Promoting Your Home For Sale: 5 Tips From A 20+ Year Veteran

You’ve spent time and effort getting your house into shape. It’s looking attractive and is priced (you believe) correctly; now all you need to do is attract some buyers and sell it. Do not underestimate the importance of promoting your home to find buyers.

While buyers might be a ‘hungry’ bunch, they are not detectives.

They are not setting up camp outside your home just in case you decide to put it on the market.

You can’t sell a secret!


5 ways to promote your home like a pro

Make it known by following these five promotion tips.

  1. Use a sign

    A sign out the front of your house tells it like it is. It says, ‘This house is for sale’. It might also use a few words and pictures to make a buyer think ‘Oooh, this is worth a squiz’.

    I’m surprised when I find that vendors are reluctant to use a sign.

    More so, when they’re also super keen to sell. A sign doesn’t degrade your sale or cheapen your image. It shows that you’re marketing savvy and creates awareness.

    Of course, what you display on your sign can make a difference. Have you noticed how some real estate agents use tons of photos (sometimes of themselves) alongside essay-sized descriptions of the house? Who is supposed to read these?

    Unless you happen to have a high amount of foot traffic right outside your house that happens to love wordy descriptions, the lengthy verse isn’t necessary. If a buyer wants to find out more, they’ll remember they saw a sign out the front of your house and, when they’re at home or work, they will search for property online and read all about it from the comfort of their chair.

    What to put on your sign? There’s no need for anything elaborate. All it needs to say is ‘For Sale’ and ‘for open home dates visit www.’ and mention the name of the website where it is listed.

    Remember, the majority of buyers search the internet for potential properties. They are well-used to logging on and reading online. Over 90% of all property searches take place via the internet, mainly the two major property sites – and – which means as helpful as it is, your sign needn’t be elaborate, expensive or take up the entire street.

  2. Craft your headline

    I’ve seen a lot of poorly written house descriptions over the course of my career. While the description isn’t the be-all and end-all when it comes to selling a home, it certainly helps to get buyers through the doors for a first look. There’s an art to writing a decent headline, ask David Ogilvy, the advertising genius who said, “Unless your headline sells your product, you have wasted 90% of your money.’ A headline has to ‘hook’ the reader, make them interested and drive them to find out more. The key to doing this? To write a headline that speaks to them about the benefits of your home.Look at these two headlines about the same property:

    Spacious three-bedroom home in great location

    Amazing value – a five-minute walk to cafes and transport

    While headline #1 speaks about the features of the house, it’s not telling the reader what the benefits are; it’s leaving them to do the hard graft and find out why they want to buy this house.

    My tip is to write a headline and then ask yourself ‘so what?’ In this case, ‘spacious three-bedroom home’ – so what? So, there’s room for families, guests and you’re not all on top of each other. Maybe ‘Enough room for all the family and guests too’ would be better? Also ‘great location’ – so what? ‘Close to the train station’ answers this more succinctly.

    Headline #2, however, does speak of the benefits. Amazing value tells them that they’ll be getting a great deal and, it gives the location rather than a general idea that you could attach to any home.

    Play around with your headlines and ask yourself ‘so what?’ Sometimes the headlines come fast and furious; at other times they are slow to form. Ask family and friends for ideas, write them all down, scribble some out and play around until you nail your headline.

  3. Craft your description to your house buying audience

    When it comes to writing your house description, think carefully about the words you use. To whom are your words aimed? A common mistake I see is when a vendor chooses to describe their home as ‘unique’.

    Unfortunately, this is often the opinion of the owner and is not a ‘carrot’ to dangle to a mass of buyers. Unique makes your home harder to sell. If something is truly unique, it’s only likely to appeal to a small audience. If for instance, your home was used in Lord of the Rings because it’s a hobbit house, then yes, by all means, describe it as unique – there are, after all, a limited number whom this would appeal to as a 24/7 living arrangement.

    It’s more likely that you want to appeal to a larger group of people who fit into one or two niche areas. What I mean by that is that a one-bedroom apartment will appeal to a single person or a couple, not a large family and vice versa.

    To help you word your description, use these three pointers:

    To what specific group of people does my property appeal? Families, singles, couples, house-sharers, students or those who work from home?

    How does my house solve their problems? How will your house make their lives better, more comfortable and give value? For instance, a family home needs space and plenty of rooms; it also requires a couple of bathrooms and outdoor space. Whereas a house for a single person needs all the conveniences of a larger home but with cleverly thought out space.

    Are there enough people in this niche? Going back to the hobbit house. Are there enough hobbits in your local area or, do you need to widen your appeal so that you have a chance of finding a buyer? For instance, a hobbit home might also appeal to people who are looking for a holiday rental or pied-a-terre for investment purposes.

    Using the right words to sell a property can make all the difference. If in doubt about how to shape your text, think about P- A – S

    Problem – Agitate – Solve

    Problem: Outline the buyer’s current problem(s) – e.g. the family has grown out of their current home, their house is too far from local schools etc.

    Agitate: What does the problem mean to the buyer? – You are constantly on top of each other, and there’s no room outside to play, so Johnny needs to be taken to the park five times a day. If you’re not in the right zone for good schools, the kids will end up in a not-so-good school, or you’ll have to pay for private schooling.

    Solve: How can your property solve these problems? – This home has a large, enclosed garden where children can play all day long. The house is in the catchment zone for a high-achieving school.

  4. Go beyond the location when promoting

    Many buyers are looking in a particular area; it’s where they want to live for a variety of reasons such as work, schools, nearby shops and cafes, close to friends – the list goes on.

    However, some buyers struggle to find their dream home in their preferred location and have to widen their search and look elsewhere for a house that ticks all the other boxes, which is why it’s a wise move to also promote your home outside of your local area.

    Buyers tend to have certain habits, for instance, they choose a location, then they search by house type and size and then, by the price. In just four-seven seconds, a buyer can determine whether your house is worth any more of their time, and by that I mean clicking a link, reading a description and looking at a few pictures.

    In a survey of 1,000 home buyers, 54% were open to widening their search area if it meant finding their ‘dream’ home while only 26% would not consider buying in another area.

    As you can see, the evidence is in favour of buyers being willing to search outside of their preferred area.

    So, if you are hoping to optimise your listing, list it beyond your immediate area.

  5. Promote your house within your network

    Your house is promoted on two large real estate sites, you’ve got a board out the front, you’ve written appealing headlines and body copy that talks to your buyer, now what? Tell your friends, neighbours, work colleagues and anyone who will listen!

    The more people who know about your house being on the market, the more the news will spread and who knows who will be listening? When your neighbour tells their friend, their friend might tell another and so on. Your promotional network expands beyond your control, and it could land you a buyer.

    Some vendors feel uncomfortable telling their neighbours that they are selling, but let’s face it, they are going to find out soon enough when a sign goes up, and cars pull up outside to give the place a once over.

    Get the word out there and get the promotional tongue wagging.

Your home hasn’t sold? The REAL reasons properties don’t sell & what to do about it

How many reasons or excuses can your rattle off as to why your home didn’t or took an eternity to sell?

Phil Spencer, the likable Pom real estate ‘guru’ says in the trailer of his show, “There’s a thousand reasons why a home doesn’t sell.” Sorry Phil, you’ve overshot the truth by about 997 reasons.

You’ve heard it here ladies and gentlemen, there are actually only THREE, well three and a half, reasons a home or property languishes on the market or frustration gets the better of the sellers and they take it off the market.

Whether you are selling your home privately or through an agent, these are the immutable laws of whether or not you are going to be slapping that SOLD sticker up or, like a beaten favourite, dragging the ‘For Sale’ sign in and using the backside of it to advertise the upcoming school fete.

The best thing about these immutable laws is that they are controlled by one person or group of people – the sellers, the owners of the home or property being sold. Yep – you have total control over these laws and can fix or adjust them at any time. And to make it easy to remember, they all start with the letter ‘P’.

PROMOTION: Reaching and attracting buyers

You can’t sell a secret. Always think of promotion (advertising) like this –

Who is the likely buyer(s) for my home? Where will I find them?

A hint for part one is, they are likely to be just like you were at the time you bought the home, and part two – it’s nearly ALL online baby!

Buyers follow property, not agents and 95{5be8b5650852dcf96a34828ba5a88d9285f6c7439f02c8133f6b05e7d943eaff} of those buyers are searching, researching and shopping online. The advertising resources you need to promote your property are almost identical if you decide to sell your own home or hire the services of an agent.

Always think BIG online as it costs a fraction of print media which now only accounts for less than 5{5be8b5650852dcf96a34828ba5a88d9285f6c7439f02c8133f6b05e7d943eaff} of total buyer enquiry.

PRESENTATION: Impressing buyers

Is the home or property Clean, Uncluttered, Tidy, and Smelling nice? – C.U.T.S.

There is no quicker way to repel a buyer than to present an untidy, cluttered, unloved home. If you don’t show that you love it, the buyer won’t either.

If it doesn’t CUTS it, you are definitely handicapping the chance of a quick, well priced sale.

Inside and out, it needs to look its absolute best.

PORTRAYAL: Attracting and meeting the expectation of buyers

Portrayal is the half a reason – extending on both presentation and promotion.

Do the images (photos) and description match what you have to offer?

Did your 16 year old niece who studied photography at TAFE for three months take six brilliant shots of the birdbath? Is the washing up still on the sink of that ‘Chef’s kitchen’ that you had installed a year ago?

One of the biggest repellents for buyers is too few photos, or poorly taken images. Four is NOT enough and thirty four is too many. The optimum number to show online (where ever buyer looks) is around 12-15 shots.

I strongly recommend hiring pro- property photographers and make sure they don’t ‘overstate’ your home. Buyers hate turning up to what they believe is the Taj Mahal and finding the Taj Mahole. Be honest and accurate with your portrayal.

Do you want to hear the biggest and often the most ignored reason why properties take ages to sell or simply don’t?!

PRICE!: Attracting and providing value for buyers

No matter if a market is hot or cold. If you over price your home or property, based on the informative power of the web, buyers will give your home a wide berth and continue to look for better value amongst your competition. And always remember this – you will always have competition.

This has been proven time and time again. Price can stop a train.

This one law would account for over 90{5be8b5650852dcf96a34828ba5a88d9285f6c7439f02c8133f6b05e7d943eaff} of stagnant or unsold properties.

A lovely client of mine called just a few days ago and asked the $64,000 question, “Craig, why hasn’t my home sold? I haven’t had anyone come to see it?”

We agreed that the other 2.5 laws had been satisfied, however, it was bleedingly obvious that the seller had overshot the runway on price, although she did try to reach for some of Phil Spencer’s imaginary 996.5 reasons why a home doesn’t sell.

She was priced at $640,000 and we agreed that a change to ‘Buyers from $600,000’ might help things along. We made the change. Within 24 hours she had her first genuine enquiry.

That horrible term ‘Drop the Price’ does not need to be used – ever. Adjusting the pricing strategy is what it’s all about. In most cases an adjustment of 2-3{5be8b5650852dcf96a34828ba5a88d9285f6c7439f02c8133f6b05e7d943eaff} and a change of how you express the price is all it takes to get buyers moving.

I have written so much about this very subject, and this hugely important law can have significant impacts on the expectations and psyche of sellers everywhere. For Agent in a Box members, you will find a video on the subject in the members area.

So there you have it, 3.5 reasons why a home or property doesn’t sell. These laws won’t change. Observe them and your next real estate selling experience will be much happier and smoother.

When SOLD isn’t SOLD!

When do you tell the world that you have sold your own home?

It appears that many of you, and a good proportion of agents, want to jam on the ‘under contract’ sticker on the For Sale Sign and splash the same message all over the online property sites before the weight challenged lady actually sings.

What do I mean by that?

Even when we have shaken hands in agreement with a buyer and then signed the contract, in the vast majority of cases, there are conditions that have to be satisfied on the contract before the buyer is actually ‘locked and loaded’. Plus there is a mandatory cooling off period for buyers who have purchased under private treaty, rather than auction.

If a buyer purchases under Auction rules, whack up the SOLD sign. They own the property, purely waiting for completion or settlement date.

In some states this ‘locked and loaded’ milestone is called deeming the contract ‘unconditional’ or ‘exchanged’. This is the moment where, say, the buyer’s finance is approved or they are satisfied with their building inspection or both, or some other condition of purchase has been satisfied.

This means the buyer is now fully committed by law, and trying to leave the contract would put the buyer’s deposit at risk and followed up by possible legal action instigated by the seller.

Prematurely announcing to the world that the deal is done is a common mistake made by sellers and agents alike.

The big question is – What happens if the buyer pulls out because a condition of the contract could not be met or satisfied? Your home or property is back on the market!

If you have ‘SOLD’ or ‘Under Contract’ plastered everywhere, how many potential buyers have you scared off because they thought the property was actually sold- done and dusted?

Until any contract is locked in, you should and must continue to take enquiry from potential buyers just in case the worst happens – it falls over.

Simply tell them that you have a conditional agreement and will contact them should it fail to complete. The majority of buyers will understand this and be encouraged by the fact that someone else thought the property was good value and laid down an offer. This is the herd mentality at work in the seller’s favour.

I call this, ‘placing buyers on the bench’. It is a vital tactic whether selling your own home privately or using an agent.

If your current contract falls over you can go straight to the list of buyers you spoke to during the ‘conditional’ period.

Yes, it is very exciting when that deal comes together, but put that itchy ‘Sold’ finger in your pocket until that contract is set in concrete.

When is the best time to sell your home or property

Spring? Summer? Autumn? Winter?

When is the best time to sell your home or property?

It might not be when you think.

For many, a whole lot of factors have to line up, both man made and naturally created, to set up the perfect environment to sell a home and obtain a premium price.

The sun needs to be shining, birds chirping, Jupiter aligning with Mars, hire the Agent with the black BMW or red skirt, non-one buys in Winter and Spring is where it’s at. Is it?

Unfortunately, as I explained in my last offering, all of these almost superstitious and urban myths, pale in comparison to simple and rigorous observation of the three basic and adjustable components of any sale – whether you are selling your own home privately or using an Agent – Presentation, Promotion and Price.

Get these things right and the time of year doesn’t have too much bearing on your sale.

I’ve heard many people say that Christmas/New Year is a terrible time to be on the market. Well how come internet views skyrocket from about the 27th of December and my phone goes into meltdown with eager buyers wanting to see listed properties?

So which month actually sees the most activity? In other words which month do more properties go under offer or contract?

How many of you said, September, October or November?

BZZZZZT! Sorry folks. The Million Dollars stays with Eddie.

Too many home owners have a misconception that Spring is when it all happens. My question is, “why would you want to put your home or property up for sale when everybody else is?” There is a little thing called competition and the more there is, the harder you have to work and the more acutely aware you have to be about value (your price).

October and November come in a disappointing fourth and fifth respectively.

Ok, I’ll put you out of your misery. Who said March? Yep, March is a narrow winner from would you believe May?!

Coming in third is July, with the Spring months missing out on the medals.

So based on a 2009/2010 study carried out by RP Data for the first ten years of the 21st Century (no new data is currently available) the rankings for Total Sales by Month are…

1. March
2. May
3. July
4. October
5. November
6. August
7. February
8. September
9. April/June
10. December
11. January

This is information can help those of you who may chose to sell your own home privately. However, my experience tells me that when you are really ready to sell, buyers a really ready to buy!

Present it well

Promote it widely

Price it right