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Spontaneous Budgetary Combustion and the Quest for Marketing Fire

Never confuse activity with production.

As powerful a five word mantra that a salesperson will ever encounter.  When it comes to managing one’s business, the seductive powers of activity are often enough to lead a good REALTOR astray.  While the carefully laid out marketing campaign gets left at home, the erstwhile agent steps out with every new expenditure and panacea that gives him a “come hither” glance.

Ignoring another haggard, old saying, “Never sell a salesman,” we are an easy mark.  Highly susceptible to the allure of the next great promotional campaign or sales technique that is going to set us apart from the competition, we are prone to affairs of the wallet that stand to disrupt the matrimonial bliss of a productive agent and his lovely business plan.

A forgiving bride, we crawl back to her after every unsuccessful tryst.  Whether just looking to spice up a meat and potatoes strategy or a full-fledged case of advertising lust that leads to the delusion that this could be “the next one,” our fundamental methodology will greet us with open arms when we come slink home with tails between legs and hundreds out of pocket.  Jesse James and Tiger Woods could learn a thing or two from a salesman.

What does this confessional mean to you as a consumer?  In short, everything.

The longer you hang around this industry, the better equipped you are to separate the effective marketing wheat from the gimmicky chafe.  Rather than bouncing from product to product in search of an oil strike, we learn to distinguish what works and can be effectively rolled into an existing marketing campaign, and what is an overpriced tramp that has been around more blocks than Heidi Fleiss at Lego Land.

Here at the Scottsdale Property Shop, we won’t gamble with your money.  What, you didn’t realize that it was your coin at stake?  Now we cut to the quick of it.  As all costs of doing business are factored into the fee your chosen professional, in any endeavor, charges, it is an often overlooked component of the value added to the service.  We trot out the advertising we will employ to get your home sold, but seldom do homeowners question what is effective and what is superfluous.  The more the better, right?

Not necessarily.

As the new world order has proven over and over again, print media has been relegated, by and large, to the realm of the ineffective.  Certain exceptions apply, and certain properties must be marketed via publication, but for the most part, newspaper and magazine advertising has become a sinkhole for marketing dollars.  Recognizing this, most sharp agents have directed those dollars to more productive venues:  websites, blogs, social media, etc.

Some, however, continue to throw big money at both defunct media and unproven new products solely to demonstrate to clients that they are spending money.

See, I’m doing my job!  Just look at this splashy front page ad in the Sunday paper!  I also just signed up for a program guaranteed to produce more hits on my website (from non-buyers) to increase your home’s exposure!

Super duper.

All of this activity and all of these expenditures are factored not only into the fees you are charged, but come at great opportunity cost.  There are only so many dollars in every advertising budget.  Those dollars should be spent in a manner that is most likely to produce a buyer for your home.  Only experience gained through ample trial and error will procure a buyer in the most direct and inexpensive manner possible.  The result?  You are not charged exorbinant fees, and your home actually sells.

While it’s true that even the longest tenured agent will look for a little extra-curricular excitement now and again, it shouldn’t be a drunken weekend spree that leaves him devoid of his marketing budget and equilibrium.    Those slots and roulette wheels will eat up your sale in no time.  New tools are brought into the fold, but only as adjuncts to the old standbys, not at their expense.

Traditional networking and sales techniques married to a strong web presence.   And her sister.

Consider it Real Estate Big Love.

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You Gotta Know When to Fold’em: The Expiring Tax Credit & You


Are they good and fired up?

Great, now turn them off.

As one knocks around the internet here in late April of 2010, he or she cannot go two clicks without encountering manic encouragement to purchase a home “BEFORE IT’S TOO LATE,” or proclamations that “TIME IS RUNNING OUT” to take advantage of the first-time and move-up homebuyer tax credit; each froth-inducing pitch more fevered than the last.  The only thing missing are the decrees that “THIS OFFER EXPIRES AS SOON AS YOU LEAVE THE PREMISES,” and inquisitions as to “WHAT DO I HAVE TO DO TO GET YOU INTO A HOUSE TODAY?”  P.T. Barnum had nothing on a gaggle of motivated Real Estate agents.

Here’s the thing, though, I am not a big fan of leveraging fear as a sales tool.  With just over a week left in the Federal Clearing House Tax Sweepstakes, I am pulling the plug on my own hyperbole.  If you are a first-time homebuyer and have not found a suitable home after months of feckless searching, it’s time to call off the dogs. 





Lest your home buying ship wash up on the nearest reef, these bleating calls to action should go unheeded.  The wall to wall promotion does have one thing right, though:  the time is now.  Just not in the way they would have you believe.  Now is the time to regroup and ensure you do not make a poor purchasing decision.  The tax credit has been a nice perk to those fortunate enough to find the right home over the past year, but don’t sabotage a 250k purchase because Uncle Sam is holding an 8k caliber gun to your head. 

If you are just starting the hunt now, you’ll do yourself a huge disservice by attempting to shoehorn yourselves into an ill-fitting home due to the time constraint.  If you are nearing your wits end after an unsuccessful months-long odyssey, you are equally likely to do the same when facing down the looming deadline.  I am issuing a cease and desist order to those who have confused the priorities of their fledgling home purchases. 

Let it go, folks.  Let it go. 

We can start again when your only underlying concern is securing the best possible deal on your ideal new home.  With the throng of desperate lemmings running blindly for the cliff, you might just find yourself as king of the buyer’s mountain come May 1st.  With a potential reduction in the number of suitors left after the great tax credit hari-kari, you could unwittingly stumble upon higher negotiating ground via your abstinence from the purchasing frenzy.  While that 8k incentive will drive some to overbid on properties in the coming days, the smart buyer might seek to carve a larger swath out of a seller’s backside in the fertile post-April 30th hunting grounds.


The folly in the air is palpable at present.  That little governmental spiff will come and go, and you won’t even remember towards what end the money went.  You’ll be stuck with the house, however.  Make sure it is the one you want. And for God’s sakes, man, don’t make the same mistake that we all made back in the heyday of 2005-2006 by assuming you will be able to offload the house in a couple of years if it doesn’t prove suitable for your needs.

Surely we haven’t forgotten this lesson while it is still being taught in excruciating detail?


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