You have prepared your home for the market and priced it realistically. Now you need to market it effectively. In order to do that, you need to understand how buyers find the home they purchase in the Raleigh area. Almost every buyer searches for homes on the internet, but except for a small percentage, that is not how they find the home they actually purchase.
- The vast majority of Raleigh-area buyers (approximately 80%) become aware of the home they actually purchase through a real estate broker. That is because most buyers purchase a home different from the criteria they originally defined, and good brokers find homes buyers miss when searching on their own. So as a seller you should be marketing more to real estate brokers than to buyers. Easier said than done, because brokers get so bombarded with emails and flyers that they just end up deleting or throwing them away. The key here is to realize that 10% of the brokers sell 80% of the property. You need to find out who these brokers are and somehow get them to pay attention to your home. The only way I know to do that is to have your agent bring buyers to see their listings, and ask the other agent to return the favor.
- About nine percent of Raleigh-area buyers become aware of the home they purchase through a friend who lives in the same neighborhood as the home being sold. The best way to make this fact work for you is to call your neighbors and invite them to come to see your home, then ask them if they know any friends or relatives that might want to live in the neighborhood. They will be especially curious to see your home if you have made significant improvements to prepare it for sale.
- Six percent of Raleigh-area buyers find the home they buy because they saw the “for sale” sign while they were exploring the neighborhood. To maximize this traffic, have a high-quality sign, preferably one hanging from a post. A better sign is more noticeable, and it adds to the perception of quality of your home. Also, skip the brochures in front of your home. Most of them get picked by neighbors anyway, and real buyers use them more to eliminate your home than to schedule a showing. Most buyers will call the number on the sign if they are interested, and you or your broker can sell your home more effectively than a brochure.
- Five percent of buyers do actually find the home they purchase through the internet. This is not a big percentage, but do not ignore it. Ask your broker to list it on Realtor.com, and see if she can arrange to get it listed on the websites of the other real estate firms in town. Re-list your home on Craigslist every three days so it does not get too far down on the page. Definitely list it on Zillow.com and Trulia.com (two of the most popular real estate web sites), and if you search you will find at least 30 other real-estate related sites on which to place it.
- Do not invest in print advertising, either in the newspaper or the real-estate-related magazine you see in the grocery store. They are very expensive, and statistically they generate almost zero results.
- Finally, I advise against open houses. The Raleigh-area is not an open-house oriented market. The chance of selling your home this way (less than 1%) is not worth the safety concern of having unrepresented strangers exploring your home.
These statistics come from our experience with hundreds of buyers and sellers in the Raleigh area. You might find statistics different from those above regarding how buyers find homes. For example, the statistics available from the National Association of Realtors are different, because they are national statistics. Every local market is different, and you have to market to the buyers in your market, not a market in a different part of the country.