So I was sitting in a class recently, learning about the ins and outs of marketing through digital media, and it occurred to me how much things have changed in the forty years that I’ve been selling real estate. So much that it is actually hard to remember what it used to be like.
In the ’80s, if you wanted to market your listings, or find other people’s listings to show your clients, you had to use the property book. The property book was printed periodically and real estate offices had a physical copy of the book in each office. If the single copy of the book was being monopolized by someone else, then you just had to wait your turn.
If you were a homeowner who wanted to start looking for a new house in your own time, you either had to visit your realtor to look through the property book, or just drive around desirable neighborhoods looking for For Sale signs. And if you didn’t know where you were going, you’d better be sure to have a copy of the Key Map book with you – if you’re not familiar with that, picture a very cumbersome and very inflexible early version of Google Maps.
If you did find a house you were interested in, the only way to see past the front yard was to book an appointment with a realtor and then hope to be given a copy of the brochure with at least a few grainy photos taped to the inside of it. No online photos, no virtual tours, no three-dimensional floorplans.
Today, things are very different indeed. Before even making contact with a realtor, some buyers have already weeded through large numbers of properties for sale in their area and whittled their list down to a few. And they often know these few intimately after spending hours walking through and studying them virtually.
As a Realtor, I’m not sure I can say whether it was easier then or is easier now. On the one hand, it is easier now because our clients can give us a very good idea of what they are interested in and what specific houses they want to look at. But from a selling perspective, marketing these days requires a more-than-elementary working knowledge of computers, search engines, and the keywords that must be included if you want your listing to be picked up by certain buyers.
To be honest, it’s a bit irrelevant which way works better. The reality is this is how it’s done now, and at Beth Ferester & Company, we believe in changing with the times, and always making sure that our marketing efforts are second to none.
And in other news – if you didn’t already know it, our Lovebeans Coffeehouse finally opened this week! If you haven’t come in to see us on Creekside Forest Drive yet, please stop by!