While not necessarily as busy as its summer counterpart, the winter real estate market is as good of a time as any for investors to practice a sound marketing strategy. The lull in activity over the course of winter isn’t a reason to take a break from crucial marketing campaigns, but rather a time to finish off the year strong.
At the very least, investors looking to get ahead of the competition (and stay ahead) should be marketing year-round if they hope to maintain a steady flow of leads. After all, winter offers several unique opportunities for investors looking to both spice-up their marketing strategy and bring in more leads.
Continue reading to find tips and tricks to help you create a successful real estate marketing campaign this winter season.
The winter real estate market is full of unique ways for investors to maximize their marketing efforts. Several holidays, in addition to the quickly approaching new year, offer investors a chance to market in a way they couldn’t the rest of the year.
For example, it’s completely acceptable to implement a door hanger campaign wishing everyone a happy New Year. In doing so, compliment your seasons greetings with some supplemental information on your properties. Prioritize the holiday message, but subtly drop hints that you have a property for sale. That way, you’ll get your name out to people in the community without coming off too overbearing.
For more holiday marketing tips, try some of the following ideas:
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The holidays, in particular, award savvy individuals a chance to connect with the community in a way they couldn’t previously. Whether it’s reaching out to wish someone a happy holidays or ushering in the new year, marketing language can easily be added to a friendly piece of content that increases your exposure without sounding overbearing or unwelcome. That said, even winter real estate marketing needs to follow some sort of structure. There are some tricks no winter marketing campaign should be without. If you want your real estate marketing plan to realize its potential, try implementing some of these ideas:
People looking to buy a home during the fall and winter seasons are doing so for a reason. Whether they are upsizing or simply need to relocate for a job sometime in the near future, most winter buyers are typically motivated to get a deal done sooner rather than later.
For starters, prices and interest rates are expected to continue increasing. The looming threat of a more expensive property goes a long way in lighting a fire under most buyers. Additionally, most buyers will want to get into a new home before the weather gets any worse. Frigid temperatures and snowfall can really make moving difficult, forcing many buyers to act with a sense of urgency.
As an investor looking to sell a property, tailor marketing materials to those that may be in a hurry. Each marketing strategy should suggest that each home is priced and ready to move immediately. The sooner people realize the subject property may be their best chance at quickly landing a new home, the more desirable it becomes to winter shoppers.
Staging homes to sell has become synonymous with quicker transactions and larger paydays. However, investors shouldn’t use the same staging strategy year-round. Instead of using the same techniques to stage a home as you would in the summer, tailor your marketing strategy to a winter audience. Investors who account for the particular season they are in when staging tend to sell their homes faster.
Remember not to get excessively personal with the decor. Prospective buyers will be unable to picture themselves in a home that looks like it was already settled by someone else. It is also smart to avoid any decor that harbors any religious connotations. Remain neutral, and you’ll be more likely to attract a larger crowd of buyers.
Instead, decorate with a winter theme; make things cozy and inviting. Feel free to put out holiday treats with some warm drinks and light a fire. The more welcoming the home feels, the better it’ll be at attracting buyers.
Staging should enhance the style of the property and highlight its key features. While it is important to have a little fun when staging a home over the course of winter, the decor you choose should not take away from the major selling points of the residence.
If you take the time to stage a home this holiday season, don’t forget to hire a professional photographer to show off your product to the online community. Getting buyers out of their homes on cold winter afternoons will be hard enough as it is, so make sure your pictures really are worth a thousand words.
More importantly, don’t assume any photos you take with a camera phone will do your home justice. While camera phones are, in fact, better than they have ever been, they pale in comparison to a DSLR in the hands of a professional. A professional photographer will know how to get the right angles, the perfect composition and will be able to edit the photos in post production.
Not only will polished photos generate more leads, but they may also command a higher selling price—listings with professional photos tend to sell more than their counterparts that weren’t captured by a professional. The benefits of professional photography will significantly outweigh the extra cost you spend, even if you choose a photographer on the more expensive side.
It is important to pull comparables and list your property at a price that’s consistent with the market value of the respective area. However, in the winter it may be worthwhile to price the home slightly under what people would expect to see.
In a competitive marketplace, a lower price point is bound to catch the attention of more buyers and generate more interest. Therein lies the single greatest benefit of pricing a home strategically: in lowering the asking price in a market full of buyers, interested parties may increase their offers to get in ahead of the competition.
In the event the home is priced perfectly, it’s entirely possible the interest created could lead to a bidding war, driving the offer prices way above the initial asking price.
No agent should ever underestimate the importance of curb appeal, especially when you can use winter characteristics to your advantage. Start with a fresh coat of paint and clean the gutters. With the rainy months approaching quickly, it is easy for gutters to acquire a sludgy build-up and paint to chip—two features no homebuyer will be attracted to. It might be difficult to maintain a green grass when temperatures dip below freezing, but it is still important to maintain a home’s visual aesthetic.
If you really want to generate a lot of interest, consider installing artificial grass, which is easy to take care of and will look good all year. If a blanket of snow happens to fall before a showing, use it to your advantage. Keep walkways free of ice, but leave the snow untouched. Few things are more beautiful and suggestive of a cozy property than a freshly fallen snow with smoke coming out of the chimney.
Finally, investors should focus on improving outdoor lighting features. The fall and winter months come with shorter days, meaning less hours for prospective buyers to view a property. Don’t let less daylight get the better of you; keep outdoor lights on later in the evening. If you don’t have the budget for an increased electricity bill, opt for solar lights or set your lighting on a timer. As long as you keep the exterior of your home clean and organized, buyers will be intrigued by what the inside offers.
Winter is not an excuse to put your business on the back burner; instead, use it as a chance to get ahead. If you take advantage of the holiday season, you may find your winter real estate marketing strategies to be well-worth the added effort. Try implementing some of the strategies we touched on above, and you may find that winter is full of potential.