Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Real Estate 101—Eyecatching Advertising if You Do Cows!


The first time I saw this billboard as I travelled the four hours stretch of 94 to Fargo from the Twin Cities earlier this year, I almost died laughing. It was kind of a WTF-moment (or “What The Heck” to non-texters who don’t like bad language). When I stopped laughing enough to catch the small print, for wedocows.com, I realized what a perfect marketing campaign this was! A three word tagline that makes everyone laugh (and never forget it) plus it says exactly what the company does…WeDoCows.com is a veterinarian supply company that has products for the care of farm animals, hence they really DO cows!

Now in real estate, some of the marketing used by agents really can leave something to be desired. Some REALTORS® do come up with things that make us laugh…It seems like every other Monday night Jay Leno is sharing a real estate agent’s ad that was poorly written in his
Headlines segment of The Tonight Show. Once it was a house for sale in the “hysterical” district of town and another time ad showed a dirt yard with one large boulder as professionally landscaped. Typos and puffery can be funny but it is doubtful that these ads sold the homes

The real estate ads that really bother me are the proclamations to “Sell in 90 Days or We Buy It!” Granted, "I'll buy your house," is an attention getting statement in this sloooooow market. But I caution a potential seller to read the fine print. In most cases, the agent/broker making the claim are headed to the poorhouse with a load of deeds to homes that are un-sellable. No, they are getting people to list their houses but don’t expect too many takers on their buyout offers when all is said and done. They simply don’t have to buy too many houses as few sellers choose to sell to the agent at the outlined terms. (i.e. The homeowner must list the home at what the agent/broker believes to be the market value. If not sold in 90 days, the agent/broker will buy the home for 80-90% of appraised value where the appraisal has been done by an appraiser selected by the agent/broker.) The home is listed at a very competitive price from the start because the guaranteed amount is significantly less than what the home owner would comfortable accepting. It is a rare case where the agent/broker has to actually buy the home. It is a great ploy for getting a listing but not always the best deal for a homeowner.
So what as a home seller what would you prefer… A marketing scheme that gets you to list your home? OR A Good Marketing Plan to get YOUR home SOLD!
Don’t take everything at face value. It is important to ask questions, read the fine print and avoid the gimmicks when deciding who you want to market your most prized possession, your home. Make certain that your home is listed with an agent who has a PLAN to get your property priced correctly and marketed with the expertise necessary to SELL your house in this changed market. Because in reality when it is your home on the market a SOLD sign is the only sign you care about!


Copyright 2010 Teri Eckholm