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Real Estate Reading Room [Home Selling]
Articles and Advice about Home Selling from Real Estate Reading Room

The Listing Agent’s Role in Marketing Your Home
by Phyllis Harb

Advertising to the “Public”

Every home seller likes to be assured that their listing agent and or the real estate company will run ads featuring their home. Newspaper ads run the gamut from photo ads to lots of listings reflected on a page with primarily only copy. Classified ads featuring your home are another tool. Ads may also appear in local real estate magazines and on the internet (ideally on several sites).

Of course, Realtors and their brokerages will run ads featuring your house, but not necessarily for the reasons the seller expects. The primary motivation for advertising is to make the telephone ring. Advertising creates phone calls and some of those callers become clients of the agents answering these calls. This builds up a pool of homebuyers looking for property in general. Multiply this by all the agents and companies who also advertise homes, and there is a large pool of homebuyers in the market at any given time - all of whom have contacted a Realtor. The agents representing those homebuyers know about your home because it is listed in the Multiple Listing Service, has been on broker open house preview, and because your agent is also marketing directly to these agents.

Through, the Multiple Listing Service (MLS), the agents match up their clients (computer prospecting), with available homes, one of which may be yours. Realtors then show the selected homes to their clients, who ideally end up buying one. Although, ads do not typically sell your house directly, they create a pool of clients for Realtors; and one of these existing clients typically purchases your home.

Behind the “Advertising Scene”

When an Agent or their brokerage, advertise homes they have for sale, there is more than one objective. Certainly, the real estate office wants to generate phone calls and sell houses, but the advertising also shows other homeowners how effectively they market their listings. This impresses not only the seller, but also others who may be thinking of selling their home.

The advertising brings in more listings, which generate more ad calls, which produces more buyers…. Cross selling is often how your property is sold; about 5% of the time, you and your agent will get “lucky”; And someone calling on your house may actually end up buying it.

Neighborhood Announcements

When you first list your home many agents send "announcements" to all of the other houses in your neighborhood. This is typically done in the form of postcards, or letters. This too is has a double purpose: your neighbors might have friends who are looking to buy a house (but they probably would notice the for sale sign, anyway) and of course this hopefully impresses other area homeowners that might be contemplating a sale.

Open Houses

An open house can be also be helpful, but not for the reasons most homeowners think. Just like with advertising, most visitors to open houses rarely buy the house they come to look at. They usually do not even know the price of your home when they stop by to visit - they probably just followed an "Open House" sign to your door. Often, the exterior of the home appealed to them, because the home is over their budget.

An open house reminds your neighbors that your home is for sale, and offers them an opportunity to "take a look." Hopefully your neighbors will tell friends or family members about your house, creating "word of mouth" advertising.

Of course, there are other reasons for holding open houses, too. Listing agents who "farm" a particular neighborhood use them as an opportunity to meet with other local homeowners who will someday be selling their home. Most of us, Agents hope to also list your neighbor’s homes in the future.

Advertising to Realtors

Realtors are typically more comfortable showing clients homes that they are familiar with. The Broker’s Open House is a very effective means to quickly get a large number of Realtors into your front door. To maximize attendance, your Listing Agent might provide refreshments or a raffle of some sort.

Property Brochure Distribution is another way that your Listing Agent may be marketing your home to other Realtors. There are also services that hand deliver your property brochure to each individual agent in a specific geographic area. Some Realtors employ an internet program to email listing cards to the top local selling agents in your community.

Because Realtors are the ones with the “buyer pool”, It is much more productive and beneficial when your listing agent directs most of his or her marketing efforts toward other agents. It is an easy mistake to measure your agent’s effectiveness solely by counting the number of newspaper and magazine ads featuring your property. "Behind the scenes" marketing is difficult for the seller to measure.


Phyllis Harb, a California native is a Realtor/Marketing Specialist at RE/Max Tri City in La Canada California. Harb has been assisting local home sellers and buyers since 1989 and offers over 10 years additional experience in real estate lending. Phyllis may be contacted at 818 790-7325

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