In the e 60s of Manhattan’s Lenox Hill neighborhood exists a townhouse that is now being represented by its 12th agent. Originally coming to market in 2008 for $35,000,000 – the property has finally moved below the $20M mark. While still no bargain, it represents a greater acceptance of reality by the owner, who has fired brokerage after brokerage because his unrealistic price expectations could not be met. It made me think, again, about what marketing can and cannot do to sell property. 

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To start, marketing does not sell property, not by itself. A property’s attributes, and a skilled agent, sell it. Marketing drives eyes to the property. That is its role. To engage the buyer and open up a conversation between them and the sale’s agent. At that point salesmanship takes over.

I like to joke that, when working with developers, an agent receives one of only two pieces of feedback: if the project sells briskly, the agent underpriced it, and if it doesn’t sell briskly, then our marketing is inadequate. Whereas in my experience if the product sells briskly, it indicates a balance between quality work, demand, and price. As new construction values have risen over the past decades, the product’s failure to sell usually relates more to the latter two issues, demand and price.

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Even the best marketing campaign cannot counteract an oversupply of similar units, nor can it substantially mitigate excessive pricing. What marketing can and should do, however, is showcase a home’s benefits compellingly enough to generate appointments. It is toward this goal alone which marketing should be targeted.

Too often both sellers and agents forget the purpose of marketing. Its only goal is to bring buyers to the door. So then the question becomes, how best to do that? Do buyers actually want to read run-on sentences filled with empty words like “gorgeous” and “stunning”? I doubt it. I think a few tantalizing sentences, wrought so as to stimulate interest without giving everything away, combined with photos which convey real information about the layout and appearance of the property, most effectively draw buyers in. Once they arrive at the doorstep, the ball is in OUR court. The agent must put the client at ease, provide relevant information while not talking or impinging too much, radiate credible enthusiasm, and answer questions directly and honestly. We can never make people like our listing, but we can create an atmosphere which facilitates liking it.

There are many routes an agent can take to increase buyer engagement. This blog for example is one of those routes, video content, aggressive social media advertising, marketing to agents in other markets, etc. These are all things that I do and many agents do not. I fundamentally believe that these efforts do increase chances of a strong sale. Simply put, if more qualified buyers walk through your door your chances are better. That being said marketing is not magic and convincing a data to pay 10% more than what the market will bear is an unrealistic expectation. In a world saturated with data buyers are savvier then ever. That being said there is still a lot of noise out there and good marketing will help you cut through it.

Ultimately a strong agent is going to have an innovative marketing plan that will drive buyers through the door. At that point the best tool in the seller’s arsenal is going to be the agent herself.

*This blog was inspired by a blog written by Fred Peter’s. The views in Fred’s original post are very similar with some differences which we respectfully disagree on.

 

Frederick Warburg Peters

Frederick Warburg Peters

CEO | Warburg Realty

FREDERICK WARBURG PETERS is Chief Executive Officer of Warburg Realty. A graduate of Yale College with a Masters Degree from CUNY, Frederick entered the real estate business as a residential agent in 1980 and has since brokered approximately $1 billion in New York real estate. After working as a Sales Director at Albert B. Ashforth for a number of years, he acquired and renamed the 95-year old firm in 1991. Since that time, Frederick has expanded the company from 40 to 130 agents and from one to three locations.
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