If I Had a Nickel For Every Time I Was Asked….

“Internalize the Golden Rule of sales that says: All things being equal, people will do business with, and refer business to, those people they know, like and trust.” – Bob Burg

It seems as though people are truly fascinated by real estate.  I believe that TV channels such as HGTV and others have created an “image” or stereotype of a successful realtor, and showcase marketing techniques guaranteed to sell your palatial home – like renting a Rolls-Royce to park outside a home, to outlandishly themed parties that might include a tiger.  In fact, Toronto’s “The Star” newspaper reported that several high-end homes (that are not foreclosures) were being auctioned off, rather than simply being advertised on MLS.  Interestingly, it was not until the end of the article that it briefly mentioned that one property was soon to have its second auction as the original deal fell through and failed to complete. Recently, the Province newspaper reported that a company was planning on having an auction sale for Vancouver properties even though they have not had success in BC previously with this style of marketing real estate.

Another high-end Toronto property sold at auction and then the buyer had second thoughts and refused to complete.  Later, this home did sell on MLS, but for LESS than the cost to build it.  The newspaper reported that the biggest success for these auction sales in Toronto so far has been for a 9,000 sf home in Mississauga which sold successfully (and actually completed) for $4 million – $1.25 million LESS than the buyer had paid for it in 2010.  It would seem that the jury is still out on the viability of an auction-style marketing plan, if the collapse rate is so much higher than a sale negotiated between 2 professional and high-trained real estate agents.  After selling many $1 million+ properties in the Nanaimo area over the past few years, I cannot recall ANY subject-free deals that our McCullough Team put together that failed to complete.

What differences are there when it comes to marketing a high-end property compared to a typical family home?  Often times, discretion is a key criteria for high-end property sellers.  They may have professions whereby they would prefer clients not know where they live, or lead a very private life by design.  Many times, sellers do not want people to know that their home is even for sale, and request no signage at all on the property.  It becomes very important for a listing agent to have the necessary connections to reach potential buyers.  Open houses are a definite “NO”, so other options might include hosting a catered luncheon tour for agents who work with high-end real estate buyers, creating a personal opportunity to allow them to preview the property for their potential buyers.

High-end buyers also come from other countries, so offering listings that can be translated into other languages is a big selling feature for many buyers looking for a unique property.  Our McCullough Team offers professionally narrated virtual tours that are available in Mandarin and Japanese for this reason.  RE/MAX also boasts a global website with all listings that allow a buyer to convert the listing price into whatever currency they are using, which allows a more fluid form of communication to buyers.

Staging and professional photography is essential for capturing the essence of a high-end property.  This really hit home with me when I was reviewing several listings on MLS that were listed for $500,000+.  It quickly became apparent that buyers relied on the photos to give them a “first impression” of the home, and realtors who had taken photos on their Iphones,  or not ensured that clutter was removed before photos were taken, cost their clients the opportunity to have their home shown as a result.  Several times, I had to share with a buyer that a home actually was much nicer than the photos, and had I not been an agent who is very active in the high-end market, I may not have been able to use this knowledge to help my client find the best home to suit her needs.

I think that realtors who do not use technology to professionally promote their higher-end listings directly affect their clients’ chances of receiving showing requests and possible offers as a result.  I believe that everyone’s home is their castle, and this is why our McCullough Team ensures that every listing we take (regardless of list price) is given the opportunity to have a professional photos taken (unless tenanted or for some other reason), and professional virtual tours or a drone video tour done.  It really is a pet peeve of mine when listing photos have garbage sitting in the yard, pets sitting on the couch, or blurry images of what I can only assume to be a living room.  The worst mistake a real estate agent can make is to simply not upload ANY listings and rely on the write-up to “sell” the home to buyers.

When it comes time to sell your home, things need to be as perfect as possible.  Having a professional agent to guide you through the process, provide you with feedback and ensure consistent updates is critical.  If I had a nickel for every time I was asked about the various real estate TV shows and if they represent how real estate is really done, I would be as wealthy as the salaries these “agents” are paid for being in staged episodes.  A few years ago, a real estate TV show that is very popular was featuring Nanaimo as a destination for buyers and they were to look at 3 properties on the show.  I was contacted because our team had a few higher-end condos that were newly built and vacant, and the show wanted to use one to stage and show as being a “contender” for these buyers.  And now you know…the rest of the real estate TV show story!

Brian & Myles McCullough

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