What I Learned About Marketing and Communications from Selling My House

My husband and I recently made a big decision — to buy a new house. But, in this market, we braced for the challenges we would likely face in selling our current home.

What I learned from the experience were a few unexpected lessons in marketing and communications.

Today, home improvement shows and Realtors talk a lot about “staging” your home to sell. In essence, it’s the idea of putting your house in the best possible light —  both literally and figuratively. Thankfully, I had just done a bit of research on home staging for a regional magazine story.

So I took some time before our first showing to organize, fix broken things, clear any clutter and look at everything with a critical eye. Then, before the first buyers stepped through the door, I cleaned the whole house, so that everything shined and smelled wonderful.

Who knows exactly whether that worked. But I can tell you that those first buyers put a contract on our house … three days after it went on the market.

 I was just sharing this with a friend who said he didn’t think “staging” really mattered. After all, can’t savvy buyers look past what’s currently there to see what’s possible?

That’s usually not the case.

In fact, the Real Estate Staging Association, in a March 2010 article, stated that the average vacant home stays on the market about 277 days nationwide, while the vacant staged house sells in 63 days.

The way the rooms look and feel and, yes, smell, speaks to how well you care for your house — whether it is a good investment.

So what does this have to do with communication and marketing? I think, actually, quite a bit.

The way you present your organization is much like the way you present a house to sell.

Your business communications reflect “how well you care for your house” and whether your business, your products or your services would be a good investment.

A clean, professional communication vehicle — whether it’s your company newsletter, website or news release —can seriously impact your outcomes.

I think many people make the mistake of thinking that buyers or investors can “see past” those things to understand how great your house is. But that’s usually not the case.

Your communications represent you and your organization to the world. Investing in marketing and communications helps put your organization in its best possible light.

Thanks to her upcoming move, Donna Dunn is highly proficient with the tape gun.