Time to Put a Few of Real Estate’s Old Standbys Out to Pasture…
Real estate keeps changing right along with everything else. Best practices in today’s real estate don’t look anything like they did three decades ago when I first started. They don’t even look much like they did six years ago when the market was just re-emerging from the long troubled sleep of the Great Recession.
The digital world is changing the real estate process in increasingly profound ways. And it’s important for Realtors to continue questioning their own assumptions about what works and what doesn’t. What’s relevant and what’s not. Otherwise, they’re likely to get stuck on automatic pilot doing the same old same old things that are no longer effective.
Here’s my short list of tried and true standards of analogue real estate that are becoming less relevant in the brave new world of digital real estate.
Driving People Around to Look at Houses? Not anymore. Buyers now have access to the same info Agents have via the internet. They don’t need Agents to tell them about new listings. Most prefer not ride around in somebody else’s car. They’d rather view homes on their own schedule, at their own pace. Usually on the weekends.
Open House Signs? Time to retire all those ubiquitous signs littering the corners of major intersections on weekends? I’ve been doing a little surreptitious research. Some Sundays I put out more open house signs. Some none at all. The number of signs I put out doesn’t make any difference in the turnout. Serious Buyers already know which houses they want to see. And they know how to get there with the help of their trusty Waze Apps.
Brokers Open Houses? Turnouts at Thursday Brokers Open Houses are starting to resemble social gatherings at the Old Timers’’ Retirement Home. Nowhere is the greying of real estate more conspicuous than on Broker’s Tour Day. Out of 1200 active agents in Santa Cruz County, it seems like the same 30 agents show up . Most are older and seemingly more interested in the cookies and the comaraderie than the house.
Brochure Boxes? How about those little plastic boxes screwed into those yard signs? The ones nosey-neighbors leave the lids up on, so that the remaining supply of water-logged flyers can get folded, spindled and mutilated beyond recognition. How many trees does it take to feed the conceit of such inglorious marketing efforts? Do serious buyers really drive through neighborhoods looking for brochure boxes?
Printed Flyers? People who ask for them are usually neighbors who have wandered in because they saw the open house signs. They aren’t in the market to buy a house. Grabbing a flyer is their way of keeping up with how much the Joneses are asking for their place. With Zillow Zestimates an easy click away, are four-color flyers really necessary to sell homes?
Monthly Color Magazines? When so many houses sell in the first week with multiple-offers, do we really need magazines that require a month’s lead time for submitting copy and photos? Aren’t most homes sold by then? And how many serious South Bay buyers drive over to Santa Cruz to get their cars washed just so they can look at all the beautiful houses for sale in the magazines?