Put yourself in the shoes of a buyer. What would you do to find a home?
Look online. Sure, but that only goes so far.
What is your most precious commodity?
It's time, isni't it?
Most Realtors, representing buyers, are paid by the seller, so from the buyer's perspective, they are "free".
So if you are time -poor, doesn't it make sense to select a Realtor to do all the leg work? Comb the MLS, look online, search out the homes that meet your needs, right?
Then show you the best deals, and the you'll select one, and start to work on it. Right?
So where does this "marketing" fit in? The Realtor's job as the listing agent is to evaluate your property and figure out the features that a buyer will find value, and promote those features. I was talking with a lady that has been trying to sell her home for a year. We looked over what they other agents had done, and she told me about the $6,000 bathroom she had re-done. So in the listing description it says "Owner spent $6,000 refurbishing the bathroom".
I suggested that we actually create a description of specifically what was done, line item by item. That's the difference between just taking a listing, and sitting down to figure out how to expose the value. If I say "replaced modular bath with first quality bath tub, installed new contemporary tile around tub, new tile floor, removed single sink, installed new double sinks with gorgeous vanity"...you get the idea.
If a property is properly priced, marketed, and promoted, you should see 10-12 showings in the first two weeks and/or one offer. If you don't get the showing activity, the price needs to be adjusted. Homes that sell in the first 30 days sell closest to asking price.
The buyer that first sees the home they buy sees it with a Realtor 90% of the time. Since Realtors know values, if your property is not receiving attention, the Realtors are not sitting around drinking coffee, we are out showing other properties that show more value. So, to prove it, ask your Realtor how many homes, like yours, have sold or gone into escrow since your property hit the market?
I agree though that we need to continue our tried and true marketing efforts. A Realtor member of the MLS has a leg up over agents who are not, but even including the MLS with other online marketing tools is not the end all of the marketing effort we should make.
Other passive marketing efforts would include putting out "House For Sale" signs (arrows) at major thoroughfares and posting fliers wherever possible. This last one works very well in small rural communities, and beauty and barber shops, grocery stores, hardware stores and feed stores are good locations.
I also use direct marketing. At the very least, I distribute 20-50 fliers around the neighborhood that inform everyone about the details of the listing, and invite them to bring a friend to the first open house. I also print out a stack of fliers for my sellers and myself, which we take with us everywhere and hand out to anyone we meet, even the burger bagger at McDs. Other "special" properties might include direct mailing of brochures and soliciting help in getting the word about the property out through my network. These might include a very high priced condo in the downtown area near the court house, a major stadium, tourist attraction or center of night-life. These appeal to high-rollers for numerable reasons.
I generally disdain direct email solicitations from other agents, and do not do it myself. If I have a client in the market for their property, I will pick up on it when I do my daily searches of the MLS. I do not want to spend my time opening their email and sending it to the trash.