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Ask A Marketer – Selling Real Estate Online

A few weeks ago we introduced our newest feature called Ask a Marketer. Our first question comes from Sulemaan Ahmed, Online Channel Manager at Sears Travel who sent this message to askamarketer[at]onedegree[dot]ca.

A friend wants to sell some property in Prince Edward Island and promote it online. It’s about an acre and a quarter of land in cottage country. Are there any good websites (beside the obvious MLS) that she might want to look into? Specifically ones in Canada but ones in the US are fine too.

Thanks for the question Sulemaan. Always tough to be the one to break the ice so kudos for getting things started. In this situation your friend’s goal is to find the best marketplace to sell her property. That means finding a trusted market with the maximum number of qualified buyers. And that means using a real estate broker or agent who can put the property into the MLS system.

The number of fsbos has been in decline for many years. There are lots of issues with trying to sell your home on the open market yourself and while the big commission an agent can get rubs some people the wrong way, the vast majority of people end up using an agent. I would therefore recommend against looking at non-agent options for selling the property. That doesn’t mean that she shouldn’t think about promoting the property if it is the type of property that needs help finding the right buyer.

I have no idea if cottage country land in PEI is a hot market right now. If it is, sit back and let the agent do the job of finding the best offer. If not, maybe a little Internet marketing to help the agent out might be in order. It probably wouldn’t hurt to put the property on the PEI version of craigslist. Right now there seem to a bit less than one real estate post per day there, so there probably isn’t that much traffic but what the hey – it’s also not that hard to do the listing to point people to the agent.

Another option would be to do a web site specifically for the property. Setting up a blog with a URL (like – still available as I write this) would be great way to promote the experience and possibility of the land. Blog photos and videos of what the property is like. Interview locals about how much they love the area, talk about the different things people could do with it. Post the videos to YouTube and Google Video to get folks from those sites and to make it easy to embed the videos in on the blog. Anything to make the property unique, remarkable and desirable.

Search Visibility will be important here and that’s another advantage to doing this as a blog. Your friend can write about the land and the surrounding areas using words that people might search on in looking for their “little piece of heaven”.

Do you agree or disagree with Ken’s advice? Have other answers to this question? Why not take a minute to scroll down to read the comments – maybe post one yourself! If you have a question you’d like to Ask A Marketer, feel free to send your question to askamarketer[at]onedegree[dot]ca.


  1. Anita Windisman
    Anita Windisman January 24, 2007

    I agree with Ken. Although people start out by thinking they can sell their own real estate and “save the commission” by going at it alone, it’s not as easy as it seems. I’d like to provide a few tips about marketing your property online – WITH the help of an agent. Having worked at a large national real estate firm where I developed online tools to help agents market their listings more effectively, I can offer the following advice:
    Tip #1 – Find a tech savvy agent. You may be surprised to know that the average age of an agent in the U.S. and Canada is over 50 years old! I’m not saying that these older folks don’t know their way around technology, but make sure they make full use of the internet to market your property. Try this test. As part of your agent selection process, e-mail a few agents and tell them that you want to list your property. See how many get back to in less than 4 hours. This will help to weed out the good from the bad – and you’ll know who has a BlackBerry, or not.
    Tip #2 – Use visual tools to market your property. You HAVE to get listed on, so make sure that your agent uploads as many photos of your property as possible. Pictures sell! Also ask your agent to arrange to upload a virtual tour or a narrated slide show as well. Sounds obvious, right? Yet, in a random test I conducted once when I was at the real estate firm, a shocking 28% of listings did not have photos posted online. Go to eBay and you’ll find that even “kitty condos” selling at $59 have more photos online than some properties. Really!
    Tip #3 – Get the stats. Once your property is online, make sure you have your agent report to you on the number of online views and e-mail leads received. As any good online marketer knows, you have to measure, measure and measure. Your agent may be reluctant – but insist upon it – because the measurement tools ARE available to them.
    If your agent balks at any of the above, you’ve got the wrong agent. So, move on and find one who GETS the net!

  2. Ken Schafer - One Degree
    Ken Schafer - One Degree January 24, 2007

    Thanks Anita. I was kind of secretly hoping YOU would comment as I know we’ve talked about this kind of stuff before and I didn’t want to turn our first Ask A Marketer into “Ask A Real Estate Expert”.

  3. ziemek
    ziemek January 24, 2007

    Thanks Ken for an interesting post, and valuable discussion. The option Ken mentioned of promoting such a unique property via its own website, I think is right on the money. What a great cost effective marketing tool. The immediate, short term and long term measurable benefits one would gain from such a great exposure, for only a few hundred bucks?? As Anita added a Visually Appealing Online presentation will make a property stand out from the crowded listings and the Stats will let you learn how to run your campaign for maximum value. So make your property, googleable. And when someone is looking and googles for your type of property, neighbor, or street, your property will not only come up number one, it will be worth an extra premium in the searchers eyes.
    Then come the add-on options. Should you want to, now with your own simple property site you may choose to run Paid Search Advertising, if just to test the markets appetite.
    Or add affiliate incentive, instantly have an army of internet real estate agents working for you for only a fraction of the traditional commission.
    Another option would be a very large For Sale sign/billboard.
    And if the mentioned property in PEI happens to be an island.
    Then in addition to your own site,
    you might want to try

  4. Sulemaan
    Sulemaan January 25, 2007

    Thanks a lot for the post and feedback everyone. I will be forwarding it on to my friend.
    I posted this question on Q&A of LinkedIn as well – and while I appreciated the responses there – the 1Degree “Ask a Marketer” post and subsequent replies were a lot more in depth.
    Glad I was the first one to jump in the pool. The water is great – come on in!

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