One of the first things you do when you want to sell your house is to list it. Sounds so simple, doesn’t it? You take a picture, add some words, and put it on a website. Job done, now you wait for the results. But did you know there is such a thing as a bad listing? How can that be?
Like every other form of marketing or advertising, there are good listings and bad listings. A smart buyer will overlook your home even if it is great if the listing is bad. How do you ensure that doesn’t happen? You have to first remember that your listing is the FIRST IMPRESSION to the buyers and the world. The way you capture it, market it and advertise it will shape the way your sale goes. We have looked at the other steps involved in setting the listing price, so now we find out how to create an effective listing.
Generally, a buyer will begin his search online. They look at pictures, descriptions, and other filters. The process of going through the websites and selecting a home is predictable because of the data available. We have to use it to our advantage and understand the right way to create an effective and efficient listing. You can anticipate just what the buyer wants to see and target that.
Thankfully, technology has helped us to understand this science in detail. We know the way audiences view an image or the time they spend on a particular image, which points they focus on, and the distance between focal points. But don’t worry; you don’t need to become a data expert in selling your home. You just have to follow our guidelines on creating an effective listing.
Visual appeal is the first way to entice your buyer. The quality of your photos will decide if the buyer even keeps your home in the shortlist. Did you know that even the QUANTITY of photos makes a difference?
Buyers usually start their search by looking at photos. They want detailed photos of your curb, the exterior, the interior, and the house. If you have say 4-5 photos giving a vague impression of the home, the buyer will be frustrated and not intrigued. He will doubt the authenticity of you as a seller. A lack of photos will indicate that you want to hide something and push the buyer to discard your home as an option. We suggest putting anywhere between 15 and 20 photos to allow the buyer to explore the home.
Buyers will start checking the curb appeal photos and photos depicting the exterior. Listings with interior first photos are indicative of poor exterior or shoddy curb appeal. Start with your exterior and curb appeal first, then let it go in an organic flow through the lawn, hallway, living room, kitchen, master bedroom, second bedroom, guest bedroom, garage, and backyard. Alter it if you have more or less features but keep it simple.
The quality of your photos can impact your audiences and also the selling price. Some research has shown that homes with professionally taken photos have sold for 1% to 2% more than those with amateur or poor quality pictures. Those homes also sold faster on average than homes with amateur photos. We have mentioned making any investment in your home while considering the return. Professional photography or even hiring a camera is a job that costs hundreds of dollars. If that gives you a 1% to 2% hike in your selling price, then it is definitely worth the investment.
High-quality pictures that seem professional make a strong and positive impact. If you don’t want to hire a professional photographer, get a good quality camera, and try it yourself. The idea is to have beautiful, inviting pictures that capture your house in the best light. You should also focus on the best features and make it seem bigger and brighter. Professional photographers know the right tricks to make a home seem like your dream home. Real estate agents and professionals can also put you in touch with photographers who can help you with your listing. A good picture can make a difference between a bad or a good sale.
Writing a description seems like the easiest job, right? Just write what the house has and call it a day. You would be wrong if you believe so. A buyer has gone through several filters and homes to land up at your listing. If they are taking the trouble of reading the description, then your home fits their criteria. You don’t want them to reject it solely based on a vague or poorly written listing. Right words can also lead to an increase in your selling price. While picking the wrong words or making it sound bad can turn away potential buyers.
Professionals will tell you that listings with longer descriptions tend to sell for more than anticipated. Shorter descriptions can cause a decrease in your selling price. To be specific, we recommend you use 50-75 words for your listing. This will allow you to describe the house and its prominent features.
You know the ideal length of your caption or description now. What comes next is selecting the right wording for this description. Sellers try to be subtle and use positive sounding words to indicate size or style. For example, charming usually means small. Cute is another adjective that does not bode well for home sellers. You don’t need to justify the size of the home. Buyers can understand it in the measurement and pictures. Refrain from using these or similar words that point towards size, quality, age, or style. Nobody wants a ‘bargain’ home. Buyers will not consider a house with ‘potential.’ These words point towards investment or upgrades required, which nobody is interested in. The biggest and most disastrous word is ‘fixer,’ which can cause your selling price to drop by a staggering 10 percent.
Your description should differentiate your home from similar homes and the neighborhood. Homes are ranked in 3 levels-
High-End homes, as the name suggests, include a high level of quality, materials, interiors, and exteriors. The materials and finishes could mean anything from granite countertops, hardwood floors, custom closets to other upgraded finishes, and styles.
Mid-Tier homes are balanced between luxury and basic styling. The homes are built with acceptable materials but could be colored with nicer paints or stylized well. Stainless steel appliances, hardwood floors, or soft-touch drawers are some luxury touches to an otherwise simple home.
Low-End homes have the most basic and economical materials and finishes. There are no interior or exterior details, and it meets the minimum safety and building standards.
Depending on what kind of home you are selling, you should use those features as differentiators. The description should feel aspirational and distinguish your home. If you are selling a mid-tier home, highlighting the luxury features could attract more interest and raise your selling price. Words such as stainless, remodel, landscaped, and granite can increase your selling price. It also points towards luxury and upgraded homes, which can immediately pique a buyer’s interest. Every word can add a 1% increase to your selling price. If you pick 3-4 right words, you can get a 4% hike in the sales price. Isn’t that terrific?
Real estate agents or professionals will write the description for you if you hire them. As a seller, you should also do your research and contribute your ideas. Low-end homeowners should opt for words such as luxurious, tile, spotless, etc. to signify its aspirations.
The description should also point out useful differentiators and features to attract the right buyers. Below is an example of a mid-tier home description:
This two-story home has granite countertops in the kitchen and master bath, tankless water heater, a fireplace, new carpet in some rooms, interior paint. It also has a two-car garage and hardwood floorings.
At 32 words and 208 characters, this is a fairly short description. While all the relevant features are highlighted, it does not go in the right order. A tankless water heater is a useful feature but not the deciding factor while buying a home. It should not be mentioned after the granite countertops. The hardwood floorings are a premium selling point, but they are left until the end. Some buyers may get confused and irritated with the water heater and give up halfway. This is a poorly written description and will prolong your sale and cause a loss for the seller.
Some sellers make the mistake of writing numbers, measurements, and sizes in the description. That can confuse or overwhelm the buyer. You can provide the details at a later stage. This is all about garnering the first interest and offers.
Remember to focus on useful and specific differences when talking about your home. House style, location, interiors, and exteriors can all be mentioned positively and appealingly. You should also ensure that your DESCRIPTION matches the PHOTOS.
They should be in symmetry and enhance what the buyer can see in the photos. You should be able to look at the photos and description as one catalog for your home. By reading the description, the buyer should be able to relate to the photos and understand what you are selling.
The majority of home buyers choose a home online, so creating an effective listing could help you make a great sale. Don’t skimp or try to find shortcuts while doing this process. You just need to keep a few things in mind: