Attract Traffic to Your Property—How to Make Buyers/Agents Call

Some Little Tweaks and Touches Can Go a Long Way

Homebuyers and agent

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It becomes twice as important to increase the traffic visiting your property when you're attempting to sell a home in a buyer's market. The price you're asking might not be the reason you aren't getting enough showings—although that can certainly play a part.

It's probably also because of the abundance of inventory on the market. Buyers have too much to choose from, and this can be a real problem when the exterior of your home looks like every other home in the neighborhood.

Make Your Home Easy to Show

Your MLS listing should read "Call first, lockbox." The "Call first" notation ensures that you'll know when a buyer or an agent is coming by to show your home. Agents will likely show another listing simply because it's easier and less problematic if you request appointments, have a "by appointment only" sign hanging from your signpost, or if you ask that agents and buyers tour your home only during certain hours,

Don't require that your own agent be present to show the house, because she can't possibly be available 24 hours a day to service all her listings in person. She's not a very busy real estate agent if she has that much time on her hands.

About That Lockbox...

This great gadget allows agents to show your property when you're not at home. The buyer's agent can leave a message and go directly to show your property if you don't answer your phone. The keys to your home are in the box.

Put the lockbox on or near the outside gate with the gate code inside if you live in a gated complex. Some lockboxes contain provisions where each agent has to call to obtain a special code prior to opening the box if you're not comfortable with leaving the code at the gate, or if your homeowner's association prohibits you from doing that.

All digital lockboxes track an agent and deliver reports to the listing agent. And you can set the box so that it can only be opened at certain times, like when you're not at home.

Offer a Competitive Buyer's Agent Commission

Check your listing agreement to determine if your listing agent is splitting the commission you're paying at least 50/50 with the buyer's agent. It's your money, so you can direct how much of that fee should go to the buyer's agent.

You might also consider increasing the commission paid to the buyer's agent to a higher amount than other buyers' agents in your area are receiving. You might not get many showings if the fee to the buyer's agent is less than 2.5 percent.

Increase Traffic Through Market Exposure

Bump up marketing. Direct mail might work well in some markets. If so, send direct-mail postcards to all surrounding homes and to other areas that attract buyers to your neighborhood.

Advertise in local weekly newspapers, even the throwaways that people just flip through, as well as in several sections of your daily newspaper, especially on weekends. It's not enough to advertise solely under the neighborhood classification. Look at directories and photo galleries, and make sure they're online, too, if possible.

Statistically, nine out of 10 homebuyers look for properties first on the internet, so advertise online with Craig's List, Google, Trulia, Zillow, and other free online websites. And remember that MLS always pulls the most buyers. Don't overlook social media sites, either. Have your agent arrange for a professional video and put it on YouTube.

Keep in mind that potential buyers are most likely going to enter the search terms that are most important to them, such as price or the number of bedrooms, when they do an Internet search for properties. Be sure to include this type of information and wording front and center so your property will show up in their searches.

If you have enough time to meet publication deadlines, consider home magazines. The problem with magazines, though, is that many homes might be sold by the time they hit the streets.

Cater Lunch for a Broker's Tour and Offer a Drawing

It's not uncommon for listing agents to pick up the cost of a catered lunch in some areas. Buyers' agents will generally linger in the home, noticing details that a fast tour would miss.

You might also consider offering a drawing for a free gift certificate or game tickets to buyers' agents who stop by for lunch.

Host an Open House Extravaganza

Organize other sellers in your neighborhood to work together on advertising a neighborhood open house, or ask your agent to blitz the area.

Publicize the event everywhere. Hire a sign waver—somebody to stand on a prominent street corner with an open house sign arrow. It might cost $20 an hour or so, but it will get attention.

Serve hot dogs and soft drinks. Buy brightly colored helium balloons and hang up streamers, and you can even hire a clown to entertain children.

Bribe Buyers With a Prize or Giveaway

Offer a free book or prize to every homebuyer who tours your property. Enter their name into a drawing for a weekend getaway or big sporting event. Do the drawing 30 to 60 days ahead of the event. Advertise the incentive in the newspaper, online, and in your listing.

Send Out E-Flyers

It's relatively easy and inexpensive to create an e-flyer. V-flyers is one online source that's free. Use it or a similar source to e-mail the flyer to every person in your email address book. Ask your agent to send e-flyers to every agent who works in your area and to those outside your area who bring buyers to your city.

Make a Limited-Time Offer

Advertise a limited-time offer that buyers can snatch up if they act quickly. Everybody wants a deal, and buyers are more motivated if that offer is going to vanish soon. You might offer to pay down the buyer's mortgage interest rate for a few years, credit a percentage of the sales price toward the buyer's closing costs, or prepay taxes or insurance for a year.

Co-Op Your Advertising

Check with real estate affiliates such as mortgage brokers, property inspectors, appraisers, and insurance brokers—anybody who stands to make money as a result of your sale. Ask if they would be willing to co-op advertising with you by helping to pay for some or all of your marketing. You can include their information in the efforts.

Everybody needs to market, and real estate vendors might already have a pipeline to the buying public that you can tap into.

Drop Your Price—The Last Resort

Your agent has most likely guided you to price your home appropriately, but is it possible you think it's worth far more than it really is? Did you dig in your heels and stand firm on the price you'd like to get for your property?

It's likely that multiple properties will be available in the same price range in a buyer's market. Sometimes the only way to make yours stand out and to increase showings is to reduce the price, even a little, so buyers think they're getting a deal.

Whether it's true or not, prospective buyers might think you're desperate to sell. This can be enough to get them through your front door. Then your home can wow them off their feet.

In fact, some buyers intentionally wait a while to view properties, even if they're a little interested if the price seems out of their range initially. They're hoping the sellers will eventually come down. A price reduction is almost guaranteed to get some traffic into your home.