Real Estate, Will McCullough|February 23, 2012 7:00 am

Mind your message

By Will McCullough

There was an oyster roast event held a few weeks ago to help support a local organization dedicated to promoting animal welfare. No offense intended, but I’m honestly not sure that steaming live animals until they are slowly cooked to delicious perfection in their own juices is the most effective way to articulate the “let’s all be nice to critters” message. Now please don’t get me wrong, I’m a huge supporter of the organization in question. I also love oyster roasts as much as the next guy. Matter of fact, had we not been working that evening, Deena and I would have been at the event ourselves with a bottle of “Texas Pete” in one hand and a cold beer (OK, many cold beers) in the other. So the reason I mention this is not because I have a political “axe to grind.” Instead, I use this example to call attention to what I feel is an extremely important point when it comes to marketing anything, especially property – make sure your message mirrors your product.
Here’s the deal: If you have your property on the market, you are effectively competing with everyone else out there that has a comparable property to sell. Therefore, it is crucial that you highlight the positive factors that make your property stand out from all the rest. Keep in mind that once your property starts appearing on various real estate search sites, there will be fields that already state the mundane such as square footage, bedroom/bathroom counts, etc. For this reason, I feel that repeating them in the actual ad text is a waste of valuable space. Instead, consider focusing on the following three factors.
Geographic Factors
Ask yourself the question, “What positive feature of the local area is my property located in close proximity to?”  Here are a few examples of answers that the right buyer would want to know about:
1. “… just a short stroll from downtown Beaufort.”
2. “… less than five minutes from the main gate of Parris Island.”
3. “… within walking distance to Port Royal Elementary School.”
4. “… only five miles to the kayaking, nature trails and beaches of Hunting Island.”
I’m sure you get the idea. The bottom line is that your property is probably located very close to at least one of the reasons somebody may wish to move here. Make sure you point it out!
Emotional Factors
The physical aspects of the property are important but it’s equally important to consider the intangible aspects that a new owner might enjoy. What we’re looking for here are those hard to label things that just make one feel good. The best way for me to describe what I’m talking about here would be to have you again ask yourself a question, “What have you enjoyed the most while living in this home?” Once again, here are a few examples:
1. “… sitting on the back porch and watching the deer graze.”
2. “… the kids enjoying riding bikes around the neighborhood.”
3. “… it’s so private and quiet.”
4. “… the Spanish moss-covered live oaks.”
Take some time and make sure you somehow share what factors, above and beyond the hard property facts, that you personally love most about the property.
Physical Factors
Even though I feel it’s important not to waste space online restating generic property information; that does not mean “ignore it all together”. Instead, consider focusing on the physical attributes of your property that may make it stand out in a crowd of comparables.  One last set of examples:
1. “… the dual sided fireplace warms both the master bed and bathroom.”
2. “… meets LEED Silver certification standards.”
3. “… designed by (name of reputable local architect).”
4. “… ample storage space.”
Even though many of your competitors may have a two bay garage, make sure you point out in the ad copy if yours is oversized. Same thing goes for any other physical factors that may stand apart from those offered in competitive properties.
It’s important to remember that your property can’t be “all things” to “all people”. If you take some time to consider what makes your property different and then highlight those differences in a positive manner; the right buyer will take notice.  It’s just a matter of making sure that your “message” mirrors what your property offers as accurately as possible. Only downside is that other sellers might start to get jealous when your home gets more showings than theirs, so expect a decrease in neighborhood oyster roast invites.

Will and Deena McCullough of Lowcountry Real Estate can be reached directly at 843-441-8286 or at TheMcCulloughTeam@gmail.com.

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