In the past, the description and listing information for your home was limited to a short paragraph on the MLS. It was mostly a guide for agents to gather basic details about your home to share with their client. But now, in the information age, Internet home searches are the rule. In fact, more than 90% of all buyers will begin their search online. That means sellers now have the chance to really soup-up their listing, adding all the bells and whistles to help their home jump off the screen. Need help?
According to Trulia, here are 12 tips to supercharge your online listing:
- Photos – It All Starts Here: Yes, buyers do judge a "book" by its cover, and the photos of your home are the first opportunity you have to attract interested parties. If they're not good, it can spell disaster for your hopes of a quick sale at your ideal price. Well-shot, high-resolution photographs are critical for snagging buyers. Usually, the realtor is responsible for providing photography. He or she will take them their selves, hire a photographer that specializes in real estate, or use someone that works specifically for the realty company. But this is one case where more is more. Make sure you and your realtor select as many shots as possible; Trulia accepts and posts almost as many as you like. A 15-20 photos is not an uncommon number these days. If you have more than that – and they are great shots – post them.
- The Money Shot: It's that one quintessential snap that says "Now this is the house I want to see more of!" And you don't need a professional camera crew to capture it. Just grab a digital camera and try all the different angles of your house – and don't forget to play with the lighting by shooting at various times throughout the day. Typically, your money shot is one from the curb – but not taken straight on. Try positioning yourself just slightly to the left or right so you get an angled shot that still shows the entire front of the house. Your realtor should've developed a pretty good eye for this and will be able to offer feedback. When we get our own photos taken, we all have "good sides," and well, houses do too.
- Kitchen Features: The number one most important room in the house is the kitchen, so give it lots of love in the listing. Highlight new appliances, granite or marble countertops, built-in wine storage, walk-in pantries, etc. And give brand names for upgraded items like a Viking range or Sub-Zero refrigerator. Is there lots of light? A large cooking or prep space? An open floor plan that allows easy access to the dining room or den? Is it perfect for family gatherings or parties? Mention it!
- The Baths: The second most important room in the house is the master bath. Detail special features such as spa tubs, walk-in showers, dual sinks, spacious dressing areas, etc. Note: A full bath has both a tub and a shower; a three-quarters bath has a tub or shower only; and a half bath contains just a toilet and sink.
- The Upgrades: This is your chance to talk about any of the elements in the house that have been recently upgraded or remodeled. We're talking about new roofs or electrical systems, fresh carpet, converted and finished basements or attics, upgraded closets, replastered pools, and so on. Remember, all of these updates allow buyers to keep more money in their pockets when it comes to budgeting for future repairs.
- Brag About The Original Details: A huge percent of properties that come on the market are older or existing homes, not new builds. It's important to highlight and celebrate her architectural details and character. A craftsman from the 20s might have original built-in wood carved book shelves. An original Spanish from the 30s could offer up arched doorways. And a mid-century modern from the 50s would want to boast about floor-to-ceiling sliding glass doors.
- Give A Green Light: Green features are the rage these days – and for good reason. As utility bills soar, and many parts of the county experience extreme weather conditions, any eco-friendly upgrades are a welcome plus. Make sure you mention them in your listing. Solar panels on the roof, self-programing thermostats, additional insulation in attics and crawl spaces, and tankless water heaters all make your home a highly attractive, low-maintenance (and lower-cost) option.
- You Are Selling A Neighborhood – Not Just A House: It's all about location, location, location, so talk about your 'hood. Can you walk to public transportation? Are there outdoor amenities nearby like hiking trails, bike paths, or a community pool? How about the night life, restaurants, and shopping? Is this a safe, low crime neighborhood? If you don't know, take advantage of Trulia's crime map to find out. And don't forget the importance of neighboring medical centers and hospitals.
- Talk About Your Neighbors Behind Their Back (In A Good Way): Brag about your block if you love your neighbors. Tell potential buyers how great and friendly they are. If you're on a quiet cul-de-sac that holds a block party once year, let it be known. A great sense of community is a hot commodity.
- School Time: I can't tell you how many homebuyers with young children want to find houses in good school districts. In major metropolitan areas, it's an especially big deal-sealing feature. If your school district is rated as one of the best in the city, get that info into your listing. If you don't know, go to Trulia to find out how your school district is rated.
- What's Trending: A recent Trulia Trends report identified twenty phrases that are strongly trending in the past year, compared with the previous year. Luxury listings are now 78% more likely to mention a marble bath than one year ago, and 30% more likely to mention marble floors. Outdoor space is also surging: roof deck and terrace were 63% and 42% more common, respectively, than they were a year ago. If you have any of these, put them front and center, because people are looking for them. If not, check out the report to see the rest of the search phrases on the rise.
- Outdoor Living: In many areas of the country, indoor/outdoor living crucial at least six months of the year. And yet, listings barely give that feature a mention. Show off all the outdoor living spaces your home offers like a rocking-chair-ready front porch, a sizzling BBQ area, wrap-around decks, and grassy backyards. Flaunt fenced, private outdoor play areas for children and pets, flower beds and fruit trees, and instead of simply mentioning the "pool," try inviting buyers to "sunbathe on the the generous deck overlooking the sparking pool." When it comes to the great outdoors, create an image in buyers' minds, and sell an alfresco lifestyle – not just a backyard patio.
SELLERS: What are the great things about your for-sale house that you hope house hunters will be excited about?
This article 12 Ways to Supercharge Your Home's Online Listing originally appeared on Trulia.com.
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