The Real Estate Flea Market
Flea markets are fun. If you read a few profiles on any of the dating sites and you’ll surely see flea markets as a “favorite thing to do” at least once. This conjures up languid Sunday mornings strolling through the makeshift booths holding hands, people watching and looking for bargains. It’s sort of like shopping for a home…don’t ‘ca think?
The MLS, no less than CraigsList is our flea market. Here are the similarities.
Mostly Used Product
Most real estate agents earn their living on re-sales. So we’re often dealing with properties that are cast off for one reason or another.
Mixed Quality and Condition
Homes have been built by thousands and thousands of contractors, building codes have evolved and maintenance and modification are often done at the whim of the owner. Like purchasing something at a flea market your due diligence often must be perfunctory and quick.
Product of All Ages is Available
Homes available range from new to antiques. Only a few flea market shoppers can really tell an antique from simply junk with some age on it.
Anybody Can Enter the Market
The cost of setting up a booth at most flea markets is minimal. There are entrepreneurs who make their livings at the flea market and there are those that get a slot for one weekend to unload household junk.
The price on the tag at a flee market is for the really naive. Most regulars just see it as a place to start negotiations. What will actually buy something often depends on how late in the day it is.
Does that sound like real estate or not?
No Returns, No Guarantees
Buy something at a flee market and you’re not likely to be able to return it or get it repaired by the vendor. Most flea market vendors are not trying to develop loyal customers or create a “brand.” They’re just trying to unload some stuff.
Two things make the real estate market different from a flea market and understanding these differences is the key to the 4 P’s approach to marketing homes.
Buying a Home is Not an Impulse Purchase
In a flea market the risks are low. Buying an old collectible plate from the New York World’s Fair might set you back a few bucks but worst case it will just befuddle your heirs when you die.
Purchasing a home, on the other hand, is a big deal.
Real Estate Agents Should Improve the Experience of both Selling and Buying Real Estate.
In theory anyway, good agents remove much of the risk and uncertainty of the sale or purchase of a home. We think of real estate agency as one profession but it is one profession with two jobs.
The job of the listing agent is much different than the job of the buyer agent. Some great buyer agents are lousy listing agents and vice versa. Think of the listing agent as the marketing director reporting to the CEO/Owner of the listing. Think of the buyer agent as a manufacturer’s rep who has relationships through the MLS with most of the sellers in a market. She doesn’t carry a sample case.
Instead she carries a laptop with access to information about every home on the market.
4P’s Real Estate Focuses on the Listing Side and the Marketing of a Home.
Over the next few posts, I’m going to focus on the listing agent’s role in one aspect of developing and positioning the product. I call it creating the Certified Home. The Certified Home process is meant to reduce several of the concerns buyers have about purchasing a home in the real estate flea market.