Austin TX Real Estate - Hill Country Austin Lakeway Homes for Sale: Does Your Marketing Work? Or is it for the Seller?

Does Your Marketing Work? Or is it for the Seller?

Do you create an actual marketing plan for your listings that works?  Or do you do whatever it is that the sellers ask you to do even when you know it doesn't work?

The way you answer this question will show if you're in control of your own business or if you do and say things to and for the sellers just to win the listing.

When I go on a listing presentation, I lay out everything I do for their listing in front of them.  This includes, Just Listed cards to the nearest 200 homes, Virtual Tours,  Talking House, Property Water bottles, Property Candy, Reverse Prospecting through my database, and the majority of the rest is internet advertising... and you can't forget the staging of the property is included in my fees.

When I'm done, I ask if there are any questions.
Do you do open houses?  NO!
Do you put flyers in my front yard? NO!
Are you present for each showing? NO!
Do you advertise in the local paper?  NO!

I then have to go into detail on each of those questions as to why I don't do them and how they're not effective in our market and I do what's effective in order to sell a house.  I point out, as always, I'm here to "sell" their house and not just "list" their house.

I hear more and more from people saying that Open Houses are a waste of their time as well, but they still do them to please the seller.  Why??  If you can show them that they are not productive, you should not need to waste your time on this avenue.  You need to walk into your listing appointments with your plan in hand and stick to it.  Are there times you'll have exceptions, yes, occasionally.  But overall, we are the professionals and we know what it takes to sell a house in today's market and we shouldn't be afraid to tell a seller NO!

Have I lost listings because I wouldn't do an Open House?  Yes, but did I really lose anything?  If that seller was going to "force" me to go outside my marketing strategy into an avenue that was going to be a huge waste of time for me,  and for them, I need to be able to weigh how valuable my time is verse how badly I want to work with sellers that aren't going to respect my opinions right out of the gate.

Comment balloon 9 commentsDonna Harris • September 17 2007 09:14AM


Every market is different. I do open houses so that we will get some showings.It is an opportunity for other agents to send their buyers.I like your idea of free staging. Do you use a stager or do you have certification? In our area a few  agents have stager  designations.

Posted by Gita Bantwal, REALTOR,ABR,CRS,SRES,GRI - Bucks County & Philadel (RE/MAX Centre Realtors) about 11 years ago
I agree. I have found to handle questions of why don't you do this or do that you must show them value in what you do and show confidence that it will work. If you can do this, most sellers will not only let you do your business the way you do your business but you will have no problem getting the listing.
Posted by Roy Kotz (NPDodge) about 11 years ago
Donna - I could not agree with you more on this. There are so many agents that will do anything to get a listing that they fall into the trap of appeasing the seller. Open houses for example are a big waste of time but yet so many agents do them just to satisfy the seller. The problem with this line of thinking is that you set yourself up for failure. Instead of explaining that an open house is a waste of time you validate the idea by doing them . The seller then hears that there were no buyers or very few that came and then the blame game starts. I do the same thing you do and stick to my guns. It always pays off in the end.
Posted by Bill Gassett, Metrowest Massachusetts Real Estate (RE/MAX Executive Realty) about 11 years ago
I create individual plans, which include very little newspaper advertising.  I have told home sellers no when they have made crazy requests such as advertising in high end luxury magazines, or The New York Times, or better yet, for the New York Times I bring the pricing with me, and tell them I will gladly advertise their, but I do not pay for that, the home seller pays for that if they see value in it.
Posted by New Jersey Real Estate James Boyer Morris, Essex & Union County NJ Realtor (RE/MAX Properties Unlimited, Real Estate) about 11 years ago

Gita, If Open Houses are part of your market strategy, that is fine.  The point of the blog wasn't to bash OH's, it was to make a point that you should do what you plan, and not give into what your sellers think will work.  Yes, I am an ASP so I do my own staging.

Roy, Thank you and very well said!

Bill, Exactly, and why tell your sellers over and over again that no one showed up... plus, if someone did, they are probably WAY out of their qualification price range.

Posted by Donna Harris, Realtor,Mediator,Ombudsman,Property Tax Arbitrator (Donna Homes, powered by JPAR - about 11 years ago
James, I always throw back at them if they pick up a paper and read it.  They usually say no and that they read it online.  I point out that I also read the paper online, so who are they trying to capture by putting an ad in the actual newspaper if people aren't reading the paper anymore.  There will always be people like my mom who has to read the paper every single morning, but those people are becoming fewer and fewer everyday.
Posted by Donna Harris, Realtor,Mediator,Ombudsman,Property Tax Arbitrator (Donna Homes, powered by JPAR - about 11 years ago
I've had a pretty easy time as of late convincing sellers, that for the most part, open houses are a waste of my time AND theirs!  People really don't want to be kicked out of their homes for 3 hours or more on the weekend, especially if they work.  With a thorough explanation, that protest is not too hard to overcome.
Posted by Sandi Bauman, Chico CA Realtor (Chico Homes Real Estate) about 11 years ago


I use a stager as well.  Can you tell me more about the candy?  What is it and where do you get it?  What about the labels for your water bottles?  Sound like interesting ideas.

Certain neighborhoods here in Austin/Round Rock are great for open houses.  Others not so great.  I sometimes put the Virtual Tour on a CD for buyers to take with them.  People are less likely to throw away a cd then they are a business card.  Its nice to do this for the buyer you represent as well....take a few pictures and put them on a CD so they have your marketing information and they can send it to friends or email it along with your information as well.....


Posted by Jeannette Morrison, Central Texas Real Estate, NW Austin, Round Rock (Cedar Park,Leander,Georgetown & Lake Travis Areas.) about 11 years ago

Sandi, The last OH I did, about 4 years ago, I made the sellers sit with me instead of leave.  They didn't believe me that no one would come.  I even had a mortgage person with me and we just watched Football the entire time with no visitors.  What's funny is that seller asked if we could do it again the next weekend.  I just stared at her blankly.

Jeannette, I have the software from  It's easy to make the labels.  Just print them on regular copy paper, go buy a paper cutter and double sided tape, and attach over the regular labels so you don't get sued for not having the regular label that might warn about peanuts.  The software is like $29, very cheap!  I agree that some areas are prone to good open houses, like the Dallas downtown and Oaklawn areas... but when most agents work the suburbs (probably over 98% of agents), it doesn't work here.

Posted by Donna Harris, Realtor,Mediator,Ombudsman,Property Tax Arbitrator (Donna Homes, powered by JPAR - about 11 years ago