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Selling your home on Trade Me December 24, 2012

Posted by Michael Carney in : property , 1 comment so far

Record Prices Paid for NZ Homes!

Well, that’s what the headlines say. Yet too many homes are simply sitting there, unsold. Something’s not right.

So we thought we’d share some advice on how to sell your home through Trade Me.

We refer you first to the Second Edition of TRADE ME SUCCESS SECRETS, where Chapter 13 (“Location, Location, Creation”), devoted to the topic of selling on Trade Me, takes you through 21 Steps to get your property up and running on Trade Me. We’ll share some of the key points from that chapter shortly, but first some homework for you to do before you even consider how your real estate gem should be listed on Trade Me Property:

1. Profile the best buyers
To whom would your home most appeal? Be realistic – is it ideal for a couple with a young family, hopeful first home buyers, elderly citizens, empty nest baby boomers, swinging singles? This is a vital first step — once you identify the very best prospects for your mansion, you can focus all your attention on the attributes that would appeal to such prospects — eg schools & parks for young families, indoor/outdoor one-level living for the seniors, easy motorway access for business couples, and so on. In this market, one size definitely doesn’t fit all.

2. Know your competitors – in the neighbourhood
Get yourself to as many Open Homes as possible in your neighbourhood, and see what sorts of houses you’re competing against. Listen to the chatter of other visitors to understand what they’re looking for — just resist the opportunity to invite those visitors to come and see your own home (“much nicer than this one”), or you’ll blow your cover and get yourself kicked out by a disgruntled agent or home-seller!

3. Know your competitors – online
Use Trade Me’s Advanced Property Search to:

(a) Identify properties in your Region/District/Suburb

(b) refine your search by numbers of bedrooms and/or bathrooms and/or price

(c) refine further by type of dwelling

and then (d) make it easy on yourself by setting up an automated alert to catch new competing houses coming onto the market

4. Agent or DIY?
Should you use an agent or sell your home yourself? That’s for you to decide. Just understand that, whether you use an agent or attempt to sell your home yourself, in either case you’ll need to put in a massive amount of effort yourself to get your house sold in a timely manner — you’re the one with everything at stake.

5. Finding the right agent
If you do decide to use an agent, how can you find the perfect agent? The best way is to get recommendations from friends whose judgement you trust. Ask your friends directly or just put the word out on Facebook (but watch out for sneaky suggestions from friends of friends of friends who you don’t know — they might turn out to be real estate agents themselves).

So what should you look for in an agent? Our thoughts:

6. Finding the flaws
We’ll assume you’ve found the ideal agent (such optimism!). Ask them to evaluate the condition of your home — and to be brutally honest. How does it look compared to other homes they’ve sold successfully? Is it in a good enough condition to sell? What needs to be painted, repaired, replaced? Also ask informed friends to give their opinion. Then fix what you can. Buyers can afford to be much fussier these days, either demanding large discounts for smallish faults or simply walking away entirely.

7. Checking Out Common Structural Problems
In this world of leaky buildings, we can’t afford to overlook structural maintenance. The Building Research Association of New Zealand identified these common maintenance problems:

INTERIOR

EXTERIOR

Fix first and avoid litigation later. And keep the receipts — proof of timely maintenance is a great selling point (and it just might make prospective purchasers think twice about your competitors’ homes if they don’t have good maintenance records).

8. Make It Special
Your home needs to stand out from the crowd — to look so special that buyers are quickly won over. If you can, hire an hour or two of an interior decorator’s time and ask them to look over the inside of the house and (based on their years of experience) suggest ways to make the house as desirable as possible (for a small outlay). In a similar arrangement, invite an architect to give his/her point of view on the exterior. A few hundred dollars or so spent wisely just might add thousands to the final sale price.

9. Make your home sparkle
Buyers mostly lack imagination (with apologies to those who don’t). And they often can’t see past surface problems like untidy backyards, dark corners or small fixit jobs. Solve the problem for them, with a bit of elbow grease and (perhaps) a few dollars spent wisely.

10. Get real on pricing
Ask your agent to do their homework on pricing, identifying recent sales in and around your area of comparable homes. Decide whether you can live with the results.

11. A gift with that purchase?
Prospective buyers walk into your Open Home and see a glorious large-screen TV. The agent, seeing their interest, gets right to the point: “the lucky buyer of this home also gets the TV”. Or a killer stereo system. Or the late-model car in the garage. Or power and water paid for six months. Gardening/pool/maid service for a year. Or a free trip to Fiji, once all the unpacking’s over. It’s a small additional cost to you (compared with the value of the home) but it’s amazing how the Wow! factor impacts on otherwise rational home buyers.

12. Brief the agent properly
Do all your homework on your house. Write up all the features and benefits of your home and run through it with your agent. Don’t forget to focus on the things that matter to your best prospects.

If you’ve appointed an agent, you’re probably tempted to leave it to him/her to list your details on Trade Me.

Don’t. They may be the world’s greatest real estate agent, but some of them are — how shall we put this — Trade-Me-challenged. Even if you get them to do most of the actual donkey work, guide them through the following steps (we’re assuming you/they know how to find the Property section on Trade Me):

13. The headline
Your first decision is the Listing Title (we call it the headline) – how to describe your pride and joy. We recommend that you leave the headline until last, after you’ve worked your way through the rest of the listing detail. Then you’ll be in a much better position to decide exactly what makes your property special so that you can flag those qualities in the headline.

14. Choose your location
Noting a location is simply a matter of selecting from the appropriate drop-down boxes. Simple — unless you live in an area that straddles two of the districts offered as choices by Trade Me. Though it’s tempting to simply nominate the more sought-after district, we recommend you do a search on Trade Me for homes listed in the two districts under consideration. Who will you be competing with in each district? Will you be the worst house in the best district? And (if there are similar homes listed) how does the pricing compare? Don’t decide where you live until you’ve done all your homework.

15. Details matter
The listing form asks for lots of detail — number of bedrooms & bathrooms, floor area, land area, rateable value, yadda yadda. Give as much information as you can– if prospective buyers can’t easily find out what they want, they’ll quickly skip to the next listing. Not only that, but — because most of us use the Search facility on Trade Me — if prospects search for a keyword such as “bath” or “study” and you have such amenities but haven’t included them in your listing, the search engine will simply pass you by.

16. Rateable Value
This is an optional field (but not for you). Potential purchasers assess the rateable value as a useful comparative (and objective) measure when considering the relative values of various properties. Add in the numbers.

17. How Much?
Trade Me asks you to choose an Expected Sale Price. This number determines whether your property will feature in the results when a searcher nominates a price range. Be realistic. Be very realistic. If your house doesn’t show up in the search results for those people who might be interested in your property (and could afford to buy it), you might as well be invisible.

18. The Description
Both the book and our new course go into this in far more detail than we could possibly hope to canvass here. Let’s just say that your job is to make potential buyers fall in love with your home. You don’t have to be a Mills & Boon author, but you do have to sell the sizzle.

19. Say Cheese
Pictures are so very important — for many prospective visitors, the Trade Me photos are their first (and perhaps only, if they don’t like what they see) view of your house. Trade Me Success Secrets (and our new course) deal to photographs, with hundreds of words about capturing your property at its best. Here, we’ll just say: tidy up around your house first, capture the main features of your home and above all show that it’s a warm and inviting place that many would love to own.

20. Promote, promote, promote
Once you’ve completed your listing, get the word out there. Our research tells us that people still look at their local Property Press and (to a lesser extent) the local paper, so get your listing details into those publications. Ensure that your agent gets the details into RealEstate.co.nz and their own agency website. And, of course, get your (enhanced) listing on Trade Me Property. Are you on Facebook? Tell your friends your home is on the market. Got a video tour of the house? Pop it up on YouTube.

21. Make your home incredibly inviting
It’s Open Home time. You should make yourself scarce during session times, but make the home as inviting as possible first.

22. Responding to those insulting low offers
You’ll get offers well below what you think your home is worth. Develop a thick skin. And then think creatively — are there ways to do a deal leaving money in or swapping some chattels or exploring other options? In this market, you need to Think Different.

Even if you follow all our advice, your home will still take time to sell. Patience, we’re told, is a virtue …

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NZ Online Shopping By The Numbers December 9, 2012

Posted by Michael Carney in : Christmas, ecommerce, trademe , add a comment

It won’t come as any surprise to most Trade Me users that Online Shopping is catching on in New Zealand. The 2012 Nielsen Online Retail Report reported earlier this year that more than 60% of Kiwi internet users now shop online — while 97% of NZ web users research products and services online (even if they eventually buy the products offline).

Already 5.1% of NZ retail sales are made online — and that percentage is expected to double over the next few years (it’s close to that already, in the U.K. and the U.S.).

More than half (56%) of New Zealanders intend to buy some of their presents online this Christmas, according to a survey by the Interactive Advertising Bureau of New Zealand. Convenience was stated as the number one reason (43 per cent), with books, DVDs, and games topping the online shopping list.

Fewer than a third of those surveyed (in November) had already started their Christmas online shopping, with the largest proportion (35 per cent) intending to do so between December 1 and 15.

Of those surveyed, 28 per cent said they intended to shop for Christmas presents on local retail websites like Trade Me, rather than international e-commerce sites.

Speaking of Trade Me, how’s it doing? The site continues to chalk up some awesome statistics:

He Buys, She Buys

Another study, commissioned by Auckland company Lassoo Media & PR and conducted by researchers Perceptive in July and August this year, found significant gender differences in online shopping:

The gender difference is evident in Christmas shopping habits as well: according to Axa research, 17% of Kiwi men don’t start shopping until the last few days before Christmas.

Focus On The Last-Minute Male

What does this onslaught of data mean to you, if you’re a Trade Me seller? In a nutshell: with just two weeks to go till Christmas, your best chance of making last-minute sales is to appeal to the male shopper, whether you’re selling products for men or women.

He’s the one who’s more likely to still have money to spend — and he can definitely use your advice on how to spend it, especially for his significant other.

PS In the last few days before Christmas, consider offering Gift Vouchers for your products. You can email scanned or electronic copies of the vouchers which the gift-giver can print out and include under the tree, with the actual vouchers following by mail.

PPS If you’d like a whole lot more advice on online trading, check out our eCourses.

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Trade Me launches Rummage November 27, 2012

Posted by Michael Carney in : rummage , add a comment

Trade Me has just launched Rummage.co.nz, a visual display site that draws its images from Trade Me listings.

As reported by Chris Keall at NBR:

Trade Me worked with two Californian entrepreneurs, Matt Inouye and Eugene Otto, to create the new site. The pair have previously used eBay’s API to create Rumma.ge.

Rummage is something of an experiment for Trade Me, so it’s not currently incorporated into the main site. Trade Me reckons Rummage is great for mobile.

The new service is a very interesting adaptation of the Pinterest scrapbooking notion. In its current iteration, Rummage is very basic — but it’s an indicator of future possibilities.

How do you get your own images onto Rummage? You’ll need to create Gallery listings on Trade Me.

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Out of Print and Now Out of Stock October 15, 2012

Posted by Michael Carney in : success secrets, trademe , add a comment

The second edition of Trade Me Success Secrets is now officially out of print — and we’re out of stock as well.

However, we are mulling over the notion of an online course which would cover the key elements of the Trade Me Success Secrets book:

If you’d be interested in such a course, drop us an email at michael@trademesuccesssecrets.com or talk to us on Facebook: http://facebook.com/trademesuccesssecrets.

Meanwhile, if you would like know how to trade more effectively online, we recommend you check out some of our other online courses:

Many New Zealand libraries also carry stock of Trade Me Success Secrets. Otherwise, search on Trade Me — a small number of used copies are sold there from time to time.

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Olympic Goldmine August 6, 2012

Posted by Michael Carney in : auctions, charity auction , add a comment

We’ve always pointed out the value of being topical when listing on Trade Me. Full marks to the NZ Spinal Trust for launching their charity auction to coincide with the Olympics.

So what’s up for grabs? Various commemorative chunks of Christchurch’s earthquake ravaged QEII athletics stadium. The Olympic connection comes from the way the chunks have been creatively packaged:

The auctions run until Saturday August 11. Check them out here: http://www.trademe.co.nz/stores/nz-spinal-trust

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You Know You Really Should Have Logged Out When … June 9, 2012

Posted by Michael Carney in : buying , add a comment

Trade Me tells us not to leave our computer logged into the site if others can use it.

Here’s one Trade Me user who should have followed that advice:

Q. Hi I have nearly had a heart attack finding my 5 year old bidding on your radio would you please remove her bid as I really did not need a radio for $4000. Thank you soo much… 8:22 am, Sat 9 Jun

A. No problem, your bid has been removed. 8:51 am, Sat 9 Jun

Q. Thank you soo much for doing that. There is still a bid on there as she was really busy and bid twice. She must have thought $4000 was not enough for it.. Anyway if you could take of the other bid as well, I would hate for you to have me win the auction as I really do not know anything about two way radios.. Thanks again.  8:55 am, Sat 9 Jun

A. Other bid removed 9:24 am, Sat 9 Jun

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Mastering eCommerce June 1, 2012

Posted by Michael Carney in : ecommerce, selling , add a comment

The latest Nielsen Online Retail Report is out, and it confirms what we’ve already suspected: half of New Zealand (49%) now buys products online! That translates to more than 60% of Kiwi internet users who purchase online — and 97% of NZ web users who research products and services online (even if they eventually buy the products offline).

Already 5.1% of NZ retail sales are made online — and that percentage is expected to double over the next few years (it’s close to that already, in the U.K. and the U.S.).

So are you ready to take your business online?

Our new online course, “Mastering eCommerce”, tells you what you need to know in a seven-week programme that steps you through the principles and practices of eCommerce in New Zealand.

The course has been created by Michael Carney, longtime marketer and author of the top-selling book “Trade Me Success Secrets” (now in its Second Edition) which tells how to sell effectively on this country’s largest and most successful eCommerce platform. Michael is also the creator of a number of other online courses (including several Social Media Marketing courses) and consults on many digital business initiatives.

This is an online course, conducted on a web-based e-learning software platform, enabling course participants to proceed at their own pace, accessing materials online. This particular eCourse provides content in a variety of multimedia forms, including videos, slideshows, flash-based presentations and PDF files. No special software is required to participate.

Course lessons will be provided in seven parts, for participants to access in accordance with their own timetables.

Course Content for MASTERING eCOMMERCE includes:

INTRODUCTION

In which we explore current eCommerce trends, locally and internationally, and identify what it takes to be a successful online seller. We also provide an Action Plan to help you construct an effective eCommerce programme as we proceed through the course.

LESSON ONE: KNOW YOUR CUSTOMERS: TURNING PROSPECTS INTO BUYERS

Customers have changed, largely thanks to the Internet. Google talks about a new process, the Zero Moment of Truth (ZMOT), which reflects the many ways that today’s consumers now research and but products. In this lesson we talk about prospective buyers, discuss what makes them buy (or not), review how and why they’ve changed in the last few years, discuss ZMOT and its implications for Kiwi sellers; and explore buyer motivations (and how you can trigger the urge to buy).

This lesson also covers:

LESSON TWO: KNOW WHAT ACTUALLY SELLS ONLINE (AND WHAT PROSPECTIVE BUYERS WANT TO KNOW)

In this lesson we show you how you can find out what people are actually searching for on the web — and where to go to find out what’s hot now (and what may be hot soon). Are you actually selling the right products online? Here’s where you find out.

Lesson Two also covers:

LESSON THREE: KNOW THE MARKETPLACE

So where should you actually sell your products online? In this lesson we explore the characteristics of, and the opportunities (and pitfalls) associated with, the marketplaces available to you: your own website, Trade Me, eBay, local Daily Deals sites, Amazon.com, Facebook, Mobile, location-based commerce, niche sites and more.

Lesson Three covers:

LESSON FOUR: GETTING NOTICED

You won’t sell anything if you don’t attract visitors to your listings — but how do you get noticed online? We explore digital marketing tools such as Organic Search, Pay Per Click, Social Media Marketing, Online Video, Affiliate Marketing and of course email.

Lesson Four shows you:

LESSON FIVE: MAKING MORE MONEY FROM EVERY SALE

Great — you made a sale! But how do you grow the money you earn from every sale? We take you through smart strategies to ensure that you’ve maximised the amount of money you can earn — all the while adding value to the customer. And we tell you how best to track key metrics such as clickthroughs and conversions.

Lesson Five shares:

LESSON SIX: SURVIVING ONLINE SUCCESS

So now you’re selling successfully online — but you’re also drowning in paperwork, struggling to get goods out the door and in danger of being overwhelmed by your own success. We look at currently available tools and best practices (including listing, multi-channel management and logistics systems) and talk you through what you need to do to cope. In this lesson we also explore the steps you must take to build your reputation and credibility online — and how to protect that reputation at all costs.

Lesson Six takes you through:

LESSON SEVEN: COMPETING AGAINST GIANTS

One of the most common issues facing online retailers: “how do I compete effectively against the category killers? They have the buying power and I’m just a small business.” Well, as David found when he went up against Goliath, there are definitely ways to compete and win. We explore the most effective of those strategies (even in commodity-based categories) and start you thinking about what steps you need to take to redefine your business and your products in the online space.

Courtesy Lesson Seven, you’ll discover:

CONCLUSION

Time to turn all that learning into a planned sales programme. We give you the tools (or tell you where to find them). We also share research that reveals online retailers’ top priorities this year and show you how to prepare for retailing tomorrow.

TIMING
The first course begins on Thursday June 28.

This seven-part eCourse is available for $497 +GST. However we offer a special Early Bird Discount of $100 +GST for payments received by Thursday June 21, reducing the amount payable to $397 +GST ($456.55 including GST).

Bookings are confirmed on receipt of payment, which can be by cheque, bank deposit or credit card. We can raise an invoice in advance if you need it.

To reserve your place in this course, please pay by Visa or Mastercard through Australian processor PayMate by clicking here.

If you would prefer to pay by cheque or bank deposit, or require an invoice before making payment, please send an email to info@ecommerce.org.nz with details of your request.

(The service provider will be shown as Netmarketing Services Limited in your transaction and on your credit card statement).

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Trade Me partners with ChannelAdvisor April 13, 2012

Posted by Michael Carney in : ChannelAdvisor, selling , add a comment

Just announced today:

Trade Me has signed a deal with international e-commerce company ChannelAdvisor which will see that organisation’s data management and analytical tools available for use with Trade Me.

The ChannelAdvisor arrangement would see more new products on Trade Me in time for the 2012 Christmas season, the company told the NZX.

ChannelAdvisor enables manufacturers, wholesalers and retailers to submit a single inventory feed which is then translated into the specifications of numerous e-commerce channels (such as eBay, Amazon and a great many others) and distributed accordingly.

Some of the implications for Trade Me:

The ChannelAdvisor offering should enable more of New Zealand’s leading brands to sell directly on Trade Me, as well as allowing major retailers to manage large volumes of product listings on the site.

The ink is barely dry on this deal so a few of the details remain to be ironed out. We’ll report  more in due course.

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Instant Gratification — And More Pressure On Sellers February 21, 2012

Posted by Michael Carney in : buying, selling , 1 comment so far

We were caught by surprise by last Friday’s announcement from our bank:

Payments made between banks will be processed hourly on weekdays. This means you, and those you pay, could receive money the same day payment is made

A bit more digging led to the discovery that (a) the initiative apparently came from the Reserve Bank; and (b) there are still a few inconsistencies in the way the new scheme operates. For example, “hourly” starts for Kiwibank at 9.45am and finishes at 2.45pm; however Westpac don’t operate with “hourly” until the afternoon, according to what we’ve been told. And no doubt the other banks will have their own timetables as well.

What this means, if you’re a Trade Me buyer, is that internet banking just moved a whole lot closer to real-time. Buy something in the morning and pay for it immediately by internet banking and you have a reasonable expectation that the seller will receive the money that same day.

Of course, for the seller, that means there’s an increased expectation that you will be in a position to despatch your product on the same day as well.

No pressure …

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Sell Much More Stuff on Trade Me in 2012 January 6, 2012

Posted by Michael Carney in : selling, trade me, trademe, training , add a comment

New Year, new resolutions. What are you planning to do in 2012 to upskill yourself and learn more about doing business on Trade Me this year?

Here’s how to make yourself more money on Trade Me in 2012:

  1. Read our Trade Me Success Secrets book from cover to cover
  2. Sign up for our Advanced Selling on Trade Me online course, which gives you plenty of hands-on advice on how to sell more effectively on Trade Me [Sorry, no longer available]

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