How to showcase your home on the internet
In a market where over 47% of homes listed to sell in 2011 ended up either cancelled or expired, proactively showcasing your home for sale is more important than ever. Putting your home in MLS, sticking a ‘for sale’ sign in the front yard and holding a few open houses are no longer tactics that get homes sold. What sets the homes that sell apart from the ones that don’t? Pricing your home to sell is paramount, but once you have the pricing strategy in place, there is nothing more important than hiring an agent well-versed in Internet marketing to showcase your home. Online marketing doesn’t mean just placing your home on MLS. It means having contracts with all of the top real estate sites like so that every buyer is able to view the home. Since accessing information on the Internet is free, many sellers think that so is advertising on it, when in truth, it costs thousands of dollars to correctly list your home on these sites. In the competitive home sale marketplace, proper marketing is not optional, it is essential. The marketing dollars invested to sell your home will be recouped when your home sells. Unfortunately, most agents are unwilling and many times unable to invest the money needed for this type of exposure. Here are some key points you need to know about marketing your home on the Internet, so you are armed when interviewing potential listing agents with the right questions to ask, and you will be empowered to find the realtor with the strongest potential to sell your home at fair market value.
How Buyers Search for Property in Today’s High-Tech Market:
1) Search on the Internet: Qualified buyers find their homes on the Internet. More and more buyers are searching for homes through Smartphone and tablet apps, which literally show homes in the neighborhoods that they’re driving through. If they aren’t using one of these applications they are relying on a laptop or a PC to receive automatic daily e-mails of homes that match their search criteria.
2) View the Property: Once the Buyer has identified the list of homes they want to view they will drive by the homes and see if the location works for them. They may drive by at different times of the day and different days of the week to check on traffic patterns and neighborhood activity, before they even contact you to view the inside of the home. Because of the real time nature of showings with modern technology, it is more important than ever to always have your home ready for a showing.
3) Contact the Agent: Once their list has been narrowed down to a handful of homes, they will contact their buyer’s agent or the listing agent directly to schedule an appointment to see the home. At this point they will go through the home with a fine tooth comb, opening up cabinets, turning on lights, all the while trying to envision how things will look if they lived there. In most cases, when there is interest in the home they will come back a second time and sometimes even a third time before making an offer.
The Do’s and Don’ts of Marketing Your Home on the Internet:
1) Do Try Reverse Prospecting: Did you know there is a way to contact 500-1500 agents that have qualified buyers whose search criteria is a match for your home when it is posted on MLS? It is called Reverse Prospecting and most MLS’s have this functionality. Ask your real estate agent to pull this data for you for a better understanding of the prospect picture in your market.
2) Don’t Post Your Home For Sale Only on MLS: Most sites like Trulia.com and Zillow.com generate their revenue from charging agents to post their listings. Don’t be fooled into thinking putting the home on MLS will automatically get the home on all real estate sites. There are dozens of Internet Marketing sites for homes that consumers use, that help get your home found. Working with an Internet savvy realtor that has a standard protocol for Internet marketing each of their listings will greatly increase the percentage chance that your home will sell within the listing period, assuming that it is priced at fair market value.
3) Do Use a Powerful Home Tour Showcase Program and Post As Many Pictures as Possible: The best virtual home tour showcasing programs allow up to 30 pictures while most homes barely have 10 posted. The better programs are easy to use and have music along with them to provide a virtual experience. Study after study proves that more pictures produce more online views which mean more showings. and the more time your prospect is able to spend, ‘virtually’ in your home before they actually visit the home, the more his interest becomes solidified, and the farther along the purchase cycle they will be by the time they arrive at your home for a showing.
4) Don’t Make Errors in Listing: The Internet is very temperamental and with many of the most popular sites, the slightest error in room count, house style, or even zip code can eliminate or dramatically alter your online placement. There is margin for human error. Be an active partner in the selling of your home, and proof the listing on each site the home is listed on, along with your realtor.
5) Do Go Social: Certain blogs are proving to be beneficial to driving buyers to view your home. This is a constant work in progress but social media is starting to play a larger role in real estate. Working with a realtor who is active on Twitter, Facebook and within the local community both physically and on social media will also improve your chances of selling your home.