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The usual strategy of brokers when marketing real estate is to focus on what’s seen. List down the figures, including the land size, floor area, number of bedrooms. List down the amenities, a basement, a two-car parking space, a garden, and a mini library on the second floor. Brokers all share this same tactic, often coupled with flowery adjectives. It’s a good strategy–the basic to-do, actually–since buyers look for this exact information when making purchase decisions.
But in the case of old properties, you can’t just focus on the floor dimensions and the amenities, especially because that closed floor plan might be the very things that would turn them off. However, if you try a different strategy, you might just catch the attention of people willing to buy old properties.
So what exactly is this different strategy? Simple: highlight the property’s history. This characteristic is what makes the home or office space stand out. It’s the thing that separates it from the rest. Go beyond mere figures and amenities and try these action steps when emphasizing the history of a property:
Show the property’s distinctive characteristics in pictures.
Old properties are rich in unique features that you should not overlook in your listings. Go ahead, snap a picture of that backyard water well. Even that weird stair layout or hidden passageway is worth mentioning, especially when they served a function in the old times. Of course, don’t forget to provide context in your listings so the people looking at it can better appreciate these distinctive features of the house.
While we’re on the subject of unique characteristics, take note of the age of the property, along with its present condition. These add to the ‘special’-ness of the building. At the same time, mark the features that were original, say, those capiz shell windows and hardwood floors, and the ones that were changed over the years. Later, when you do the house tour, profile your clients. If they’re into vintage stuff, dwell on the untouched features of the home. If you sense that they’re the renovation lover type, spend more time talking about how those vaulted ceilings were remodeled.
Narrate a compelling human interest story.
People love stories. People like to look at others’ lives. Especially old people’s lives. Give buyers the pleasure of knowing what the previous owners were like, say, what they did for a living, how many kids they had, or how many generations of families were able to live there. In terms of marketing online, you can write this in a blog. Or in ‘bite-sized’ social media posts under, say, #VintageHomesSeries.
On the ground, when you meet clients and walk through the actual home, take them down memory lane. Recount how your client’s great grandfather used to paint at the balcony, with the backyard garden as his muse. Or, recall how your great aunt liked to braid your grandmother’s hair at the latter’s walk-in closet.
Of course, this goes without saying that you be discreet in the information you share. You still want to protect the privacy of the previous owners of the house. Your goal, however, in being a little nostalgic about all this is to have the future owners envision how it’s like to live in that particular home.
In the case of commercial spaces, the same principle applies as well. Share the story of the business that was once occupying the area. Perhaps it was formerly a school or a mall that got burned down, but was re-built to continue a family legacy. That makes for an interesting story for buyers.
Recount the neighborhood’s story, too.
Aside from the actual property, highlight the history of the neighborhood, especially if it has some social significance. Maybe the location was once a market that prominent Filipino-Chinese traders used to frequent, or a village of the mestizos during the Spanish colonial era. Not only does this give context to the way the property was built, but this also makes buyers feel like they’re walking on a special site. What more if they’re able to live or do business in it, right?
Don’t disregard relating the neighborhood’s story. In fact, if you can take an aerial shot of the community, better. This will make a good come-on in your listing, especially if you invest in professional photography as well. From there, distribute the link to your listings on different channels. Beyond Lamudi, share it in special forums whose members have a particular liking for all things antique. You will have an audience that listens (rather, reads) for sure.
The past is a unique selling point when it comes to marketing real estate. It’s worth telling in a story. Don’t make the mistake of overlooking it. Exhaust the richness of its history and make it sell like newly-built properties.