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While writing this article I was initially surprised by how little work real estate agents put into selling your house compared to what Kevin Flaherty does. I had to make sure it didn't sound like I was selling Mr. Flaherty's services, but it was difficult because I was so impressed by his marketing and services provided. This was another example of how much I can learn about something by writing an article on it.

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  • Kevin Flaherty, alocal sales representa-tive with iPro RealtyLtd. Brokerage, hasbeen awarded the 2010Overall Top Salesaward.

    Surprisingly, Mr.Flaherty says the reasonfor winning the awardis more important thanthe award itself.

    According to theNational Association ofRealtors (NAR), 96%of buyers will first beintroduced to yourhome online, wherethey will short-list itbased on the quality ofinformation and imagesprovided.

    Essentially what(buyers) are doing, isfinding their next homeonline, said Mr.Flaherty. Your home istried and convictedonline; that is the secretthat realtors dont wantyou to know.

    He believes that nineout of 10 people whosearch online use theshort-list process.Buyers type in specificslike a price range, spe-cific features of a homeand scan through thesearch results, skippingover results with littleor no pictures and poorrepresentation of thehome.

    The thing the publicgenerally misconceivesabout realtors is realtorsare independent con-tractors. The servicethat they provide is notunique to the real estatebrokerage they are with,it is unique to the indi-vidual realtor, he said.What a realtor does isup to them individually,which means you couldinterview 10 realtorsfrom the same companyand get 10 different

    answers on what theyare going to do to mar-ket your home.

    He says the mostcommon reaction fromsellers to his system issurprise.

    There was a caselast year in Alton wheresomebody was trying tosell their home for overtwo years, and theycouldnt sell it. I sold itin seven days. Thosestories go on and on,he said. They didntstart doing their home-work until it becamecritical for them,because of the beliefthat all realtors are thesame.

    They arent aware ofthe amount of work get-ting done in the background because of theirinformation on whatstandard real estateservices are.

    If you look at theindustry standard in realestate today, you donthave to look very far tosee exactly what Imtalking about. All youhave to do is lookthrough some pictureson any listing, he said.If peoples homes, ourlargest investment, arebeing short-listedonline, the online repre-sentation is critical andessentially providingthese services is whatput me in the numberone place.

    Mr. Flaherty providescustom Web pages, adetailed narrated tour ofthe home and property,professional photogra-phy, floor plans and topquality feature sheets.

    This custom web-page ties directly intothe Multiple ListingService (MLS) systemso with one click, cus-tomers can be on ahomes custom webpagethat contains all thishigh end information,

    said Mr. Flaherty. Theonline representation ofyour house is absolutelycritical. Its not a nicefeature, its not a coolbenefit. It is the begin-ning and the end, itsincredibly important.

    Once the online rep-resentation is completeyour homes personalwebsite is then syndi-cated to many otherplaces above andbeyond the MLS site.

    When we take agood representation andsyndicate it to all theseplaces online, the powerof that marketing, andquality, definitely with-out a doubt becomesextremely powerful.

    According to Mr.Flaherty the cost to pro-duce this selling featurefor each home is over$3000, these featuresare provided to sellersat no extra cost to them-selves.

    Generally speaking,my fees arent any high-er than any other real-tors fees, he said.Theres many servicesnot done because oftheir expense, theirtime, the knowledge itcreates and the knowl-edge you have to haveto provide them.

    This system has beenevolving since the mid-1990s. He says he wasone of the first realtorsin Canada to be as pre-dominant online in themid 90s.

    It didnt do a lot forme then but since thattime, he said. So wewould slowly startincreasing the quality,and we will continue toupgrade the system sothat it stays cutting edgemarketing.

    Mr. Flaherty has beenin the real estate busi-ness for 23 years and hecommented that theindustry itself hasnt

    evolved or changedsince the 90s.

    When I started inreal estate I was using aPolaroid camera, hesaid. You cant findthis package anywhere,I keep looking, I keepinviting buyers to findtour or aspects of serv-ice that are better quali-ty and they cant.

    Mr. Flaherty statedthat another benefit ofthe detailed video touris the reduction ofunnecessary trafficthrough your home.

    If you saw a tour ofthis detail, do you thinkyou would need to gosee the home if youwerent interested? hesaid.

    Bottom line, its alot of hard work. At theend of the day peoplewill get significantlymore money for theirhouse when using thiskind of marketing.

    He stated that provid-ing this type of servicewith no extra cost tosellers is due to theincrease in business ithas brought him.

    If I was trying toprovide this service andwasnt doing a lot ofvolume, it would bevery difficult because itdoes take a large chunkout of the profit mar-gin, he said.

    This system hasbecome so popular thatin order to keep up withthe business Mr.Flaherty has had to hiretwo sales representa-tives and a full-timeadministrator.

    There was a housefor sale in Orangevillefor $380,000 for sixmonths, and he calledme and he was sayingthat it didnt make sensefor him that the realtorwas telling him toreduce his price. I soldthe house in three days firm, not even condi-tional, for $430,000,he said. Thats howpowerful proper mar-keting is.

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