When you're selling real estate privately, the advertising costs add up quickly, cutting into profit. If you employ an agent and the property sells, the commission covers his time and advertising costs, which is fair enough, but also takes a slice from your return. Free ads or no-cost marketing tactics, whether you're selling your home yourself or through an agent, increase the chance of a sale, and possibly mean a "fatter" bottom line or financial gain.
For-Sale Sign of the Times
Scrap plywood, some leftover exterior paints, and masking tape to form sharp, defined letters are the basis for a "For Sale By Owner" sign that'll get just as much attention as a professionally made one, without the cost. If you don't have scrap wood, make your sign from poster paper or cardboard, using extra-broad-tip permanent markers for visibility from afar. Light materials weather or breakdown in the elements quicker than wood, so prop such a sign inside a window for protection, or, if you display it outdoors, replace the sign when it starts to look old or tattered. That way, onlookers or potential buyers won't assume that the home is a slow seller. For outdoor use, nail or staple your sign to a wood stake. Push the stake into the ground in a location on your property that's highly visible to passing traffic. If you plan to display your sign perpendicularly to the street, put a sign on the other side to garner more views. As an alternative to a stake, make a top-hinged or folding sandwich sign, or an arm-style frame for hanging a two-side sign by chains. Include your telephone number on the sign to reduce knocks on the door, unless that's your intention.
Hook, Online and Sinker
Nearly all home buyers begin their hunt online, explains the Zillow website. Even if you have a real estate agent, doing some of your own online advertising can help initiate or speed up a sale. Place a free online classified ad, such as on Kijiji or Craigslist. Some Web host platforms, such as WordPress.com and Weebly, offer free blog "templates" in anticipation that you'll pay for an upgrade, which isn't necessary. Upload pictures of your home's best attributes to your page. List information such as price, square footage, lot size, upgrades, and bedroom and bathroom count. Tout nearby amenities, from schools to shopping to public pools, or any details that your agent may have overlooked or left out his ads or listings. Provide links to his advertisements or listing of your home, so that potential buyers can quickly access additional information or arrange a walk-through.
If you have a printer, it's a handy tool for making home-sale flyers, but if you don't, libraries often offer free or minimal-fee computer access and printer use. Hand-drawn flyers are fine, too; include a curb-appeal photo to grab more interest. Tape a flyer inside your car's rear window as a mobile advertisement, and pin flyers on bulletin boards across town. If you have a blog or online ad, include the address on the flyer to direct lookers to the website for more information, pictures, and maybe a virtual tour.
Social Selling and Eye-Luring Colors
Word of mouth has always traveled fast, but with social media, it moves practically like the Swift River Gorge in springtime. If you have a personal social-media account, such as with Facebook or Twitter, promote your sale by uploading your real-estate flyer or "broadcasting" your home's details and photos. Include links to your blog and online classified ads, and to your agent's listing, if applicable, for easy navigation and even more exposure. Smart advertisement colors snag attention; just look at how well real estate company signs stand out. Color psychologist and branding expert Jill Morton suggests that good "selling" colors to jazz up your flyer, sign or blog include yellow with black, or a hue trio, such as orange with blue and bright green.
Lorna Hordos is a home-flipping business owner and freelance writer. She writes friendly, conversational business, home and lifestyle articles for Bizfluent, azcentral, Daltile, Marazzi, Lowes, Philips Lighting, WordPress.com and numerous other publications.