When is Narrowcasting Better than Broadcasting in Real Estate ?

Broadcasting is an assumed par for the course when presenting a new property for sale in Toronto. According to many in the industry, the only way to sell is to market aggressively out of the gate, through low pricing, extensive staging, and broadcasting widely. The logic follows that the more eyes there are on the property, the more likely it will be sold for top dollar. This is a fair assumption and witnessed daily in Toronto's fast paced, seller's market. This method works well for many properties ... except for when it doesn't.

There are properties that command a decidedly different approach to end well for the seller, even in a seller's market - make that, ESPECIALLY in a seller's market. Many properties on MLS remain unsold one week after listing day. Included among them are often the unique ones. For no reason other than different properties often take longer than others to find their buyer, the unique listings are nonetheless deemed stale by the market after only one week and win the dubious 'what's wrong with it if no one has snapped it up yet?' award. Almighty sellers in a seller's market before offer night are quickly reduced to a single buyer's eventual mercy when this occurs.

This is an avoidable trap, if your property is unique. You don't have to have 'the leftover property' stigma just because yours may take longer to sell. Let me run you through a recent case study that shows you what I mean.


1. The Property and Seller Specifics:

Croft Street is the stuff of legend in Toronto. It is one of the very few laneways in the city that has allowed residential development along it in a substantial way. It has a beautifully central location, is as quiet and private as you'd dream a back lane to be, while also having the regular street services - lights, snow, garbage removal. "If a property ever became available on this street, I'd buy it in a heartbeat" says a coveting passerby on the daily. Croft carries some serious cache. Top that off with a fully detached property upon it, with two car parking, light streaming in from all directions, with a private rooftop deck that spans the full 33' x 33' building footprint. What's not to love? Seems like a match made in MLS heaven, doesn't it?

Yes, you're right. That was a trick question. In many ways it wasn't best to go on MLS and at the very least, it didn't need to be to sell for the best price the market could command. The ideal moment for this particular property to sell was the window of time before investing in MLS prep for the reasons detailed below. By listening closely to what the seller wanted and what was important to her, I came up with an strategy that was decidedly anti-MLS. Instead of broadcasting the sale, we narrowcasted it, making the sale slow paced, subtle, patient, negotiated, exclusive. Having gone through the process I understand why most realtors don't offer this approach as an option. It is much more hands-on work to sell a property in this manner and it requires a certain responsiveness and creativity that a more traditional selling system won't allow. Here is what the seller had to say about the process and what it meant to her:


As a professor at U of T, I hold very high performance standards. When it was time to sell my large home near campus, I practiced due diligence in seeking an agent. I chose Susan for her knowledge of laneway properties like mine, her full engagement in her craft, and her pleasant manner. These traits were only part of what made a success of our search for a condo, then sale of a house. Wow. She could “read” my needs and concerns; she kept tense parties on cordial terms; she knew the rules; she never dropped the ball. Terrific. If this were an academic letter of recommendation, I would close with “I recommend Susan Delean without reservation.” 


2. Case Study Logic:

a- Appreciation versus Action: For a fervent few, 50 Croft Street had serious allure for the reasons detailed above. Its open house would have no doubt been packed with appreciators who've long been curious about it and who have been saying for years "That's the one for me, if ever it came on the market". But who in the crowd of appreciators would have also had the ability to buy a property for $1.3 million within the next few weeks? That's what we figured.

> A handful of qualified buyers are worth much more than a houseful of appreciators.

b- Birds in Hand: There were parties expressing interest privately prior to MLS. How many people do you need to have a successful sale? Two, five, fifteen? With the answer being one or better two, the seller already had what she needed before going any further. Why not negotiate with the bidders in hand prior to broadcasting it to the public? Offering the private bidders a pocket of time would be the most likely way to keep them and entice them to come forward in a timely way with their best possible offer to close the deal quickly - pre-MLS, pre-bid war.

> Empowered buyers are more likely to come forward with a good offer.

c- Seller Expectations: The seller was clear on her post-deal total. Since a private purchase would save her not only a bundle of money in cooperating commission but also the pain, effort and expense associated with property prepping for MLS, an exclusive deal prior to MLS was worth much more to her than any deal presented thereafter.

> Ego aside, the real winners in this market are working toward their desired net amount not a gross sold number.

d- Lending Limits: 50 Croft had a clear built-in cap. A 'normal' house on a tree lined street (brick, three storeys, three beds, with basement, backyard) can easily command much more than it ever has. But this one, because of its very uniqueness, was capped much lower according to the three financial lenders who quoted their own, familiar appraisal. The verdict? The value of this property was not going to be market driven at all. Its value was going to be anchored by the lender's valuation.

>The sold number is only a real number when it can be financed. 

This is one of many ways that a property can be sold differently, offering the seller a process with the least risk and stress.

To schedule a no obligation appointment with me to see if an alternative selling approach would be appropriate for you and your property, I can be reached either by email or phone:

sdelean@sutton.com / office 416.966.0300