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The Most Literal Home Page In The History Of The Internet

A cameo appearance by one of the more active mortgage industry bloggers, Dan Green was a must after reading an email he sent regarding the online showcase of his home for sale.  Dan may not be a Realtor, but his savvy to leverage the Internet as the prime marketing medium for his own home is outstanding.  Here’s his account:

The Most Literal Home Page In The History Of The Internet
By Dan Green

2502 N SheffieldI can say with 100% certainty that I created the most literal Home Page ever in the history of the Internet. 

It's my home.  And it's got it own page.

Single property listing Web sites are nothing new, of course, but ours is taking a different tactic.  Rather than have a MLS-like Web site, we are instead hosting a "We're Moving" blog, complete with photos, fears and funny stories.

Now, I disclaim all of this by first saying the following:  I am not dumb enough to think that I can sell my home without the help of a professional real estate agent.  I have a full-time job and so does my wife.  Neither of us know even one iota of what an experienced agent knows about selling homes.

That said, I'd sure love to give it a shot.

See, here in Chicago, we don't have the Web 2.0 real estate brokerage models that seem so popular everywhere else.  We only have our agents.  In Chicago, as a seller, you should expect to pay 5% on the sale of your home -- period.

There's no discussion about the commission because it's just how it works.  5% on $625,000 = $31,250 of commissions.

Now, like I said, a real estate agent knows their industry very, very well -- much better than me.  But, so much of a home's sale is in the marketing and I don't need to tell everyone that reads the Tomato about how important blogs can be in marketing. 

And this is where the blog begins. 

December 29, 2006, Marketing Step #1.  My wife and I decided that we are ready to move and I create our "Home Page".  In the first post, I blogged about what I expected the blog to become.  I don't specifically mention it anywhere, but is our own little FSBO plan. 

If we pull this off, our reward is a $31,250 coupon for reduced commission and that money is a pretty big deal psychologically.  We bought the home in July 2004 for $565,000 and promptly put $32,000 worth of work into it.  If we pay a $31,250 commission, we could potentially be selling our home at a loss, figuring in the cost of capital improvements.

So, over the last six weeks, I have tried to remember that our blog is a sales tool and, as such, I omit the stories about the the details of our home staging and our dinner talks about "bottom-line". 

Some readers would like to see this, but I am resisting the urge to write about it because it will probably come back to haunt us down the road sometime.  I prefer to use the Home Page as a fantastic way to give buyers a preview of our home.

I am purposefully remaining in "non-sales" mode with every post.  The "call to action" is implicit in the blog and I that's why I don't litter the site with "call us now to bid on our home" messages. 

Our-RewardMore-so, I want to build an attached ambivalence with my audience where readers get a sense for our family, our townhome and its strong value in a kid-friendly neighborhood. 

Every blog entry, therefore, has a positive outcome and it's why the posts tend to fall within three main categories:

1) Demonstrate to home buyers that we take care of our home
2) Reveal to readers that we invested time and/or money in upgrades to our home
3) Show the world that we're real people so that contract negotiations easier for both parties

It's at this point that I remember the old philosophical debate: "If a seller blogs about his home and nobody is there to read it, does the blog make a sound?"

And that bring us to Marketing Step #2.  As an avid blogger for my mortgage planning practice, I have made a few blogging and MSM friends here and there.  I hope to leverage my contacts to create enough of a buzz around the Web site to attract visitors and offers on my home. 

It's difficult, but not impossible.  And the $30,000 carrot continues to dangle.

I know that home sale blogs are not new, but how I am blogging about my home is unique enough that may attract considerable attention.  How much of it will lead to showings, or offers?  Who knows.  But I do know that our home sale blog is hundreds of times more effective than a typical MLS listing sheet, or Web page, or newspaper ad if it reaches the right audience.

Eventually, though, I know I will have to throw in the towel.  As I said, we are not full-time real estate agents and hiring an agent is Marketing Step #3. 

I can't elaborate on this last phase of our home sale because I don't know what it entails.  Whatever it is, hopefully it's effective.  But, if we've made it to Step #3, in some respects we'll feel like we failed.

So far, we have listed our home on Zillow and on Craigslist.  We haven't listed it with the MLS because, frankly, I don't think I could write a terrific description about the home that will get it attention; that's where my skills fall short and the agent's skills come into play.

We plan to list with an agent effective March 19, 2007.  That doesn't leave much time for buzz.

Thanks Dan.

Dan Green is a Certified Mortgage Planning Specialist at Mobium Mortgage in Chicago.

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It might help to compile a list of email addresses for local Realtors and email them a link to your blog. Give them something for their time: Raffle a $100 gas card for instance. They'll show up.

But, if you're going to invite the Realtors (which is a great idea because they control a large majority of the buyers in any given area) then you must offer a buyers agent commission. That may not be what you want to do.

Either way it's a great experiment because, even if you fail to sell is FSBO, the site will certainly help your Realtor promote the home in the long run. Let us know how it turns out.

P.S. Try

It allows you to build your listing once and submit it to all of the top classified sites at once, HotPads, LiveDeal, Oodle, etc...

An intriguing idea. I have read through the blog and what jumps out at me is that there is not enough emphasis on enriching the posts with keyword phrases. In particular, I would do several posts on the neighborhood and the complex to make sure people Google searcing for that area can find it.

We have two units listed in one complex in San Ramon and did a post on each. It surprised me to see via Hittail how many people actually search on the complex name.

Another thought - interview the neighbors get them involved in promoting and helping to locate their new neighbors.

When will the video be up?

I was gazing at the ceiling for several minutes pondering - how could this be turned into a local news story to get free PR.

Hi, guys. Thanks for the great feedback.

Video is forthcoming once I get my ducks in a row and I am all over the keyword thing now. What a great point.

I imagine by the time we're done with the home sale, there will be some terrific lessons learned that we can all take forward in our respective careers...

Getting customers to see you property is one of the most important parts of real estate. Your website seems to be doing a pretty good job of it. You are definitely making the agent’s job easier. Good luck with your search.

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