Putting Your Home Out There

Real Estate Agent with The ALLREALTY Group

Selling your home? Ever wonder how often your home is viewed by prospective buyers? Long before a buyers ever crosses the threshold of your front door for a showing appointment, he has spent countless hours in front of his computer shopping for homes that would meet his criteria. Prospective triad buyers are using their own real estate websites and other agent-provided online tools such as ListingBook to help them find the home that is just right for them.

Online home searches usually begin with a standard set of criteria. They are the price of the home, the number of bedroom and bathrooms, and the location. It may also include things like the age of the home, the size of the garage, and perhaps the presence of a bonus room.

With over 11,000 homes for sale in the Triad competing for the eyeballs of prospective homebuyers, it is the attention to details that will help get your home in front of those buyers and keep it there. It is so important that a home shows well online. That means making sure your home is described thoroughly, in detail, and is full of visuals. More often than not, homes are left out of search engines results because it does not include in its description the type of information a buyer is looking for - even though it would qualify under that search criteria. For example, one criterion that is often left out of property descriptions is the acreage of the lot. There are many homebuyers who want to buy a home that sits on a particular lot size. If the home you are selling sits on a 1.5 acre lot and a buyer is looking for only those homes that are 1 acre or more, wouldn't you want that prospective buyer to know about your home? If the MLS data on your home leaves that information blank, your home loses that opportunity to be seen.

Other special things buyer's want to know about a home when they are filling in their search criteria are:
Does this home have a formal dining room?
Are there hardwood floors in the living areas of the home?
Even if this home is not a lakefront home, is it located in a neighborhood that offers lake access?
Even if this home does not back up to a fairway, is it located in a golf community?
Is the backyard private? Wooded? Level? Rolling?
Is the master bedroom located upstairs or on the main floor?
Is this home one that an investor would be interested in?
Does the home have a basement? Is it finished? Unfinished?
Does the home have a two story living room?
What special something does this home have that will make me want to remember it?

Believe or not, what is written in the property remarks influences the amount of online attention your home receives. Search engines can use the words in the property remarks to bring back results for home hunters. Buyers read the remarks to become better acquainted with the homes in their search results and spot the home with that extra special something. Naturally, these remarks are very important to buyers and it is where your listing agent should make the home really shine. Anything that would raise an eyebrow or drop a jaw should be included. Walk-in closets in all of the bedrooms. A fireplace in the master bedroom. A two or three-sided fireplace. Arched doorways. A loft. Walking trails. A neighborhood clubhouse with swimming, tennis. An updated kitchen or bath. Even if the list is too long, just mentioning a few from a list "too long to mention" is enough to excite one's curiosity.

In describing your property to help it "show" at its best, you do not want to under/overstate or otherwise mislead a prospective buyer. That is a major turn-off and compromises what would otherwise be a very nice property. I include a "Verbal Virtual Tour" which includes the measurements, floor level and a complete verbal description of the features of each room thoughout the house.  This way, after a day of house hunting, the buyer can literally go "back" to the house and know what its features are.

The most popular request from prospective buyers shopping online is a request for interior pictures. Those listings that are enhanced with visuals like PictureShow Tours are very popular. Prospective buyers love them and say so often. What's especially interesting is that many prospective buyers regard these enhanced listings as the standard. They expect all listings to "show" at that level. If a listing does not provide extra photos but seems to meet all of the important criteria, buyers will ask for more photos. Unfortunately, if the listing agent doesn't publish extra photos or use enhanced visuals like PictureShow Tour, the home loses some of its showing potential. If you are looking through your search results in an attempt to whittle 35 homes down to a choice of 10, which ones would you be more enthusiastic about investing your time and emotional energy in?

Lastly, there are industry professionals who specialize in helping sellers present their homes in the best possible light to get the quick sale at top dollar. HGTV even has a show about it called Designed to Sell. How well you showcase your home goes a long way in influencing how quickly your home sells and at what price. I am here to remind you not to forget the most important first step. Make sure your home is being showcased at its best...especially online. If first impressions count the most, give prospective buyers what they are looking for. Lots of useful information and lots of good-looking pictures. With all things being equal, the home that shows the best will garner the most interest. And if your goal is to get the sale for your home, that is exactly what you want.

Comments (4)

Mike Jaquish
Realty Arts - Cary, NC
919-880-2769 Cary, NC, Real Estate

Good solid information, Jennie.

It is so important to point out to Sellers that they have competition for the Buyer's dollar.

Feb 12, 2007 09:56 AM
Ronnie Roach
PrimePay Business Services - Kill Devil Hills, NC
How is the response of Listing Book.  A local Realtor gave me a brief introduction today and it looks impressive.  Has it helped you sell property?
Mar 20, 2007 07:17 AM
Jennie McNamara

I love Listingbook!  It is a much more client oriented, user friendly way to get your clients in touch with the local market and has lots of tools to use in your business.

The only thing I can honestly say I don't like about it has nothing to do with Listingbook, but much to do with our MLS.  They will not allow listingbook to include tax rates, taxes, tax value, etc as they "own" our listings.  This is a sore subject for me and I would rather not comment further, lol!!

Mar 22, 2007 07:05 AM
Philip Lamachio
Advantage Inspection Clear View - Greensboro, NC

Hi Jennie,

I know realtors do a lot to get people to look at their listings. And when that buyer finally walks in who falls in love with a house it must be exhilarating, because we know that if they fall in love with it, they will likely make an offer.

How dissapointing then, that you have worked so hard, for so long, to get to this point only to have to sweat it out while the buyer's inspector combs this house from top to bottom !

And when the report comes back, those buyers with the dreamy eyes are suddenly wide awake and fully armed for battle. Negotiations are made under duress or else the deal goes South and you go home with empty pockets...... 

And it all could have been avoided........the Listing Advantage is your answer.

Jennie, Advantage Inspection Clear View has your answer here.......

Call me to find out more about the best thing that ever happened to the inspection industry and our unique marketing programs, products and services.

Philip LaMachio  7 B Corporate Center Ct.   Greensboro, N.C. 27408  336-327-5523

Mar 13, 2008 04:16 PM