Advertising Plan
Sequim For Sale By Owner, Sequim FSBO
Port Angeles For Sale By Owner, Port Angeles FSBO

How do you advertise a Sequim or Port Angeles Home for sale in this slow market? That is the question. Get the answer wrong, and two bad things can happen to you:

1. You could sit on a house for sale for a year and still not sell it. That is a major non-event that disrupts lives and plans.

2. Even worse, you could actually sell your home and lose many thousands of dollars.

So how do you develop a powerful and effective marketing plan that will actually sell your home in this market? This assignment is far too big to tackle in one article, so this is the first in a short series that will answer the question with solid principles that work.

Most home owners who decide to sell their home will either list it with a real estate agent or become a FSBO (pronounced "fizbo"). The term almost sounds derogatory, but no offense is intended by the term FSBO. It is the common nickname given to a for-sale-by-owner and has been for at least three decades. The point is simply that either your Realtor has to be an expert in marketing to sell your home, or if you are a FSBO, you must be the expert in marketing.

In my 30 years in real estate, first as a Realtor and Asssociate Broker in Alaska in the mid '70's, then as a real estate attorney for 20 years, and now again as a Broker, I've seen far too many Realtor's and FSBO's try to sell real estate who had no apparent clue how to market the property. Remember the saying, "He knows just enough to be dangerous." That cliche definitely applies to those who would market real estate today. I think most home owners understand that just because a person gets their real estate license, that does not mean they have mastered any aspect of real estate. It just means they've taken some an online course and passed an exam. That's all it means. Far too many people put their life's investment in their home into the hands of a housewife who gets her real estate license. Are you willing to do that with your home and all the money you have at stake?

First, does your Realtor, or do you as a FSBO, have a marketing plan? When it comes to marketing and advertising your home, shooting from the hip from week to week is like deciding to climb Mount Everest with no plan and without ever having trained to climb in extreme conditions. The analogy is not perfect, I know, but the point is valid. Selling your home is not risking your life, but it is risking all that money represented by your equity. That seems to me to be a very substantial risk. Having not just a decent advertising plan, but having an outstanding plan just makes sense.

Second, have you laid out the advertising options, and do you know what advertising methods are effective and which ones are ineffective? Many Realtors and many FSBO's don't know ALL of the available advertising tactics today, and many don't know how to compare the effectiveness of each tactic. I'm constantly surprised at how many brokers are still using old advertising techniques that have long since lost their effectiveness. Did you know that billboards were popular in the 50's and 60's? This is 2008. Some are still using billboards. More about billboards in a later edition.

It is critical to know how print media ranks today in selling real estate. What works and doesn't work? Newpaper classifieds? Newspaper listing photos in the Sunday issue? Newpaper inserts? Flyers? Mass mailings? Niche magazines, like travel and visitor guides? Chamber of Commerce monthly newsletter inserts? Mailings to other Realtors? "Just Listed" postal cards? Real estate magazines, such as Homes & Land, The Real Estate Book, or even the Little Nickel? Still there are other options for classifieds. What about FSBO websites? What about the local MLS? How effective is that and what role does it play in coordination with the other tactics used?

Third, how important is the Internet? There are many options here, and much that 98% of all Realtors do NOT know. I would include FSBO's in that category, too. The world is changing, and the Internet has changed the way business is done. There's no doubt about that. The National Association of Realtors' extensive national survey concluded that over 80% of all home buyers start their search on the Internet. This statement is not even the tip of the iceberg. There is much more to discuss on this subject.

Third, do you know the role that advertising plays with respect to pricing and negotiating your best price? In real estate sales, everything you do in the beginning and all that happens to closing is tied together. Without a master plan and the knowledge and experience to put it all together with the advertising plan, you have an incomplete and perhaps a disjointed effort. Again, that could cost you dearly in the end.

Fourth, what substantive and procedural issues must be addressed in your advertising plan? For example, once having decided where and when to advertise, what scripts will you use? Words really matter, and how you describe your home is everything, almost. What about photographs? My analysis of photos in the MLS tell me that 80% of all MLS listings have terrible photographs and not enough photographs. Everyone is visual when it comes to buying a home. Getting outstanding photos and knowing how to use them is vital to your success. We'll also discuss videos and much more.

In this series, you can comment or ask questions. By all means, do that. It would be my pleasure to help answer or clarify what I write about.

Next in this series: Traditional Advertising - What Works and Doesn't

To read this series, start with the first article here on the Sequim Real Estate Blog.