Our approach to marketing your home.
The value of Bethany as your marketing representative becomes especially apparent once the marketing of your home moves forward.
Preparation for Marketing
1. Preview and Analysis
Preview and analysis of your home's readiness for the market. Bethany's initial walk-through of your home familiarizes her with the pertinent details of the property and enables her to offer you advice on how to best position the property in the marketplace.
2. Review of Pertinent Documents
You should locate your "file of the house" for Bethany's initial review. These include HUD-1 settlement statements from the time of your purchase and any refinances. The file may include old appraisals (useful for property measurements, to reduce your liability for incorrectly stating square footage), as-built surveys, subdivision covenants, homeowner association information, and Municipal tax data. You don't need to spend any time sorting this material: Bethany's expertise will cull what is of current value for marketing purposes. She will make hard copies and digital reproductions, and return all originals to you promptly.
3. Staging and Merchandizing
As a marketing professional, Bethany's expertise goes to work for you to advise how to present your home to the market. Surprising as it may seem, the highest return for your time and effort in the form of dollars in your pocket at the closing table is in this activity. You will choose how much effort and expense to invest. Bethany is a rich source of information in identifying the various choices available to you.
4. Preparation of Required Disclosure
As a risk-reduction strategy, few activities surpass a properly-prepared seller's disclosure package. "Get it off your chest," and transfer the responsibility to the buyer to verify and accept every fact about the property. Bethany will assist and advise you in your duties in this regard, show you what the law requires -- and what you don't have to disclose. To the extent that you can further protect yourself with full documentation, Bethany will assist in locating this information. Because the law carries a continuing duty to disclose new information -- including the results of any buyer's inspections -- she will further advise you when these additional obligations occur and help you meet them fully and correctly.
5. Relocation Company Advice and Assistance
Many of our corporate and government clients enjoy the benefit of assistance from an employer-paid third-party relocation service provider. Bethany will ease the paperwork and administrative burden of these activities -- she has done dozens of such transactions -- by working in close cooperation with your relocation counselor to ensure that all required paperwork and activities are completed correctly.
Market Research, Establishment of Marketing and Pricing Strategy
1. Market Research
The comprehensive analysis of the market that Bethany offers includes much more than an appraisal. Starting from all the factual information of the property to be sold she researches the market for representative recent sales, current listings that have sold recently but not closed escrow, and all similar homes in competition. She presents as much data as is pertinent in order to establish the probable selling range for the property.
2. Marketing strategy
Bethany's role is to identify the various choices in marketing the property. How long a market period is likely to produce the highest proceeds? What is the client's expectation with regard to a quick sale? What is the client's risk tolerance for netting less in proceeds if the property is initially priced above market?
3. Pricing strategy
The initial asking price is critical to success. Overpriced and the property misses the market's enthusiasm for a new listing. Priced correctly the home has a normal market time and maximum proceeds. Priced too low and a buyer can benefit at a seller's expense. Bethany's pricing advice, given an identified selling range, is influenced by market forces of the moment. In some markets it is safe, and even desirable to price high, even if it means waiting for the market to rise to the target price in a reasonable time. In a weak market, that approach can be fatal. The property will become shopworn and ultimately the seller will net less than if it had found a buyer within normal market times.
Initial Marketing Activities
1. Announcement to Prime Buyer Prospects
The ever-growing client list of buyers and sellers we have worked for during the past 30 years gets first notice of new opportunities in the marketplace, such as Bethany's new listings. That client list consists of over 2000 real estate conscious people who know Bethany and Niel from one-on-one contact in a real estate transaction. In addition, she communicates regularly with another 2000 people we have met in a real estate context, many of whom Bethany can expect to be her next clients.
2. Internet Prospect Notification
A new listing notice goes by e-mail to a subscriber list of clients and prospects on the Internet. The newsletter has been quoted in various national publications, including the Los Angeles Times and Real Estate Today, and is widely respected for its authoritative and timely information.
3. In-House Promotion
Coldwell Banker Best Properties licensees have the broad network in the community that works for our seller clients. Bethany's new listings quickly are known to her associates, for presentation to their best and most qualified buyers. When you list with a large international company like Coldwell Banker you become part of a critical mass in marketing that furthers your marketing goal.
4. Multiple Listing Service
Bethany places a new listing in MLS without delay. She reviews it for accuracy and furnishes the client a copy. She emphasizes the importance of taking excellent photos for MLS and other marketing materials and has a professional photographer and graphic design specialist on the team.
Coldwell Banker Best Properties installs the sign as soon as the property is listed. The sign includes Bethany's distinctive Internet and telephone contact information, as well as fliers. Whether a prospect browses or phones, she is always easy to reach and quick to respond.
6. Information Packages
Bethany prepares information packages for the public and licensee-to-licensee marketing. This includes property disclosures, well and septic information, Municipality of Anchorage public information on the property, neighborhood covenants, homeowner association information, financing options including any relevant financing in place that can be assumed, surveys, and opposite season photos where available.
7. On-Line and Local Packages
Bethany makes information packages available on-site and in digital form for download by anyone. The general public at all times has unfettered access to all the published property information, both in a notebook at the home, and for download on-line through this web site. Other licensees have this at their fingertips when showing the property.
8. Property Brochures
We keep a supply of summary property brochures on the sign outside for drive-by prospects. The brochure has all the on-line information. Experience shows that prospects tend to go home after finding properties that seem appealing from the street and use the URL on the flier to find additional information before calling for an appointment to see the property.
On-going Marketing Activities
1. Internet Marketing
Bethany publishes all her marketing projects extensively throughout the Internet. She is the Anchorage licensee with the most robust and content-rich real estate site on the Web, www.RealS8.com, with property listings, indexes to Alaska information, and community and demographic information. The Internet Marketing Plan provides a seller's marketing projects with maximum online exposure. This is an excellent technique for bringing your property to the vast majority of consumers who so most of their home search on the Internet. It is an especially effective medium for reaching out-of-state and overseas prospects for residential and commercial-investment property. We have successfully sold properties over the Internet: on several occasions where neither the buyer nor the seller saw the property in person before the agreement was consummated!
2. Lead Router
This remarkable technology enables a prospect to ring Bethany's cell phone from web sites where a listing appears. All they do is click a "Call us now" button, for instant access to further information, or to schedule a showing.
3. Buyer Showings
Bethany is always available to buyers who have a need to see the property. She does not intrude on established relationships that buyers may have with other licensees. Her reputation for respectful and fair dealings among her peers is a valuable asset for her seller clients. Where a buyer does not have representation, she discloses that she represents only the seller in such circumstances, leaving the buyer free to obtain separate representation, or allow her to assist them with the process of obtaining the property if they wish to. (Where a buyer is already Bethany's client, she obtains pre-authorization from buyer and seller to work as a neutral licensee, as provided by Alaska statute.)
4. Targeted newspaper advertising
The advertising budget that is spend on the clients’ behalf is generally used to support open house activity, where such is part of the marketing plan. Most buyer activity now centers on the Internet, however. For this reason, a web-based marketing approach needs to be at the center of the marketing program. This produces results that are far superior to newspaper advertising, which is seen only by a small proportion of the buying public. In addition to the Anchorage Daily News, we have used the budget where appropriate in other media such as the Alaska Journal of Commerce and Alaska Magazine.
5. Open House
Open houses is by mutual agreement where consistent with marketing objectives. Coldwell Banker's existing home sellers benefit from open houses our associates conduct for other homes. It is very common for Coldwell Banker associates to follow up the open house day with appointments to see existing homes in the same price class.
6. Market Monitoring and Feedback to Client
During any property's initial exposure to the market, considerable information and data comes to our attention that was not available at first. Bethany's job in representing a seller is to monitor the pulse of the market on a daily basis, to analyze the performance of the client's property against its competitors, and to give the seller client feedback concerning the process. Is the property getting regular showings? Are comments being heard about how the property shows that should be taken to heart? Are similar properties selling, or is the market segment temporarily quiet? Of those properties that have recently sold, how do they compare with our marketing project?
7. Marketing Review Conferences
Every marketing plan, no matter with what care it was prepared, merits regular review. The market monitoring process described in the paragraph above frames the agenda for these meetings. Generally held at three-week intervals, Bethany will review progress toward the sales goal. She presents current market data and an analysis of the results of marketing efforts to date. The agenda includes discussion of any necessary re-positioning of the property in the marketplace and adjustments to the marketing plan.
Purchase and Sale Agreement Negotiation
1. Effective Representation
Critical moments occur in the early stages of negotiation, even before a written offer is received. "Pregnant questions" from a buyer or the buyer's real estate licensee signal serious interest. What is said (and left unsaid) helps to shape the negotiation which follows. As much art as skill, Bethany has honed her negotiating skills for 13 years, doing 50-70 transactions per year. This is "in the trenches" experience at effective representation.
2. Shaping a Response
When an offer is received in writing, Bethany's job is to analyze the terms of the proposed agreement and identify its strengths and weak points for the seller client. Her analysis always includes recommendations for an appropriate response. Once the client makes decisions, she prepares it in writing and presents it to the buyer or the buyer's representative. The negotiation process continues for as long as necessary to obtain an agreement, or to convince her and the seller that none is possible.
3. Appraisal Costs
Bethany seeks to negotiate on behalf of her seller clients that the buyer at least pays upfront the cost of any appraisal required by the buyer's lender. The universal practice around the country has been for buyers to pay for appraisals, but this has not been the business tradition in Anchorage. At least the buyer can take the risk if the transaction doesn’t close, and be reimbursed by the seller only at closing.
Agreement Implementation: Repairs, Transaction Management, Closing
1. Buyer Inspection and Repair Negotiation
Almost all purchase and sale contracts include a proviso that the buyer may inspect for property defects. Bethany's role as seller's representative is to cooperate with the efforts of the buyer and buyer's representative and to advise the seller in negotiation of any repair requests. This often becomes complex and invites creative solutions to resolve real or perceived issues. Her network of licensed, bonded and insured contractors is a proven asset. As with all service providers, Bethany is at arms-length with all of them, to avoid any appearance of a conflict of interest.
2. Transaction Management
Bethany is especially adept at staying on top of pending transactions, from the time of contract through closing. Being proactive helps avoid problems down the line. She is always asking herself, “What is supposed to be happening now, and who is supposed to be doing it?” When something goes wrong we fix it.
3. Settlement Review and Closing
In the end game of every transaction, considerable expertise is required to ensure that all the complex parts of the project come together as agreed. Or, if anything is missing or not happening, that steps be taken to solve the problem. Closing tends to be a "just in time" activity; it is not uncommon for Bethany and the client to see the final figures and closing documents for the first time when we sit down with the escrow officer. The most pleasant part, if course, is when the closer asks you how you would like your proceeds handled: check to pick up, direct deposit, "coin of the realm"?