dropped from $1.85M to $1.65M. The listing agent was eventually able to convince the homeowners to hire a professional stager who removed the owner's furniture and replaced it with more contemporary pieces.
The place was "mobbed" at the first open house, and with a lot of buyers the listing agent was able to complete a successful sale for $1.8M.
Jane Saidenberg, the design director of Studio D noted:
"It's not just about solving a problem now, but much more about presenting a lifestyle to prospective buyers."
Why do buyers have such high standards, especially in metropolitan areas? One reason could be the number of real estate shows on TV in which viewers see listings which are presented well. When they, themselves, view a home they then have that same standard of expectations. If the property appears old or dated, the buyers will usually either way out or expect to pay a lower price than they would for a listing that is presented well.
Be present for the photo shoot:
There are some real estate agents who never attend the photo shoot. Then there are some agents who may attend, but want the photographer to shoot as quickly as possible so the agent can move on to something else. Unfortunately, these agents are missing the point.
When the agent and photographer can work together as a team and the agent is able to communicate the marketing plan, then compelling images can be created by the photographer to get the best possible result.
Some homeowners also like to have the agent present at the photo shoot. This allows the photographer to focus on compositions and lighting to create great images instead of being distorted by the owner, pets, etc.
Deciding whether or not to attend the photo shoot is a decision each agent needs to consider for themselves. Our recommendation is to attend at least the first few shoots with your photographer so that you can see how they work and whether or not the photographer is someone you can work with, to communicate any special requests you have regarding photos, and assess interactions with the homeowners. If those things are satisfactory and the quality of the photos is representative of the agent's brand, it may not be necessary for the agent to attend every shoot.
Use drone shots when it's appropriate:
We've previously spoken about the importance of drone shots for grabbing the attention of potential buyers.
Got a listing with a fantastic location? A drone can show how close it is to local landmarks, highways, or the city.
Got a property with a lot of acreage? Using a drone can show the size of the property.
Got a listing with a lot of trees surrounding it? A drone can provide a clearer view of the property.
Got a small property that's close to the neighbors? Don't use a drone.
Got a property with a bad or unsightly roof? Don't use a drone.
Just keep in mind that not all drone pilots are created equal. Some pilots crash things:
As noted in this article at Inman, "Drones in real estate: 3 things to consider before hiring a pilot":
"Make sure you ask for a testimonial, see previous examples of their work, and ask if they carry general liability insurance. The risk is too high to hire a pilot without these qualifications."
Share the listing on social media:
The majority of buyers in the Baltimore/DC area most likely use social media on a daily basis, so you need to make sure you and your listings are also there.
However, one mistake that a lot of agents make is to only post photos or links to their most recent listings. AgentImage notes:
"You have to mix it up and share more content on Facebook that piques the interest of your followers, not just pitching your latest listing. While posting high quality photos of your properties can help you to get more shares and likes, you should also create content that is interesting to your demographic that will create a buzz, generate awareness about the community and real estate market, and solicit feedback and interaction."
Jason Waldrop gives three marketing tips for real estate agents using Facebook in this video:
His tips for real estate agents using Facebook to market listings are:
- Create Friends lists in your personal profile. When you share content you can then choose to only show it to your buyer and seller connections on Facebook.
- Mix business and personal when posting content, whether it's your personal profile or your Business Page.
- Commit to your marketing plan for Facebook and make sure you follow through long-term.