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Dream Big!

5 Listing Promotions that Pack Punch/Users/adamp/Desktop/SolutionsGuide08/images/punch

Supercharge your marketing with these innovative listing promotions.

Savvy sales associates know that you can’t plant a For Sale sign in a home’s front yard, slap the information on the MLS and expect the buyers to roll in.

Buyers have more homes from which to choose. So, you need to rely on a host of innovative marketing methods to set their listings apart from the rest of the housing inventory.

“I firmly believe that you have to do everything you can to move your listings,” says Tara Jacobsen, a sales associate at the Clearwater office of Keller Williams Realty. “I try to do something every day to sell something.”

Here are five strategies Florida sales associates are using to turn their listings into sales.

Use the Competition
Carol Marra, a sales associate with the Lakewood Ranch office of Keller Williams Realty in Sarasota, has seen a 10 percent increase in the number of showings her listings get since she started to drop off fliers and brochures advertising them at the offices of competing real estate brokerages. She offers incentives to sales associates in these offices—an increased commission or a one-time bonus—for bringing the final buyer to her listings.

“It’s about doing anything that gets your listing exposure,” Marra says. “If it brings in one showing, it’s been successful.”

Last year, Marra’s approach brought in a sale and generated an increased interest in her listings. Marra, who sold about $3 million in real estate in 2006, closed one transaction after a sales associate at another brokerage saw one of her brochures. The associate received one of Marra’s commission incentives and brought the final buyer to the listing.

Set Up Special Events
DeYanna Carroll gives her high-end listings, those priced at more than $1 million, extra publicity by promoting them with special events. One example? In May, the sales associate with Exit Realty Professionals in Orlando held a fund-raiser for the Orlando Philharmonic Orchestra during which she also promoted three of her condominium listings at The Residences of Winter Park.

To help draw attention to the listings, Carroll hired small groups of musicians from the orchestra to play at each of the listed condos, each of which boasts an asking price of $2.4 million.

Carroll chose the Orlando Philharmonic tie-in for two reasons: She is president of Ovation, a support group for the orchestra and has agreed to donate 10 percent of her commission from each of the sales to the orchestra. In addition, many of the potential buyers of these listings support the arts.

To Carroll, the fund-raiser was one way to bring a large number of people to her listings at one time.

“When you cross the million-dollar mark, [many of those customers are] relying on your expertise within the community. The only way to get positive feedback on your listings is to get that particular clientele into your product,” says Carroll.
As of press time, Carroll had not sold any of the listings. But, since the fund-raising event, she’s shown the listings more than 45 times.

Information Overload
View any of Drew Peterson’s listings on the MLS, and you’ll find a minimum of seven photos. You’ll also find extremely detailed information on neighborhoods and amenities.

Peterson, a sales associate with RE/MAX Town Centre in Orlando, says that by providing as much information and as many photos as possible online—where most buyers today start their home searches—he makes sure that every showing can potentially lead to a sale. 

“We don’t want anything to surprise buyers when they come to a showing,” he says. “We don’t want them to walk in and then walk back out in two minutes. That doesn’t help our sellers, or the buyers who are looking at their homes.”

This approach does cost money. Peterson pays extra for the National Association of Realtors®’ Showcase Agent–level listing, which allows for additional photos and custom property descriptions on listings.

Peterson credits this approach with directly boosting his sales. His listings stay on the market for an average of 82 days (compared to the 97-day average on the MLS), he says. He says his listings also sell for an average of 96.5 percent of their listing price.

While he says he can’t attribute this success completely to the upgraded photos, he’s persuaded that the detailed information about water views, the home’s age and the dimensions of each of its bedrooms does play a role in bringing in buyers who are less likely to immediately reject one of his listings.

Provide It All
A house must be in top condition today to have the best chance of selling. That’s why Terri Steck, from Windermere Realty Group in Orlando, offers her sellers a package of services designed to showcase their homes to potential buyers. Steck provides lawn mowing, power washing, home showcasing and similar services at no cost to her sellers.

Steck hopes that by providing these services, she not only helps move her listings, but also gains a reputation as one of the hardest-working sales associates in the area. She mows—yes, she does the actual mowing—the lawns outside her listings before every open house. Sometimes the home is vacant. Other times the sellers don’t have time to handle the mowing themselves. She also pays for each of her listings to be power washed when they first go on the market.

Providing these services, which she just recently started offering, has already gained her a listing. “The owners had been trying for sale by owner, but it wasn’t working. One of their neighbors saw me mowing the lawn before one of my open houses and told the sellers they should call me,”

Steck says. “They said that I was the hardest-working [sales associate] in town.”

a la carte
Natasha Gonell, a sales associate with Prudential Florida WCI in Pembroke Pines, believes in the power of choice. To help move her new listings, she offers buyers a menu of financial incentives. Buyers can elect to have the seller pay their first year of property taxes or cover their homeowners’ insurance for a year.

Sellers provide the money for these incentives from their sale proceeds. Some can’t afford to do this, and others choose not to. But many sellers do agree to spend some money to help move their homes quickly.
“The buyers love this,” Gonell says. “They get to choose. For them, it’s great to have a choice.”

Gonell has been offering her incentive program for several months now. During this time, it’s landed her a sale. The buyer of Gonell’s listing came to an open house, saw the menu of incentives and was hooked. He eventually chose to accept a reduced interest rate on his mortgage for three years, for which the seller agreed to pay.

The buyer told Gonell that the financial incentive helped separate her listing from several others he was considering. “The buyer really liked this option,” Gonell says. “It will save the buyer thousands of dollars on their loan over that three-year period.”

Dan Rafter is an Illinois-based freelance writer.