Showcase Your Home Like an Agent
By Karina Gafford
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, and 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 whizz-bang profiles that will compete directly 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. If you accept a buyer’s agent then you will also want to attract agents with a qualified buyer. If your home sits on the market for longer because it’s competing with their professional advertisements, then you may end up costing yourself hundreds and even thousands of dollars in sunk mortgage interest, taxes, and insurance.
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 do it well, and you’ll be showcasing your home like a real estate professional in no time! Don’t forget to also check out our post on 7 Steps to Help You Think Like a Real Estate Agent When Marketing Your Home for Sale
for some more tips on how to get your home ready to sell for top dollar, quickly!
What does it take to list your home online?
As we discussed above, the listing part is as simple as creating a social media profile. You find a website to create your profile--let’s say MilitaryByOwner
. You create a username and log-in information, add some pictures, 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? Well, making a profile for your property to prepare it to either rent or sell is like preparing the LinkedIn online version of yourself.
When you’re preparing your profile for LinkedIn, you’ve got some key items to focus on:
- You want to look professional in your photograph, so ideally you have a professional headshot.
- You want to hit on all of the keywords for your networking purposes; otherwise, your profile will disappear amid the millions of other profiles on the site.
- You want to make sure that your profile creates a narrative that will appeal to your target market in the most positive light, so use strong, positive words!
- At the very least you have a friend or colleague review your profile before you press save and "publish." Ideally, you’ll hire a professional editor to review the language for you.
You know that when you’ve taken the care and time to perfect your LinkedInprofile page, you’ll get the best response for your networking and employment application efforts, so why wouldn’t you want to do the same for your property?
When you’re preparing a listing "profile" for your home, keep the LinkedIn standard in mind.
- Have professional photographs taken of your home. I click through photos on MilitaryByOwneron 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. That 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 actually 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.
- Take time to craft your listing to hit on the keywords that someone searching for a home like yours would find desirable. Consider the text that appears in search results. If you perform a search of similar homes in your area, for example, other 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 frontload 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 upfront and in front of your reader!
- Infuse positivity into your advertisement. 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 as "Home will be available for you to move in on June 1st." These 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 look at your home and your advertisement. 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. He or she will instruct you to de-emphasize or highlight accordingly with carefully place furniture and lighting. If your bulky bookcase blocks lighting, for instance, then you may either receive instruction 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 yourself, so do yourself a favor and get a fresh set of eyes on everything.
For some more tips on how to showcase your property listing like a professional, check out our Key Points to Emphasize in Your Home Listing