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How to Advertise a House

(A continuation of How to Sell a House)

By - 2005

We continue our look at marketing a home with more details about how to advertise a house. Again, this information is valuable not only if you are selling on your own, but also as a way to judge the efforts of your real estate agent.

Include Necessary Information

You'll want to include the information necessary to get the reader to call, of course. However, you also want to also include enough information to stop them from calling. You see, a real estate agent wants any buyer to call, but you just want the callers that are interested in buying your home, and are qualified to do so. Otherwise, you'll be wasting a lot of time.

This is why your advertisement should sell your home, but also allow the readers to pre-screen themselves. Telling them your home has two bedrooms keeps those who need four from wasting your time. Including the price keeps buyers who can't afford your home from wasting your time. What to include will vary from home to home, but here is a list of what you'll usually want to include:

- A photo, if it is likely to help.

- Price.

- Number of bedrooms and bathrooms.

- Location, or at least the neighborhood or part of town.

- Whether there is a garage or carport.

- The phone number they can call.

- Any special features that are good selling points.

- Anything that you know buyers are looking for in your area (schools, parks, etc.).

- The first thing that comes to mind when you ask "Why should they buy this house?"

Where to Advertise a House

Advertising will be a major expense if you are selling on your own, so consider carefully where you place your ads. If you live in a resort town that people from nearby large cities would love to move to, you may need to advertise in those larger cities. If you have free places to advertise, use them.

The internet is becoming an important part of marketing a home. Many buyers start here now, using sites like The problem you'll have if you are selling on your own, is that you can't get your home listed on this or other MLS-based sites, and the sites that list homes for sale by owner don't get nearly as much traffic.

The solution? There isn't much of one, to be honest. Getting decent exposure for your home is one of the toughest things to do when you sell on your own. You may as well list your home for sale on a few cheap or free internet sites. Just enter "for sale by owner" into a search engine like Google to find these.

There are two other partial solutions to this problem. The first is to simply find a cheap flat-fee listing agency, if there is one in your area. Here in Tucson, you can list your home for sale and have it appear in the MLS listings for $299. You get to do all the showings and most of the other work, but this is fairly cost-effective advertising compared to newspapers even. Remember that most buyers spend time browsing the MLS listings.

Another way to get exposure to buyers who are working with agents is to send information on your home to agents, and agree to pay a commission based on a one-party listing. This is essentially how to advertise a house to people in the business. If your home suits one of their buyers, an agent will have you sign a one-time, one-party sales contract. The agent will show your home to that person or couple, and if they buy your home, you pay a commission. If they don't buy it, you are on your own again.

There is no further commitment, and you can ask a price that will make it worth paying that commission. If you don't get close enough to your price, you can just say no. If you try this, don't waste time and money sending out information to a hundred agents. Either call around first to find interested agents who have buyers, or look at ads to see which agents are selling your type of home, or selling homes in your neighborhood.

There are also some real estate guides that allow advertising by both MLS listed properties and those for sale by owner. Others have only homes that are for sale by owner. Pay attention to the cost of advertising in various sources versus the circulation. Don't pay for advertising if the paper or magazine can't tell you how many copies will be distributed.

When to Advertise a House

It may seem like your ad will be lost among the hundreds in a busy Saturday or Sunday paper. However, whichever day is the usual day for all the real estate ads is the day you want your ad in there. Home buyers know which day is the "real estate" day in the local paper's classified section, and this is the issue they are sure to buy. This, then, is the day when more buyers are likely to read your ad.

The book continues here: Marketing a Home - What you'll need to learn to do it right.

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Houses Under Fifty Thousand | How to Advertise a House