As the New York Times noted in May 2016, we are in the middle of a home seller’s market across the country. Inventory is down and home prices are up, with stiff competition often leading to bidding wars. Even so, effectively marketing to potential home buyers is extremely important. A poorly-crafted home listing will generate less interest than an appealing one, causing you to potentially miss out on competition among buyers. Keeping a few key points in mind will ensure that your listings draw the most interest.
Show, Don’t Tell
Before you have a buyer, you must have an interested viewer. Enticing potential home buyers to visit your property is key to making a sale. In a sea of generic listings, bringing your property to life is key.
Good photographs are extremely important. However, painting a picture of the home with words is equally powerful. As the National Association of Realtors noted, buyers rate written descriptions as “somewhat or very useful” as much as photographs.
Of course, listings need to be brief enough to capture the potential buyer’s attention, and not every aspect of the home can be mentioned. So how do you know what features to highlight in your listing? A series of survey published by National Association of Realtors reveal what’s important to home buyers across the country.
Some features and amenities are universally important. For example, approximately two-thirds of home buyers rated walk-in closets in the master bedroom and new kitchen appliances as “very important” in a new home. Central air conditioning was rated as the single most “very important” home feature.
However, regional variances do exist and should be taken into consideration. According to the same National Association of Realtors report, basements were most important to buyers in the Midwest and Northeast. Southerners gravitated toward larger homes, while Northeasterners placed a premium on hardwood floors.
Once you understand what features your target buyers are looking for, emphasize those features in your listing. Being direct and straightforward will allow you to fully capture your potential buyer’s attention. [Tweet it]
Sell the Neighborhood, Not Just the Property
Home buyers know that when they purchase a home, they aren’t just getting four walls and a roof; they are becoming part of a community. Marketing the home’s neighborhood is as critical as emphasizing the property’s new kitchen or large master bath.
So what are the important aspects of the neighborhood to highlight? It depends on your likely home buyer. Are you selling a studio apartment downtown? The buyer is likely to be young and single. Emphasize the neighborhood’s top-rated restaurants, popular nightclubs and weekend activities. For a three-bedroom home in the suburbs, a family will be your likely buyer. Calling attention to the area’s school systems (if they are good!), as well as the nearby parks, museums and other kid-friendly activities, will help draw your potential buyer’s attention.
A great place to start understanding a particular neighborhood or town is its official website, such as http://www.rockvillemd.gov/ or http://www1.nyc.gov/. As these sites typically aim to promote their cities, there will often be sections on cultural and recreational activities as well as links to information on school systems and transportation.
It is important to note that some aspects of the neighborhood, such as transportation and easy access to shopping, are applicable to almost all buyers and should be included in your description.
Understand How the Potential Buyer is Viewing Your Listing
According to the National Association of Realtors, eighty-nine percent of home buyers use mobile devices to do their research. This is important as mobile users assess listings differently than desktop users do. Although photographs and descriptions are important to both types of users, mobile users are also looking for ways to easily compare listings.
How does this change how you should shape your listing? In your description, make certain that you include bulleted lists as well as descriptive paragraphs. For example, you may include a paragraph that reads:
“Renovated in 2014, this open kitchen features a brand-new SubZero refrigerator and Wolf range. The marble countertops complement the glass backsplash. With a large island, this kitchen has ample cabinet space.”
However, in order to allow potential buyers to easily compare your listing to others—and have it come out ahead!—you should also include a list highlighting the key features. For example:
- “New appliances
- SubZero refrigerator
- Wolf range
- Marble countertops
- Ample storage”
With the number of mobile technology users, making your listing easy to pursue on the go is key.
Connect With the Heart
A home is the most important purchase that most people will ever make, and the decision is both a logical and an emotional one. While it is important to be clear and concise in your listing, you also need to convince your potential buyer that this house is their future home. Understanding the gravity of the home-buying process—and the emotions involved—is key in reaching your potential buyer. [Tweet it]
5-Star writer Lesley F‘s professional experience includes researching, assessing and aggregating real estate market statistics, such as vacancy rates, market rents, absorption, and inventory; authoring marketing materials, including pitch books, offering memoranda, and marketing reports; and updating marketing materials on a monthly basis, including proofreading text and reconciling figures.
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