How much more can I get for my property is a question that every home seller thinks hard about.
The answer of course depends on many things, including time of year that you plan to sell, if the market is hot or cold, and if you are prepared to do any renovations ahead of listing the house.
In a recent post in the LB Social Forum we listed the top ten features and upgrades you’d want to do and how much more buyers are willing to pay for each.
However, at any time during the year, working with your REALTOR to sell your home using the auction strategy can yield magnificent results.
Certainly the auction process must be handled and marketed well to start, as REALTORS do on any of the traditional deals they represent. That’s a must. All done right, it is not unusual for properties to sell for up to 10 percent, 20 percent or even more, than the reserve listing price.
That’s one good reason to list and sell via auction, versus going the traditional route.
If you are considering selling your property, speak with your real estate agent about auctions. Progressive sites like ListedBy.com cater to real estate auctions, be it distressed properties, REOs, traditional residential real estate auctions or public commercial auctions, completely free of charge for sellers, their REALTORS and buyers.
If you plan to sell your home, an online auction will likely generate a bidding competition and fetch a price higher than you or your REALTOR anticipated.
However, there are also features and upgrades that buyers value and are willing to pay extra to get. Discuss these ideas with your family and real estate agent, as completing one or more of those renovations can further increase the sale price of your property.
According to research by the National Association of REALTORS (NAR), home buyers are willing to dish out up to more than two thousand five hundred dollars for certain upgrades.
This also means that when competing for buyer dollars, offering these upgrades could give you a significant advantage.
Here is the top ten list of upgrades or features and how much a buyer is willing to pay extra for them:
#10: A fireplace (or more than one) – up to $1400 extra.
#9: Eat-In Kitchen – $1770.
#8: Stainless Steel Appliances - $1,850.
#7: Kitchen Island – $1,370.
#6: Ensuite Master Bath – $2,030.
#5: Hardwood Floors – $2,080.
#4: Granite Countertops – $1,620.
#3: Walk-In Closet In Master Bedroom – $1,350.
#2: New Kitchen Appliances – $1,840.
#1: Central Air Conditioning – $2,520.
Those of us who are in the technology sector go through a constant cycle where we see a few grab on to a new opportunity and run with it, a larger bunch pass on the same opportunity because they are either too busy or, in a slow market, don’t want to spend the money, and yet another bunch, simply not bother because they know better or don’t want to get into yet another technology ‘thing’.
Ultimately, the group that is always open to learning about new things and always hungry to explore better ways to do business is the set that is often referred to as pioneers. Let’s call them Group 1. These are the trailblazers who everyone looks up to, later follows and constantly tries to emulate.
They are the early birds that get the worm, while Groups 2 and 3 snooze and lag behind.
The pattern is consistent and goes back to eternity, in advanced technology years. We need not go back too far. When cell phones came out, there was quite the resistance, for many reasons. The pioneers got on with it however, reaped the productivity benefits and set themselves apart. The rest then followed. That was one technology that the ultimate laggards, Group 3, simply had to cave in to at some point, or vanish.
The personal business website is another that many in the real estate market also resisted and still do until now. There are many REALTORS who to this day still work off of a web page given to them by their Association. And we’re already in 2013, going to 2014. Again, the pioneers were those who launched their own websites early on, and took advantage of the lead they had on their competitors. They learned early on about what worked and what didn’t, learned and applied more advanced search engine positioning tactics and in turn once again grabbed the worm at the expense of groups 2 and 3.
Social media came next and we all know that most agents are still trying to figure that one out. The early troopers already have it integrated into their systems and continue to look for new ways to leverage the trend.
Today whenever we discuss ‘out there’ technologies like online auctions and tele-presence video conferencing and video email, we still hear the same arguments from groups 2 and 3. They are either far too busy to look into something new because the market is too hot and they are turning away business (I literally got that one yesterday from one Realtor), or if we caught them not too long ago when the market was still very tough, their excuse was that business was too slow and they were not about to invest any money until the market turned.
If that is not a catch 22, I’m not sure what is.
So, too busy when the market is hot, and when the market is slow, too broke to invest in new technologies. And one wonders why Group 1 almost always leads.
Two trends that pioneer real estate agents (if you are reading this article, you obviously already are, or you are working to be in that category) are starting to embrace today are online real estate auctions for all types of properties including REOs and traditional listings, and video communication and marketing technologies. Have you watched the Million Dollar Listing NY TV show lately?
Next time you list a client property, early bird strategy suggests you auction it so you can maximize the sale price for the seller, increase your income and manage offers virtually without having to lift a finger. Among other great options, I’d give ListedBy.com a shot. It’s entirely, 100 percent free.
And when it comes to marketing the auction, or a traditional sale, do look into video marketing to support your push, even though your strategies still work. Video is the way to go going forward according to statistics from numerous leading organizations and research firms, and learning and applying video to your marketing sets you on the next pioneer path that others will undoubtedly follow. Here is one fully integrated video marketing and communication system that every Realtor owes it to themselves to take a very close look at. These tools are so powerful, simple and inexpensive. I use the platform and it is unlike anything else we’ve seen out there, by miles.
Time to figure new ways to squeeze your way to the top.
We’re not all great writers. And if we were, we are too busy to regularly write and publish articles and blogs, or constantly post on social media. The painful reality is that others who do invest the time, beat us in online searches.
While video makes up 70 of the top 100 search results online, most have not yet embraced video for varied reasons. When video is shared 1200 more times on Facebook than other content, and 700 videos are transmitted through Twitter every 60 seconds, the facts signal that competing for higher visibility on search engines is still within everyone’s reach.
If you look closely, you will find a few local Realtors who today dominate the video landscape online. And they’re enjoying the exclusivity.
Time to stake your claim.
Most property buyers and sellers use the Web as part of their research whether for properties or Realtors. When standout content surfaces, the Realtor behind that content gains the attention, and stands to win. The key challenge is to ensure that your content is right there in the mix, ready for the picking.
Standout content goes far beyond the scope of an online directory or being listed on the broker’s site. Buyers and sellers want to work with a local expert who can offer exceptional service. This ability is easily showcased by the Realtor’s marketing of their own services and client properties. This is especially important if you are engaged in real estate auctions, an area more Realtors are starting to get into. Buyers especially investors who buy sight unseen, would appreciate the details video offers, versus still photographs, including running commentaries as they view the footage.
However, any change or shift in mindset requires discipline and commitment. When it comes to thinking video instead of, or to supplement blog posts and still photos, it’s the same.
The facts and numbers speak for themselves. So let’s get your smartphone or digital camera out and start taking and publishing video clips online. Full footage of the property makes for excellent content that you can leverage in so many ways. A walk up to a property you just listed gives potential buyers a good feel of the area. A 1-2 minute local market update each month goes a long way towards highlighting your expertise. Tips on selecting a Realtor, staging a home, pricing strategies and other ideas would surely find you competing for that visibility on search engines others would wonder about, on a shoestring.
And when you find ways to leverage your video footage in more ways than one, the returns grow exponentially, and your chances of being found near the top of search results grow along with it.
Google is reputed to have started it all. A few years ago they bought Youtube for a hefty sum of money, and re-aligned search algorithms to prioritize video content. Other search engines followed suit. That’s why today 70 of the top 100 search results online are video. Video touches consumer senses and emotions in many more ways than still photos and text. Video is also more convincing and more entertaining.
Those who have found effective ways to integrate video into their business in more ways than one are winning the race. Their market update videos show up at the top of the results and position them in the minds of the consumer as experts in their area. Their just listed, open house and property videos are easier to find online and are increasingly becoming a key source of business traffic and leads. Their prominence using video technologies has also definitively given them an edge during listing presentations.
If a picture is worth a thousand words, then Forrester Research’s view that one minute of video is worth 1.8 million words should make any real estate professional stand up and take notice.
And with video content expected to make up 90 percent of all Internet traffic by 2015, according to industry giant Cisco Systems, the growing video trend is expected to accelerate.
Using video effectively goes far beyond just placing a property video on Youtube and your website. Integrated solutions today incorporate video auto-responders and video drip campaigns for more personal, memorable stand out communication, video sharing for social media, cloud-accessed branded video email and video newsletters with powerful analytics that enable extended video footage without file size email limitations, and face to face video conferencing and broadcasting to engage unlimited REO Auction attendees from around the world, capture and re-purpose live events for re-marketing and other communication needs.
In a people business such as real estate auction and sales, this makes video based marketing and communication an absolute must, rather than a luxury. Property buyers are recognizing video marketing as a major differentiator and are moving to favour agents who can demonstrate strong capabilities in the area.
How can you truly trust someone when you can’t see their eyes?
If any business is a people business, it is real estate. Real estate auctions expert or not, an agent depends on networking to build their client roster and a solid referral network, over time. The first order of business is to build familiarity and trust with people we meet, and work to expand that pool every day. The first step is to genuinely connect with potential clients and come across as honest human beings they can trust. We must ‘connect’ with them.
Here is a question every agent needs to ask themselves.
How can I effectively connect with people when the first thing I do when I slide out of my house is to cover my most powerful asset for building trust and connect with people, my eyes?
We grab the darkest set of sunglasses we can find on the store shelf, and as long as we think we look cool in them, we slap them on our faces and walk the streets all day forgetting about the opportunities we are missing along the way. Every single day. Where did the good old days where everyone made eye contact and greeted other passers by? What would you be able to do if you were able to make eye contact with ten additional people each day whether on the street, at the neighborhood store or on the restaurant patio? How much more effective would your meetings be with prospective clients if you remove the mask off off your eyes when you meet with them?
If on the odd occasion you must don glasses during a showing outdoors on a very sunny day, it is best to do so after excusing yourself and preferably after building a relatively reliable level of trust with the prospect.
The next time you reach for the Zoro mask, no matter how expensive or cool it is, ask yourself whether it is really helping, or hindering your growth as a real estate professional. If stacking the odds in your favour means suffering a bit of glare every once in a while, that just may be the compromise you need to edge out your competition.
It’s exciting to mark a year since ListedBy.com launched. Like every startup with a big idea and certain resources to work with, we’ve had our ups and down and at the end of the day, made great headway.
We want to take the opportunity to thank all our community members, users and website visitors for their support and energy, our business partners for their confidence, and every member of our staff for painstakingly taking on more than they imagined they ever would under a single job title, and our leadership for their vision, perseverance and drive along the way, no matter what.
Property Portal Watch sums up ListedBy’s evolution quite nicely in an article published earlier today.
Thanks once again to all our friends and supporters. Onwards and upwards.
ListedBy Turns One
Property Portal Watch
By Gordana Davila on 3 May, 2013
in Company News
Spawned by Bay Area bulk REO specialist Stephan Piscano, who became frustrated with his own experience with the online real estate auction process, California’s ListedBy, the free online marketplace and social network with live bidding auction has turned one.
ListedBy made its debut last year, as a free online live auction, social network and services marketplace. The company saw a void in the market and felt it was time to launch a transparent online auction and property search arena where industry professionals, consumers, investors and service providers would be able to network, research, list and purchase real estate assets.
ListedBy managed to successfully merge the simplicity and effectiveness of a classifieds advertising website, with state-of-the-art live auction technology, to help accelerate sales and maximize asset value.
The company’s goal was to lift the secrecy off the real estate auction process, and to encourage wider participation from both buyers and sellers. ListedBy also aimed at eliminating typically restrictive costs including auction registration fees and share of proceeds, usually imposed on traditional auction venue, by having its marketplace be entirely free.
Stephan Piscano, ListedBy founder and chief executive officer, said that the company considers real estate professionals and service providers as critical success partners. Piscano gave as an example: “A listing agent on ListedBy is never overshadowed by another agent on his or her listing page, and leads are never collected and sold back to the listing broker or their competitors. We are working to build a thriving, positive community that benefits all our members.”
A short stroll down memory lane:
Soon after its launch, ListedBy announced the appointment of Roger Noujeim as Vice President of Marketing, to lead the company’s global marketing and branding strategy.
In June the company began publishing agent listings on their profile pages on ListedBy Social, the site’s networking system for real estate agents, service providers and consumers. In addition to the site’s property search area, the move strategically places agent listings in front of consumers researching local REALTORS® on ListedBy.com.
In July, ListedBy announced a co-marketing agreement with National Real Estate Business Insurance Group that will give to ListedBy.com members timely, convenient access to NREBIG’s deep national expertise and products.
A new online advertising campaign was launched by October, ‘Buy & Sell Real Estate With a Click,’ aiming to maintain ListedBy top of mind with recent visitors, and focusses on communicating the brand’s primary benefit of accelerating real estate buying and selling.
In December, ListedBy released ListedBy – Real Estate Auction Primer for Consumers, a ‘must-know’ guide for anyone looking to buy or sell real estate through auction.
Followed by the rollout of a self-managed search database which enables ListedBy users access to information on local real estate related services, and for service providers, free exposure and leads.
This past March ListedBy announced that, now its members are albe to publish and share feedback, recommendations and rate service providers listed on ListedBy.com, in real time.
One year later:
Now as a way of celebrating with all their users, ListedBy has sent out a message stating: “To thank you and celebrate all users today can get a FREE featured listing on the site by using promo code “ListedBy37″ upon adding your listing RIGHT NOW!”
Also, there is a special bidding for a an all expenses paid trip to stay in the ListedBy luxury condo in Las Vegas. The company stated: “We are doing this asa promotion to than our userbase and give you an opportunity to get exposure for your brand as a real estate pro!”
Imagine that you have a Bentley you want to sell. The car has been parked for a year, kid stuff on the back seat. Cleats, some dirt, coloring pens and paper, and fast food wrappings. In the front, some used up tissue paper still sits in the console area, the sun glasses nearby and the phone charger dangles. Before you advertise it online, you walk into your garage with a your iPhone, and in the shade of the walls, the car having gathered decent amounts of dust and mud from the last few rides she had been on, you take a couple of photos. One of the inside, the other of the outside.
Back at your computer you upload that photograph and make your posting on your preferred sites.
Now help me understand how you’d expect a buyer to get excited about your car, with all this negligence put in to showing it off? If the concern is not the condition of the car, it is the upkeep of the car. That is if any of the images look clear enough, to begin with. Remember lighting was dim at best when you walked in.
Next to your car posting there are another 3 Bentleys, all sparkling clean, enticing. Each comes with 25 shiny photos of a polished, well cared gem, interior even cleaner. The prospective buyers get this uplifting feeling just flipping through the photos, zooming in to view things in detail, enabled through the well lit, high resolution shots. A video of the vehicle is also set up, to make things even more appealing. The buyers then get set to make a call to inquire further or come down for a test drive.
Meanwhile you sit for days or months wondering why your car isn’t selling. And, if you get the adhoc call, you get frustrated with wholesale agents only calling and trying to low ball you.
Well you answer that one yourself. This morning right on ListedBy I came across a 1.2 million dollar asset listing, with a single photo of the entire project, taken off of a another photo print sitting on the kitchen counter. You could easily tell, because part of the counter was showing in the posted image.
The description of the project was weak at best, yet the seller’s agent expects people to hound them with offers.
This is not the only listing on a real estate website with a single, bad photo, and worse descriptions and details. You see them all over the place on the Web.
Folks, this complacency simply does not work in the world of sales, never mind one that involved assets worth hundreds of thousands or millions of dollars and where the competition is, at best, fierce. Even if you’re marketing REO Auctions or public real estate auctions, marketing an asset adequately is the difference between selling it or not, the ultimate asset value, and your commissions.
We have posted research about the importance of photos several times in this Forum and on the ListedBy Blog. It’s a no brainer. Why I won’t link to these articles to make it easy for some, is for good reason.
For those feeling guilty right now, it’s time to get that camera out, and do your work like a professional. Things will change faster than you think. The effort will always prove to be worthwhile.
In fact right now, I feel a smidgen embarrassed to release an article such as this one. But it just feels like all else has failed and it’s time to tell it like it is. The actions, and non actions of every agent affect not only their sales and business, but the reputation of our industry. Everyone must pull their weight to move us forward. Professional representation is a mandatory step.
There is a major issue that is plaguing America today whether you’re in the real estate auctions business, healthcare, retail, finance or entertainment. The concern may seem obvious to most, if not all, once I get to it. What is sad is that as obvious and simplistic as it is, we keep digging deeper as time goes, dragging with us our potential and the economy as a whole.
Business is a chain of events that must occur in a systematic, timely fashion and order for an end to be achieved as desired. Every step affects the next. Sometimes missing a step or deadline can be remedied by scrambling and often through compromise. Needless to say, this affects quality, credibility, income or all of the above. Whether the compromise is minimal or significant, over time it compounds, making the ultimate impact that much more grave.
What if on the other we operated a business where everything that is supposed to happen, happens the way it is supposed to, and on time? While it may seem like a major challenge, even unrealistic for a typical person in today’s world of business, hypothetically, such a business would decimate its competitors and in no time take a distant lead in its target market.
What is fascinating is business’ increasing complacency towards pursuing this dream operating model. We have become so lax that such a goal seems even laughable to many, depending on who you speak with. When was the last time you called on a support line or business partner and got frustrated feeling that the person on the other line did not exhibit or act in line with set expectations or agreements?
I am not an economist, but delays and slips almost seem to be the norm today in many a business. That’s actually scary, at a macro economic level.
The solution is actually quite simple and would overnight take any business and its leaders from mediocre to stardom.
We must all start to do what we say we’re going to do, by the time we said we were going to do it. It is quite sad that we have reached the point where such a topic needs to be discussed.
With data indicating that around 30 percent of employees across corporate America are disengaged at work, leadership has a serious issue that must be addressed. That could very much be a key reason why things aren’t getting done when they ought to be done, and why people seem not to care as much when you bring it up.
Yes, as simple as that. Let’s think about the impact on our business if all events take course exactly as, and when they are supposed to happen. Surely a 100 percent record may be reaching for the stars, but at least let’s start to aim up versus down. Achieving such status will put any business on the fast track to leadership and in fact, take the entire nation’s global competitiveness to a whole new plane others would soon envy.
It all starts at the leadership and senior management level.