Marketing a House to Flip
Spread the Word
Just because you build it does not necessarily mean they will come. You will need to advertise to bring potential buyers to your home. Whether you’re selling the home yourself or through a listing agent, you have a common goal: to sell the house in the shortest amount of time for the highest possible price.
To accomplish this goal, you will need to reach the greatest amount of potential buyers. You will need to answer two questions:
- Where do home buyers look to find homes for sale?
- Where do you find home buyers likely to be interested in your property?
In recent years, Internet advertising has become the most effective way to reach the largest number of people. Sites such as Realtor, Zillow and Trulia are where you will see extensive listings of homes by area. The majority of these are posted online by real estate brokers through the multi-listing service (MLS). Many newspapers subscribe to the MLS and download the latest listings online.
There are several websites where you can post your online ad for free. Sites such as vFlyer, Point2 and Postlets have great free options. These sites could also post for you on other frequently visited sites.
Print advertising, including newspapers and magazines, are no longer an effective vehicle for advertising your home for sale. Direct mail, however, can be useful if you can target your audience properly. For example, if you are trying to sell a log cabin in the woods, it would be a good strategy to buy a list of customers from a nearby outdoor equipment store and send them the information.
Your target buyer might also be someone with a certain income level, age group, religion or marital status. See if you can identify other places that might have a mailing list that you can use to contact potentially interested buyers through direct mail or email.
One of the most effective offline advertising options also happens to be the simplest. Putting a “For Sale” sign in front of the most visible part of the property will encourage shoppers to call you or your agent.
If your property is not very visible, it’s a good idea to ask a neighbor to put a sign on their property, that points to your property. Remember that it never hurts to ask.
What Should Your Advertising Convey?
Writing ad copy for a house is an art, but there are some guidelines that will help you reach your target audience. Keep in mind that there is a big difference between advertising that emphasizes positive features and false advertising.
You should avoid specific facts that can come back and haunt you. Do not quote specific square footage without providing the source of that information. As an alternative, use more subjective descriptions such as “large,” “spacious” or “abundant.”
Use words that will convey emotion and evoke imagery that will help buyers see themselves in your home. Terms describing the architectural style, the layout and flow, amenities, upgrades and its proximity to schools, stores and attractions are key to effective copy.
It sounds better to say: “Unique, newly redone, spacious, open floor plan farmhouse. Ideally situated between two public parks, yet close to shopping and all conveniences.” Compare that to: “Renovated 2,800 square foot home at the corner of Main and Oak.”
You should also title your advertising with something a little more creative than “House for Sale.” Think about the home’s most interesting features and capitalize on those. Use positive words like “beauty,” “delight,” “amazing,” “secluded” or “private.”
Sale By Owner Vs. Realtor
Selling a house yourself may save you money on a realtor, but it may not. Make sure you know what you are getting into before making the decision to sell it on your own. Think about what’s involved in selling a house. You need to consider the following:
- Knowing the local market and comparable home values
- Determining the best listing price for your property
- How to best represent your house
- Obtaining and filling out all necessary disclosures
- Creating advertising materials, including professional interior and exterior photographs
- Getting the property listed on websites frequented by home buyers
- Being available for showings and open houses of the property
- Evaluating offers and understanding contingencies
- Negotiation of selling price
- Making sure a closing happens once an offer is accepted, keeping the buyers on schedule
- Attending and understanding the closing
Using an agent will save you a lot of these headaches. If you have a full time job already, keep in mind the cost of you taking on selling the house. Make sure that you can afford it in terms of time, energy and attention to detail.
Many people think that real estate agents are not an integral part of the process of selling a home and resent paying them commissions. Most of these people will think differently after selling or trying to sell a home on their own.
Always stage the master bedroom so your buyer can imagine themselves living in luxury.
Staging The Property
Staging is important to help potential buyers picture themselves living in the space. You cannot always leave this up to someone’s imagination. Staging can go a long way in helping to sell your house faster.
Staging a home gives your buyers a way to see how a room can be configured to accommodate furniture and how much will fit in a space. They will be able to see the room as a “living thing” instead of an empty shell.
Here are some goals that you should have when staging a house:
- Stage the outside to increase curb appeal. You can do this by planting flowers or furnishing decks. You want to make someone want to go in when they see the house.
- Make sure that both the inside and outside of the house are spotless. Power wash the outside if necessary!
- Get rid of clutter on counters and inside cabinets, drawers and closets. Everything should look spacious. Having overflowing counters and storage spaces will make the house look smaller than it is.
- Hire professional stagers to furnish rooms that might be challenging because of size or shape.
- If you have a dining room table, set it up beautifully and tastefully.
- Make sure that furniture is arranged symmetrically and not pushed against the walls.
- Use neutral colors that all work together.
- Always stage the master bedroom so your buyer can imagine themselves living in luxury.
- Use extra rooms for offices, gyms, etc. Highlight the room’s multiple functions.
- Show how to use awkward spaces, like a nook or alcove, in imaginative ways
- Make sure that the house smells good.
Some of these goals might seem obvious, but they are often neglected. Good and effective staging can be the difference between selling quickly or not at all.
Most house flippers do not have furniture to properly stage a house, so they will need to hire a professional stager to do it for them. The more unique the property is, the more staging will help it. It will help buyers understand how the house can look.
Staging is generally done for an initial flat rate and then a monthly rental amount. Prices often vary, so it is impossible to predict the exact cost. It’s wise to assume at least a few thousand dollars.
Depending on the house’s size, it might not be necessary to stage every room. A house flipper should consider certain rooms with unique spaces because the functionality may not be initially obvious to buyers. For the best results, the master bedroom, living room and dining rooms should be staged for best sales results.
DIY staging tips:
- Amplify the upgrades you invested in order to boost first impressions.
- Decorate with modest touches and neutral colors.
- Always have the property ready to be shown.
Even if you don’t want to spend money on a professional stager, try to borrow or rent a few good pieces of furniture to highlight certain rooms. You can also spruce up bathrooms with curtains, towels and a shower curtain for a small investment. This can make a huge difference in how it appears.
Your real estate agent (if you have one) should lead the open house, but you may want to offer support. Make the property as inviting as possible and make sure that your agent knows what you want to highlight.
It is not your agent’s job to clean the house and make it presentable. It should be that way on the day of the open house before the agent arrives. Trash should be taken out, dishes put away, the lawn mowed and the snow shoveled.
Once you communicate the proper information to the agent, you should leave. Buyers want to see the house, not you. If you are following them around in an attempt to be helpful, you will most likely make them feel uncomfortable and they will leave before giving the house a chance.
If you do not have an agent, then make sure to promote your open house every place you can, but especially concentrate online and with signs. Tell the neighbors and try to make specific contact with the target demographic. Use social groups, schools, houses of worship and other specific places.
On the day of the open house, act like the agent, not the owner. Be helpful, but not too anxious. Show highlights of the house and answer questions thoughtfully, but give people space to really consider and appreciate the property. Be available, but don’t follow them around unless they ask.
As long as you have made proper upgrades that align in design and value with the market, your offers will come in.
You should wait a few weeks after pricing, advertising and staging. If you have followed these steps, you should have a lot of showings and get an offer. If not, it’s a good time to offer incentives or lower the asking price.
Listen to your agent. What are people saying who have seen the house, but not made an offer? If you can fix something without spending a lot, then do it. If buyers are afraid of oil heat due to the price, offer to sell the house with a full tank of oil. Things like that can go a long way.
Be patient, remain realistic, get creative and your house will sell.