"I Sit Back and Wait For Offers!" Seriously? Yep.

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The other night, Loreena Yeo and I did a show at the SWS Virtual Studio on the topic of getting listings SOLD quickly. And yes, assuming there is a buyer in existence for a property, it is entirely possible to sell a house in a matter of weeks, not months. In fact, that should be every listing agent's goal - that their listings sell to the first "real" buyer who comes along... or maybe the second or third on an off-day ;-]

The basic premise of our show was that if you know how to price and prepare a home for market, and if houses are selling in that market, a listing can and should sell quickly. Assuming the seller agrees to your pricing and preparation recommendations, of course (which I'll write about soon).Relax

During the show, we got a little flack for this message from listeners who wanted to know how Loreena MARKETS her listings to ensure that quick sale. Sort of a "yeah, yeah, yeah, we know pricing and staging are important, but what about the MARKETING?"

Loreena responded with "I don't do anything special. I just sit back and wait for offers."

That apparently didn't sit well with some listeners. They didn't seem to want to believe that marketing isn't the deciding factor in the success or failure of an attempted home sale. But I agree with Loreena 100% - as I've said many times, Houses Aren't Pet Rocks - no amount of marketing will inspire a buyer to buy a home he doesn't want, if there are better houses on every other corner.

Whether or not a listing is going to sell is determined before the sign goes in the yard. Once that sign is in the yard and the "product" hits the market, our systems take over and the market will determine whether or not it approves... and no amount of marketing will change how the market feels about it.

In case I wasn't clear, I believe that we real estate gods and goddesses earn our money in the pre-listing phase (and then later in the contract-to-closing phase), but not really all that much during the actual "marketing" phase.

But to accept and embrace this philosophy will require a massive paradigm shift in our industry. After all, we're SALESPEOPLE! We SELL houses! So, obviously, it must be our MARKETING that is the most important factor in the sale, right?! And besides, our sellers aren't WILLING to do all that work ahead of time ("I asked and they said no way, Ho-Zay"), so the best we can do is price it right and market the heck out of it!

Well, um... I'll just say this. That attitude is pretty much the norm in our industry, and maybe it's just me, but I seem to have noticed a little stagnancy in the real estate market lately, like, for the last several years? That houses aren't exactly screaming off the shelves? You think that maybe, just maybe, the "norm" is WRONG?

And maybe, just maybe... there's a better way?

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  1. Satar Naghshineh 10/01/2010 03:53 PM
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Doug Rogers
Bayou Properties - Alexandria, LA
Your Alexandria Louisiana Agent

Regardless of the marketing, if the Turkey is overpriced it will still be sitting long after Thanksgiving!

Oct 01, 2010 08:16 AM #5
Jeanne Dufort
Coldwell Banker Lake Country - Madison, GA
Madison and Lake Oconee GA

I think pricing AND marketing matter.  At least in my rural market.  Great marketing will lead to showings for appropriately priced properties - and that leads to sales.

Price it low enough, however, and the marketing barely matters. 

The difference is where we earn our money.


Oct 01, 2010 08:33 AM #6
Jennifer Allan-Hagedorn
Sell with Soul - Pensacola Beach, FL
Author of Sell with Soul

Jeanne - I'm glad you mentioned that - in some markets (rural, resort), marketing will make a difference, especially if the buyer is likely to come from somewhere else.

Doug - Exactly!

Brenda - Marketing certainly doesn't hurt a property's chances of sale, but it won't make a property sell if it's not priced and presented right - sounds like you agree.

And by the way - I'm not advising agents NOT to market their listings - they definitely should, if for no other reason than to make their sellers happy. And, sure, to generate calls from potential buyers. My point is that there is WAY TOO MUCH emphasis on how to market listings after they go live as opposed to making sure they're marketABLE before they go live!


Oct 01, 2010 09:18 AM #7
Judy Chapman
Referral Network of Illinois LLC - Chicago, IL

Jennifer, When Loreena said that, I understood exactly what she meant. With the Internet as our backbone, once you enter the property into the MLS, the MLS shoots it out to where it has to go. Though I currently work for a brokerage company that gives my listings a little more oomph, basically the MLS pretty much does the majority of the marketing for me. In a bad market, price and stage presence are the determining factors. In a good market, price and stage presence are the determining factors. Yep. Do the hard work beforehand and wait for the contracts to come in.

Oct 01, 2010 09:28 AM #8
Chris Dugger
Real Estate Marketplace - Louisville KY - Louisville, KY
Louisville REALTOR

Jennifer ~ I think the real magic of marketing is getting potential buyers to come out and actually see the property in person. But when it comes to getting that offer, I tell my sellers that I'm a Realtor, not a magician, so I can't make buyers buy their overpriced home! I have heard many agents pitch to sellers that pricing will the most influential aspect of the listing's 'marketing'. I would never pitch it that way, but I can see their point. My first year was proof that all the marketing in the world can't sell an overpriced listing...unfortunately, I tried several times!

Oct 01, 2010 10:01 AM #9
Loreena and Michael Yeo
3:16 team REALTY ~ Locally-owned Prosper TX Real Estate Co. - Prosper, TX
Real Estate Agents

My marketing consists of alot of Internet Marketing strategies besides just putting it up on the MLS. But I can tell  you that I work solid for 3 days during that time before the house comes on the market. Once I do, I will continue to market the house, however, the majority of the push is already done 3 days prior.

Oct 01, 2010 11:12 AM #10
Ruthmarie Hicks
Keller Williams NY Realty - 120 Bloomingdale Road #101, White Plains NY 10605 - White Plains, NY

Hi Jennifer,

It depends on what "marketing the heck out of it" actually means.  I tend to think of "marketing" as rather all encompassing - so I may be getting the wrong message.

The problem:  Get a reasonable offer from a ready, willing and able buyer.

The solution:  Get as many qualified and interested people through the door as you possibly can - AND make sure they like what they see.


How to get there...

1. Price it right - or it won't sell at ALL

2. Prep it right - Structural, cosmetic, staging, painting, floors, curb appeal - well you get the picture - do as MUCH as the seller can stomach financially & physically.  If it still looks tired - go back to step 1 and reduce the price.

3. For GOD's sake - take photos - LOTS OF THEM - and make them look good.  If the photos are terrible, it doesn't matter how well the home will show - because no one will look at it!

4. Sell the neighborhood - along with photos have the neighborhood featured (if nice) I have found this really does help.  I sometimes do a small neighborhood video (collage of stills using Animoto)

5. Have brochures out for people to take and business cards about the LISTING NOT YOU!!! out. I find the reminders seem to help.  I had one buyer say that at the end of the day - one of my flyers reminded her of how much she liked that property - and she came back and made an offer.

6. If its a condo - I make up business cards about the condo and leave them with the doorman  - in case someone comes in looking for units for sale.  That hasn't sold a particular unit - it did get me a buyer who wanted to try something else when our unit was not appropriate for them. 

7. Spread the listingon your blog on craigslist postlets etc and drive traffic IN...


What it doesn't mean...Don't go door to door with brochures. Don't throw flyers all over the place only to have them litter parking lots and the streets.  Don't hound neighbors about upcoming open houses.  Don't push the listing in everyone's face.

But that to me is the whole marketing package.  It presents the listing, prices is appropriately and drives in people. It's not overdone, but it is NOT insignificant.



Oct 01, 2010 11:12 AM #11
Margaret Goss
Baird & Warner Real Estate - Winnetka, IL
Chicago's North Shore & Winnetka Real Estate

Even with all the technology available today, there is only so much marketing that can be done.  I agree with you and Loreena - so more more is involved.  I prepared for an unusual listing presentation for weeks, did no marketing, and sold the property almost immediately.  It was all in the prep work. 

Oct 01, 2010 12:38 PM #12
Satar Naghshineh
Satar - Amiri Property and Financial Services Corp. - Irvine, CA

I've even taken your blog further by stating that buyer agent commissions don't matter. Real estate has changed, that is true. However, marketing today means getting the property on as many online websites that buyers will look at, such as craigslist, homefinders, realtor, homeseekers, etc. When you get exposure and price into the mix, nothing else matters, not even buyer agent commissions! You can literally offer less than 1% and get buyers making offers on your property.


Oct 01, 2010 03:42 PM #13
Ralph Gorgoglione
Maui Life Homes / Metro Life Homes - Kihei, HI
Hawaii and California Real Estate (310) 497-9407

I agree. Years ago you may have been able to get away with the "stick a sign on it and wait for the check" mentality, but those days are gone.

Oct 01, 2010 03:56 PM #14
Don Wixom
RE/MAX Executives Nampa, ID - Nampa, ID
"Looking out for your next move..."tm

Jennifer, there certainly is more to selling than placing a sign in the yard and waiting for the phone to ring! Lou just posted a quote about finding our own opportunities!

Oct 01, 2010 04:50 PM #15
Roseanne Campagna
John L. Scott RE Maple Valley, WA - Maple Valley, WA
Kent/DesMoines/Blk Diamond/Renton/Maple Valley, WA

I honestly think that there is something to marketing - The pricing and preparation are of course important, but there are so many venues for people to browse and search that it is important to do marketing in places that are most likely to have the right buyer. I've found that a buyer doesn't always have representation, so they need to hear about it from someplace besides the MLS.

Office Tours and Broker Opens are marketing straategies that frankly I find incredibly useful methods (marketing) to tap into.

Maybe I misunderstand the intention, but to say that all one has to do is sit back and wait for an offer doesn't sound quite right to me.


Oct 01, 2010 07:29 PM #16
Jennifer Allan-Hagedorn
Sell with Soul - Pensacola Beach, FL
Author of Sell with Soul

Roseanne - I/we said it that way partly for dramatic affect - because all the marketing in the world can't sell an unsellable product. And we already have very efficient systems in place to market properties to the vast majority of buyers who are looking - either thru an agent or on their own. I believe with all my heart that unless real estate agents get BETTER at the other pieces and parts of a real estate transaction, aside from marketing, we'll find ourselves out of a job.

Frankly, the marketing of a home isn't hard and it doesn't require much special expertise. Certainly no expertise worth thousands of dollars. However, knowing how to help a seller price and prepare a property, knowing what buyers in that particular, specific community expect, having the human resources to help a seller get ready and understanding market trends IS worth something - it's worth a lot, actually, when you combine it with all the post-contract expertise we need to get a contract to closing. But the marketing? Eh. Not so much.

I include a page in my listing proposal called "What Do I Pay a Realtor For?" and no where on that page do I mention marketing. I don't WANT a seller thinking that's mainly what I bring to the table - 1) because it's NOT and 2) because it's not a big leap for him to figure out that brochures and open houses and Craigslist ads and virtual tours aren't worth the money I'm charging him to be his listing agent!

Oct 01, 2010 10:48 PM #17
Loreena and Michael Yeo
3:16 team REALTY ~ Locally-owned Prosper TX Real Estate Co. - Prosper, TX
Real Estate Agents

I dont want to sound opposing to JA's views above but my marketing strategies are very unique in getting homes sold fast. So, I really dont want people to misunderstand that I do not do "marketing" for the homes I list. Far from that belief. It's more unique than other agents in my area can comprehend. But I'm reaching buyers.

A huge majority of that is done in preparation when the house comes on the marketing. My marketing strategies reach far more interested buyers than the typical ones represented by agents looking on MLS. After I have done that, the offer comes in. It always does.

Oct 02, 2010 01:27 AM #18
Sally Lawrence
Advantage Real Estate - Tehachapi, CA
Broker, CHS, e-Pro, SFR, REALTOR®

I was sorry to miss the show, sounds like it was great (as usual)!

As Loreena mentioned, there are plenty of things to do that other agents aren't to get attention to your listings.  BTW, I don't think your view is truly in juxtaposition to JA's.

One of my premises is to look at what other agents are doing and do something different.  I also don't think that in most cases trying to what emulate long-term top producers are doing today is particularly useful, since a lot of what they did to get here is what really matters.  We can't see that part anymore.

Done rambling now. 

Oct 02, 2010 05:08 AM #19
Ruthmarie Hicks
Keller Williams NY Realty - 120 Bloomingdale Road #101, White Plains NY 10605 - White Plains, NY

I think I'm confused as to what you define as marketing....I think of the prepping and pricing and staging as all a part of the marketing package.  I have a feeling that you are defining it more narrowly.

Oct 02, 2010 07:32 AM #20
Christine Pappas - REALTOR®
eXp Realty - Willoughby, OH
eXp Realty - Because Experience Matters

I haven't had a chance to listen to the show yet.  From reading the post, I think the best way to sum it up, is to set the house up for success.  Which makes perfect sense.

Oct 03, 2010 01:43 PM #21
Robin Turner
Happy House Real Estate - Cocoa Beach, FL
Robin Turner

      I just lost two listings that both ended up being listed at 25% over my CMA.

   I took a listing that was priced 5% over my CMA and explained to the sellers that it would probably sell at close to CMA price. They were OK with that.

Six days later my listing is under contract at CMA price and the other two and going nowhere......

Oct 12, 2010 11:50 AM #22
Christa Ross
RE/MAX Select Realty - REALTOR and Green Homes Specialist - Pittsburgh, PA
Helping you buy and sell Pittsburgh's Best Homes

Marketing is the way to expose our properties the the largest pool of potential buyers but they will only become buyers if the price is right. Marketing can't make a home sell, it just improves the chances that the right buyer will see it. Even a well priced home won't sell if no one knows it exists.

Oct 18, 2010 03:41 PM #23
Hmm it seems like your site ate my first comment (it was super long) so I guess I'll just sum it up what I had wtitren and say, I'm thoroughly enjoying your blog. I as well am an aspiring blog writer but I'm still new to everything. Do you have any tips and hints for rookie blog writers? I'd certainly appreciate it.
Jul 22, 2012 12:58 PM #24
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