By Toby Boyce
Recently, my wife and I had a chance to attend the final game for the Columbus Blue Jackets this season at beautiful Nationwide Arena. No I’m not bragging this does have something to do with real estate – just give me time.
In case you are not a hockey fan – or even if you are – this past season for the Blue Jackets was pretty disappointing. After making the NHL playoffs last year for the first-time in franchise history this was supposed to be “the” year. The coach – Ken Hitchcock – and star players were going to make a run into the NHL playoffs and make this city proud. Well, everyone is a winner when the season starts, but fast forward to April and “Hitch” is gone as well as any chance of this squad making the playoffs.
As we sat and watched this game unfold it was obvious that the Blue Jackets – both on the ice and in the stands – had mailed in these final couple of weeks. The Red Wings were consistently on the attack and the fans were sitting on their hands. The atmosphere in Nationwide usually has a pretty strong level of energy, however on that night it was like a wake – and not an Irish one at that.
Okay, so how does this relate to real estate?
Well think about those new listings. Sitting at the kitchen table when that John and Susan Seller signs those documents and you have that brand new listing it is a great feeling. You’re confident it is priced right and the buyers are going to be lining up for this property.
That 842-point marketing plan that you presented to the sellers begins to roll out and you are on top of the world. That first third of the listing contract is like early in the hockey season. There is always a “tomorrow” to fix what is wrong and why the property isn’t getting in contract.
Now we’ve moved to the middle of the listing period. You are starting to get nervous, those buyers aren’t really excited and the sellers are getting frustrated. Those weekly updates become a “chore” rather than a joy as you start digging deeper and deeper into the well to come up with something positive to say.
Then comes those final two months of the (assumed) listing agreement and you’re at a loss. The sellers are frustrated that you are not getting enough bodies in the door and you’re frustrated that you aren’t getting the price down to where you believe it should be. It becomes a challenge. The marketing plan was long-ago abandoned for a reactionary plan that is simply praying someone shows up and writes that offer. You and your sellers have suddenly realized that you’ve mailed in the rest of the contract. They are waiting for the thing to expire and you’re just hoping you can convert a buyer from the transaction.
Both of you are sitting back and waiting for it to just be over.
But what could you do to prevent this? How about the 842-point marketing plan?
Do we front-load the marketing plan with a ton of stuff in the first 30 days and then pretty much sit back and wait? I know that was something that I was guilty of doing. The flurry of activity when the house hit the market would be awesome, but as it seasoned I would be low on ideas and begin getting desperate – which means reactionary – and was no longer a deliberate marketer.
The way I fixed that? I now have a 30-day marketing plan. When I sit down and we get to signing the paperwork part of the discussion is a collection of marketing questions and as a group we discuss when, where, why and how each piece is integrated into the program. The number one thing on the list takes place 25 days after the contract is signed. We make an appointment for that night to meet and discuss what the second month’s marketing plan will be. Rather than looking at the listing agreement as one six-month agreement, if makes us think of it as six one-month contracts. What happens if the house is in contract? We meet at a local restaurant and I buy a round to celebrate.
Nobody wants to mail it in when they have skin in the game.
Toby Boyce, MBA, is a real estate practitioner with Keller Williams Consultants Realty in Westerville, Ohio. Visit his Web site: www.delawareohrealestate.com.