arrived at a market value;
we now need to let the market know that the house
is for sale.
my experience, definitely the best, place
to advertise is on the Internet. These days, real
estate companies increasingly attract more buyers
through people having viewed photographs of houses
on the Internet than by actually offering to take
people through the houses. In New Zealand, the Internet
sales company ‘TradeMe.co.nz’
provides you with the opportunity to advertise your
property all over the country with a lengthy description
and allows you to display up to 20 photographs for
a total of $299-00. What is more, they not only allow
you to edit the ads as often as you wish to, but they
let you keep the ads going till the property is sold.
So you only pay for the ad once.
By comparison, in a newspaper you
would likely only get a small coloured ad with just
one picture for the same price and the newspaper would
be thrown out after a couple of days. Added to this,
don’t forget that, newspapers all have a very
limited circulation, whereas the Internet advertisements
can be viewed all over the world. ‘TradeMe’
is easily the most used web site for buying and selling
properties in New Zealand and is increasing in popularity
at a very steady rate as more and more people use
A friend of mine who works for one of New Zealand’s
largest real estate companies told me that properties
he advertises in ‘TradeMe.co.nz’
get five times as much response as the same ads on
his company’s web site. Your property will be
given a specific reference number, so when you advertise
in the newspapers and print out leaflets, quote the
website and the reference number so that people can
get a good indication of what the property is like
without leaving their own homes. On ‘TradeMe’
you will also be able to determine how many people
have looked at them.
There is no way you can determine how many people
have looked at newspaper ads. The TradeMe.co.nz
web site also provides buyers and sellers with a number
of pages full of excellent guidance for buying and
countries would have at least one similar
type of company to ‘TradeMe.co.nz’
where one can advertise houses for sale on the Internet.
The wonderful thing about the Internet is that it
wouldn’t matter which country you lived in,
provided that you had the means of paying for it,
you could advertise from a web site anywhere in the
second best method of advertising is to place
a large ‘For Sale’ sign on the fence or
somewhere else in front of the house. Apart from attracting
the notice of passers by, it gets people talking about
the property, which is a form of network marketing.
Whenever I get enquiries about properties I help people
sell, I always ask the enquirer how they found out
about the property. Most of them say that they saw
it advertised on TradeMe.co.nz,
but a large proportion also say that they saw the
sign outside the house.
you have a computer, you can easily design
your own sign, place it on a CD and take it to a copy
shop to have it copied onto a large board. It helps
if you can place some nice blown up photos of the
interior on the poster. You should also put the Internet
reference on the poster. For instance, if you advertised
- you would be foolish not to - write ‘Ref TadeMe
ABC 1234’, or whatever the reference number
is, so that people will be able to find it quickly
on the Internet. If you are running open homes, place
a strip on the sign indicating what day and what times
the open home viewing times will be.
you don’t have a computer, you should
have little trouble getting someone with a computer
to make a reasonably professional looking sign for
you. The local copy shop may even make one up for
you at a reasonable price. But remember to get the
poster laminated so that it doesn’t get tattered
and detract from the overall appearance of the property.
The quality of the sign is extremely important. The
more professional looking it is, the better. A professional
sign expresses confidence; a poor sign signifies lack
of confidence. These posters should be stuck on to
a board with double-sided tape.
people are a bit nervous about having signs
outside because they don’t want the neighbours
to know the house is for sale. Nevertheless, the neighbours
will soon find out when they see strangers coming
and going, so you might as well be open about it.
In the past, most private sellers advertised a lot
in the newspapers, but with the Internet, this is
becoming less and less necessary as more and more
people search for properties on the ‘Net’.
All the real estate companies like their vendors to
advertise in local newspapers – at your expense
– because they get free publicity out of it.
Advertising your own property as a run-on ad is child’s
Anyone can write a reasonable ad and most newspapers
will let you place the ads in the paper over the phone
or by email. Costs will vary depending on the circulation
of the newspaper. You could save yourself a lot of
money if you just advertised the location, the number
of bedrooms, the price you are asking and your phone
number and gave the Internet reference for further
a good photograph of the house in the ad
would raise its profile by making it stand out more,
but this can be quite expensive if it is in colour
- Unless you are an excellent photographer,
it would be worth your while to pay a professional
photographer to take the photos of your house needed
for publicity, especially for the Internet. Just as
street appeal makes an impact when searching for a
home to buy, quality photos can make a house look
more appealing. Alternatively, if you don’t
want to pay a professional photographer, you might
like to consider putting your own digital photos on
a disk and bringing them into your local camera shop
to have them professionally enhanced and then placed
on another disk before you place them on the Internet.
Another option, if you don’t already have a
photo-enhancing program, is to download Google’s
Picasa 3 program to your computer, which is free,
and enhance your photos yourself. The website for
downloading this program is http://picasa.google.com
sales more response.
I can assure you that ads for private sales
get far more response than those inserted by agencies.
There are three main reasons for this:
The first is because private sellers will give you
the address of the house, whereas some agencies won't,
unless they have tied the property up with an exclusive
agency. Many people would rather first take a look
at a property from the outside before inspecting the
inside. That way, if the house’s appearance,
design, construction material, location or access
doesn’t suit them, they don’t need to
waste any more time going through the inside. Unless
it is an exclusive agency, the reason why real estate
people don’t want to give the address away is
quite understandable. It’s because buyers might
try to do a private deal with the seller, cutting
out the agency.
If the prospective buyers were told about the house
by a member of a real estate company but were shown
through the house by the owner and the buyers then
decided to buy directly from the vendor, the vendor
might be able to get out of paying a commission if
no company was given an exclusive agency. Technically,
if the vendor sold the property directly to someone
sent by an agency that had a signed agreement allowing
them to try to sell the property, the vendors would
be legally bound to pay that agency the full commission,
because the agency informed the buyer about the property.
Of course the problem for the agency would be to prove
The second reason why private sales get more response
from advertising is that a lot of people who inquire
about properties on the market are only vaguely interested
and don't want to be hurried in to making a decision.
They know that once their telephone number, is listed
with an agency, attempts will be made to get them
to look at other properties they were not enquiring
about. Whereas, if you, as a private seller gave a
prospective buyer the address of the property you
are selling, they could rest assured that if they
were to take a look at it from the outside first and
decide it’s not for them, they won't be pestered
by you trying to sell them some other house they haven’t
enquired about. (I wouldn’t want anybody to
get the impression that I’m criticising sales
people for following up enquiries for properties with
information about other properties.
Every sales person needs to do this if they want to
be successful. But the reality is that a lot of people
who enquire about properties for sale are only vaguely
interested and don’t want to be rung by a sales
person every second week suggesting that they look
at such and such a house.)
The third reason why ads for private sales
get more response is because they are likely to foster
lots of enquiries from real estate sales people telling
you that they have buyers wanting to buy a property
real estate salespeople have rung me in response
to properties I’ve advertised for sale privately
and told me that they had buyers for it, I’ve
suggested that they tell those buyers to phone me,
and if one of them buys the property I would reward
the real estate salesperson with a few hundred dollars.
But not one of them has ever provided me with a buyer.
If they truly had the buyers, the reward for a simple
phone call would have been a great incentive to get
their supposed purchasers to contact me, and I would
have kept my word. If you don’t want real estate
people hassling you, simply add the words ‘No
agents, thank you!’ at the end of your adverts.
is true that all real estate salespeople
have lists of prospective buyers that they keep in
touch with, however, most of these buyers will be
listed in the books with several salespeople in several
companies. One of these prospective buyers could well
be the person who eventually buys your house. This
being the case, it would be worthwhile emailing all
the individual salespeople who sell houses in your
area providing them with the web site address of your
property so that they can go straight to it. Then
let them know that if they introduced a buyer to you
and that person eventually bought your property, you
would reward them.
the email addresses of your local salespeople
is easy. You’ll find them in the advertisements
for the properties they are selling in real estate
marketing publications. But, I wouldn’t send
the emails out to salespeople until after a few weeks
of your property being on the market. Give all the
potential purchasers a chance to find you themselves
first. This would save you more money. There is no
question that once real estate sales people see your
property advertised, some would either phone you or
call on you to tell you that they have buyers. My
response would be to say, “That’s great!
Thank you very much. Give these people one of your
cards and send them round to the house with it to
give to me. If they buy the property, I will pay you
the reward.” One would then have the buyer as
a witness if I tried to default on the promise.”
If you are going to advertise in newspapers,
put the location first, because this is where prospective
buyers for properties in your area are going to look
first. Eighty-five percent of the time when someone
is looking to buy a house, they will have decided
on a specific area they want to live in. So if the
house you want to sell is in say, Newtown, make ‘Newtown’
the first word in the ad because that is where people
wanting to buy in Newtown will look first. Next put
the price or price range, for instance, ‘$340,000’,
‘offers above $340,000’ or ‘Offers
between $340,000 and $370,000’. This informs
buyers whether it is in their price range or not.
Then you should put ‘Private Sale’.
Many private sellers make the mistake of starting
the ad with ‘Private Sale’ knowing that
this a favourable selling point. But because, as I
said, most people are looking for properties in particular
areas, unless one of the areas people are considering
buying in starts with a ‘p’ they might
overlook the ads beginning with the words ‘Private
‘Private Sale’, give a description
of the house starting with the number of bedrooms,
because this gives buyers an indication of the size
of the house. It’s a good idea to study how
the real estate companies describe the properties
they are selling before composing your own ads.
the location of the property you ought to
state the actual address of the property you are selling.
This will stimulate more interest. It might cut down
the number of telephone enquiries, but it is likely
to get more people inspecting it from the outside.
However, if you do this, make sure that you have a
‘For Sale’ sign in front of the house
with the words ‘Inspection by appointment only’
followed by your telephone number. Otherwise you may
get people wanting to inspect the house when you are
not ready, or at a time when the house is not looking
way of advertising is to put a leaflet in
all the letterboxes in the area. A few hundred photocopies
won’t cost much, especially if you print two
or more on one A4 page. It would be better to have
the leaflets printed in colour. You should have a
leaflet made up with all the relevant details of your
property anyway, so that you can give one to each
interested person who inspects your property.
There are a number of things you need to
give special thought to when you advertise your property.
Ask yourself, “What are your house’s special
features”, because often these are the things
that buyers are especially looking for. You may be
selling a modern three-bedroom house with a separate
dining room. If you are, this should be mentioned
in the ad, but this would hardly make the ad for your
property stand out from others.
Many people are looking for special features such
as, close proximity to amenities, handy to bus stops,
double garages, harbour views, workshop space, lots
of storage space, spa pools, drive on sections, tree
clad sections, sub-dividable sections, privacy etc.
For one client I was dealing with when I was selling
real estate, the top priority she was looking for
was a dark room for developing black and white photos.
For others, it might be a large workshop area for
making furniture or doing pottery.
Whatever it might be, try to think of something about
your property that might make it especially desirable.
Rumpus rooms are very sought after. Apart from being
a place where children can wreck their toys, they
are much desired by people who run businesses from
home and are increasingly sought after for accommodating
Try to find a descriptive phrase that sums
up your property; such as, affordable luxury, loaded
with charm, all day sun, countrified city home; quiet
cosy cottage, or whatever you think is suitable. If
you search the properties for sale columns in the
newspapers you might just find an ideal description
you can borrow. The commonly used phrase ‘handyman’s
dream’ is effective for drawing attention to
people who are looking for a place to renovate. And
believe me there are plenty of those people around.
If your place is run down, it is better to indicate
this in the advertisements so that you can attract
the right kind of buyers.
It is better to do this than making out that it is
something that it isn’t, and then wasting your
own time as well as other people’s by showing
unlikely buyers through the house. Perhaps if you
have difficulty thinking of a clever descriptive phrase
to describe your property, you could get a friend
who is clever with words to write an ad for you.
the ad with an attention-grabbing headline.
Decide what sort of people would be likely to want
to buy a house like yours and target them. Make sure
the ad explains not only what you are selling and
where its location is, but explain why you are selling
it. To make your ad stand out, focus on it’s
special features. Remember that the aim of the ad
is to get people to respond to it.
with ads on ‘TradeMe’ you can
provide an enormous amount of information for no extra
Regarding leaflets, it would be a good idea
to have two different types, one to drop in letterboxes
and one to give to people who show an interest in
letterbox leaflet should have a picture of
the house, its address, the price range you are asking
for the house (for instance instead of advertising
a property at say $350,000, you could say offers over
$340,000), the number of bedrooms and a description
of the other rooms, such as separate dining, open
plan, main bedroom with en suite etc., and what ever
else you think are the main selling points. If you
had a floor plan, perhaps you could include that.
Then, at the bottom, put your telephone number followed
the words ‘For appointment to view’. Be
sure also to include the ‘TradeMe’ reference
number if you advertising on it.
those people who show an interest and want
to come and look at the place, you ought to have another
sheet ready with an answer to all the questions they
are likely to answer.
Below is a list of the sort of details you should
put on the sheet:
House and Batch
A 3/4-bedroom brick house
Reason for selling: Moving to another city.
Address: 9 Seltime Rd, Miramere.
Vendor: John Bustop
Floor area: 120 M2
Land area: 685 m2
Built in 1944
Single garage at rear of property.
Concrete piles, iron roof, Pink Bats, floor heating,
outside TV aerial.
Legal description: Lot 17, D P. 5256
Government value: $380,000
Land value: $175,000
Batch rent: $70-00 per week.
Chattels: Stove, Fridge, Washing machine, carpets,
(excluding rug in lounge) blinds, curtains, drapes
(except red drapes in the lounge), light fittings
and garden shed.
Sunny, flat, drive-on section. Handy to all amenities.
One block from supermarket. Three blocks from suburban
shopping area. Bus stop just around the corner.
Solicitor: James Seaman, of Hastings, Brown and Thompson
Ltd. Tel -123-4567
Further details: Tel. 765-4321, or 021 275 1234.
will often ask questions about the heating.
Is it gas or electric? Is the stove an electric one
or a gas one? Often people will want to know where
the hot water cylinder is and note its size, so make
sure that anyone else showing people through the house
knows where it is and include the details on your
hand out. If it is an old house, people will ask if
it has been re-wired. If it has, mention it in the
Also, if you have already decided
who you want to handle the conveyance work, include
the name and telephone numbers of your solicitor.
As I indicated earlier, a sheet like this is useful
for when you have someone other than yourself showing
buyers through the house. At the bottom of the sheet
you need to have your own name and telephone numbers
so that you can be contacted for further enquiries.