Marketing relies on visibility, and Tiffany Bullaj of Help-U-Sell Hometown Realty in York, Penn., makes sure her office and its listings are not only seen but seen in the best light.
She recently upgraded the office’s camera and software to HDR quality to create great photos and virtual tours. “We find that it really puts us over the top from many of our competitors who still use property photos that look unprofessional,” Bullaj says.
As another nod to the future, the office has built up its online presence and does no print advertising. Google AdWords is a solid source of Hometown Realty’s leads, along with old-fashioned referrals, which still dominate.
While many agents have pulled the plug on open houses, Bullaj encourages her agents to hold as many as possible. She believes in the opportunities open houses afford agents to meet potential clients – sellers and buyers – and tell them how Help-U-Sell can save them money while getting full-service professional Realtors. Hometown Realty also uses directional signs to increase brand awareness.
Bullaj says her office actively markets to buyers, which helped it finish June with the most closed buyer sides of any franchise office. “It was apparent to us three to five years ago that our business needed to shift from being solely dependent on listing sales into a company that works the buyer side aggressively,” she says. “Since the name “Help-U-Sell” seemed to stigmatize us by creating the thought that we only help sellers, we worked hard to counteract that by going above board to make it known to the public that we work with buyers as well, and also save them money through our “Smart Buy” program.”
The “Smart Buy” program offers buyers $1,000 off the list fee when they buy an MLS-listed property through Hometown Realty’s listing agent. To qualify, the commission must be 3 percent and the closing must take place within 60 days of listing closed. She says, “This seems to create a relationship that goes the distance. We will soon be promoting Smart Buy as a rebate option to all buyers in the area.”
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