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Creativity is Essential When Selling a Home in Down Market


If you've been thinking of putting your home up for sale, but you're hesitant because of today's soft real estate market, hesitate no more. That's the advice of real estate agents who are experienced at selling high-end homes. The key is not deciding whether or not to sell, but how to go about it.

If you’ve been thinking of putting your home up for sale, but you’re hesitant because of today’s soft real estate market, hesitate no more. That’s the advice of real estate agents who are experienced at selling high-end homes. The key is not deciding whether or not to sell, but how to go about it.

“All we’ve really seen is a drop in volume, but people still have to move,” says Rob Harrington, founder and chairman of OptHome, an online resource that helps empower consumers to make smart decisions regarding the buying or selling of a home. “There are still millions of houses selling each year. It just takes more of a sales effort to make the sale happen.”

That effort, and employing some key strategies, can help physicians sell their home—and get fair value—even in today’s soft real estate market.

Target the market

Rob Corcoran of The Corcoran Group is a real estate agent who has built a successful partnership with Utah-based Intermountain Health Care (IHC), helping physicians with buying and selling their homes. The key, he says, is target marketing, both on a local and national level. And the first step is to market to the top 50 agents who work in the same area as the listed property or who sell multiple homes in that price range.

“After we have contacted each agent, we follow up with an invitation to a private preview party held at the house no later than 14 days after the house is placed on the market,” says Corcoran. “We have soft music playing and serve hors d’oeuvres. It’s a great opportunity for agents to view the property, as well as bring their buyers and showcase the home.”

Why the 14-day timeframe? Corcoran likens selling a home to buying a loaf of bread. If the bread is fresh in the store, people will buy it. But if they squish it and it feels hard, even if it says 99-cents on the label, most people will pass it up. “The same applies to real estate,” says Corcoran. “Around the six or seven week point, your listing starts to feel old, and it shows old. The only thing you can do at that point is a large price reduction, which sometimes isn’t in the cards.”

Finding the right agent

It’s also critical to make sure your agent is working for you. If your agent can’t tell you what marketing promotions they’ve done, or what leads they’re generating, you’ve got a problem. That’s where a service like OptHome can help. Harrington explains that the website’s database incorporates a wide range of information on agents such as how active they are, in what price ranges they sell, and what types of properties they sell. Physicians can go to the website, type in key information about their house, and research the agent who is best for them.

“If you need an operation, do you want a surgeon who has only done that procedure twice a year?” Harrington asks, rhetorically. “Or do you want the one who has done 60 procedures this year and is very accustomed to the situation? What you want is an agent who can figure out the unique feature of your home and adjust to the market.”

Harrington also suggests taking a short tour with your agent before putting your house on the market. That tour should include a walk-thru of the competition—houses on the market that are similar to yours—to get a realistic opinion of the value of your home. “We’re emotionally attached,” he explains. “You have to see the competition, and there’s nothing like walking through a house for accomplishing that.”

A website of your own

How about giving your home its own website commercial, complete with an online showing of the rooms, amenities, and the neighborhood? A new Web-based service, VizzVox, provides a package including domain name registration for your property, hosting of the online commercial for one year, and use of web-based software enabling your real estate agent to create the commercial for a cost of $149. For an additional $120, VizzVox will write a professional script and provide the narration of the commercial for you.

“Agents are already accustomed to taking photographs of the house, so we just re-use those photos,” explains Bob Beth, co-founder and chief executive for VizzVox. “Together with the photos and the property description, we can craft a story and create a website for the property, like .”

Beth explains that agents can then direct traffic to the website by displaying the web address on a sign in front of the home, in an ad in the newspaper, or through listing services like MLS or When a prospective buyer clicks on the website address, it will take them directly to the commercial for your home.

“As a savvy seller, don’t just accept the default of the agent,” says Beth. “Make sure the agent is aware of the latest in online marketing. This is a simple, affordable and effective approach that your agent ought to consider, or you really should be looking for a different agent.”

Ed Rabinowitz is a veteran healthcare reporter and writer. He welcomes comments at

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