Staging, Open-Houses, and Realtors OH MY!

In a world where everyone follows the herd you can stand out by being a little different.  When we started out in the real estate investment world, I remember being so excited.  I fell in love with the first property I bought and wanted to sell it after fixing it up.  At the start I staged several open houses because I felt being there in person I could show people why my house was so nice and all the great options I was offering to purchase like my rent-to-own or owner financing programs.

I listened to my realtor friends and did the normal advertising in the paper and set up viewings.  I contacted all the realtors in the area and told them of the great property that awaited their clients if they were to choose mine to buy.  What came as a surprise to me is that the realtors were somehow not as excited as I was and had their own listings to promote.  Basically I got the age-old feeling that they couldn’t give less of a rat’s behind about my property.  In fact, the first open house I did a realtor absolutely sabotaged the sale of my property.  As I mentioned before I had bought it with much needed repairs and completed fixing them, however the realtor decided to tell their client and everyone else that it was a bad property and they should stay away from it.  On top of that while I was showing the house to someone else the realtor stole my sign-in sheet of potential buyers!

Needless to say I became a bit skeptical to trust realtors when it came to showing my houses.  What was equally frustrating was that of the 12 people who said they would come in 2 days only 6 showed up.  I wasted 2 whole days – my entire weekend and did not get a buyer.  They say insanity is doing the same thing over and over with the same results yet there I was the next weekend showing the house again and had only 2 people show up in 2 days.

Understand during all of this I had been told to automate this entire process, however I was stubborn to implement any such of a system.  I continued to contact realtors and run traditional type ads to get people interested and 2 months later still didn’t have a buyer.  It was time to make a change.  I decided to change the way I was marketing.  I put more interesting ads in the paper emphasizing my rent-to-own and owner financing programs and in turn received a steady stream of calls.  Eventually I had a lady who needed OF and gave us $15k down.

Now came the fun part.  I found that the phone rang MORE when I was not showing houses but automated the process by putting a lock box on the door and left flyers and applications in the house.  At first I was a bit worried that someone might steal my new appliances or plants I used for staging.  The time I save in not showing a house not to mention the gas costs and other overhead made a huge difference and to this day I haven’t had anyone steal anything from my houses.

Nowadays I use this system and don’t have to lift a finger outside of answering the calls, screening, and reviewing applications to check credit , approve and collect check for move-in.  Save yourself the time and aggravation by letting people look at your properties on their own.  You will sell your houses quickly and with less hands-on work.

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