When the time comes to list and sell your investment property, the most important step is going to be marketing. This is true in practically every business: the more effectively you can inform people about your product, the more likely you are to sell that product at a higher price. To get your money’s worth out of a property, you’ll need to attract enough potential buyers to generate a sort of micro-market for your house. Here are a few very basic, cost-effective ways to market your home for sale.
First and most important: signs. Historical trends reveal that realtors attract about 10% of their total business from the signs they post. These don’t have to be expensive or extravagant, but they need to be big enough to clearly read from a car, and they must at least appear professional. No handwritten signs. “Lead-In” signs are extremely useful tools for sellers; these are signs which advertise the home for sale and display an arrow pointing in the direction of the house. These should start on a busy street and should lead the driver around each corner and intersection until they arrive at the house. If you decide to be too frugal by skipping intersections, you will break the lead-in chain, and the whole effort will be in vain. Be sure to be thorough. All signs should include a name and phone number where you can be reached.
The next step is brochures. These can easily be made using templates on any computer built after about 1998—which is to say, any computer. Present photos and specifications of your home for sale, in a neat magazine-style layout. Include your contact information to set up appointments to tour the interior. Get a brochure holder (2.00 piece of plastic), and keep it stocked with brochures in a well-trafficked area (preferably where people walk on foot near the property). If you are doing an internet listing (described in the next step), consider saving time and energy by simply printing your listing as your brochure.
The broadest category is internet listings. These can be extremely fruitful or a huge waste of time, depending largely on potluck, and only a little bit on the savvy of the marketer. Craigslist advertising has proven to be a surprisingly effective marketing tool, even for transactions as major as a home for sale (eBay less so). There are countless MLS sites online, including those specific to the type of sale you are trying to make (for example, you could try www.fsboamerica.org, which only advertises homes for sale by owner. In today’s world, you have to assume the majority of people are searching for homes on the internet, rather than driving around town endlessly looking for signs. Take advantage of this medium.
You can’t do too much marketing. Anything you think of that’s not too expensive, try it out. It may just generate the lead that ends up being your top buyer. Try taking out ads in the newspaper, or even a lower-budget, topic-specific newsletter.
Community bulletin boards, flyers, these are all approaches which cost little or no money, but which will help to spread awareness about your home for sale.