Selling vs. Communicating in Real Estate: Understanding the difference and making it work for everyone.

By: Lindsay Smith

Selling vs. Communicating in Real Estate: Understanding the difference and making it work for everyone.


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I am certain at some point you have been wandering through a mall and stopped to see a person standing behind a work -table with a microphone on and talking up a product.  Let’s call the product “ShamWow,” and as you watch and listen to the sales pitch, you see people with their visa cards out walking away with smiles and a new cloth. This experience can also be seen at places like Costco, where people are offering new products and pitching them to people walking by.

What does this have to do with Real Estate, and does knowing how to communicate the benefits of the product create value, or even increase the value of the product? How might this work in selling a house? Or in this case, selling a condominium?

Here is an example from last week.

One of my clients purchased a condo a few years ago and did a renovation on the penthouse that would be worthy of a feature in Architectural Digest. On a side note, I have shown units at the condo building in Toronto, the Ritz Carlton. I have viewed many of the units and it is not unusual to see them in the $2.5 million range, however, none of them compared to this Oshawa condo. I knew it, I just needed to find a way to share what was inside the walls of the condo with Buyers.

When the owners decided to sell, I mulled over ways to communicate the level of quality they had put into the unit. Photography, 3D virtual tours and floor plans would convey the visual appeal but how important is the ability to create value in the mind of the “right” buyer about fine architectural details?  Is it important to highlight a fireplace that was more than $60,000 to install? Can sharing this detail help to sell this property for the highest-selling condo ever in Durham Region? Spoiler alert, the condo sold for almost $200,000 higher than any condo has sold before in Durham! Not only that it sold for $100,000 over the asking price with 2 buyers bidding.

How is it that two Buyers saw the value in the unit to bid hundreds of thousands higher than any other unit? Let’s dig in and look at how this record-breaking condo was sold.

Marketing begins with gathering as much information that you can obtain on each and every upgrade that was added to a property. Not a price list, I don’t feel that a dollar figure helps a Buyer determine value, but a list of all features that differentiate the unit from any others. Creating a “unique” opportunity is critical to draw the interest of a Buyer.

Earlier I mentioned a fireplace, and a fireplace is a fireplace, right? The way I approached this feature was to determine the difficulty the Seller had in obtaining it. The fireplace was the focal point that the main living space was designed around. It was shipped from the Netherlands and suspended from the 10 ft ceilings. Being 3 sided and about 5 feet long, it was installed a few feet off the floor and wrapped in Italian marble. Not just marble – the marble was chosen for its pattern, it looked like sand on a beach and the craftsman carefully set the marble to look as if the lines of sand were lined up along all 3 sides of the fireplace. Also, it was noted that if you were seated in the den, one could look through the fireplace with a view over the dining room and the island kitchen.

When you are marketing a product, be it a ShamWow or in this case, the most luxurious condo in Durham Region, what must happen is that the person presenting the product to potential Buyers need to create such a desire, that the person feels they cannot live without the property being sold.

My experience marketing properties for over 30 years, is marketing comes down to telling a story, creating interest and drawing the interest of the viewer. Many of the properties I see described on their MLS listings or in ads read like a colleague in Washington calls “autopsy reports.” Here is an example from a property being marketed currently; “Many big-ticket items have been done already, awaiting your personal finishes.” Does this description inspire a curious person to want to tour this property? Or compel the viewer to click “next?” With dozens of homes to view online, there are countless examples of uninspiring descriptions of properties that get overlooked. Pictures taken with cell phones fall into the same category. Pictures that draw the viewer in, and create interest end up in showings.

In a market where homes are selling quickly, one thing I have never compromised is that when asked to market a property, that by my creating a compelling story about the home, backed up with amazing pictures and stoking curiosity in the mind of the Buyer, ends up putting more money in the pocket of the Seller.

In the case of the condominium, I sold last week, by sharing the stories of how the island quartz had to be split to make it up the elevator, how by investigating the ceiling (with a hammer) and determining it was a dropped ceiling, allowed the owner to increase the ceiling height to 10 feet helped to drive the price to the highest ever recorded in Durham Region.

If you have a unique, or “special” property you are interested in marketing, I would be thrilled to sit down and work with you on how to create a customized plan to possibly break another record. I can be reached at or

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