How to Advertise a House
(A continuation of How
to Sell a House)
By Steve Gillman - 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
- A photo, if it is likely to help.
- 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 www.Realtor.com.
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
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.