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6 Marketing Tips for Selling a Fixer-Upper

By Justin Kerby Jul 22, 2021

Fixer-uppers are a unique product for real estate agents to sell. Each listing will attract a different buyer pool and come with distinctive pros and cons. The whole process can sometimes be unpredictable. Just like the homes themselves, marketing a fixer-upper can take just a little bit of extra work on the agent’s side to get the listing in front of the right eyes. 

Take a look at these six marketing tips that real estate agents can use for selling a fixer-upper.


1. Understand the buyer pool and your audience

Before even thinking about how and where you’re going to market a property, it’s important to think about who you’re marketing should ideally reach. Based on your market and the home in question, who is most likely going to be the buyer? Will it be an investor, a bargain-hunter, a DIYer, a flipper, a first-time home buyer, or someone else? 

Your marketing efforts should be tailored to those audiences, even if the buyer pool may be varied. Any insights you can glean can help you customize your marketing efforts, make the property that much more appealing, and ensure your listing is seen by the right people. You need to understand your audience to get more eyeballs on your listings


2. Focus on the visuals 

The imagery an agent shares of a fixer-upper may be even more important than a move-in-ready property, as it will need to be very strategic. Investors may be interested in aerial shots to get a good look at the entire property. Flippers and DIYers will want to see sizzle features, such as large closets, a family-friendly yard, flexible spaces, and an excellent floor plan.

No matter what, do your photography when the home’s interior and exterior gets the best natural light. Make sure the home is staged nicely, and work with a professional photographer to get the most out of the space. Inform your team that the home may need some special attention. Creativity goes a long way here. Make sure you get the shots you need to fill your marketing calendar


3. Get your messaging right

As many agents know, the language used in a fixer-upper’s listing and marketing efforts takes a little more finessing than other property types.

When writing your captions or copy, highlight the potential value that your audience wants to hear about when looking for a property. If the buyer pool is investors, the messaging should focus on the potential for resale. Use language such as “in-demand neighbourhood,” “good investment potential,” “close to other successfully flipped properties,” and so on. The idea is to frame it in a way that the buyer pool can understand the opportunity for financial gain. 

If the buyer pool includes people looking to stay with the property long-term, it’s more important to highlight the current potential. Talk about those sizzle features you photographed, as well as the neighbourhood amenities - nearby schools, green spaces, transit options - so the buyer can really get a feel for the area. Here, you’re focusing on the livability potential.

Any upgrades or renovations that the seller completed within the last five years could be hugely influential to the buyer, especially if it’s a big-ticket item such as a hot water tank, electrical work, or appliances. Even mentioning simple updates such as recent interior or exterior paint jobs, exterior window cleaning, or new lighting fixtures can put some buyers at ease. Let potential buyers know that these are tasks they won’t have to worry about right away. 

It’s all about knowing your audience, understanding what will really persuade them to pursue the property, and framing your marketing messages accordingly.


4. Create tailored social media ads

The beauty of advertising on social media platforms such as Facebook and LinkedIn is that they give you the ability to tailor and customize each and every advertisement completely. You might try targeting investors through LinkedIn display ads and DIYers through Instagram Stories. It’s totally up to you. 

Don’t think of your buyer pool as one. Instead, segment each type of buyer and advertise to them accordingly. Each type of buyer spends time on different platforms, so target your message to the audience and the platform that will bring you the most success. 

Each advertisement you place on these platforms can have a unique photo or video, caption or message, and call to action. They can be targeted based on the audience’s interests to help you reach the right buyers. Plus, there are a variety of formats to choose from when running social ads. For example, you might consider a Facebook lead ad to capture email addresses and other contact information so you can follow up with prospective buyers.

Social media advertising is a great way to capture the attention of prospective buyers who are actively looking for a property, as well as those who may be thinking about buying but haven’t started actively searching yet. 


5. Advertise on real estate platforms

A not-so-secret to success in marketing is talking to your audience where they are. For those prospective homebuyers who are active in the market when you’re selling a fixer-upper, you should also be marketing to them on the real estate platforms they’re regularly checking, including (check out REW’s paid advertising options for agents).

This might seem like a given, but many agents simply post their listings and cross their fingers. Taking the extra step to promote a listing gives you more potential to find the right buyer. You might even catch the attention of someone who didn’t know they were looking for a fixer-upper!


6. If relevant, mention home improvement grants and financing options

For prospective buyers who may see home improvements as a financial burden, it’s a great idea to remind them about grants and financing options available for those renovations, including the Greener Homes Canada Grant, home equity loans, or other options from their mortgage lender. Some prospective buyers may not know these exist and avoid fixer-uppers because of renovation costs. Mentioning their financial options in your marketing could be what finally steers this audience in your direction. 

By using these steps to adjust and customize your real estate marketing strategy, you can make any fixer-upper have the potential for a great sale to the right buyer.

Justin Kerby
Justin Kerby is the founder of Something Great, a digital marketing agency that specializes in real estate branding and content creation. They help companies create social media strategies, newsletters, blog content plans, and advertising campaigns.
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