David Simkins Understands the Power of Tech-Driven Real Estate
Mark Cipolletti Knows How to Market His Business
Mark Cipolletti is a Realtor with Keller Williams Richmond West and works in the Richmond metropolitan area.
While he has only been a real estate agent for four years, he dabbled in real estate long before that while also working in the world of marketing. This mix of career paths has helped him immensely in growing his business as an agent, and other agents should take note.
A Strong Marketing Background
Before becoming an agent, Mark worked in marketing for over 20 years and at one point, owned his own company. During this time, he also was a real estate investor and worked with a friend who offered him guidance on his investments. Mark explains, “This guy was a Realtor, and I was a marketer. And he would help me with real estate, and I would advise him some on marketing.”
This friend knew that Mark would thrive in real estate, and he was right. Eventually, Mark decided it was the right time to become an agent and joined him at Keller Williams. “As I went into real estate, I did it part time and then slowly weaned myself off of my marketing clients as my real estate business became full time.”
Now he is using his marketing knowledge to propel himself forward as an agent.
Putting His Marketing to Good Use
In today’s market, simply relying on word of mouth and real estate referrals to keep your business going often won’t do. There are too many other agents all doing the same thing and too few listings to go around.
To stand out, Mark is putting his marketing background to good use. He starts with some of the marketing basics. He explains, “I do a weekly eNewsletter. I do lots of social media. I have done some advertising.”
He continues with some more out-of-the-box marketing to really set himself apart from other agents in the area. Mark will use special tools and concierge services (like Curbio) to his full advantage. “I have these things that can help my clients. But they are also things that I can market to my clients and to my sphere of influence showing that I’m innovative and that I provide a higher level of service than the average agent.”
Offering a Solution
In today’s market, agents need all the help they can get. Low housing inventory and high interest rates have slowed the market considerably and pushed some buyers out of the market completely.
A silver lining is that those buyers that are looking are serious. As Mark explains, “The people who are in the market as buyers are either having to move for some reason or they are first-time homebuyers who are not giving up a low interest rate to take on a higher one. Or they’re people who have waited a long time and decided they are not waiting anymore; they are just going to go ahead and pull the Band-Aid off.”
But these buyers cannot afford to do updates to their new home on top of buying it. Consequently, homes in need of repairs just won’t sell. Mark notes, “When it comes to listing houses, it is even more critical right now to make sure that they are move-in ready.”
He continues, “The properties that are not updated, that are not move-in ready, and do not showcase themselves well are the ones that we’re seeing price decrease after price decrease, and they are sitting. But the nicest houses are still behaving a little like they did during the pandemic market with multiple offers, selling quickly, and selling over asking price — either waving inspections or waiving some amount of inspections and repairs.”
To help his listings hit these high marks, Mark has turned to Curbio. “And that’s why Curbio is so awesome. Because people don’t have to put up the money upfront to make their house be that move-in ready house. And that’s going to attract the folks who are in the market at the moment.”
Using Curbio as a Marketing Tool
As Mark notes, he isn’t just pitching Curbio to potential clients to help them; he is going one step further and using it to help himself as well. “I had been promoting Curbio via social media and my newsletter for a while.” He continues, “Curbio’s right up my alley because it gives me something else to differentiate myself from other Realtors in my market… It’s a way as a Realtor for me to stand out and provide a great service that really costs me nothing.”
Other agents should take a page out of Mark’s marketing playbook because his approach worked. Mark won a listing after promoting Curbio as a service to his sphere of influence. He explains, “When they [the sellers] contacted me about selling the house. Curbio was a big reason why they were contacting me. Because they were intrigued about what that was and how it was going to work. They knew their house needed a lot of work.”
By advertising Curbio, Mark was able to get the seller to come to him, and this wasn’t just by chance. According to the 2022 Home Improvement Report, 72% of homeowners said they chose agents who gave them options. Also, 77% of homeowners said they would choose agents who offered them a pay-at-closing solution.1 In this market, every agent can use every advantage.
Mark’s sellers needed to make updates. He explains, “My seller was the original owner of the house and had lived there for over 20 years. And they had done a couple of things. They had spruced up their kitchen at one point, and they had put new windows in the house at another. But everything else was in desperate need of updating.”
It is a common story for sellers who have owned their homes for several years. Mark explains, “While the homes may be well maintained, they are still in need of major updating and redecorating.”
While the sellers may not have had the upfront cash to make all these updates, they did have the equity with how long they had been in their home. The Curbio Richmond team made a variety of updates inside and out including replacing the roof, refreshing the deck, sprucing up the bathrooms, painting the interior, and updating the flooring. So much work was needed that Mark laughed, “It looked like the house was being flipped.” But there was a big difference.
Mark explains, “As agents, we see houses that are being flipped all the time, and a lot of time, they’re done very poorly by people who don’t really know what they’re doing or they’re just skimping so that they can make as much money as possible. We also see a lot of DIY work from homeowners that’s done very poorly.” He continues, “And when they [the buyers] put in their offer and we had accepted, we were having a conversation after the fact, and the agent remarked to me about just how nicely everything was done, and he was very pleased with the quality of work.”
On top of hitting a high note for the buyer and their agent, these pre-listing updates also hit high notes on the market. The home got over five offers in just a few days and all of them were over the asking price. Ultimately, Mark explains, “We accepted an offer that was well over asking price that waived the inspection. Because they could see the quality of the work, they knew almost everything had been done that they would want to do, so they knew they didn’t have to come in and fix stuff.”
It is a good thing the sellers took the time to do the work too. An investor had originally offered them $180,000 for the house, but the home ultimately sold for $370,000. This made for some happy clients. “My clients are just elated with the whole process and how everything worked out.”
As for the future, Mark notes, “Curbio is definitely something that I’m going to continue using in my marketing and as a differentiator for me as a realtor. It is a great way for sellers to make sure that their property is the one that everybody wants when it comes on the market.”
- Curbio (2022). Preparing to Sell: 2022 Home Improvement Report