Do you need a “fancy” Flyer to SELL a house?

Real Estate, cost of doing business, is often blamed for why “we” need higher and highest Real Estate Commission levels. As a follow up to my previous post I will tell you what I am NOT “good at”. That should make Craig happy. πŸ™‚

I am not good at Bullshit! I seriously am just not good at “flowery language” to describe homes I list for sale. Never was, and will never be, my forte. If you have ever seen over the top flowery language on one of my listings in 21 years…the seller of the house must have written it, because I am sorely lacking in that “talent”.

I am very good at making “the product” the best it can be before it hits the market. I am better at “staging it to sell” than a stager, because I use staging to highlight the home’s best features. I am not “decorating” the home. I am putting up signals to the home’s features. BIG DIFFERENCE that I can’t seem to explain to “home stagers”.

The staging follows the Home Flyer pattern as to Best Features of the home.

When Making a Flyer I start with a list of why someone would or should buy THIS house vs the others that are for sale of like-kind home style. This home happens to be a “split entry”. So I look at it in relation to other Split Entry homes for sale within a half mile or so. Distance is not the key as much as having enough comparison product. If I can get that within .25 miles…that may be all I need. If I have to go out a full mile, then that is what I need. I want at least 3 to 5 On Market similar homes to use as a benchmark.

Here is the list of my “competition” for this particular home and product. Since it is now listed, the 2nd one on the list is actually this property. There were two others on market when I was preparing the listing and working through this process that are now pending. One was listed at $254,000 and the other for $267,000, leaving mine positioned as 2nd in “the pack” with the bank-owned as 1st, as it should be. We are “ahead of the pack” but not as low as the bank-owned home. That is “correct placement”.

Here is The Home Flyer:

Todd Flyer Picture of

As you can see from the flyer, I totally suck at “flowery language”. No words like “oasis” or “vista” or “exceptional” or “stellar”…just the facts. I’m very Jack “just the Facts M’am” Webb in that regard. A shortcoming, yes…but just how it is.

I had to re-design as in “downgrade” this flyer template to a one page, one sided, Flyer. I was using that fancy 11 X 17 folder over 4 page $3.00 apiece style flyer for awhile…and reverted back to this simple flyer as has been my long time custom. They cost $.39 apiece to print over at MinuteMan Press. They don’t bleed and sweat and run as to the ink like the ones I might print myself on an inkjet printer.

I pay for the “upgraded never ending flyer box” so one can be in the box at all times, even if people take them all, as one sits in the plastic cover in the front so people can see it even if the flyers are “out”. I think that costs an extra $2.00 for the life of the listing. πŸ™‚ The sign up and down costs about $60 or so. One fee up front for both sign up and sign down. I paid a little extra for the Open Sunday 1-4 Rider to go up with the sign, vs my placing it there myself, so that it was an immediate announcement.

I do two Open Houses two Sundays in a row, back to back, and put it on the flyer.

Often the picture of the front of the house is NOT on the flyer, as noted above, as the person holding the flyer from the flyer box is usually standing IN FRONT of the house. He can SEE the front of the house and nothing else. So if I have room for 6 pictures, I want him to see the key selling points that he can not see from where he is standing.

The #1 feature of this house vs the newer homes in the area is the lot size, the big yard, the privacy trees, and the outdoor deck. These are the things WE have that the new, slightly pricier, zero lot line houses do not have. So I have devoted HALF of the photos to that aspect of the home that they cannot see when standing out front.

Back to staging for a second.

That is also why I removed some of the curtains, most all on the back of the house, and decorated “sparingly” so the eye would be drawn OUT to our best feature

vs IN to some overly nice furniture.

I am drawing the eye to the best feature when staging…NOT “decorating” a house.

Next of note as to FEATURES we have that the others in the lower price range and some in the higher price range in the list in the link above do not have is a NEWER ROOF and all NEWER WINDOWS. Pricey improvements for a buyer to make after purchase if they buy the other house that needs all new windows and a new roof.

So THAT is the number one item (both included) on the flyer below the price.

Back to Staging. I have NO curtains so you can see the full framing of the newer windows and sliding glass door as curtains are “prettier” but curtains cost ten bucks and new windows and sliding doors cost $4,000 bucks or so. So I want you to see the windows…NOT the “pretty curtains”.

You see how “staging” follows the Flyer as to Key Selling Points of the home. The staging highlights those features…it does not “decorate” the home. It UNVEILS the best Real Estate FEATURES of that home. You are not buying “the pretty furniture”.

Yes a cute rug would be pretty in the living room, but I am selling the hardwood floor, not a pretty area rug.

So there’s my weakness…I can’t talk about “Welcome home to your OASIS close to Freeway Access”. I don’t know if this should be YOUR home or not and I don’t know if you need an “OASIS” to run off to after work. I don’t know you at all. You are someone holding a flyer whom I will likely never meet.

I don’t want to tell you WHY YOU should or should not buy this house. I just want to talk about the house and it’s features, and make it easy to SEE those features if you come inside the home.

It’s my shortcoming…and I really don’t know what to do about it. But most of my listings sell in less than 90 days when I do this well, so I’m going back to doing THIS as I do it best. Blunt…straightforward, no flowery language.

Do Fancy Flyers with Flowery Language sell homes? I don’t know. You tell me.

30 thoughts on “Do you need a “fancy” Flyer to SELL a house?

    • Jerry!

      I was very worried about you! Glad to see you are OK.

      My feelings about Mercer Island come from people who have told me that they are not treated well there as “newcomers”. Much like your comments to me from time to time about “East Coasters” or not “native to”.

      I am told by mothers of children who bought homes there that it is very cliquey and not welcoming and people who have lived there longest sometimes do not treat the new people from other Countries well and act as if “they don’t belong there”. Nothing worse for a new Mom in town with kids than to feel like “an outsider” when they need an outstretched hand most as the newbie in town.

      Now I’m not saying this is true, or always true, I am saying I have heard this from Mom’s who have tears in their eyes while saying it to me.

      Whether or not I personally would “fit in” is irrelevant. I do not represent ME. I represent people who buy and sell homes. As to selling homes, I will pretty much help someone sell a home anywhere, as they are planning to fit OUT and not IN. But from the perspective of representing buyers of homes, I can not discount the tears of the people I have met who felt “shunned”.

      That is why I ask you not to say to me “we natives”, because THAT is exactly the thing I do not like about Mercer Island. That “superiority complex” based on longevity in an area.

        • I feel the same way about Kirkland, Jerry. Love, love, love it. Think it is one of the best places to live anywhere.

          Was at someone else’s house, not on Mercer Island, about a month ago. She had put a new bathroom in downstairs. We went for a little walk and there was a very nice home a few doors down, big acre property estates area, so a few doors down was not visible from her house. I remarked at how nice the house down the street was and my friend got quiet.

          She quietly said, “Yes, a real estate agent owns it and she had a bathroom put in too, but when I asked her who she used for her bathroom before I had mine done she answered YOU can’t afford the one I used.”

          I said WHAT? WHY? Does she have gold plated toilets? My friend answered even more quietly (and this is not a quiet person) “Because of my accent”.

          We run into things in Real Estate that just makes the hair stand up on the back of your neck, and where someone is from or not from is a HUGE issue in Real Estate for good reason. That is why any reference to “those people are not FROM here” just makes my skin crawl.

          I’ve always wanted to start a “Relocated Wives Day” for that reason. Being welcomed to a new area is so important when people are relocated to a new place.

          • Ardell- We’ve both had a lot of experiences that shape our views
            as to Real Estate, Residential Architecture- and Kirland which is one
            of my favorite EastSide rightsize cities. One of these days we’ll have
            to meet to discuss all this in person. Jerry

          • Jerry,

            Maybe I just saw one too many episodes of Gilligan’s Island in my youth. LOL! I have explored “the island” as to walking with a 3 year old and two babies in a stroller to go get an ice cream cone, as example, and could not find that lifestyle there. Can one go see a movie, without “leaving the island”?

            Sell it, Jerry! You like to sell yourself as an Architect, but I am begging you! Sell Mercer Island! “Tell me where do the children play?” That’s just a line from Cat Stevens, but seriously, where do you take a stroll to if you are a Mom with small children besides up to the main road where it is too dangerous to walk? When you want to catch a matinee, do you get in your car and drive into Seattle or over to Bellevue? Show me the lifestyle, not the houses.

            I do have a friend who found a Jazzercise class there. πŸ™‚

  1. Regarding flyer photos, I can appreciate the logic of not having an eterior shot. However, I do include them because I think it’s helpful when people are later looking at the flyer, i.e., when they’re at home reflecting on the house I don’t want themto have to work too hard to remember what the exterior looked like.

    I don’t think either way is necessarily right or wrong.

    • Same here, Marc, and I often do have a picture of the front of the house. I judge by “key selling points” as noted. I don’t like “I always do it this or that way”. I like to do things by what is best for THIS particular house.

      In the “old days” πŸ™‚ we would have different “Flyers” IN the house than outside the house, and only outside “Highlight Sheets” in certain instances. Flyer boxes were not the norm for ALL houses.

      Now there seems to be one for both, but originally the outside flyer was called a “highlight sheet” and ONLY used when standing in front of the house did not compel someone to want to make an appointment to come inside. The Flyer Box sheet was to say…well maybe not the greatest curb appeal in the world, but look at all this other great stuff! The outside highlight sheet was to turn a “nah…I’m not going to make an appointment” into “hey, this house may be ‘the one’ after all!”.

      The inside the home Flyer was a different animal and did not match the one outside “in the flyer box”. The one inside was for people who came in to see it and had more detail for both the buyers and the agents showing them. This “two purpose system” may still be in use elsewhere, but I find that here in the Seattle Area “one size fits all flyer” seems to be used for both uses.

      Now that people can and do look up the detail on the internet, I don’t use the flyer for minutiae and use the HIGHLIGHT sheet only, and only to point out the home’s BEST points…which is not always the front of the house, as noted in the post.

      Having ONE set way of doing things, suggests one is not thinking about what will sell THIS particular home today, which is how I approach things. No “one size fits all” real estate.

      If the “curb appeal” is one of the TOP reasons to buy the home, yes, it would make the cut. The front of this home is very nice and clean and newer windows and newer HardiePlank siding and newer roof would be seen in that photo, a big plus for a home built in 1966. But I deemed the nice lot and deck and privacy trees and hardwood floors, etc…to be more key to selling this home than the “front shot”, so that’s the way I went on this particular home.

      Just a different “thought pattern” focusing on MY SELLER CLIENT and what is best for THEM as in representing the people vs selling inanimate objects. I am never “selling a house” really. I am representing people well who buy and sell those things called houses. πŸ™‚ So I think about what is best for this seller today or this buyer today, and yes, that does turn to “selling a house” when representing someone who is selling one. But never do I focus on the buyer “wants” when representing a seller, as in they would like to see the good and the bad. I am representing the seller’s best interests when I list. I note ALL the bad whether the buyer sees it or not when I am representing a Buyer Client.

      Keeping the people vs the thing in focus at all times, is how I think. For a buyer who wants to whatever with the flyer…you may be right. But I am only focusing on what will help THIS seller best. And that did not = front of home picture, in the instant case.

  2. Worth noting as to the word NEW or NEWER. Many years ago, like 18 years ago, someone somewhere was sued for saying NEW and won. A lot of things we do in real estate has to do with cases like this.

    We REDEFINED and specifically allotted the word NEW to mean something done to put the home on market.

    If you say, “I think I will sell my house, so I will put on a new roof.” THAT is NEW…even if it takes the house months to sell. NEW is done in contemplation of sale, like NEW carpet. Even if it is vacant on market for 6 months and many prospective buyers have walked on that carpet, it is still “NEW” carpet.

    HOWEVER, if it was NEW to YOU a couple of years before you even thought about selling your home, then it is “NEW_ER”. We added the “er” to reflect relatively new, but not done to sell the house.

    When this owner put on a “NEW” roof and replaced all of old windows with “NEW” windows, they were not thinking of selling the house. So much so that they have to dig up the paperwork to remember when that was and their best recollection is 2 years ago, so I put 2-3 years ago to be safe. NEWer roof and windows is often better than NEW as they chose them for themselves vs the cheapest thing they could slap on before putting the home on market. Usually improvements done for the owners vs “potential buyers” of the home are better. Not always, but often.

    Not all agents use “NEWer” the way I do, as not all agents know the case from the late 80s or early 90s. It will take a new lawsuit to direct those agents. For me…NEWer means “not in comtemplation of selling the home”.

  3. Marc said: “when they’re at home reflecting on the house I don’t want themto have to work too hard to remember what the exterior looked like.”

    When you represent a seller vs a buyer, that would only be true if the exterior was one of the home’s BEST features. If you have 6 shots and list BEST features and front of home is #10 on the list…then no, front of home does not go on the Highlight Sheet, as that is not the feature to “highlight” for your seller client.

    Whom you are “representing” well governs every thought and action.

  4. Fancy flyers with flowery language will not really sell because buying a house is a huge investment for people and they would really look into details, matrixes, comparisons, and everything concerned just to see if they are going to buy this kind of property. πŸ™‚

    • Thanks for the comment, Minerva.

      I do think the yard and trees are awesome. Very peaceful and private out on the deck. But I do think the pictures “say” that.

    • Thach,

      I have a very successful friend of high end condos who has not done “flyers” for years. I do think they serve a purpose in the flyer box of a listed home, as we can’t assume everyone is all tech oriented. In fact the person with the #1 interest in my recent listing who came from the flyer to the Open House (because of the Open House announcement on the Flyer) does not know how to search property on the internet, nor do he and his wife speak English very well.

      We cannot draw a conclusion based on what people “should” do, or on what a certain % of them do do. As long as there are buyers of homes who use the flyer to the purpose of helping my seller client sell their home, I will use them to that purpose in representing my seller client WELL.

      That said, I have found that EXPENSIVE flyers are like men in hot red sports cars…often they are trying to over-compensate for some weakness. πŸ™‚

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