Over the past decade, I've managed to sell a lot of properties without the assistance of a real estate agent. These were properties that I owned and was selling in my “limited capacity” as a real estate investor.
After going through the process time and time again, I've learned that there are some fundamental principles that (when utilized correctly) can have an enormous impact on how quickly a property ends up selling.
This is important because once you wrap your mind around these ideas, you will start selling properties faster than you ever thought possible.
Sound exciting? Let's dive in…
1. Get Great Pictures (And Video)
At first glance, this is pretty obvious to most people (I can't imagine why anyone wouldn't include images of their property in a listing). That being said – I don't think most people realize just how influential a good visual portrayal of their property can be.
If you want your property to stand out among the others in your market – it needs to look remarkable.
I'm not talking about going through the motions and getting your usual, boring, mundane pictures with terrible lighting and nothing that pops…
Think about it – if you stand to make a hefty sum of money on a property, isn't it worth paying someone a few hundred dollars to visit your property and take some mind-blowing, professional photos AND put together some great video footage of the place?
A good visual representation of your property can mean the difference between selling NOW (at your full asking price) vs. selling 24 months from now (after you've cut your price in half). Which option sounds better to you??
Especially if you're working with a high-end property – it can be very much worth your while to invest some money into creating a high-end appearance in your listing (and by the way, this is what most billionaire real estate investors do… just check out any of Donald Trump's websites).
I know, you're probably thinking this is way more trouble than it's worth but TRUST ME – it's not as difficult as you might think. Check out this sample video I created with shots that a hired photographer from Craigslist took for me:
Pretty good, right? All the equipment and skills required to create this kind of video production are 100% attainable by people like you and me. Is it worth the additional time/investment? It all depends. If you can factor this cost into your overall project and still come out with the minimum profit that you needed in the first place, I would say YES, absolutely!
And keep in mind – you don't need to spend thousands to do this. Even if you're working on an investment property remotely (which is how most of my projects work these days), you could also hire someone to create a video like this for a very reasonable investment:
You get the idea.
2. Write A Solid Headline
When you're listing your properties on websites like Craigslist, Backpage, or eBay Classifieds, (which you should always be doing, btw) it is imperative that your listing has an eye-catching headline.
In many cases, this is literally your only shot at getting a buyer to notice you, so you'd better not be bashful about what you're bringing to the table.
There are a lot of books and blog posts that have been written on this exact subject and it's importance simply cannot be overstated. When you've only got a split second to catch someone's attention and engage them to click on your listing – your headline is EVERYTHING… I'm not kidding!
Take a careful assessment of your property. What are it's positives and negatives and how can you play off of each? Try saying something that will make people do a double-take! Can you make it funny? Can you make it stick out like a sore thumb amongst all the other boring headlines?
Take a look at these headlines and tell me, based SOLELY ON THE WORDS… which ones would you click on to find out more?
- 258 State Rd Rockville MS – Open House This Sunday
- CHECK THIS OUT! Amazing 3-Stall Garage w/ a Free House Attached!!!
- 4 BEDROOM COUNTRY HOME LAND CONTRACT TERMS
- ARE YOU SERIOUS?! 25 Acres of Wooded Land on Lake Geneva for HOW MUCH??
- Handyman Special. Priced To Sell. This One Won't Last.
- FIRE YOUR HANDYMAN! Move In Today – This House Is Ready To Rock!!!
- New Construction in Collinsville Westbrook Homes Development
As you can see – a good headline can mean the difference between people seeing your listing or NOT seeing your listing. Fortunately for you – most sellers have absolutely no imagination when it comes to creating headlines that catch the eye so use this to your advantage and make an effort to shine in this area.
3. Give Good Information
Once somebody clicks on your listing – you'd better have some details for them to dig into. If someone expresses interest in your property – it will do you no good if you don't make all of the pertinent details instantly and easily accessible for your prospective buyers.
Remember this post? There's a reason we do our homework before we buy a property… we do it so that when it comes time to sell, we can very quickly roll out the most important details and display them for our buyers to see. We don't want to make them work for it. We want to give them all of the information they need in order to say “YES, I WANT TO BUY“.
It also doesn't hurt if you're able to write your listings well. Good information is important, but you can take this one step further by writing in such a way that your property actually sounds irresistible. Allow me to illustrate this for you…
Example 1 – Typical Listing:
new furnace, air conditioning unit. all appliances includes. Huge deck off back of home. walk out in basement to back yard which is fenced in. Lots of updates done. 1 stall attached garage with finished breezeway.
(Note: This is a completely random listing that I copied and pasted from Craigslist. No editing was done – this was literally the first thing I clicked on. The point is to show you terrible most people are at writing property listings.)
Example 2 – Well-Written Listing:
You'll love this peaceful and cozy bungalow overlooking beautiful Riverside Park. Spend your summer mornings on this front porch with a fresh cup of coffee and your winter evenings snuggled up by the stone fireplace with a good book. This is the home you've been dreaming of! Situated in a friendly community on the outskirts of Robertson Township, just thirty minutes from exciting Springfield.
I'll be completely honest with you… it took me about 10 minutes to write those 4 sentences above. It takes real effort to be creative and think of descriptive words that will actually make your property sound appealing!
Now the real question is, was it worth those extra 10 minutes? You tell me… without seeing any other pictures, videos, comps, numbers, or any other hard data – which of those 2 descriptions sounded better to you?
The vast majority of sellers are TERRIBLE at writing property listings (as illustrated by the first example above). Again, this is great news for you because it means you'll have the opportunity to stand out and look WAY better than all the other amateurs in your market.
4. Price It Right
If you don't have your property priced appropriately, you'll be fighting an uphill battle. This can be a tough aspect of selling any property because pricing can be a very subjective thing.
Once you've taken the time to understand what your property's full market value is (more insights on that here), I'd suggest that you start by listing your property for approx 10% – 20% BELOW that number (and the lower you can go, the faster you're likely to sell it).
When it comes to selling anything – one key to remember is that people aren't motivated to pay the exact price of the value they're receiving. They want the value to EXCEED the price they're paying (and in most cases – they expect nothing less). If you want to create a listing that buyers simply can't refuse – you need to make them believe (in a legitimate and compelling way) that this isn't their average real estate transaction… they are truly getting in on the deal of a lifetime!
Remember, when you're deciding what to list your property for, you need to keep your greed under control. I know this is easier said than done, but the fact is – you need to leave some meat on the bone for your buyer. If you bought this property for the right price in the first place, there is no reason you can't pass some free real estate equity on to your buyer.
At the end of the day, a great price is usually going to be your most powerful selling proposition and this is what will drive people to buy from you. Be sure that you're delivering excessive value to your buyers and most importantly… make sure they're able to see it.
5. Strong and Relentless Promotion
At the end of the day – all of the above-mentioned fundamentals will mean nothing until you get your listing in front of people. A LOT of people.
You can start by taking advantage of as many free listing services as you're able to (some cool ideas are mentioned here). You should also be building and communicating with an ever-growing buyers list.
Depending on your situation, you may want to list your property with a real estate agent and don't forget, there are all kinds of paid real estate listing sites that can reach a much larger (and serious) audience.
Promotion is the 5th (and probably the most important) fundamental that makes this list come full circle. There's no point in promoting until you have an awesome listing to show the world, and there's no point creating an awesome listing if you're not going to promote it. These things go hand-in-hand.
(Bonus) 6. Offer Seller Financing
It's no secret that Seller Financing is a huge money maker. A lot of investors use it because it can multiply their profitability many times over, but perhaps the more important reason is that it's also an extremely potent selling tool that can open up the doors of opportunity for A LOT of buyers who would otherwise be completely unable to buy your property.
Access to capital (aka – CASH) is something that many would-be real estate buyers are going to struggle with. They may have a few thousand bucks in their bank account, but coming up with your FULL asking price today can be a serious challenge. They're the right person. It's the right time. They want to pay your full asking price… but they don't have access the the cash and/or financing to pull it off.
Most sellers don't offer Seller Financing with their properties (because they don't know how to or they simply aren't able to), but this is something that you can do – especially if you own your property free and clear (which btw, is easier than you'd think when you're buying for the right price).
If and whenever possible, you should absolutely be offering seller financing on the properties you have listed. Trust me – it makes sense for a number of reasons.
Putting It All Together
When you execute these items well, you will start knocking it out of the park with your sales efforts. It can certainly be a challenge to perform all of these things flawlessly (most people will find that they are more gifted in one or two of these areas, rather than in ALL of them) – but even so, all 5 of these items are extremely important to do well. If you fail at one of them, your ability to sell properties fast will start to be significantly hindered.
Take the time to figure out what you're good at, understand where you're coming up short, and don't be afraid to outsource the things that you can't do yourself (it's actually pretty fun, I do it all the time).