It’s easy to list your home online, but maybe it’s a little too easy! Let’s think of it this way--you’re creating a "profile" for your piece of property in a manner that isn’t much different than creating a social media profile for yourself. It seems so simple that you may not even give it too much thought, right?
Unfortunately, while you’re hastily throwing up a quick profile to get your home on the market, real estate professionals are investing time in crafting whiz-bang profiles that will directly compete with your home. They’ve got professional photographers, videographers, and writers all focused intently on helping their clients get the most money out of their property, and quickly.
If you’re a FSBO seller or landlord, then these professionals are your direct competition for that homebuyer or tenant. You may end up costing yourself hundreds, or even thousands, of dollars in sunk mortgage interest, taxes, and insurance from your home sitting on the market since it’s competing with professional advertisements.
But it doesn’t have to be this way. You don’t need to lose out just because you’re not a professional; you just need to think like one! Let’s go through the process of what it means to get your home listed online and how to do it well. Soon you’ll be showcasing your home like a real estate professional in no time.
What Does it Take to List Your Home Online?
As we discussed above, creating a listing for your home is as simple as creating a social media profile. You find a website to create your profile--MilitaryByOwner, of course! Then you create a username, log-in information, add some photos, and select your featured profile picture--the best shot of your property, obviously. This should all sound pretty familiar so far. You add some text to describe yourself (Ahem, I mean your property), and then you keep pressing "next" and answering all of the questions until you’ve submitted your property’s profile. Et voila! It’s done, right?
Well, yes… sort of.
There’s a difference between done and polished when it comes to creating a profile for your home. You know the time you realized there’s a big difference between the profile that you made for yourself on Facebook and the one you made for LinkedIn? Making a profile for your property to prepare it to either rent or sell is like preparing the LinkedIn online version of yourself. For example, when you’re preparing your profile on LinkedIn, you want a professional head shot, keywords in your bio, positive language, and someone to review it.
When you’re preparing a listing "profile" for your home, keep the LinkedIn standard in mind.
Get Professional Photos
I click through photos on MilitaryByOwner on a regular basis, but I tend to pass over the homes with pictures that seem dark, unfocused, or generally shot with a camera phone.
Start looking through listings, and you’ll see what I mean. The professional "headshot" of the front of your house--the one captured perfectly in a shot that shows your elegant porch and spectacular landscaping in sunlight--will make for a featured photo that prospective buyers and tenants will want to click.
In an ideal situation, you’ll also have that photographer create a virtual tour of your home. You don’t even need to have a professional create the virtual tour. Using simple online tools, you can create a virtual tour yourself! Remember, if your target market is military, then virtual tours will help you sell or rent your home much more easily.
Consider the text that appears in search results. Craft your listing to hit on the keywords that someone searching for a home like yours would find desirable.
If you perform a search for similar homes in your area, such as 3-bedroom, 2-bathroom, 2-car garage homes listed for $200,000 in area code 00000, read the short blurb of text that appears. You don’t read more than a sentence or two, right?
Keep that in mind and front load your advertisement with active verbs and keywords that will make your house stand out. If the key points that will sell your home are a fenced yard, a specific school district, or proximity to a trendy shopping area, then get those words in front of your reader!
Reread your text and remove negative words such as no, don’t, will not, or any similarly limiting word, and get it out! Rephrase text such as, "Absolutely no showings after 5 p.m." to a more welcoming, "We look forward to showing you our home during daytime hours between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m."
Instead of "Home will not be available until June 1st," rephrase to "Home will be available for move in on June 1st." This may seem silly, but home shopping is a highly emotional activity. We "feel" a certain way about the properties that we consider for our families, and if a home advertisement makes us feel negative, then why bother contacting the seller or landlord?
These rephrasings offer an easy solution for creating a more approachable, feel-good advertisement that will help you yield a greater response rate.
Have Someone Else Review It
A good real estate professional will first review your home with a critical eye, focusing intently on what items may either detract from or pique a buyer’s interest. They can instruct you to de-emphasize or highlight accordingly with carefully placed furniture and lighting.
For instance, if your bulky bookcase blocks lighting, you may be advised to relocate it or move it out of the property entirely. In doing so, you will increase the marketability of your property. It’s tough to review your own home, your own profile, and your own property advertisement for you.
For more tips on how to showcase your property listing like a professional, check out 3 Easy Steps to Take Amazing Photos for Your Home Listing.
By Karina Gafford, updated 2018 by Danielle Keech.