Over the years The DuPont Group has collected proven and successful marketing concepts from other industries and assimilated them into our process, Flash Branding, for promoting, advertising and selling your home.

STEP 1: Price your Home as Accurately as Possible
  • Home pricing is a moving target in any market, but most difficult in a declining market
  • Obtain local-agent consultation (aka “top agent buy-in”)
    • Present the home to a group of knowledgeable agents for a price evaluation– at least 5 preferably 10 top, active, local agents who know the neighborhood
    • If the top agents tell you it is will most likely sell near $2,750,000 you will be doing yourself a disservice if you choose to list the house at $3,500,000 (25%+ higher).
    • *See “Pricing Section” below.
STEP 2: Stage your Home so it Appeals to the Largest Possible Number of Buyers:
  • Proper staging has been shown to increase the selling price of a home by up to 15% or more
  • Home buyers are generally disrupted from the creative iterative process of imagining how they will live in a house, by the way the current owners live in the house
  • Staging should be minimal and facilitate / stimulate the imagination of the potential homebuyer and thereby help create an emotional connection between the buyer and the house
STEP 3: Professional Photography is a requirement:
  • Anything less than professional photography is not good enough
  • In our area close to 100% of homebuyers find their home first online
  • Great photography is the first opportunity to create an emotional attraction and generate the maximum # of showings
STEP 4: Premarket your home—Launch it like a DOW company would launch a new brand
  • Send “just listed” cards to neighbors
  • Send “just listed” cards to target neighborhoods
  • Send “just listed” announcements to agents
  • Advertise it online BEFORE it gets launched in MLS
  • Make calls, and present  to our agent network
STEP 5: Present the Property on MLS Beautifully & Eloquently:
  • As mentioned before: most buyers will first see the property on the internet, and most real estate web sites will pull their data directly from the MLS.
  • Key item #1: Professional photography
  • Key item #2: Take the time to craft a description that targets the right demographic and creates an emotional reaction within them

Mistake #1: Rushed, generic description without much thought:

“Very spacious home with huge media room and great patio / BBQ setup for entertaining, with killer SF views. Handsomely furnished. 3 bedrooms on upper level, and a 4th on the ground floor. Very Formal Dining room with Water & Golden Gate Bridge viewss…too much to mention!”

Mistake #2:  Older established agents that don’t care or have the time to learn key marketing skills:

  • Example #1:  “Large Home, plus legal apt. w sep entrance.”
  • Example #2:  “Beautiful large family home with second unit, formal dining, chef’s kitchen and separate entertaining areas. Sunny yards, great parking.”
STEP 6: Attract and Train as many Buyers Agents as Possible
  • The first Brokers open is a key element in a successful sale
    • Opportunity to train a sales force of agents
    • Offer a catered lunch—agents stay longer at the house and retain more sales training
    • Opportunity for motivated buyers to see the house—they will come
  • If all goes to plan, and all the elements are properly coordinated, you should receive an offer before the first Sunday open house or during the next business week
STEP 7: Execute a Flawless Promotion Campaign:
  1. A top notch MLS posting & Web presence
  • Over 80% of buyers in our area find their homes online. Most online websites that feature Marin properties will pull the information and photos from the Multiple Listing Service.
  1. Advertise to Buyers Agents
  • Send Notice to top local Agents.
  • The goal is to attract a large showing at the first  ‘Brokers Open House’.
  1. Advertise through Mail
  • Send +-500 “Just listed” cards to neighbors and other targeted neighborhoods.
  1. Advertise Online
  1. Advertise in Local Papers
  1. Advertise in Local Print Publications
  • Featured home advertisements often appear in the following local publications.
  • Don’t pick a friend new to the business unless they are working with a seasoned team with a long list of recent sales. There are too many pitfalls for inexperienced agents *especially* when it comes to the contracts.
  • Don’t pick the busiest agent in the area. You will have assistants doing almost all of the showings and when you run into speed bumps- which 90% of deals have- you will likely become frustrated with the resulting service and lack of premeditation in the deals game theory.
  • Don’t pick your favorite realtor from somewhere else. Local agents don’t like working with agents from neighboring markets who aren’t privy to the unique value propositions of the area and will likely be frustrated with the pricing. You want to be represented by a face/name that local, productive agents know and have done deals with in the past
  • Don’t pick an agent because they discount their commission. Good agents will earn their commission especially when deals go sideways which they often do.
  • Pick an agent who has a long list of recent sales in YOUR AREA, who isn’t too busy, and who presents a good listing presentation which is customized for you (i.e. not a template they printed off the server along with a list of MLS comps). At the very least it should have most of the above points which they can articulate in person. Pick someone you can functionally communicate with. There is a long list of agents out there with tons of recent sales who can’t string a few sentences together on a complicated topic. Real estate deals often get very complicated both by details and emotion. A level head is key as is the ability of an agent to push back on a seller’s bad idea- its one of the things that you are paying them for.
  • As articulated above, pricing is nothing more than the most important element of the marketing/presentation/sales process.
  • You are not setting the selling price- the market does that.
  • Most homes should be priced where the seller feels downright uncomfortable.
  • Why- because you will make buyers feel more comfortable. You will have more showings, buyers will get VALIDATION on pricing from all the activity, develop a stronger emotional attachment to your offering– which then stokes FEAR OF LOSS.
  • Fear of loss is the most powerful weapon for a good listing agent, this is where we make money for our sellers. But good listing agents can’t do that if the presentation is off, and if the pricing is off.

There are a number of items to consider here, and we could write a book on this. The first and most important is don’t try to outsmart your own agent. I’ve seen this so many times over. Pick an agent you trust, first and foremost, and second don’t add to the complexity of the deal by applying game theory to your own agent.

Great agents prepare their clients for possible moves by buyers. YOU must get HOME INSPECTIONS. If you skimp on the +-$2k for home inspections you go into your negotiations at an information disadvantage. This is a huge mistake. Spend the money, find out what issues are likely to come up and plan accordingly. A Second reason to have inspections is super important: PROBLEMS don’t usually derail deals, but **SURPRISES DO!!!!**

If you think your agent is too negative because they are constantly premeditating likely issues and you don’t like the relentlessness of it, you either selected an agent you don’t communicate well with or, you are pulling the wool over your own eyes. Agents deal with this stuff 24/7/365 – PREPARE before your home hits the market or you’ll have to deal with IT when you don’t have time to cost-effectively fix whatever IT is. This is also known as “losing lots of sleep and paying 2x what it would have otherwise cost” if you had 1) picked the right agent, 2) did the home inspections, and 3) listened to your agent when they were preparing you for the worst.


After 150+ $2m+ deal negotiations, I have learned a few important items:

If you didn’t price the house low enough, you likely aren’t dealing with multiple offers. If you aren’t dealing with multiple offers, prepare to be frustrated by everything and everyone for a couple of weeks (hopefully not longer). If you ARE dealing with multiple offers, the only way that you get thru this with all of your expectations met is if you get an all cash no-contingency offer. Otherwise, negotiations are just that- a give and take by both parties. The best deals are those where both parties are downright uncomfortable and don’t really feel like shaking hands at the end of it. Don’t blame everything on your agent if your feel that way- like you could have done better. If the buyer never emails you for information about how the irrigation system works, its because they feel the same way and both agents likely did the best they could with a tough situation- and almost all real estate deals are tough situations.

Last, when presented with two offers, be careful selecting the one with a better price if some of the other terms of that offer are in any way abnormal–*especially if the buyer is an attorney or an attorney is present alongside the buyer and agent in the negotiations.


I will let your own agent guide you on this one aside from the following: Treat the Disclosure Process as a get out of jail free card. Get the home inspections, fix the: sketchy drainage system, leaky roof, legacy electrical issues, or whatever… or DISCLOSE them. Otherwise prepare to be sued a couple years after the close when you have a whole new set of life challenges that you are dealing with.

  • *If you are a successful business person*: don’t expect your real estate sale to track normal deal process and protocol- in this market deals are chock full of emotion which make people do strange things. Don’t be thrown off guard and add to the hysteria.
  • Homebuyers think: “Schools, location, design/flow, and finish” usually in that order. You can’t fix the first two, Design/Flow is usually more important to buyers than Finish as it takes longer and costs more to fix. Sellers need to fix the flow issues if you want the market to pay for it- presenting the IDEA of a different flow only works if the listing price is low enough- please reference the Pricing Section.
  • All homebuyers value homes by perceived utility relative to other homes on the market- this is what drives the emotional attachment and results in a price. 99% of the time the current owners have the strongest emotional attachment to their own home which is why there is a tendency for sellers to over-price.
  • Homes typically sell for higher prices if a buyer enters into contract within 2 weeks of the launch date which is why aggressive pricing is a key part of the marketing and sales process. The only exception to this rule are illiquid homes at the very top of the price range in its market, and even then there is a very real tradeoff between an emotionally exhausting, extended showing/cleaning process, carrying costs and selling price.
  • Good agents earn their commission on the front end with preparation of the house, strategy and game theory with the negotiations- preempting problems and contractual moves by potential buyers- in properly executing the steps in presenting and marketing; by being present for ALL the home inspections both the pre-market sellers inspections, AND the buyers inspections, and in properly executing the contracts while not being contractually outsmarted by a savvy buyer’s agent.
  • Bringing attorneys into the deal should be done very carefully- the 35 or so deals I have done with attorneys party to the negotiation have been the most unnecessarily complicated and difficult deals I have ever done.

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