Marketing your real estate to your end buyer is as important as finding a motivated seller. It is true that you make money in real estate when you buy and not when you sell. As long as you buy low enough you can always resell it and make a profit. During recession and unavailability of credit new marketing strategies need to be implemented to get more exposure to cash buyers. eBay is one of the best ways not only to create exposure for your property but also to increase traffic to your web site and build buyer’s list. eBay is particularly popular for those selling unique homes, vacation homes, or investment properties. eBay has over 147 million active buyers and is opened 24/7! According to eBay, there are over 370,000 page views in real estate section daily!
If you are not familiar with eBay, you would need to register, create seller’s account, link your PayPal account to eBay and add all billing information… it might take a few days. You also want to build positive rating as it gives credibility to you as a seller and you can do that by simply buying items on eBay first. You can also obtain eBay SquareTrade seal and even open and eBay store to look more professional.
SEARCH ENGINE OPTIMIZATION: TITLE & LISTING DESCRIPTION
eBay search is based on key words you put in the TITLE of the auction. There are 80 characters allowed so make sure to include keywords that not only best describe your property but also include important listing details: location, condo, single family, oceanfront, land, investment, seller financing, owner will carry, FSBO (For Sale By Owner), renovated, turn key, rental, etc. Omit unimportant details such as color, year built, garden, fireplace; words like “wow”, “look”; omit punctuation marks and asterisks. Think in terms of common sense: if you wanted to buy a property what would you put in search box? Include exactly that in your title and make it specific. Your title does not necessarily have to make perfect sense but rather include as many keywords as possible. I usually use all capital letters as it is easier to read and see. It does not make any difference in the search engine optimization. Use simple words and do not overcomplicate things. eBay is international auction based web site and many people with limited knowledge of English will come across your listing. Make it accessible and understandable for your international buyers as well, especially for vacation homes and investment properties.
If you want more listing visibility, include keywords that could be misspelled in your description. These words can be included in white color so they become invisible inside the listing but are still searchable by search engines. Because bids in real estate section on eBay are non-binding it is necessary to include as much information as possible about the settlement, deposits, inspections, financing and any other contingencies. Full disclosure is always a plus. You can also include a video about your property if you have one. It is allowed as long as you don’t include links to other web sites.
Before you list your property look for similar listings on eBay. When listing item on eBay, eBay makes it very easy to compare your item (not real estate) as it provides you with the summary of similar items sold and the price range. This feature is not available for real estate so try to figure it out on your own.
Pictures are worth a million words…so so true. Use as many pictures as possible in your listing. There are other free services available that can save you tons of money. Auctiva is one of them, it allows you to include as many images as possible, use professionally looking template and even schedule a listing for FREE!
DRIVING TRAFFIC AND BUILDING YOUR BUYER’S LIST
In “About Me” page you can include information about your company and links to your web site. eBay does NOT allow to include links to your web site within a listing and this policy is strictly enforced. Not only eBay can remove the listing due to policy violation but your account can be temporarily blocked and even suspended. Take your time to research eBay policies first if you are not sure. However, you CAN include your phone number in your listing and I highly recommend it. I usually include my personal cell phone number or 1-800 number that gets forwarded to my cell. They key is that if you have a serious cash buyer, you want to talk to them first before they call another seller. You want to be available and be able to answer their questions and also get their contact information. Put them on your buyer’s list and sell them your next property if they don’t buy this one.
DETERMINE YOUR PRICE & eBay FEES
Determine the price you want your real estate to be auctioned off. Your price would need to attract attention. If you plan on reselling your real estate at a retail price the chances of success are very low unless it is a unique property and being marketed as one. eBay shoppers are savvy and are looking for a great deal. Listing real estate on eBay is not cheap, it costs from $150-450 to list your item whether it is auction style or ad format (as of 1.10.12). If you have more than one property to sell and they are similar, list only one of them and either refer all interested buyers to your web site or have it ready to be e-mailed. If your properties are in different markets it will make sense to list each property that can potentially represent each market or certain search criteria for the best exposure.
TYPES OF LISTINGS
There are 3 types: “Auction style” format, “Classified Ad” Listings, and “Other Real Estate”.
Auction Style can be used to list real estate and also great for seller financed properties. Auction can have a minimum opening bid and can not only be for real estate but also for downpayment only. There is a possibility of “Notice Fee” when the auction type listing ends and it applies whether or not the sale was finalized.
When you list the item in “Classified Ad” format, there are no bids. Interested buyers are asked to fill out contact form and their information is sent to you. Duration for this type of auction is between 30 to 90 days. If you want to avoid the hassle of relisting your property, take advantage of the 90 day ad format listing. Because there is no bidding, neither buyer nor seller can leave feedback.
SELLING PAPER (MORTGAGE NOTES) ON EBAY
Within eBay’s “Other Real Estate” pages, eBay sellers are permitted to advertise for sale certain purchase money notes and mortgages (referred to in these rules as “mortgage notes”). These mortgage notes are created when, in a real estate transaction preceding the offer of the mortgage note on the eBay site, a purchaser of certain real estate obtains financing for all or a portion of a property from the seller, and executes a note in favor of the seller secured by a mortgage on the real property being purchased. A mortgage note created in this manner may be advertised for sale on eBay (in either the Auction format or Classified Ad format) if the following requirements are satisfied:
• the mortgage note must have arisen in connection with a bona fide real estate transaction;
• the interest offered constitutes the entire indebtedness under the note;
• the purchaser will receive the mortgage note by unconditional endorsement, without recourse, together with a full assignment of the mortgage securing the note, both of which the purchaser will hold until satisfaction of the note;
• the mortgage note is offered without any interposed services or other enhancements to be provided by the seller; and,
• the sale of the mortgage note complies with all applicable law.
All mortgage notes are required to be offered only in the “Other Real Estate” category.
BIDS IN REAL ESTATE SECTION ARE NON BINDING!
One of the reasons why there is only a listing fee and no final value fee (when the item sells) is that buyers who place bids on eBay are not legally obligated to purchase it. Bids are considered binding on ALL other items except for real estate and motor vehicles. For a contract to be legally binding in real estate, the buyer will need to sign (or in some cases e-sign) a contract and have a consideration (earnest money deposit). So in other words even when you list real estate in auction format and people bid on it, they are not legally obligated to buy it. It allows you to create a buyer’s list and advertise your property. The actual “sales” part will take place at settlement or when you convey the deed over to your buyer for agreed upon price.