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Is it possible to over market a home? In this Realtors® opinion, the answer is a profound "YES!"

You will not find many that do not believe the internet has changed the world. The jury is still out on whether it has made it better or worse. The thought makes for great debate, but that will have to happen another time. My job in assembling this article is to assess whether there is such a thing as too much of a good thing. That "thing" as I put it, is home marketing.

You cannot speak of real estate marketing without mentioning the web. The National Association of Realtors® states that a whopping Ninety-two percent of buyers use the internet in some way in their home search process. Another 50% of buyers use a mobile web site or application in their home search. That is a large percentage no doubt. So where are all these people going to look at homes?

According to Inman News, as of February 2014 Zillow.com owned 20.64% of all online home search activity. Realtor.com is a distant second with an 8.67% share of the market while Trulia.com, which is owned by Zillow, has an 8.61% share of the home searchers. A distant fourth is Homes.com with a 3.02% share. In case you are counting, these four websites own 40.94% of all home shopping eyeballs.

The other 59.06% is spread out over hundreds, if not thousands of websites. The real estate over-marketing starts right here.

In my humble opinion, a home is unique. There are no two exactly alike anywhere in the world. It is the kind of uniqueness often reserved for things like antiques, works of art and other rarities. You would not find a rare painting on thousands of websites no matter how badly the owner wanted to sell it. Might second-rate or sketchy websites cheapen the appeal of the offering? Some may believe it is a fake or worse, If they see it too often, they may feel it does not carry the value the seller is asking.

Let's translate the painting scenario into a home sale. A real estate agent tells the owner the home he desires to sell is worth $500,000. The owner agrees but wants to price the home at $550,000, so there is room to negotiate. The agent agrees and lets the seller know the home will be advertised online and in local print ads. The agent acquires photos of the home along with information about the home. The agent now enters the photos and information into the local multi-list (MLS) system. The MLS distributes the information electronically to around 80 publishers, also known as home search portals such as Zillow, Trulia, etc. Many of these publishers have an extended network of hundreds more portal websites that it sends the same home data to as well.

These secondary websites may or may not update information on the home. Your price decrease, if needed, may never happen on many of these websites, and there may be no way to know let alone fix the error.

There are several ways to stop this scenario from starting or getting out of hand. You should understand what opting out of online marketing means and how it can be the right strategy for selling your home. The opt-out status is available to all home sellers in the Trend MLS area that does include Berks County. You can also discuss which websites you want to be a part of with your real estate agent. The agent and their brokerage can assist with the request.

Putting a home on the market and shot gunning it out all over the web can lead to the home being overexposed. This exposure can be especially bad if the home is overpriced and stays on the market for an extended period. Throw in local print advertising, social media, open house every week for 3 months and the real estate over-marketing has begun. It is now that your homes exclusivity starts to fade away. Some may feel that the home has been for sale months when in fact it is only weeks. Once a home becomes "that home" it is difficult to get even market value.

Price your home correctly and market it in the places that will draw the best attention, not the most attention. Work with your agent on a marketing plan that works best and most efficiently for the home you are selling.

Knowledge is power!

Jeffrey C. Hogue