Ok so in part 1 of this article we learned how to find the value of our house that we want to sell quickly. Now we’re going to learn how to market the hell out of your property so you get the word out there to the masses!
Market Your House Like Crazy
Your house being for sale at the prefect price doesn’t mean anything if nobody in the world knows that it’s for sale, does it?
So here’s what you need to do to market your house and to tell the entire world (or at least folks in your area) that it’s for sale.
- Break out your digital camera, cell phone, disposable camera or what you have and take pics of your house. Outside front, back, side, yard, living room, dining room, kitchen, etc. you get the picture. Common says tells ya that folks want to see what your house looks like and yes, even before they walk into it even. Please take in focus, decent looking shots. Don’t forget to get your darn finger out of the way!
- Now pictures are a necessity but if you have access to a video camera you have got to take advantage of that. Honestly, in today’s day and age, I’d say even video is a necessity. So just have all of your bases covered and try your best to take pictures and video of the home. Just do a walk through of the home with your video camera so folks can see the inside of it without even being there.
- Place a for sale sign in your front yard and rear and side yards if you have them. I get mine from Dirt Cheap Signs but you can get a few For Sale By Owner signs at Lowe’s, Home Depot or a local hardware store if you prefer. Make sure you get the 18 x 24’s and make sure you pick up some metal stakes (get extra to use in the next step) so you can stick them into the ground. By the way, please do not under any circumstances forget to put your phone number on your signs when you get them home. (Sounds silly to say that doesn’t it? But some folks have done it.)
- Now here is a tactic that will get your phone to ring off the hook with potential buyers. You need to buy anywhere from 10 to 50 blank corrugated plastic signs. They should be 18 x 12 in size and they can be any color you want, but white probably works the best and is the cheapest. After you get them home you’ll need to get a thick, black, permanent marker. When you have that you want to write in your own handwriting with the marker on the signs the following:
3 bed/2 bath House Must Sell! Pottstown Area, $150k 610-555-1212
Of course, you’re going to change out the information above with your appropriate information for your home. If you house is a fixer upper try something like this:
3 bed/2 bath Needs Work! Must Sell Quickly. Area, Price, Phone Number
For wholesale deals try:
Cheap House 45k CASH. 215-555-5555.
You can use any combination of wording, but make it seem URGENT that you need to sell. Now you need to place these signs all around your neighborhood. Put them at popular intersections, at popular stores (like Walmart, WaWa, etc.) and just put them in heavy traffic locations. You want extras because some of these will get taken down, some will blow away and some will just become dirty and ugly so you’ll want to replace them with fresh ones. I promise you that you will get calls.
You can buy your blank signs from a place like Dirt Cheap Signs or they have them a little pricier at Lowe’s and Home Depot or Steph over at Flip This Wholesaler recommends Laird Plastics. I haven’t used them personally but I do have a call into them.
- Next you’re going to want to create what’s called a Postlet. Go to Postlets and create an account. It is free. You’ll want to create a postlet about your house. Post your pictures, list all of the features, write up a nice description. People want to know about square footage, school districts, beds and baths, taxes, etc. You can upgrade to Postlets Plus and this will allow you to post more pictures on your postlet and also allow you to post a video. Every little bit can help you market your house.
- Now, you want to go to Craigslist and post your house for sale there too. This is free also. You’re going to want to post in the portion of Craigslist that’s for your area. Find your area on Craigslist then go to housing and real estate for sale. Follow the steps, it’s pretty easy. Also, there is a craigslist section in your Postlets, so you can merely click that link and copy and paste the code they give you into your craigslist post and a nice little ad will appear. Don’t forget that you’re craigslist ad is NOT posted until you get the email from them and publish it. That is the final step.
Those few things should get your phone ringing, but since you are saving thousands by not using a real estate agent you should really market even more. So here are some extra things you can do that will cost some money.
- Place a classified ad in your local paper. There are all kinds of papers that will work. You can place an ad in a daily paper, weekly paper, monthly paper, throw away papers like the Penny Pincher, etc. You can even try them all if you like. The smaller papers will be more cost effective. And keep in mind that you do not want to just run the ad for a day. That’s a waste of time and money. I suggest running it at least from Thursday to Monday for a month. See what kind of action you get and go from there. If you are under major budget constraints then you can work out a game plan that works with your pocket book. Generally, your ad will look something like this:
Downingtown, 3 bd/2 ba twin for sale by owner. New roof, central air. Must sell. 610-555-1212
Of course, insert the info that is appropriate to your home. You can even use the same type of ad that you hand wrote on your blank corrugated plastic signs. Remember that with classified ads you are pretty much paying per word. One word of caution: don’t try to create crazy abbreviations for your ad so you can fit more words in. A lot of folks may not know what your abbreviation means so it may confuse them and keep them from calling. The classified ad rep from the paper will sometimes suggest abbreviations for words to make things fit, just be cautious that it is a standard abbreviation that most folks know what it means like br for bedrooms or ba for bathrooms. Don’t get fancy with abbreviations, trust me.
- Post an ad on ForSaleByOwner.com They have all different pricing levels starting at $89.95 (which I don’t like because it’s a monthly fee) all the way up to an $899 one time fee. The basic plan is pretty decent, it gets you an unlimited listing on their site until it’s sold and an awesome thing about their ads is that you get a private voicemail system (so you don’t have to give out your home phone number!)
Just so you know, the Gold package for a $699 one time fee is definitely worth checking out. It’s the cheapest of the packages that gets you listed on the MLS (multiple listing service, which is what all real estate agents use to list properties and find properties for their buyers) and on realtor.com Please keep in mind though, if you go with an MLS option, you are going to have to pay a commission to the agent that brings you a buyer (typically between 2 to 3%, but commissions are negotiable and you state when you pick your package the commission you are willing to pay.) Keep in mind, if you make the commission too low for the agent with a potential buyer they may not even show your house. So, personally, I’d stay within the 2 to 3% mark.
If you’re wondering do you have to list your property on the MLS for sale, the answer is no. I just want to make you aware that the MLS is what over 32,000 real estate professionals in this area use to view properties for sale. That’s a HUGE market that you’d be missing. But it’s ok, the basic package will at least get you in front of folks who are searching for a house to buy for themselves.
- This marketing method may be a little more than most of you want to get in to, but you can send out postcards to either folks in your area or to renters in your area. For folks who live in the area you can send out sort of a “Pick Your Own Neighbors” type of post card and let them know your house is for sale. For renters, you may just want to let them know how easily they can get into your home. Get 50% off postcards here!
- You’re going to most likely want to purchase a list of renters and homeowners in your area from a place like InfoUsa. For homeowners in your area you can actually get their names and addresses from public records and that is free, especially if you go to the courthouse. Just get a simple House For Sale postcard or Why Rent When You Can Own Postcard? And send them out.
- A free alternative to use is the same kind of House for Sale or Why Rent When You Can Own ad for the postcard above but print it out and make flyers at home. (Btw, if you are savvy with your computer you can even print out postcards.) A flyer that I like to put together to hand out to the neighbors on the same block as a house I have for sale is the “Pick Your Own Neighbor” flyer. Folks love that and you never know? They could have a friend or family member that is looking to move into the neigborhood. Your general flyers you can post in laundromats, grocery stores, around rental apartments, etc.
- One last free marketing tip that I forgot to mention is word of mouth. Don’t forget to tell everyone you know that your house is for sale. You never know who knows someone that is looking to buy.
Ok so now you know how to figure out what your house is worth and market your house to find a buyer……now what the heck do you do when the calls start coming in? We’ll find out in part 3 of this series.