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Make Your Online Listings Stand Out

December 2, 2013
From Loan Officer Shellie Sexton

From Loan Officer Shellie Sexton

There are thousands of real estate listings in any given region vying for a buyer’s attention. And with 52% of buyers going online first to “prequalify” which properties they want to pursue, your online listing must stand out to be added to their short list. It may seem impossible to turn an average ranch or home in the suburbs into something that grabs attention over another property like it, but you can make your listings overachieve so they are clicked on.

Prioritize the quality and selection of photos.  Online browsers who click into a home listing spend 60% on the photos vs. 20% on the property description. In addition, they spend more than half of their time looking at the first photo in the digital stack. Most often this is the exterior photo, but it doesn’t have to be if that’s not a strong introduction to the home. If you do use the exterior, try to take photos  in the morning or just before sunset for the best lighting. Or at dusk with the house and yard lit up. Spend the majority of your time getting that first photo as perfect as you can.  If you choose to use another room or area of the home, be sure it’s well lit and crisp. There’s nothing more unappealing than out-of-focus, shadowy photos.

One additional note… a good SLR camera typically produces better photos than a phone or point-and-shoot model. If you don’t have one or struggle taking pictures, think about hiring a photographer, at least for the exterior.

Reinforce the home’s “story.” You don’t want a disconnect between the story you are trying to tell and the photos that reinforce it. If you describe the home as open and airy, make sure the photos are of large rooms and green space vs. a small eat-in kitchen. If you write that the property is near a park, include a photo of it. In other words, make sure your photos you choose fit the description.

Understand what words sell, and which ones don’t.  Research done in Canada learned something interesting… properties with the  word “beautiful” in the real estate listing sold for 5% more but “move-in condition” didn’t move the needle at all. Words like “good value” and “starter home” actually detracted from both the selling price and the length of time it took the home to sell. Although proper use of key words won’t sell a home on its own, its another part of the toolkit to consider.

Ultimately, your listing is important, but for a buyer, the two most important things remain price and location. You goal is to be the most appealing option within a buyer’s price point and desired location so when they compare listings, they are motivated to see yours first.


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