It amazes me that so many real estate agents think that all they need to do to market their listings is to put the home on the MLS.
Though most buyers are working with a real estate agent when they are ready to buy a home, the vast majority of them continue looking on public websites scouring the sites for new listings that may have slipped through the cracks.
When I start working with a buyer, I set them up for a automatic MLS search that continually checks for new listings that meet their criteria. However, I also encourage them to take a look at the Home Search on my website which allows them to search for St. Louis homes for sale on their own. There is even an option that lets visitors find foreclosures using a map search.
Marketing in the Internet Era
Since buyers are searching for homes all over the internet, it’s important that my listings are advertised everywhere that buyers will search. My listings automatically show up on EVERY St. Louis area agent and real estate company website that displays MLS listings (meaning you WILL find my home listings on Coldwell Banker Gundaker, Prudential and Re/Max websites!)
I also realize that sometimes buyers find homes because a friend or relative saw an ad and thought of them. In order to reach the people that aren’t actively looking for homes, I post information about my listings to social media sites such as Twitter and Facebook.
Single Property Websites:
Each one of my home listings get’s a single property website through vFlyer. Not only am I able to direct people on Twitter and Facebook to these sites to check out my listings, but vFlyer uses the information I enter to syndicate the ad to all of the top real estate advertising sites including Zillow, Yahoo, Oodle and Trulia. Plus, vFlyer gives me a modified version of the website so I can post eye-catching ads to craigslist (which I post twice a week!).
The site even gives me a profile page which shows the vFlyers for all of my current listings.
Each of my listings also gets a virtual tour. The virtual tours are featured on the MLS and my website home search, plus can be used to promote the listing on Twitter and Facebook.
UPDATE 4/24/10: I have upgraded the video and virtual tour services to my listing clients. Check out this post to see more information on using video to sell your home.
Realtor.com Upgraded Listings:
Home listings that have multiple pictures get more attention from buyers than listings without any pictures or only a few pictures. Since Realtor.com is one of the most visited consumer real estate websites, I pay for an upgraded account so that my homes for sale display large pictures, and more of them, along with allowing me to customize the listings with additional information.
Plus, every time one of my listed homes is opened, all of my other homes for sale are prominently featured in a sidebar.
(Yes…I haven’t figured out how to scroll down the page when creating a screen shot to show you the whole thing!)
These upgrades definitely gain my listings additional attention. I can even track the results of how the ads are doing. My St. Peters ranch at 981 Whispering Hills, only on the market for 22 days, has gotten lots of attention on Realtor.com.
Advertising on the Internet Isn’t Optional
The time when you could just enter a home for sale into the MLS and wait for buyers is gone. Buyers are no longer simply relying on their agent to identify homes they might like. They are actively involved in the process, searching all over the internet.
If you are selling your home, you need to make sure that your home listing is showing up wherever buyers might be.
Make sure that your home is on the major sites…and go see what the ad looks like for yourself. Do a search on Trulia, Oodle, Zillow and Realtor.com. Even better, Google your street address putting the address in quotes to see what comes up (such as “981 Whispering Ridge”).
If your agent isn’t advertising your home all over the internet, you might want to consider finding a new agent. If you are in the St. Louis area and need an agent to help you sell your home, I’d welcome a chance to talk with you about the additional services I provide for my listing clients. In the meantime, check out my FAQ for Sellers.