26 jan 2018. - Katie Schwend


This morning I started out my day just as I have for the last couple weeks. After I got my kiddos off to school, I came home to take care of a mare I have on stall rest due to a soft tissue injury. Most people hate being bothered with cleaning stalls, but I really like it. It gives me a chance to decompress and just think. Remember how the Green Chile Burro’s from yesterday were my “soul food?” Well, cleaning stalls is also good for my soul. My thoughts of choice this morning…marketing rural Montana properties! Here are some of my thoughts…

Marketing rural properties is much more complex than marketing urban properties. Often times, you have not only a house to market, but land and outbuildings as well. Each element can be equally as important as the others depending on the buyer. Some only care about the house, and the outbuildings and land are just an afterthought. To others the land or outbuildings may be the most important element. On rural properties I market, I have a 60/40 rule. Sixty-percent of my marketing features the home, while 40% of my marketing features the land and/or outbuildings. I carry this rule into every aspect of my marketing from photographs to property descriptions. Obviously, there will be exceptions to this rule (like on large ranch properties where the house is an afterthought) but I try to adhere to it as much as possible, especially for online marketing.

According to the 2012 Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers, “52% of buyers turn to the web as their first step.” This number has probably increased over the last 5 years but it means for most buyers their first impression of a property is online. It is essential to have marketing pieces dialed in the moment a property hits the market. Once that first impression is made, there is no going back. Photography is probably the most important element. Without a good photographic presentation online, you really have nothing. Let’s take a look at a few photos and compare. This is a property I took over the listing on last fall. One of the issues I pointed out to the sellers when they first approached me about listing the property was their property’s online presence.

This was the previous agent’s photo of the kitchen.

This is the same photo taken by a professional photographer after the kitchen was decluttered and staged.

The second photo gives buyers the opportunity to visualize themselves in the property and it really makes the space shine. This is a beautiful kitchen but in the previous picture it just didn’t come to life. On this listing, I had the photographer shoot the interior and do stills of the exterior. He then came back through and did video of the interior.

I really like to use professional video as a marketing tool. I think it is especially effective on rural properties. Let’s face it, its much easier to get on the Internet in the comfort of your home and look at rural properties than it is to jump in your rig and go driving around. Video gives buyers the opportunity to see the property in its entirety. Below is a link to the video of the same property I compared pictures of above. This property happens to sit on a couple acres near a creek, has a beautiful home, and an amazing shop among other outbuildings. The easiest way to showcase the entire property was through video using a drone for much of the exterior.


Professional photography and video are only a small slice of the pie in relation to marketing rural properties. Next week I will talk more about the complexities of marketing rural properties including my favorite online sites to feature rural listings. Thanks for checking in with Living and Selling the Western Way of Life!!

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