Yesterday I received a call from a desperate home seller looking to home staging as marketing solution that would help finally sell his $499,000 town home which has been on the market for months and months now. The buyer was quite frank about the fact that when compared to similar units for sale in the development, his townhouse was the most expensive. But he justified the price difference saying it was because his property had been extensivley remodeled with new finishes, fixtures and updates.
Intrigued... I wanted to take a "sneak peak" as I was talking to the seller on the phone. So I asked the him for the name of his Realtor and the name of the company he sold for. Having never heard of the company, I did a Google search to find their site. To my surprise NOTHING came up. The listing real estate company had NO website. Ok, that is a bit odd, but no big deal... the seller happened to know his MLS#. So off to realtor.com I went.
At realtor.com I punched in the MLS#... and WA-LA! As is typical, the listing popped up with an exterior shot of his property! (Shown right/below) But to my surprise and dismay that was all there was to look at. Just ONE picture featured to "show" the ENTIRE property! JUST ONE?!!! If you ask me there is no excuse for this and is nothing less then a marketing crime. Why a crime? Well, with approximately 80 to 85% of homes buyers FIRST pre-shopping properties via the Internet... what would you say having only one listing picture for the buying public to preview is?
Curious to take a look at his competition... I dug a bit deeper on realtor.com. I then found 2 comparable properties within the exact same development. (SEE clipped ads shown in the larger graphic along with larger original ad) One property listed for $84,000 less then the property the caller owned and the other listed for $89,000 less. Now I know there could be and probably are good reasons why these comparable properties are cheaper... but that is NOT what I want to discuss here.
I was glad to see that each Realtor, of these 2 cheaper properties, invested the time and money to tap into one of the most basic yet effective marketing tools available to home sellers today. Each used MULTIPLE photos, of homes that they are marketing, to help build and reinforce buyer interest. Each of these cheaper competing properties had nine pictures to look at and review. Considering the seller, who I was talking to, had a property that offered more, in terms of remodeling and updates, would it not be helpful to capture and display those differences to potential buyers?
We all know that this industry is rapidly changing one. Each day there seems to be some new gadget or service (like home staging) that comes out to help a Realtor market and sell their listings. While it can be daunting to keep up with all the changes, some things, including some technology, can be easily and inexpensively integrated into the basic sales and marketing services that a Realtor provides to their clients. A perfect example of a new "basic" is the use of digital cameras and photography. Because photography is now so easy and accessable it has changed the industry. What a buyer sees of a property no longer needs to start when they physically tour a property for the first time. (Watch my CURB APPEAL SHOW)
I am not saying this it the SOLE reason why this property has not sold... as there could be a zillion others. But if a Realtor chooses not to provide even the most basic of these new services, in my opinion, they have just committed a crime.