4Ps Intelligent Real Estate Marketing

Last year, a full 89% of buyers used a real estate agent, and so did 88% of sellers. Realtor representation during a real estate transaction is important for both buyers and sellers. This is a fairly sound conclusion made by most people. But, in a vast sea of neverending realtors, are all realtors the same? Why should I use a particular agent or brokerage? Why should I consider Jon Speich as my realtor?

I’m glad you asked. Let me make my case for you here.

At JP Willman Realty Twin Cities, we have created a streamlined approach to the traditional real estate transaction…to ensure a smooth and stress-free experience from start to finish. We handle every step of the process – giving you the highest level of service possible to sell your home for top dollar in the shortest amount of time. Our marketing strategy is the engine designed to deliver you these results. Marketing is your realtor’s primary task.

The 4Ps Marketing Model

Back when I earned my marketing degree, among others, Professor John Cerrito taught me the fundamentals of marketing. A key element of these fundamentals is the “marketing mix.” In my classes I was introduced to the 4Ps marketing mix: Product, Price, Place, and Promotion. These same fundamentals apply to how we implement our marketing plan for home sales. We have adopted those same principles into what we call our 4Ps Intelligent Marketing. These are the ingredients that combine to capture and promote your home’s unique selling points, those that differentiate it from the competition. Let’s look at each of these in more detail.


You’ve probably heard the real estate agent mantra: location, location, location. You’ve certainly heard the phrase enough and may wonder what inspires agents to say the word three times. To be sure, location is important. But, is that all there is to it, location? There is a whole lot more! It is our approach to discover and display what is it that makes your home special.

How will you present the property as a product to appeal to buyers? The first of the Four Ps of marketing is: product. A product, in our context, is a property that fulfills a need or want of a buyer. Its critical that you have a clear grasp of exactly what makes your property unique before you can successfully market it. This is the meat of our marketing mix. It’s the stage from which we launch our marketing.

Our presentation strategies and techniques include:

• Exceptional staging
• Contractor and vendor referrals
• Professional photography

An important part of our home selling game plan is to understand who your potential buyer might be. An integral part of presentation is to understand who we are targeting. This won’t just help you identify the most likely buyer pool, but it will also help determine what work you should do to make your home attractive to those buyers. Our recommendations and advice will be mindful of specific buyer attributes.

We have developed a dedicated marketing process often used with our clients. As a part of this process, we incorporate the four Ps through a series of questions designed to help define how we will list the property. Here are just a few of the questions we consider:

1. What do buyers want from your property?
2. How does your property meet those needs?
3. Where do potential buyers look for with your particular home?
4. What is the perceived value of your home?
5. How do you differentiate from your competitors?


How do you set the right price? It is extremely important to price your home correctly. When your home hits the market, you have a short period of time to capture the imagination of the best buyers.

A Comparative Market Analysis analyzes homes similar to yours. The aim of the market analysis is to achieve the maximum selling price for your home while being able to sell your home within a relatively short period of time.

What does your comparative market analysis say about how to set listing price? Once a concrete understanding of the relevant market is established we can start making some pricing decisions. Price determination and strategy is likely the most important factor in our marketing mix.

Overpricing your house in the belief that you can reduce the price back later is a strategy that can backfire badly. For example, by the time you reduce your price, you may miss out on a surge of interest in properties like yours. Also, if prices are lowered, buyers may wonder if there’s something wrong with the property that kept other buyers away. So to keep from selling your property at below market value and from wasting valuable time, don’t fall into the overpricing trap.

The above chart illustrates the level of excitement and interest in a new listing over time. It also demonstrates the importance of pricing correctly. When a property is first listed, it generates a very high level of interest from prospective buyers, which reduces dramatically over time. It is important to be priced correctly from the beginning, during the peak of this curve.


How will buyers discover your home? Place or placement has to do with how the property will be presented to the buyer. How and where the property is presented is a key element of placement. Which medium or platform will be utilized? Digital? Offline?

Often you will hear marketers saying that marketing is about putting the right product, at the right price, at the right place, at the right time. It’s critical then, to evaluate what the ideal locations are to convert potential clients into actual clients. The actual transaction doesn’t happen on the web, but the initial place potential buyers are engaged and converted is online.


How do you communicate details about your property? This is the fuel of our marketing mix. We’ve got a product and a price. Now it’s time to promote it. There is a distinction between marketing and promotion. Promotion is just the communication aspect of the entire marketing function. Promotion looks at the many ways we disseminate relevant property information to buyers and differentiate it against the competition.

Communication strategies and techniques include:

• Complete and comprehensive internet marketing
• Social media marketing
• Emailed marketing
• Signs and flyers
• Virtual tours (video marketing)

Additionally, our real estate expertise gives us the ability to network with an agent within our brokerage and at other firms to promote your property to the widest possible audience. We also employ a powerful tool that too few realtors use. It’s called Reverse Prospecting. What is reverse prospecting?

Reverse prospecting  is the publication of a homebuyer’s wants, needs and desires in their next home, allowing for realtors to actively search for potential buyers for their listed properties. Think of it as an MLS of buyers, whereby agents can match their properties’ characteristics against buyers’ desires in a home (location, square footage, beds, baths etc.) and find appropriate matches.

Selling your property depends on a lot more than advertising and signage – it takes referrals, word-of-mouth advertising, strong networking.

Marketing should be your realtor’s primary task. Our 4Ps marketing model is intelligent, robust, and it works! You too can enjoy a smooth and stress-free experience from start to finish accomplishing all your goals.

Let’s talk soon!

Selling your home? Do these things first.

If you’ve been thinking about putting your home on the market this spring, you’re going to want to start getting ready now. By doing so, you will save money. Better than that, the following basic tips will help you walk away with higher net proceeds than by doing nothing at all.

Without a doubt, it’s a tight housing inventory right now. That means it’s a seller’s market in many neighborhoods. But that doesn’t mean sellers can command any price or that they don’t need to take steps to prepare their home for sale. Not, at least, if they want to sell quickly and for the best possible price. Today’s buyers have high expectations.

The Simple Stuff

The reality is that it’s likely too late to do major renovations, but it is not too late to roll up your sleeves and get busy removing all the “red-flag” distractions that stand out like a blinking light that scare away a prospective buyer. I’d love to offer you professional advice about how to prepare your home for sale without overspending or fretting much at all. As the seller, you control the condition of the property, my team controls the marketing, and together we partner to sell the listing. Here are my recommendations:

Think Like a Buyer. First and foremost, you need to shed your stubborn proprietary connection to your home of X years. It needs to happen, as soon as possible. Sure, you are emotionally connected to your house and it holds many memories. Selling your home requires a shift in your mind-set from homeowner to seller. It’s also a good time to put yourself in a buyer’s shoes. Think about what attracted you to your home in the beginning as well as what you love about it or your neighborhood now. The things you know about your property can be helpful for marketing.

>Don’t Overlook the Small Stuff.  An important addendum to the previous tip is to be thorough and diligent. Don’t skip the obvious. In fact, get the advice of an real estate professional. Get the opinion of a unbiased neighbor or friend. Solicit honest evaluations of the general condition of your home.

>Visit Open Houses & Parade of Homes. Continuing the effort to transform your thinking from homeowner to seller, scout-out nearby homes on the market to assess your competition and get inspiration for small improvements you can make to boost your home’s appeal for buyers. Visit the line-up of Parade of Homes. Check out paint colors, layout of furniture, fixtures, etc.

>Hire a Home Inspector. If you have time, you may also want to consider hiring a home inspector for a pre-listing inspection, particularly if you have an older home. If the inspector finds something that needs work, it’s better to repair it and provide receipts for the buyers than turn the issue into a negotiating point. It’s never too early to prepare for the spring housing market. The sooner you define your priorities, enlist experts and begin making necessary repairs or updates, the closer you are to a successful sale.

>Spruce Up the Exterior. We’re talking about curb-appeal. Let’s face it, the exterior of the property is the first thing a buyer will see whether online or driving by. Now is the time to make sure it looks its best. Walk around the entire exterior of the home, and conduct an assessment. Consider pressure washing, painting, having the windows cleaned, cleaning out gutters, trimming back any overgrown or dead landscaping, cleaning the front door and changing out any worn door hardware that may look old and corroded. And, make sure the front doorbell actually works!

>Service The Heating/Cooling System. A home inspector is going to check this anyway, so beat ’em to the punch by having the system serviced and cleaned. When was the last time it was serviced anyway? The lifespan of a furnace is 15-25 years. If you haven’t had your system looked at since it was new you’re facing a red flag by a potential buyer.  It’s better to take care of any repairs that may need addressing now versus waiting until a buyer decides to make an offer. 

>Do a Light Bulb Check. Easy-peasy. Make sure all of the lightbulbs are working and free of dirt and debris. Yes, these need cleaning too — just make sure they are off. Don’t forget to check the outdoor lights as well.

>Check the Smoke & CO² Detectors. Even if your dectoros are hard-wired, now is the time to make sure that all detectors have new batteries are in good working order. Replace any old ones as an inspector is likely to flag those during a home inspection and recommend that they be replaced.

>Blue Tape It. If you were building a new house your builder would ask you to do this before final inspection. Conduct a thorough walk through of the interior of the home. If there are any nicks, dents or scratches on the walls and moldings, blue tape them so you are reminded to have each area repaired. The more wear and tear a home appears to have, the more the buyer is going to chip away at the asking price.


>Deep Clean & Declutter. This costs you next to nothing and will have the biggest pay-back for your time investment. You need to look through the lens of a stranger who has never been to your home. THEY WILL SEE EVERYTHING. Now is the time to give the home that deep clean it needs. If needed, consider hiring a cleaning crew to tackle this; the more hands, the better. Perhaps, host a family cleaning party! Invite your family and extended family to volunteer for a day to help out. (Be sure to provide pizza and beverages. It will be money well-spent!)

Deep cleaning means wiping down all of the baseboards and moldings and cleaning cabinets, appliances (including the oven) and every corner from top to bottom including light fixtures and ceiling fans. It’s also a good time to gather all those unwanted closet items together to donate as well as any unused furniture and decor. The less stuff in the house, the less there is to organize and keep clean. White-space is the name of the game here.

>Clear Out the Garage. This space is often overlooked when preparing a home for sale. Don’t forget this space. Make sure the garage is clean, in good repair, organized and that you can actually walk through it. Do you really need all those tools? Again, create open, white space. Consider painting the floor or having an epoxy finish put down. And that ceiling? Buyers also look up when touring this space, so make sure any drywall cracks or loose seams are repaired.

Buyers recognize and appreciate homes that have been taken care of. Removing the red-flags should be job #1 when preparing your home to be sold. Taking some time to invest in home maintenance before selling will likely yield a big payoff when it becomes offer time.

Moving Resources for Older Adults

Do you have an older adult in your life who is having hard time keeping up with the responsibilities of living in their single-family home?

An older adult’s decision to move can carry with it an entire range of emotion. No matter how one comes to the decision to move, the factors and issues related to each older adult’s transition are unique. But at some point, inevitably, moving involves a feeling of being overwhelmed.

“The Old Neighborhood” by Jim Williams

There are a number of aspects that make an older adult’s transition difficult which include sifting through a home of many years, deciding what to do with possessions that are not going to the new residence (e.g. estate sale, consignment, charity, kids, online selling options, etc.), some health challenges that did not exist in the early years making the physical aspect daunting, plus the emotional aspect of leaving “the old neighborhood”, lifelong memories and the comfort of familiar turf.

Senior Move Management

Enter a fairly new but growing industry, senior move management. Due to the rising numbers of older adults and the increase of senior housing options, senior move management is a emergent field that meets the needs of this clientele and softens stress by lifting the details of their move and providing expertise and valuable resources to accommodate each stage of the transition. Sorting, getting rid of unwanted items, packing, unpacking and resettling are the primary options that can make a daunting move much more seamless.

Twin Cities based Gentle Transitions is the longest operating senior move management firm in the country. They have served thousands of individuals and helped them navigate their personal “move journey”. Senior Move Managers typically choose to work in this profession because of their passion for the older adult client they serve. Within a short period of time, senior move managers help create a lovely metamorphosis, making a new residence feel comfortable and inviting and allowing the client to focus on the important things like starting to live their new life, meet new friends and build a new sense of community.

When you or your loved ones know it is time to move, but you don’t know where to begin, Gentle Transitions is a great place to start. They partner with and are preferred providers for several senior communities like Cherrywood Pointe, Applewood Pointe, and others. You can request a complimentary no-obligation consultation by calling (952) 944-1028.

Click here for more information about Senior Move Managers >>> National Association of Senior Move Managers (NASMM)

Click here for more information about >>> Gentle Transitions

Click here for more information about >>> Seniors Real Estate Specialists

Carol Hunt has a heart for seniors. After more than 20 years in corporate Human Resources, Marketing, and Business Analyst roles, Carol now spends her time at Gentle Transitions in Edina. She serves as a packer, helping lift burdens and provide peace of mind to seniors who are transitioning. She is a proud employee of and has seen first hand the care given to clients in the move process. Carol and her husband Doug also volunteer at Bibles for Missions Thrift Center in Crystal. She can be reached at carolahunt101@gmail.com.

Carol submitted this article on behalf of Diane Bjorkman and Bill Lehman. They are co-owners of Gentle Transitions.

Get Greater Joy From Your Home! The Real Impact of your Remodeling Dollars

Remodeling Impact 2017

Homeowners and renters remodel, redesign, and restructure their home for a variety of reasons. This report takes a deep dive into the reasons for remodeling, the success of taking on projects, and the increased happiness found in the home once a project is completed.

The 2017 Remodeling Impact Report, the second of its kind from NAR, surveyed Realtors®, consumers who have completed remodeling projects, and members of the National Association of the Remodeling Industry.

Here’s what’s in this report:

→ The typical cost of 20 remodeling and replacement projects, as estimated by members of the National Association of the Remodeling Industry (NARI).
→ How much appeal each project is likely to have for buyers, according to REALTORS®.
→ How much REALTORS® estimate that homeowners can recover on the cost of the projects if they sell the home.

Homeowners who take on remodeling projects gain not only equity and more resale value in their home, they are also more likely to find satisfaction and enjoyment from their home, according to a new report from the National Association of Realtors®, with insights from the National Association of the Remodeling Industry.

Read the report here : www.nar.realtor/reports/remodeling-impact

What does the report say?

Homeowners Who Remodel Gain Equity and Enjoyment

The report reveals the top remodeling projects, as well as well as the increased value – both financially and emotionally – that specific projects bring to homeowners once completed. After completing a remodeling project, 75 percent of owners have a greater desire to be in their home, 65 percent say they have increased enjoyment in their home, and 77 percent feel a major sense of accomplishment when thinking of their completed project. Fifty-six percent felt happy when they see their completed projects, and 39 percent say they feel satisfied.

“Realtors® understand which remodeling projects and home upgrades will bring the most value to homeowners, whether they are remodeling with the hope of impressing potential buyers, bringing in higher offers or gaining more equity in the home,” said NAR President William E. Brown, a Realtor® from Alamo, California and founder of Investment Properties. “Realtors® also understand that many of these projects are undertaken solely to get more enjoyment from spending time at home. No matter the objectives, Realtors® have unique and invaluable insights into how renovations and remodeling will bring the most benefit to homeowners.”

Interior projects. For owners looking to sell their home, Realtors® named complete kitchen renovations, kitchen upgrades, bathroom renovations and new wood flooring as the interior projects that most appeal to potential buyers. When asked which interior projects yield the largest financial return upon resale, Realtors® named:

♦ Hardwood floor refinishing (recovers 100 percent of project costs upon resale)
♦ New wood flooring (91 percent of costs recovered)
♦ Insulation upgrades (76 percent of costs recovered)
♦ Bathroom renovations and adding a new bathroom yielded the smallest financial return upon resale, recouping approximately 50 percent of project costs.

Exterior projects. When it comes to exterior projects, Realtors® said new roofing will recover 109 percent of costs upon resale, more than any other project in the report. New roofing was also named the exterior project that most appeals to buyers, followed by new vinyl windows, a new garage door and new vinyl siding.

Brown also reminds consumers that exterior projects are just as, if not more, important than interior projects when it comes time to sell. “A home’s exterior is its first impression to potential buyers, so any project that improves curb appeal will yield plenty of bang for the buck,” he said.

Satisfaction from projects. When it comes to the enjoyment homeowners get from projects, several projects received a perfect Joy Score of 10; Joy Scores range from 1 and 10, and higher figures indicate greater joy from the project. Projects with a perfect Joy Score of 10 included both interior and exterior project of all price ranges, such as a new master/owner’s suite, with an estimated cost of $125,000 for a fully makeover, and new steel front doors, with an estimated cost of $2,000.

While Americans spent $340 billion on home remodeling in 20151, many homeowners find the idea of attempting a remodeling project too overwhelming to take on. Thirty-five percent of homeowners in the U.S. said they would rather move than remodel their current home. Owners in urban areas are the least likely to take on a project, with only 52 percent saying they would be willing to remodel their home, compared to 55 percent in suburban areas and 70 percent for owners in rural areas.

“Even though a remodeling project may seem overwhelming at the onset, working with a professional, qualified remodeler who has the required experience and training can make a big difference,” said Tom Miller, president of the National Association of the Remodeling Industry. “This year’s report confirms how remodeling can increase home value and day-to-day enjoyment. I can’t emphasize enough how important it is to work with a contractor you can trust who adheres to a strict code of ethics and can help define a realistic budget. Get the project done right with a NARI member contractor.”

The National Association of Realtors®, “The Voice for Real Estate,” is America’s largest trade association, representing more than 1.2 million members involved in all aspects of the residential and commercial real estate industries.

The National Association of the Remodeling Industry is the medium for business development, a platform for advocacy and the principal source for industry intelligence. NAR connects homeowners with its professional members and provides tips and tricks so that the consumer has the positive experience of remodeling done right.

1 Joint Center for Housing Studies, Harvard University 2017 Remodeling Report


Why Staging Sells

Staging Matters

At some point in your life, there is a very good probability you will be selling your home. Zillow’s question and answer section will tell you that the average person sells their home every 7-12 years. This means that more than likely, you will need this advice at some point in your life.

As the owners of JS Design Studios, we could be accused of being bias in our opinion that staging is a critical component of selling you home. We could tell you experience has done nothing but validate our position that staging will help you sell your house for top dollar and as fast as possible. We could tell you about the clients who have had their homes on the market for months without any success. Once they made some cost-effective improvements and had their homes staged, they sold within 24 hours with multiple bids. But don’t take our word for it…or even the glowing feedback from numerous satisfied clients. That is simply our experience, and again, we are a staging company so we are naturally bias.

Let us quickly look at a few facts from the National Association of Realtors (NAR). During a recent survey, the NAR found that 81% of all buyers find it easier to visualize a staged home, 45% said staging had positive impact on the value of a properly decorated home, and nearly a third (28%) of buyers are more willing to overlook property faults if the home is staged professionally. If you are not already convinced, 12% of real-estate agents believe proper staging increases the dollar value of the home at least 11%-20%! That means if your home is worth $300,000 today, properly staged you could get an additional $33,000-$60,000 – just by professionally staging your home. Depending on your state, you nearly missed those tax-free dollars!

While this is exciting news and helps you realize the importance of staging, it does not practically help. JS Design Studios is passionate about educating and providing solutions for our clients. We offer everything from working with existing furniture and accessory packages to add pops of color, all the way to complete home staging with furniture rental. We also enjoy working with our clients to provide “tips and tricks” to enhance your home.

One way we educate potential home sellers is through community classes we hold with area realtors. However, most of the time we will come out to your home to consult with you on an individual basis. Our goal is to take the stress out of staging and selling your home. During the consultation, we will do a walkthrough with you of your home and gather information. We will then go back and write up a detailed, yet prioritized and simplistic report that goes room by room for you to follow. Think of it as a roadmap to successful selling. Many times, there will be recommendations such as decluttering your home, assisting in paint color choices, and moving or removing select pieces of furniture. In some cases, there may be minor home improvement tasks we suggest such as replacing flooring or updating trim and bathroom updates. We provide cost effective solutions based on our experience as well as trusted contractor recommendations for each of these suggestions. If you are the DIY kind of person, we also have options for tried and proven enhancements you can utilize – and recommendations on which ones to steer clear from…just do not ask how we know they do not work.

Selling a home can be a lonely and stressful process if you do not partner with professionals. Leveraging the knowledge and experience of your realtor and stager can take the stress out of selling, clarify priorities, and help you avoid the pitfalls of putting money in areas that do not maximize your investment.

We are Johanna and Tim Steffensmeier, owners of JS Design Studios. We specialize in residential design and staging solutions. Our staging offerings range from full home furniture rental, to working with existing furniture. We also write recommendation reports for clients preparing their homes to sell with tips and tricks. On the design side, we perform a wide variety of projects. Something as simple as assisting in paint color selection, to structural changes and completely different layouts. We can also provide 3D renderings of the space.

Johanna has been involved with interior design and staging for over 10 years. Tim brings his expertise in business management, as well as construction experience. We have a passion for creating beautiful spaces and take a “seek first to understand” approach when dealing with all clients to determine which solution best suits their needs. Tim and Johanna can be reached at www.jsdesignstudios.com.