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Selling a house vs. selling an iPod

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A Facebook friend recently posted the following "Brand new, in the box, 8 GB iPod Touch for sale. Retails for $229; asking $175." This was on a Sunday at 9 PM. As of Wednesday at 8 AM, she still had not sold it. Why am I telling you this?

The real estate marketplace is very similar to other retail markets, in that anyone can try to sell the product (in this case, their home). There is also the perception that hiring a Realtor to sell the home is a big waste of money. "If I sell it myself, I can save on agent fees and make more money!" is an oft-repeated mantra of the For Sale By Owner. But is that true? Probably not.

Back to the iPod Touch. By one estimate, Apple sold 32.48 million iPod Touches from launch through December 31, 2009. That is one sold every 2.26 seconds. My friend has not sold hers - for less money - in over 60 hours. Why? How is that possible?

In a word: Marketing.

Apple has sold millions of iPod Touches (among other technological marvels) because they have exposed these devices and their benefits to hundreds of millions of potential buyers. My friend has told 106 people about hers.

Great Realtors do much the same thing - market their listings to the largest audience of potential buyers.

Marketing is not the same as pricing.

Don't let some smooth-talking agent fool you into thinking that the only way to sell your home quickly is to price it aggressively. You don't need to pay someone thousands of dollars for the "Three P's" - Price it low, Put it on the MLS and Pray someone buys it.

Presumably, you want to sell your home as quickly as possible and for the best price you can get. Just as Apple wants to sell their products fast and for top dollar. Apple has hired the advertising agency TWBA\Chiat\Day to do their marketing, and have had incredible success. Apple makes a good product, and TWBA\Chiat\Day sells it.

You have a good house. Hire someone who will sell it.

By the way, as of 2:45 PM today, there is still a "Brand new, in the box, 8 GB iPod Touch for sale. Retails for $229; asking $175." Apple has sold over 108,000 iPod Touches since that post.

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