What's the purpose of a real estate flyer, a brochure, or a blog post about your new listing?
To gain attention, of course. To get that potential buyer or buyer's agent to stop, look, read, and become interested enough to make an appointment to view the house.
Because more than 90% of homebuyers now start the search on line, that means your photos and your words are all-important.
First, the photos.
Naturally, you'll insist that your seller gets the house ready for the photo shoot. Even if they won't actually have the house staged, you can guide their efforts in getting the exterior ready, de-cluttering, and arranging the furniture for the best appeal.
Then you can take enough pictures – or have enough taken – to reach the maximum allowed on your MLS.
You know what they say (or at least think): If there are no photos, or only one exterior photo, there must be a reason. Most often the buyer and/or the buyer's agent will assume that there's nothing good to see. "We'll skip that one."
Next are your words.
MLS doesn't give you much room to talk about your listings, so make that description worth its space. Talk about the most compelling benefits or features the house has to offer.
It well might be something that doesn't show in the photos or fit in the little MLS boxes. It could be the way the sun comes in the kitchen window in the morning, the beautiful sunsets or sunrises, or the fact that there's an off-leash dog park two blocks away.
Do pay attention to spelling and word choices. It makes agents look pretty foolish when they write things like this sentence I saw in a MLS listing a few days ago: "New kitchen with shaker cabinets, quarts counter tops…"
I knew what they meant, but still... my mind was picturing a counter top made of quart jars.
And unless you need every other word in the description and the program absolutely won't allow you two more spaces, don't do this: "tile flrs."
Sure, they'll figure out what you meant, but it distracts and interrupts any warm, interested feelings they may have been developing while reading the comments.
Now for visual appeal…
In MLS you don't have any options for making things look nice. I personally think it's terrible that they don't allow you paragraph breaks in descriptions. We've come a long way from printed MLS books, so why be so stingy with space??
Thankfully, when it comes to materials you print in a flyer or post on your own website or Active Rain blog, you don't have those restrictions.
When you control the space you should definitely add more words and stage the appearance to give your presentation visual appeal.
Visual appeal will cause passers-by to pick up a flyer or brochure and actually read it. It will also cause Internet browsers to stop and look long enough to become interested in your words or photos.
By contrast, a wall of words will cause both of them to ignore your message.
The most visually appealing pieces have:
If you use flyer boxes at your listings…
My suggestion is to insert a small photo of the front of the house in the top corner for identification purposes. Then, to entice the reader, use larger photos of things they can't see from the street: Perhaps the deck and back yard, the fantastic kitchen, or a huge rock fireplace.
Choose anything that will make that potential buyer think "I have to see more!"
What about buyer agent posts and brochures?
You don't have listings to promote, but you do have yourself.
Follow the same guidelines to outline your superior service in an eye-pleasing arrangement.
Then use photos of you alone, and/or you with happy clients. You can also choose graphics that convey points about your service.
This post first appeared in my weekly newsletter. It isn't always easy to come up with a new topic, so nearly every week I search Active Rain for ideas and inspiration. This week I thank my friend and expert Palm Beach County home stager Kathy Streib for the inspiration.
If you want to learn more about how to stage the homes you sell, do read her informative blog posts right here on Active Rain. And if you happen to be in Palm Beach County and need a stager, call Kathy!
And, if you'd like your own copy of the Thursday newsletter, just click here.
Graphic courtesy of stockimages at freedigitalphotos.net