Real estate professionals in 2020 may benefit from rethinking their listing marketing strategies. Here’s the traditional flow: The agent signs a listing and enters it into the Multiple Listing Service (MLS). On the appropriate date, she saves the listing as active. The agent then initiates–sometimes this is handled by an assistant–a listing marketing blitz. This would include some variation of the following:
- Enhance the listing on Realtor.com, including reloading the photos (if necessary), adding or editing photo captions, replacing the MLS description with one written with the public in mind, and so on.
- Enhance the listing on Zillow and any other property-search platforms deemed necessary.
- Create a Craigslist ad, and post it.
- Show off your listing (appropriately) on your social media accounts.
- Create property brochures and have them printed.
- Create a “Just Listed” postcard. Mail to homeowners of similar properties in the surrounding area and to your sphere of influence.
A side note on the property description that you put into the MLS: There are many services that feed directly from the MLS, so it’s always a good idea to write something that reads nicely for potential buyers and not just other agents. A second side note: Always write captions for your MLS photos. Each photo is an additional opportunity to highlight features of the listing. Skip the trite, un-punctuated: “wainscoting in dining area.” Instead, write: “The bright & airy separate dining room, open to both kitchen and formal living room, features wainscoting and ample room for entertaining.” In some markets the available character limits for captions are tighter than in others, but you get the idea.
Anyway, this is a typical listing marketing program for a typical property. The listing agent will position the property so that it appeals to its most obvious buyer group. If the school district is desirable, that will be a selling point. If the property is part of a golf community, the home will be marketed to people who love to play golf and to hang out with other people who love to play golf.
What About the “Different” Properties?
And if the property is a parcel of land in the desert? If it is a tiny, undeveloped sliver in a mostly industrial district? The truth is, not every listing lends itself to an obvious market. Who do you send your postcards to? What do you write about it in the description and photo captions? (Because remember: We’re going to write photo captions, even if the property is only a percentage of an acre in the Mojave.)
The Solution: Pay Attention to Trends
The key to marketing “different” properties is to be aware of the trends that might not instantly come to mind. Just as many buyers in the 2000s sought out an open floor plan, “perfect for entertaining”–even though they may never have thrown a single dinner party–buyers in 2020 are more diverse than ever.
Consider the #vanlife movement, for example. To the average real estate agent, the nomad may seem like the opposite of a potential buyer. And, while this may be true for your single-family home priced in the high six figures, think about what someone who lives in their RV needs.
Food for Thought
In closing, here are a few ideas for an unusual property:
- A home base: A place to call home, even if it’s just a quarter acre in the woods or desert. For the nomad, there is a permanent uncertainty. Wouldn’t it be nice to have a plot of land that the #vanlifer can call their own?
- Tiny houses: For a tiny house builder, a small, unusually-shaped lot is perfect for what they’re trying to accomplish.
- Minimalists: Wondering what to do with that 200-300 sq. ft. living space? Take a look at some books on minimalism–primarily the aesthetics of the Japanese minimalists–and stage the property as though it were photos in one of those books.
- The new rental/investment properties: Finally, don’t overlook corporate rentals (see this great article for ideas: What Is Corporate Housing) and short-term vacation rentals.