Marketing Your Home for Sale: What to do if buyers are scarce

Real Estate Agent with BHHS Homesale Realty RS221729L, 532943

Reportedly, there are real estate markets around the country where homes available for sale are so few that the mere rumor of a new listing is enough to cause buyers to flock to the scene. The rest of us have to find some way for potential buyers to notice our home listings and see them as desirable. If your listing (or for home owners, your house) seems to be languishing in your marketplace, take a closer look at your marketing.1292 Upland - Peter Gibaud Realtor, Chambersburg PA

Showcase your property as being substantial and of above-average quality through your description and pictures (assuming this is true, of course.) Use the description (aka remarks) to highlight the home's stand-out features and connect emotionally with your target--that is, most likely--buyers. Pay special attention to the language you use: a single ill-advised word or phrase, such as referring to a two-story house as 'multi-level', can doom an otherwise worthy listing to second-rate status.

Review the pictures that illustrate your listing with a critical eye. If they are mediocre (be honest with yourself!) obtain and input to your multiple-list service (MLS) well-lit, wide-angle pictures at the highest resolution allowed by the MLS. If there's a virtual tour in place, run through it and look for problems--especially in the first two minutes, since most people do not watch a virtual tour to the end. 756 Phila - Peter Gibaud Realtor, Chambersburg PA

The 'head shot' for the property is the most critical, since when buyers scroll through homes online, that photo is the first--often, only--picture they see. It's tempting to place there a shot of the cozy great room, or the backyard pool, but don't do it: Buyers expect to see the front view of the house, and you may be in violation of your MLS's rules if you post something other. 

When photographing the front of the house, avoid a 'straight-on' shot that makes the facade look flat. Take the picture from one side so that the depth of the house is visible and the garage is less emphasized. A blue-sky day is best, but don't shoot directly into the sun. To get a good picture of a house that faces due north can be a bit of a challenge. Try photographing the house at dusk, with all the lights on. (You'll need a tripod and a camera that lets you set the exposure to one or two seconds.)1446 Highfield - Peter Gibaud Realtor Chambersburg PA

If the house is $350k but looks more like $275k, buyers will be scarce. Roll through the listings of other properties in the same price range and see what you're up against. Oh, and note that while price and pretty pictures are important tools in your toolkit, there is another: tactical improvements. If the front of your house doesn't photograph well because of overgrown plantings or faded shutters, fix that stuff. Curb appeal--and perceived value--will go up, and some of those elusive buyers may find their way to your door.

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Peter Gibaud Team

Lancaster PA office

717 393-0100 x9849

Chambersburg PA office

717 267-3222 x229

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Comments (1)

Patricia Kennedy
RLAH Real Estate - Washington, DC
Home in the Capital

Peter, I'm a believer that whenever possible, we should leave our listing photgraphy to a professional.  I'm a decent photographer with a good camera and wide angle lens, but I'm not a pro.  Most of us aren't and would be doing our sellers a huge favor by getting this important job done right.

Feb 15, 2014 07:01 AM