(These are just suggestions. Work out the details with your preferred realtor. Much success! Ozzie) #Ozbuzz

When selling a home (or anything else for that matter), the marketing effort must be coordinated on all fronts. It also must be superior to the competitionThis is especially true in a buyers’ market where the homes sitting on the market seemingly outnumber the potential homebuyers.

In such an environment, you must lift your home out from this crowd and highlight it in the best way possible. You must out-think the competition.

So, the market is off by 30 per cent. So, what. The key is to get your property placed into the 70 per cent which sells now.

Here then, are a few of these ideas:


1. Select a Quality Realtor

Based on my travels around the world and as president of both Royal LePage and NRS National real estate companies, I believe British Columbia and Alberta are home to some of the most qualified, professional realtors in North America today.

But there are also some who are little more than “order takers” who literally can’t properly write out a contract, much less have the hard-won knowledge needed to position your home in the most appropriate and effective way for your particular market.


So how do you find such an experienced, market aggressive realtor?

  1. a) Ask around. Check with friends or trusted associates and get some names. Experienced names. When selling in today’s market, you need to be in the hands of a practicing “doctor” and not someone eager to practice on you.
  1. b) Focus in the three best referrals, ask each of these realtors to come out, have them put together a marketing evaluation and then give you his/her specific action plan as to what he/she will do to sell your home. Make sure it’s in writing. (If the realtor is “too busy” to physically come and view your home…well, you’ve just eliminated one name from your list.)

Remember:realtors come in a couple of basic flavors. While there are always exceptions, in general a “low-key” yet thorough realtor is best when it comes to helping you buy a home; his or her pragmatic knowledge will help keep your feet firmly on the ground. When selling a home however, look for a high-energy, dynamic realtor whose enthusiasm might be “infectious” enough to enthuse a potential buyer.

  1. c) The market evaluation should compare your home with at least three currently active competitive listings, three recent competitive sales and POSSIBLY three competitive and now inactive listings which didn’t sell. Drive over and check out these benchmark properties yourself to ensure the realtor has put your home in the right “ballpark”. If you disagree, find out the reasoning as to why the realtor has so placed your home. The reasons could be good ones indeed (Or vice versa.)
  1. d) Once you’ve vetted all three choices, go with the realtor whose combination of experience, proven performance and action-plan for your home is the most impressive. But be careful not to confuse impressive with unattainable.
  1. e) List your home with the chosen realtor for 60 days. If the realtor suggests you list with him or her for a longer period, tell him or her you will renew if, in your opinion, all the realtor’s written promises have meanwhile been adhered to and met all the previously agreed upon elements of the action plan. If not, tough luck. Find another realtor.
  1. f) Underline to the realtor that you wish to be kept informed of the sales progress at least once a week during the entire listing period. Every time the home is shown to prospective buyers, ensure the realtor informs you in advance and also gives you a feedback as to the viewer’s reaction to the home. On the other hand, don’t overdo it. Be courteous and be careful not to nag the realtor. When dealing with a professional, be professional.
  1. g) If the realtor has failed to keep his or her promises during the listing period, cancel the listing or at least do not renew it.
  1. Price Your Home Right

Yes, we all need and want the best price, as in the highest price, for our abode. But be realistic. It might do wonders for the ego and daydreams, but a high price tag does little if it doesn’t come accompanied with a sale.

Again, don’t try and fool yourself. (Fantasy is wonderful, but it won’t work with others.) Based on your understanding of the competition, is the pricing realistic? This is particularly important in a market where prices are falling. If you must sell, price yourself at the bottom of the scale. Remember: If you are selling and buying at the same time as in trading up, the buyer’s market which demands you sell 10 per cent less also allows you to turn around and buy for 10 per cent less. If you sell your $400,000 home for $360,000 for a $40,000 “loss”, you just as likely to buy the $600,000 home for $540,000 for a $60,000 reduction. You’re actually better off by $20,000.

  1. Create a “Benefit and Feature” Sheet for Your Home

Reach back in time and remember why you bought the home in the first place. What caught your eye, what appealed to you? Write these reasons down; more often than not, new buyers will also be attracted to these same features. List every good point, every benefit, your property and your neighborhood enjoys. Don’t be afraid of putting everything down, even if it stretches out to two or three pages. Today, people want information. Lots of it.

Spell out all the conveniences which make your location different. Don’t assume a potential buyer is telepathic. Spell it out. Even such things as proximity to hospitals, police station and the firehall are important to people and just might make the difference to tip the scales in favor of your home.

  1. Place Your Home on the MLS

If a home is to sell, it must have maximum exposure. The Multiple Listing Service will give it that exposure. As well, ensure your home is put on the Agents Openor MLS Agents Tour(if there is one in your area) so as to educate other realtors as to the home’s potential. But two months is all you need to get on.

  1. Circulate the Information

The special feature sheet should be circulated both at your “open houses” and also to all the “competing” real-estate offices in your area. Ninety per cent of all sales are done on a co-operative basis; the property isn’t sold by your listing salesperson but instead has been “shopped” by the listing realtor to another realtor’s client.  Which means your salesperson should be well-connected in your local area and should cooperate well with other salespeople of different companies.

5a. Spread the Word

Hand out the feature sheet and unique offer/special commission information to everyone you know,including your secretaries, part-time staff and whomever. You never know who the information will get passed on to next.


  1. Buy Some Extra Enthusiasm
    Human beings almost always act in their own self-interest first.
    Take advantage of this to promote some extra interest in your own property. Offer something special to encourage realtors to bring in those offers. Depending upon how hard it is to sell your home (higher price, tough area, unique features that appeal to few, future potential versus today’s reality), offer extra commission to the realtor who brings in the sale…but only if he or she brings it in at thefull asking price. As most offers are invariably lower, it’s unlikely you’ll actually end up paying the extra commission, but it may work as an incentive.
  2. Advertise – use Social Media

Consider a cost-effective advertising campaign and review such a plan with your realtor. How big an advertisement? Placed where? How often? Review the ad itself with the realtor and test-market it past a few unbiased friends, associates and so forth. Keep your ego out of it.

Remember SM ads – scroll continuously. They have to put in often:

  1. Facebook, 2 LinkedIn, 3. Twitter – are all free initially. But you can buy “boosts” at most platforms. I.e. spend 6 – 10 per day to get an ad to thousands…
  2. Use craigslist and Kijiji…You can also buy positioning (maybe $20 – $30 per week to have your ad always on top here.
  3. Go to local boards like www.realestatetalks.com
  4. Too Much of a Good Thing?

If you own and are trying to sell many units in a single building, put only one or two of the units on the MLS at the regular commission. Lists the others as exclusive and offer the difference in commission to the selling agent only.

Again, appeal to the self-interest, the “what’s in it for me?”.

  1. Advertise

Consider a cost-effective advertising campaign and review such a plan with your realtor. How big an advertisement? Placed where? How often? Review the ad itself with the realtor and test-market it past a few unbiased friends, associates and so forth. Keep your ego out of it.

  1. Let Nothing Escape the Net

Insist that the realtor presents to you all and any offers that come in, no matter how low or seemingly impossible. If someone is willing to write an offer, be considerate enough to see it. Besides, it gives you a better idea of just how the market is reacting to your property.


  1. First Impressions Do Count

Fix up your home but do it with “resale” in mind: take care of the eye-catching areas and don’t waste the effort (and money) on the rest.

  • The first thing a potential buyer sees is the front porch or entrance.
  • Fix that wobbly front step or squeaky door.
  • Repaint the front door, bathrooms and kitchen.
  • Use off-white or general neutral colors only, but a feature wall should be included darker.
  • If the rug is frayed or stained, consider removing them and going with hardwood floors (assuming you’ve got them and they’re in reasonable shape).

If the rugis frayed or stained, consider removing them and going with hardwood floors (assuming you’ve got them and they’re in reasonable shape). Again, don’t spend a fortune on the remodeling; you won’t get your money back.

But with that said, there are certain largish renovations which may add more cost-effective resale value than others. For instance, a tiled backsplash and new cupboard doors in the kitchen. A spiced-up bathroom is another possibility. Studies show that kitchens and bathrooms garner the most attention from would-be buyers. A heat-efficient gas fireplace is another possibility, assuming it can be installed without major structural changes to the house. Forget rec rooms and/or swimming pools. Aside from the cost considerations, most rec rooms have little appeal (read: low ceilings and little light) while swimming pools are costly to maintain and are worrisome to families with small children. Rather than a swimming pool, put the energy into improving the yard or garden area. It’s amazing whata bit of weeding and a few shrubs will do.

  1. A Clean, Bright Place is a Happy Face

Clean up the basement areas. Ditto for the stairwells and closets. If you’ve got too much junk and other indispensable basement stuff piled up, have it stored off-site during the selling period


  1. A simple new telephone number with a simple answering machine.

Put the telephone number in all your ads, on your sign.The answering-machine ad lets you list all of the features of your home before stating the price. In turn, offer people who leave their name and number a reason to do so. You’ll mail them interior shots of your place or arrange a private showing or direct them to a website that features your property. It helps to state the date of the next open house to encourage the shy types to drop by. Again, you’re trying to build traffic and interest.

The total cost to you is really next to nothing: a telephone line and an answering machine.

  1. Persistence Versus the Big Pay Off

Rather than blowing off money for large weekend ads in a single newspaper, run a smaller two-line daily ad in all relevant newspapers. Don’t forget the community papers. Quite often, local papers offer a special “province-wide” deal for very little extra cost if you place an ad in 50 (or whatever) co-operating newspapers. This is very effective for out-of-town properties.

  1. When Running Larger Ads…

If  the ads aren’t generating any calls, check the headline. If the headline cannot clearly and concisely state the benefits of  the home, that ad won’t garner any calls. People want to read about what’s important to them; ensure the headline fulfills that need exactly.

15aAvoid single-line headlines. Instead, use two-line or three-line headlines or variations of them repeated a couple of times. When done properly, repetition works. Remember too, positive headlines outpull negative ones.

15b.The body copy or message must reinforce and expand upon the headline.

Again, put yourself in the mind of the buyer and appeal to the intrinsic self-interest.

  1. Don’t be Afraid to be Different

Agents regularly send out “I Just Listed” flyers to other homes in the neighborhood in the hope of engendering new business. Fine, but check out the flyer and make sure he or she lists the special features and special incentives of your home and not just the standard ubiquitous “vanilla-flavored” preprinted card. Add your special offer to it…if there is one. For example, “we will include the stove, fridge and riding lawnmower”. Be different. Again, you never know who ends up reading this detailed information.

  1. Test and Re-test Everything

If your home isn’t garnering any showings, offers or action, either your advertising, pricing or realtor has something wrong with it or him/her. Reconsider the problem, fix it and then stay on top of it at all time.

  1. Take a Real Interest in the Buyer

Many of today’s potential buyers are unhappy about missing the low interest rates of last year Cheer them up by offering a “buy down” on the mortgage. (For example, the actual cost to you to buy down the interest a $100,000 mortgage by two per cent is less than $2,000.)

Don’t worry about the cost. Instead, work it into the asking price. This allows your realtor to brandish a strong headline trumpeting the abode’s special (assumable on approved credit) low mortgage interest rate while costing you nothing extra.

  1. Take a Real Piece Out of the Paper

Offer to pay the legal costs of the sales transaction and (in British Columbia) the Property Transfer Tax (PTT).Again, this allows your realtor to promote the deal as something special. Again, consider building the cost into your asking price.


  1. Foreign Buyers Need Special Information

If your property appeals to overseas buyers, ensure your agent understands how to deal with questions of  Feng Shui.(Literally “wind and water”, it’s the Asian philosophy in which a building’s exterior and interior elements, site placement and orientation, landscaping and so forth can and will deeply affect the building’s “luck”.) The agent should be able to identify — and take advantage of — benefits readily apparent to a Feng-hui aware buyer. Benefits, such as the number “8” in a street address, a high vista and an interior which doesn’t have a clear line of sight from front door to back. (Any good luck or fortune will flow right out the door.)

  1. Create a “Pick-Up” Box

Augment the realtor’s “For Sale” sign with an open-topped container filled with the above-mentioned feature sheets. If a potential buyer happens to walk or drive by, this information could spur him/her into picking up the phone.



There are a number of reasons why homes don’t sell: overpriced, poor location, poor condition, intense competition as many similar homes similarly priced are all fighting for attention.

Homes that do sell are those that are tended diligently by the professional realtor, are priced right (as in just below the competition) and have something unique about them that attracts the buyer’s attention in the first place.

Always remember: This is YOUR house we’re discussing.


You have the right to demand an attentive, professional, upbeat realtor, a person who creates a solid, comprehensive action plan (in writing) and does so in a measurable way (number of showings, numbers of interested buyers, etc.). A good realtor keeps you informed all the way. A poor realtor won’t. The realtor has the right to expect you to be courteous attentive and realistic as well.

Be a leader.  Spell out your expectations to yourself and your realtor. But be realistic. Look around you and ask for the best possible result…but don’t demand the impossible.

Be focused. Insist that your realtor be equally as focused.

There is no such thing as accidental success.

It’s always earned and always comes with a price.

           “You have to be very careful if you don’t know where you are going

           because you  might get there.” 

                                                                  Yogi Berra






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