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Listing your home for sale or rent online is easy. Maybe it’s a little too easy. Sometimes all you need is an address and a description. It’s so simple that you may not even give it too much thought.
While a bare-bones advertisement passes as a home listing, it doesn’t do a good job advertising your property. It doesn’t grab attention. While you’re hastily throwing up a quick listing to get your home on the market, real estate professionals are investing time in crafting whiz-bang listings that will directly compete with yours. 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.
Think of it like this: if you want to showcase your home like an agent, you need to think of your home advertisement like a “profile” as you would on your social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram, or LinkedIn. Make a strong first impression that draws people in and motivates them to learn more.
Even if you’re a For Sale By Owner seller or landlord, realize that experienced 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.
The good news? You can compete with professionals without being one yourself. You just have to think like one. Let’s go through the process of what it means to get your home online and how to do it well. Soon you’ll be showcasing your home like a real estate agent in no time.
What Does It Take to List Your Home Online?
As discussed above, creating a listing for your home is as simple as establishing a social media profile. Start with MilitaryByOwner to create your home listing. You’ll create a username, log-in information, add some photos, and select your featured profile picture—which should be the best exterior shot of your property. Add colorful language to describe your home and press next, answering all of the questions until you click the submit button on your property’s profile. Et voila! It’s done, right?
There’s a difference between done and polished when it comes to creating a profile for your home, similar to the difference between your Facebook and LinkedIn profiles. Facebook focuses on connecting personally, while your LinkedIn presents your professional side, aiming to connect with colleagues and attract potential employers. You want a professional headshot, keywords in your bio, positive language, and someone to review it.
When you’re crafting a listing for your home, keep the LinkedIn standard in mind.
1) Upload professional quality photos.
Let’s start by asking, what listings get your attention? The ones with high-quality photos, of course! We tend to scroll over home advertisements that feature dark, unfocused, and grainy photos. But pictures are so important. They’re arguably the most significant part of your home listing because even if your description is engaging, no one will read it if the photos don’t draw them into it.
Photo by JESHOOTS.COM on Unsplash
Just think of how essential photos are to every aspect of our lives these days. Our iPhones are capable of incredible things because our society demands them. Photos are everything. So, how do we get professional photos of our home?
Option one is to hire a real estate photographer. Option two is to do it yourself.
Start by capturing the “headshot,” the exterior of your home. This is the photo that welcomes people to the door and draws them inside. It should include well-maintained landscaping, an elegant porch, and bright sunlight. Your featured photo needs to make the online homebuyer or renter stop and click to see the inside.
And hopefully, inside, they’ll find a staged home. What exactly does that mean?
Home staging is showcasing the property for sale. It involves:
The amount of effort required to stage your home depends entirely on your space and how much stuff you have, but it’s the hidden key to capturing those dazzling photos.
Learn more about home staging: Home Staging 101.
However, there’s more to consider. Staging has opened up an entirely new facet, virtual staging. Have you heard of it? It cuts out the rigorous process. So, how does virtual staging work?
“The designers take existing photos of the house and collect the measurements of the space. After that, the specialists will upload the details onto the software and create a similar virtual space. Then, they will virtually place the furniture and create a staged house. Virtual staging companies also scan high-resolution photographs of the property and upload them on the software. This helps in making the process faster.” -Virtual Staging Your Home: What You Need to Know
It might sound too good to be true. But it’s not, and it continues to gain popularity.
Before we move from the topic of photos, let’s not forget the virtual tour. Especially after the last few years, online shopping is crucial. People are less willing to hop open houses all weekend and are more selective when viewing a home in person. Your job is to give them the tools to learn as much as they can remotely, especially if your target market is military members who may buy a home sight unseen and faster than most.
Don’t worry; even if you decide to DIY the home photos, you don’t need to hire a professional to create the virtual tour. Using simple online tools, you can piece together a virtual tour yourself.
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2) Use keywords in your home listing.
What good is a home advertisement if no one sees it? While the photos entice the home buyer to learn more, the description can bring them to your listing to view. Think about what you type into Google when searching for your next home: home for sale near Fort Belvoir, condo for rent in Alexandria, VA. Plus, key real estate words like chef-grade, gourmet, double-vanity, remodeled, and more.
Craft your listing to hit the keywords that someone searching for a home like yours would find desirable. Get more tips in our post, How to Create an Unforgettable Home Listing.
Photo by Christin Hume on Unsplash
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!
If you’re struggling with where to start, remember;
“People often underestimate the power of word selection when describing a home for sale. Write about what you can only get by living in that home, instead of just listing features of a house. Start by asking: what do you love most about your home? Why did you buy it? It's likely that your buyer will appreciate the same things”. -Karen Hall, Principal Broker, @home real estate
3) Infuse positivity into your listing.
Reread your text and remove negative words such as no, don’t, will not, or any similarly limiting word.
- Rephrase text such as, "Absolutely no showings after 5 p.m." to a more welcoming, "We look forward to showing you our home between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m."
- Instead of "Home will not be available until June 1st," rephrase to "Home is available for move-in on June 1st."
It may seem silly, but home shopping is emotional. While it’s fundamentally a transaction, our feelings are very much in the middle of it. Have you ever bought a home without picturing the memories you and your family will make in the space? Or the future you envision? Negative language has no place in a home description, only positive wording that invites a hopeful future.
Positive phrasing is the key to creating a more approachable, feel-good advertisement that will help you yield a greater response rate.
Take a look at What Home Buyers Really Want to See in Your Listing
4) Ask someone else to review your listing.
A 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.
Photo by Mimi Thian on Unsplash
For instance, if your bulky bookcase blocks lighting, they might advise you 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 profile, and your property advertisement for you.
If you’re selling your home yourself, look to your trusted friends or family members. Better yet, ask your neighbors or others who are less familiar with your home and can offer an unbiased review. Have them read your home listing and do a walkthrough of your home and ask the questions:
- Is the property an accurate representation of the listing?
- Is the home welcoming?
- Is it clean and decluttered?
- Is there lots of natural light?
- Is there any damage that needs repaired?
Showcasing your home like an agent is not as simple as submitting your info online, but with these steps, you’re well on your way to creating an amazing listing!
By Danielle Keech
Learn more about the home selling process with our free ebook, A Guide to Selling Your Home.
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