So! The much anticipated second (and final) edition of HISMH! There’s no Barney in this one, but you get to live the excitement through me!
To recap, when we left off, I had just posted ads to sell my house on prominent realty sites magicbricks.com, 99acres.com as well as classifieds sites like OLX.in and Quickr.in. You can read that post here.
I had also posted requests for information on Twitter and Facebook which were going, if not viral then at least somewhat fungal. I was personally rooting for Twitter and FB because I genuinely felt they had the best chance to put me in touch with someone who might be interested to buy.
The first night ended very early in the morning, after I’d replied to at least 75 to 80 people who had all come to my attention via Twitter. This is great, I thought. At this rate I’d be able to secure a buyer in no time! This is when the story takes a slightly depressing (for online media) turn.
You see, I had all this interest in the house, but I couldn’t for the life of me drum up a single person who would come and actually see the house. No matter, there was still the online sites. Magicbricks had tried especially hard to get me to pay some money for the premium listing, so I caved after about a week of incessant reminders that my listing was suffering.
I ponied up about 900 bucks (give or take what my memory robs me of) and was soon the proud owner of some custom ad space where my house details would now be seen (or so I was assured) by the millions of house hunters who were just barely inept enough to require a bold highlight sponsored by my money, to help them see the ads I had posted.
Sure enough, as if by magic the responses started trickling in. And when I say trickle, I do mean trickle. I got a total of 11 responses. The first two or three seemed to be actual people who wanted to buy flats and while they all said they’d come in and see my place, none of them did. The rest were all brokers. While I wouldn’t normally mind getting in touch with brokers, I wanted to specifically test how the internet would help me sell my house and using a broker seemed like cheating.
I was soon to have no other choice, though, since there just weren’t enough people to justify paying for another round of ads on MagicBricks. I’d had similar results with all the other sites and this was shaping up to be a spectacular failure. Still, I always had Twitter, right? Wrong.
All those 75 to 80 leads from Twitter were just not worth anything. One by one people dropped out of touch or wouldn’t respond. With great disappointment, a month after I started looking, I had to reluctantly admit defeat, at least in round one. When it came to pure online selling, my house wasn’t going to get sold. The other option was looking for brokers through the internet. If I found the broker who sold my house through the internet that would be a bit like using the net to sell my house, right?
So armed again with enthusiasm, I went and downloaded a 35-strong list of real estate agents in my area and called them all in one evening. The conversion rate here was equally abysmal. Of the 35 I called, 33 agreed to take my details and said they’d get clients of theirs to come and see my place. Of the 33, 4 people called me back and one – ONE broker – actually got someone. So imagine my thoughts as, a few months after I’ve decided to sell my house, I come to the realisation that maybe this housing crash thing is actually real, that maybe my house which I thought was an amazing asset to have, is all devoid of value.
Luckily, one of the things I had done very early in the search was tell all my neighbors and my parents’ neighbors that we were looking to sell. One day, out of the blue, my mom was approached by a man who lived in the same lane as us – his cousin wanted to buy a flat and he’d heard mine was for sale. Could they come take a look? They did, they liked the place, we’re now in the midst of the formalities associated with the sale.
It seems so strange and almost anachronistic that in spite of all this technology and the millions of dollars (some small percentage my own contribution) I ultimately ended up selling my house through the oldest medium in the world – word of mouth!