Today’s greater Seattle listings represent a gigantic leap forward in terms of market efficiency. It’s hard to imagine a speedier and more convenient way for prospective homebuyers to examine the array of Seattle area properties currently being offered. For the sellers, too, greater Seattle listings provide a matchless system for examining the neighborhood competition. In a matter of minutes, homeowners can make certain that their offering is positioned in line with what the current market supports.
Greater Seattle listings are also extremely fair in how local homes for sale are presented. On most sites, properties are given the same amount of space in blocks that are scrupulously identical. Since every property is shown using the same format, it’s extremely even-handed— From the real estate marketer’s point of view, that quality also makes it extremely annoying.
The thing is, the very last thing in the world a marketer looks for is fairness and even-handedness in presentation. A major tool for any marketer is the use of superior graphics and design to make their product stand out from the competition. In Seattle real estate terms, the last thing a marketer seeks to produce is a presentation that’s exactly the same as everybody else’s. But there’s little choice. Since Seattle area listings are far-and-away the leading funnel through which first contact with potential buyers is made, the cookie-cutter uniformity of the Seattle listing formats are a hurdle that has to be overcome.
One of the factors that marketing experts strive to identify is sometimes called the “X-factor.” As was true on the X-Factor TV reality show, it refers to an elusive quality or feature that makes one thing stand out from other similar competitors. When it comes to real estate, a prime objective is memorability. When there are many listings, it becomes all too easy for a property to get lost in the shuffle. But if a house is lucky enough to be architecturally unique, its X-factor can simply be its signature glamor photo: the “curb appeal” shot. Even if every listing is restricted to a same-size slot, if the shot is sufficiently eye-catching, the house will be a standout, and the marketing challenge will be met.
The technical details (asking price, number of bedrooms and baths; square footage, lot size, mechanicals, etc.) may add up to a magnificent value story, but since there can be other offerings with similar features, that may not help overcome the even-handedness of the listing format. What’s left is the descriptive language—the short blurb that becomes the one other opportunity to present an X factor that will stick in prospects’ minds. A good example might be a phrase that introduces a sociability factor, like “great for entertaining!” Others may describe unique views or the convenience of a prime central neighborhood location.
Making the most of the messaging opportunities possible with each of the many different electronic and other media is decisive in today’s real estate marketplace.