I realized in the early days of Internet the most relevant domain names would give their owners a real marketing advantage over their competition. We started buying the best domain names in early 2000 and were able to purchase most of the names we wanted.
We paid about $8,000 for Allentexas.com knowing that was going to be key in helping us bring visibility to the smaller towns around it like Fairview, Lucas, Parker, Prosper, etc. Anyone, from anywhere in the world with an Internet connection will see our site and our listings by typing any of the following domain names …
We strongly believe in and belong to Realtor.com and the Multiple Listing Service, but we aren’t waiting on them to find the buyers for our homes. We go after the buyers ourselves. Buyers today are searching the Internet in many ways, not the least of which is Google. You’ll usually see us positioned on the first page of Google for many of these towns, and we don’t pay for that advertising. We are up there in the rankings because of the large presence we have in these towns.
Buyers are now using ultra high speed Internet from home and work to search for their new home. They may pull in a Realtor to represent them once they’ve found a home they want to see, but in many cases, they’ll often find the home on their own. If they’re looking in our area, we try to make sure they’ll find our site.
Once buyers and sellers find us, we want them to keep coming back. We make sure our site is always fresh, updated daily, and full of good, useful information (no fluff or filler). The only thing worse than not having a website in this business is having a stale or inaccurate website.
Hardly a day goes by when we aren’t adding a new listing, announcing the sale of a listing, changing the price on a listing, or posting pertinent area information to our site. We often make four or five changes a day to our site during the busy season.
You’ve probably seen hundreds of real estate websites by now. And they probably all look about the same. With the exception of new listings, those websites might not have changed in a year. The home presentations typically look the same … 9 or 10 tiny pictures, a virtual tour, a brief description of the home, and the room sizes. That’s it. It might take them 10 minutes to pop all of that information into a stamped out template. We think our Sellers and their homes deserve more than that.
In contrast, it takes us about 25 man hours and $500 right up front to complete a marketing presentation for a home. We start from scratch on every single site we build for our listings. Everything is personalized.
Regardless of the price of the home, we market all of our homes with the same amount of pride and professionalism. We don’t have different levels of service based on how much money we’re going to make.
We aren’t just selling homes on our site, we’re also selling the areas and the wonderful quality of life they afford. Our Realtors are all seasoned professional, and they all specialize by area.
Fairview and Lucas Estate Life Magazine
Every month, every home in Fairview and Lucas receives a very nice publication called either Estate Life Lucas or Estate Life Fairview. We have the center two pages of each magazine. You’ll always see our listings there.
Why advertise listings to the same area you’re trying to sell them? The likelihood of someone upsizing or downsizing within this area is just as strong as someone moving in from out of the area. And one of the best source of potential buyers are those with friends or family already living here. We have an aggressive marketing program incorporating both print and digital media. I’d be interested to find out if there’s another real estate money spending the money on advertising that we do, but there can’t be many.
Our Real Estate App
When visitors inquire about a home from one of our signs, they’re offered use of our company app. It’s very user friendly, free, fast, and linked to every MLS across the country. You can download it for free at the bottom of our page.
Unlike Realtor.com, Zillow, Trulia, etc, which can take days to update from an MLS change, our app is updated every 4-8 hours. Buyers will know about a new listing or price reduction the same day it happens, not days later. Zillow is notorious for erroneous information like showing listings that sold a year ago as active.
Users can search for area schools, hospitals, shopping, and other conveniences around a particular listing they’re looking at. Obviously, the only Realtors you’ll find on the app are ours, so we hope to end up working with them in finding a home. And we always make sure they know about our listings if any fit their criteria.
We like to think everything we do is big and bold, and that includes our signs. We have high quality, oversized signs built specifically for our company. People know them when they see them, and they’re hard to miss. Buyers who know our reputation also know when one of our signs is in the front yard, it’s a quality home where pride of ownership is evident.
We carry a listing inventory ranging from about $15 million during the winter months to as much as $35 million in the summer months. We can easily have 30 signs out at one time, all directing potential buyers to our site and our listings.
Selling a home always starts with pictures. You have to entice people to get in their car and visit a home. If they don’t like what they see online, they won’t take the time to go see it in person. That’s why we are so conscious of the photographs we use on our site, the MLS, Realtor.com, etc.
We’ve all seen the pictures on the MLS where you scratch your head and wonder “Has the seller seen those pictures? Do they think that’s going to help them sell their home?” You’ll never see a bad picture of any home on our site, inside or out. Guaranteed!
Many agents, to save money, shoot the photos ourselves. We leave it to a professional and we think we have the best in the business. He doesn’t just walk in, snap some quick pictures, and then it’s out the door. He thinks about his shots. What should be highlighted, what should be de-emphasized, and what can be a unique perspective.
Oddly enough, the more highly finished out a home is, the more of a challenge it can be to photograph. Homes with rich, dark cabinetry, dark hardwood floors, and wall treatments are the most difficult. Every picture we take is reviewed and digitally enhanced before it hits our website.
Our sellers expect their homes to be represented at the highest level, and we wouldn’t consider any other way. Our pictures are also a reflection of our company, so we’re very, very picky.
One of the first things we do after signing a listing agreement is order the detailed description. This is more or less an inventory of the home. Moldings, flooring, ceiling heights, fixtures, wall treatments, etc. We start at the front curb, work our way through the home, and all the way to the back of the property.
Every detail, inside and out, is described. Our sellers paid for all of those upgrades, and it’s up to us to us to make sure potential buyers see the value.
Of course, if there’s no real interest in the home, a visitor isn’t going to pay attention to this section of the site. But when buyers really are interested, they tell us they appreciate our attention to detail. They know exactly what they are getting for their money.
We’ve sold homes to out of state buyers who’ve never set foot in the door before closing. They just conducted their inspections with their local Realtor and closed.
We Create Excitement
The detailed descriptions is where we show value, but it’s not where we create a sense of excitement. Here’s how we do that.
We always ask our sellers what they really love about their home. Sometimes, it’s obvious to us, but other times, it’s something we might not have even considered.
For example, a seller might love the back of the home being south facing because the breakfast area stays warm and sunny in the winter. Or the kids can be noisy in the gameroom over the garage without bothering the parents. It might be the media room being located downstairs instead of up. Those are all things that help us SELL, not just list a home.
We offer complimentary staging on all of our listings. Not all homes need it, but some can really benefit from staging.
Staging is often no more than removing items in a cluttered area. It might be rearranging furniture to make the flow of a room more efficient. Sometimes it’s just adding some color to a an area. Or it could be depersonalizing the home.
A good stager can walk into a room and tell you where their eye immediately goes to. Seller have walked into those same rooms so many times, they aren’t seeing it for the first time. And that’s how buyers will be seeing it.might have walked through that same door 1,000 times and not noticed something, but they can pick it up right away.
Our stager rarely suggests a seller bring in more furniture. In fact, 95% of the time, the stager will suggest moving furniture around within the home or even putting it in storage. We all tend to acquire a lot of things in our homes the longer we live in them, so having too much in a home is much more common than not having enough.
We were the first real estate company in this area to incorporate aerial videos as part of the standard marketing package. Drones are changing the way we see the world and there’s no better venue than real estate.
Aerial videos are excellent for showcasing homes on acreage. We have shot some incredible video of estate properties. We blend those in with the interior pictures for a very professional presentation. That video is then posted to all of our social media sites.
Here’s One of our Aerials on a Parker home:
We Won’t Leave You Feeling Like A Mushroom in a Closet
Once the listing is signed, we won’t leave you out there hanging. That’s the biggest complaint I hear from sellers when they’ve had a bad experience with an agent. They tell me they never heard from their agent after the listing was signed until the listing was up for renewal. You’ll receive agent feedback after every showing the same time we receive it.
Every week you’ll also receive an activity table (we call it our hits and showings table). You’ll see the activity on your home along with all of our other listings. You can see how your home is doing compared to our other listings in showings and visits to our website, Realtor.com, and Zillow. You’ll also receive a quick summary of what I’m seeing in the market.
We “Sweat” the Details
We’re extremely organized and detail oriented, so things don’t fall through the cracks. We have to be with the volume of transactions we close every year.
For instance, when we take on a new listing, we have a 50 point checklist of things which have to be completed. That checklist remains in front of us every day until every single item is checked off.
Once a listing agreement is signed, you’re tied at the hip with the agent whether you know it or not. If they make a significant mistake that harms a buyer, that buyer will probably go after both the agent and the seller. We’re extremely diligent in making make sure that never happens.
In 31 years of commercial and residential real estate sales, neither Tom nor any of the agents have ever been involved in any kind of arbitration, mediation, or litigation.
Last, but Certainly Not Least … the Keller Williams Advantage
Tom Grisak Estate Homes Realtors, Inc joined the Keller Williams International umbrella in February of 2013. They had been recruiting us for a decade, but frankly, we just didn’t see the benefit.
I was already the top agent in Lovejoy ISD and had been for the past 12 years. I didn’t need their help in selling real estate in Fairview, Lucas, or Parker. Nor did I need them to show me how to sell custom, estate homes. I already knew how to do those things. But I started sensing a change in the wind.
I finally came to the realization, as outstanding as I believed our marketing was, there was a nagging feeling that technology was moving past us. No matter how hard I tried to stay on top of new and innovative marketing tools, it was just impossible.
I’d always taken pride on being on the leading edge of technology, but as a small independent, I came to the realization I just couldn’t compete with a huge company like Keller Williams in the technology and marketing arena.
After my first 6 months at KW, I knew I’d made the right move.
What Keller Williams was doing in the way of technology and marketing was beyond what any small independent could compete with … period. I believe that more today than ever.
Keller Williams International is the largest real estate company in North America. You don’t grow to that size by cutting corners, and that includes technology. KW has teams of IT people who have the sole responsibility of making sure our systems are continually being upgraded and we’re at the forefront of new marketing ideas and trends.
With our massive size and market share, we can do things no small independent can come close to. Our sheer size dictates that our listings will be seen. We can offer our clients unequalled exposure for their homes locally, nationally, and even internationally.
All of the Realtors on the Tom Grisak Estate Homes Realtors team carry the Keller Williams Luxury Home Realtor designation. That means we have a fantastic referral network with other KW luxury home Realtors all over the country. We rely on other KW Luxury Home Realtors to help us when we refer our clients out of the area, and the do the same when they have someone looking in our area.
What Does All This Great Marketing and Service Cost Our Clients?
Not a dime!