I teach over 50 real estate course a year to experienced agents. This gives me an interesting vantage point to learn how agents work and what really happens in the business. One of my favorite questions is to have them list all of the marketing tactics they do for sellers. The list usually looks like this:

  • yard signs
  • open houses
  • sunday morning TV shows
  • real estate magazines
  • Local newspapers and area publications
  • Mailers like just listed to the neighbors
  • Flyers
  • MLS listings, which puts the home on the internet
  • Staging
  • Agent web sites
  • Internet marketing
  • photos

When I ask agents how many of these are truly effective the list gets cut by a third or more. Why do agents do all this marketing? Is it really to help sell the home? Or is there another agenda? Let’s look at open houses and list the tops reasons why agents will hold an open house:

  • To make the seller happy
  • To troll for new buyers
  • To help sell the home
  • To possibly connect with a nosy neighbor who is thinking of selling their home

If you are selling a home be careful of the agent who is overselling you on the benefits of their marketing tools. Many of them are designed to “win” the listing, promote the agent and help secure new clients for the agent, not to sell your home.

The primary reason for most of the marketing tools on this list is for self promotion and to troll for new buyers. Think of it like fishing. They are the fishermen, you are the fish and the open house, the yard sign, the ad are all bait. You pick up the real estate book at the grocery store and see a home that catches your attention. It seems just what you have been looking for. So you call the agent (you just took the bait) but that home is already in contract. You are too late. But agents are good at fishing so they start to reel you in. Now they turn on the charm and talk about their experience and knowledge and how they are the top seller for that neighborhood. This gives them an inside edge to sometimes know the “hot homes” before anyone else. (More bait to make sure you are hooked). If you work with them you won’t lose out on another opportunity. Before you know it they have you reeled in all the way and are helping you find a home.

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