They say, “You never get a second chance to make a good first impression” and most of us accept this as true. It’s certainly the case in marketing homes. Your listing is really only “new” once for a very brief time. It is the time during which you have the greatest opportunity to attract the largest amount of attention from Realtors® and prospective buyers. It’s also the time during which you have the best chance of getting the highest offers on your home. When that new listing period passes your home becomes part of the listing stock, one of many active listings waiting to be bought.
When an agent submits a new listing to the Saskatoon multiple listing service® (MLS®) there are a few wonderful opportunities that can be effortlessly captured or just as easily squandered. The MLS® data server is a busy little computer that spends its day accepting data on Saskatoon homes for sale. There’s a special place in its digital heart for brand new listings. It believes that one of its most important jobs is to notify people about great new listings that may be of interest to them. Several times each day, it packages the new data and sends it places. The first day your home is added to the MLS® database it could be seen by hundreds of potential buyers either in the form of an email update (“there’s a new listing that matches your requirements”) or displayed on one of many websites that accepts this data including Realtor.ca.
As a home owner, if you can have any say in the matter whatsoever you’ll want to ensure that your home’s listing isn’t sent out looking like the one pictured on the left. I won’t bother explaining why, because that would be condescending to people like you who have common sense. You already know why this listing is a perfect example of a massive fail. So, why does it happen nearly every single day? Why do we so commonly see brand new listings being marketed with no photos and with very limited listing detail?
As a prospective home buyer or a home seller under contract you might come to one of a few conclusions.
- The listing agent doesn’t care about the quality of his or her work or how it impacts on you.
- The listing agent is too lazy to gather three megabytes of data in one place and complete a twenty-minute task in a single session.
- The listing agent lacks the common sense to understand why images and information are important.
- The house being marketed is so butt ugly that it’s best that people don’t actually see it.
In most cases, none of these things are actually true. It’s far more likely that the agent is simply busy with a million and one other things competing for his or her attention. This important marketing task isn’t insisting that it should be immediately attended to and therefore, it becomes one of those little tasks that we can get back to later when time permits. But, this is not cool. It’s not cool at all.
This terrible fail is the result of a lack of planning and every home seller deserves better. While I rarely speak directly to other real estate agents on this blog I’d like to share some very simple thoughts on rolling out a new listing to help sellers capture the “once in a new listing” opportunities that exist.
Dear real estate agent,
Here are just a few things that you might want to be thinking about when you take your next listing.
- Your listings are your inventory. They are presented with your name attached to them and they are a reflection of your professionalism, your organizational skill, the level of care that you apply to your work, and your ability to manage details. If you can’t effectively handle this simple part of the process, how can a seller have confidence that you’re capable of handling a contract?
- Your new listings deserve a rollout plan. If you’re too busy to roll it out properly, don’t take the listing.
- Timeliness is important, but the quality of your presentation should never be sacrificed for speed. Any seller is best served by having their listing rolled-out properly tomorrow, instead of poorly today.
- Most of the tasks associated with a new listing can be performed by another competent individual who trades their time for money (assistant or virtual assistant), so don’t be afraid to delegate, but it’s your job to ensure that the tasks are completed correctly and once started, without delay.
- Decide with your seller on a launch date for the listing.
- Gather all of the important data about the property including a full compliment of photos (interior and exterior) prior to the rollout date.
- Write an attractive description, post-process images and prepare virtual tours in advance of the rollout date.
- Share your photos and your description with your seller to reduce errors and to improve the quality of your work.
- On the rollout date submit your listing using broker load and include all of the information you’ve gathered in a single session. Do it early in the morning. Nothing else will be competing for your attention at 6:00 am so you’ll have plenty of time to see the task through to completion, and to proofread and correct errors before the system starts to send data out around 10:00 am. Your listing will also show up on the “new listings” page of the MLS® all day, instead of just a few hours.
- Continue on with your other electronic marketing tasks while you’re in front of the computer with all of the data handy.
It really is that simple.
Home sellers; don’t be afraid to set the bar high in terms of your expectations in the rollout of your listing. Ask your agent for a rollout plan and some assurances that the presentation of your home will be handled with the great care it deserves.
I’m always happy to answer your Saskatoon real estate questions. All of my contact info is here. Please feel free to call or email.
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