When it comes to marketing a home, the first question to answer is … “How do buyers in the Triangle area find the home they purchase?” Once we know that answer, we can market effectively. Note that this is a different question from “How do buyers nationally find the home they purchase?” Buyers behave very differently in different markets.
Many homes sit unsold for a long time, because they are being marketed where conventional wisdom says buyers “should” be looking, instead of where buyers actually ARE looking. For example, 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 83%) 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. We do this by proactively making sure to show their listings to our buyers, and then asking them to return the favor by showing our listings to their buyers.
- 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. We help this process along with our “Deal of the Week” email, marketing your home to our 5000-person database of past clients and referrers, and they pass along the email to anyone they know who might be looking to buy.
- 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, you need 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. In addition, if you are preparing your home for sale, place a “Coming Soon” sign in the yard to attract a list of potential buyers who will be waiting to see your home when it is ready.
- Two percent of buyers do actually find the home they purchase through the internet. This is not a big percentage, but do not ignore it. We list every home on Realtor.com, Zillow, and Trulia and, through cooperative agreements, on the website of every other brokerage in the Triangle. In addition, we list it on over 20 other less-well-known residential real estate marketing sites. NOTE: it normally takes between several days and several weeks for a listing (or changes to a listings) to appear on these sites, because of how the information is propogated on the internet.
- There is NO reason to 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, we 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 must market based on the buyer behavior in your market, not a market in a different part of the country.