Recently I closed an equity sale at 722 Banyan Ct. in the San Marcos Community of Olive Hills Estates. The 5 bedroom, 3.5 bath, 3,329 square foot home sold for $700,000. I really enjoyed my time working with the sellers of this property. I was not the first real estate broker that attempted to sell their home. Prior to retaining me the sellers had their home listed by another real estate broker. When the listing expired the sellers began interviewing numerous real estate professional to relist the house. I first met with them on May 14, 2014, the same day that those terrible fires that ravaged North County started. On my way to their home I drove down San Marcos Blvd. and on my right hand side was an entire mountain engulfed in flames. It was a remarkable scene. Due to the fires, the sellers were actually surprised that I did not cancel the listing presentation. I joked with them saying, “I am dedicated to my clients and that it would take more than a fire to keep me away.”
From the moment that I first sat down with the sellers I knew that we would work well together. I am research orientated and my listing presentations are geared toward educating homeowners about the current real estate market and sales trends. I typically show up for listing presentations with charts and data and spend a great deal of time going over facts and marketing strategies. I quickly discovered that the Sellers were extremely well-informed and, like me, based decisions and strategy after acquiring enormous amounts of information. I enjoyed responding to their long list of questions. I also performed a forensic review of their previous listing and let them know what I thought their previous real estate agent’s errors were and how I could improve upon their marketing tactics to sell their home.
I told them that, in my marketing, it is very important to have a strong Internet presence. According to research by the National Association of Realtors, over 91% of home buyers look to the Internet at some point during their home search. That is why I provide my Sellers with their own fully functional website. The MLS and ancillary real estate websites such as Zillow.com and Trulia are limited on what information is conveyed. However, the information that can be provided via a dedicated website is limitless. Of course the website alone is useless unless you can drive traffic to it so that is why I also search engine optimize each of my websites. So between organic search results, pay per click campaigns and strategic placement of the web address I am able to drive as many buyers to the website as possible. In this situation I concentrated my SEO work on driving buyers looking for a home in San Elijo Hills to the website. I know that there are generally 2 areas in San Marcos that higher end buyers look for properites. One is the more well-known area of San Elijo Hills and the other area consists of Olive Hills Estates and surrounding communities. Since San Elijo Hills is the more popular search term I knew that I needed to market 722 Banyan Ct. as an alternative to San Elijo Hills. The Sellers were impressed by my information and my marketing ideas and retained me to help them sell their house.
Interestingly, the summer is usually the best time to sell a house in the calendar year. I listed the house on June 6, 2014 with a range listing of $689,000 to $719,000. I suggested a range listing because there had been a couple of short sales in the community that sold below market value and I did not want prospective buyers to stay away because they thought we were overpriced.
During the marketing period I spent a considerable amount of time performing SEO work on the dedicated website that I built for sellers (www.722banyancourt.com). I targeted my SEO towards buyers searching for homes in San Elijo HIlls. As I mentioned, I knew that one of these buyers would be our eventually buyers. All I had to do was steer them to this lesser known community.
Summer is traditionally the best time to sell a house during the calendar year. The summer of 2013 was crazy with activity and created a mini-housing boom. I think sellers and real estate agents expected the summer of 2014 to be similar. It was not. After a pretty good spring the real estate market slowed down considerably. The average market time for houses increased and sellers became frustrated (see my Fox 5 morning news appearance in which I discuss the summer slowdown http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HCYPTIFC8gU). Around day 20 my sellers began to worry. We had received an offer but it was too low. Although we had some activity we had not received an acceptable offer. The sellers wanted to have a meeting to discuss what needed to be done to stimulate an offer. I told them that, at that time, the average market time in San Marcos was 37 days on market. I recommended that we hold off on making any major changes until we reached the 37 day mark. I told the sellers I was confident that we would receive an offer before we reached the 37 day mark. Ironically, we received an offer on day 36 which the sellers accepted.
As I mentioned, I rely heavily on data and statistics in guiding my clients through the marketing phase of their real estate transaction. My reliance on the “numbers” worked out well in this transaction.
I really enjoyed my time marketing 722 Banyan Court. I really liked the sellers and I loved Olive Hills Estates. My job is so much easier when I really like the property that I am selling. My passion and love for the house is contagious and that helps stimulate offers.
Every property is different and so is every marketing plan. A real estate agent really needs to thoroughly research a situation before presenting a marketing plan. If you are interviewing a real estate agent and their marketing plan seems generic (i.e. put on MLS and hold open houses) you really have to ask yourself “Is this person worth the commission that I am paying?” The right real estate agent will present a marketing plan tailored to your specific situation. The days of putting on the MLS and hoping it sells is over. You need an AGRESSIVE and INNOVATIVE real estate agent to market your home. Do not be afraid to interview multiple real estate agents before making your decision and NEVER be pressured into signing a listing agreement on the spot.