Two of my biggest pet peeves aimed at my Austin Realtor colleagues are lack of appropriate onsite signage & information and crappy online pictures. If it bothers me as a professional who has many avenues to pull listing information, I can only imagine how irritated Austin home buyers must be. As a whole, as a profession of REALTORS, I think we can do better.
Let me preface this by saying that I have the pleasure of knowing some really good REALTORS; folks I would work with if were not a REALTOR myself. I’m talking about people that do everything in their power to make sure that their client’s best interests are served. Let me also preface this by saying that I’m not writing this with one particular REALTOR in mind, its something I see time and time again on a daily basis. You can find out more at Sarah Williams Homes.
Two evenings ago, I had a listing presentation scheduled in an area that I’m pretty familiar with. I’d already done my research to prepare for the appointment. Nevertheless, its customary for me to arrive 15-20 minutes early just to drive the neighborhood, browse the houses that I’d selected online as comparable and perhaps pick up a flyer or two. If I’m not as familiar with the neighborhood, sometimes Ill even tour each property beforehand.
In this particular instance I had some time to kill and the actual neighborhood was small enough so I drove up and down each street looking at the various houses. Each time I saw a sign in the front yard, I pulled over with the intention of pulling a flyer and looking at the listing agent’s marketing material.
No Flyers in the Flyer Box
What did I find? Of the six houses that I stopped at, five had exterior information flyer boxes. How many had flyers in them? One. One sign was blown over, two flyer boxes had no lids. Come on, Realtors, I think we can do better for our clients.
Am I guilty of an empty flyer box from time to time? Absolutely, I’m not perfect. But, if I know that it may be difficult for me to get out to the house at least once a week I always stock my seller’s up with extra flyers for them to fill in if the box gets low. Still, five flyer boxes and four were empty. Reminds me of one of my favorite real estate related parody songs (video).
Even the one box that did have a flyer was extremely unimpressive. Which leads me to points number 2 & 3: no price, limited information and crappy pictures. And this is an area where the homes are $250-350K on average.
That is why my property flyers are clean, colorful, professional and full of information. Oh, and usually stocked in the box at the house.
Whats the Price?
This approach boggles my mind, but I still see it all the time. Some agents are either naive or arrogant enough to think that buyers are going to call them to find out about the house. In the age of text messages, 1-800 recorded messages, websites, videos, Trulia, Zillow etc… buyers aren’t picking up the phone to call and find out what the price is. I wouldn’t. I might write the address down to search for it later but I’m not calling. Why should I have to do the work and risk having you repeatedly hound me with phone calls just to find out if the house is in my price range? I shouldn’t.
That is why my exterior marketing provides multiple ways for buyers to obtain information, text messaging, mobile websites geared toward smart phone users and oftentimes video walkthroughs.
Insufficient or Poor Listing Photos
This one really gets me. How can you possibly expect to sell a house with one photo? Yes, I’m looking at you Realtors who activate properties in MLS with one picture or no pictures. I see it all the time in various searches that I do for clients. The property pops up in a search and it has the blank white space that says “No picture – Agent has 7 days to Upload the Pictures.” Really? What if I don’t want to wait 7 days to see what the house looks like? Pass. Seriously, there are too many other houses to choose from, why should I wait on yours?
REALTORS: the first showing isn’t at the house anymore, its online. The truth is that buyers are doing their research well in advance of touring the actual properties. If your pictures suck or you don’t have any, good luck to you.
I can possibly forgive a bad property flyer or a black and white flyer as long as there are other ways for me to get information if I’m interested. But, if I cant get the information that I need online then I’m moving on.
That is why when I consult with homeowners I’m emphatic that the house looks its absolute best when I have the professional photographer come in and take pictures. Those pictures are the hub of all of the marketing (online and offline) that I’m going to do to sell your home. Buyers aren’t walking through that door unless they like what they see online.
I’m just one Realtor with an opinion on high level of customer service but I feel that as a whole, REALTORS we can do better for our clients.