You have undoubtedly heard that the home buying process has moved online. With numerous options for consumers, gone are the days of relying solely on a realtor to identify homes for sale and scheduling a viewing tour. The digital age has brought about a DIY culture where you can tour a home from the comfort of your own living room. Fun tools such as Matterport, sophisticated photography, video, and satellite maps can provide you with many important details rather than wasting your valuable time on an in-person visit. Now, more than ever positioning your property with the best technology available is critical to your home selling success.
Nearly half of all homebuyers start their home search online and an eye-popping 90% will, at some point, venture online during their search. Gen Xers and Millennials—are even more apt to turn to digital tools when finding a new home. These two groups now make up half of all home buyers.
In light of the recent COVID-19 pandemic, you can expect a significant increase in the number of people who will use online resources.
As a home seller, your goal is to place your property in front of as many potential buyers as possible and to shine better than the rest. And that means having a premier strategy to market your prized asset online.
How do you do this?
Thankfully, you do not need to be a digital genius to market your home online. What you do need, however, is a little common sense, attention to detail, and a great, tech-savvy, and creative real estate agent partner. An agent that has proven results will more than earn their fee when buyers position themselves to buy your home.
With that in mind, here are five ways to market your property online.
Tech-Savvy Real Estate Agent
Let's start with finding the right real estate agent. Yes, realtors still provide incredible value—just not in the traditional way they once did. Sure there are still agents taking their own photos with obsolete tech, putting a sign in the yard, and creating flyers as the primary ways to market your home.
To sell a home for top dollar, conventional wisdom tells us that having a respected agent with the in-depth market knowledge and a vast network of resources are table stakes. Today, you need a realtor who brings more than those skills and experiences to the table.
In the digital age, your agent must be well-versed in current marketing trends. More specifically, online marketing trends. A tech-savvy real estate agent will understand the ins and out of digital marketing channels, including online listing services and social media campaigns. Many of Compass tools are geared toward optimizing these marketing efforts.
That same agent should also possess a strong network of service providers—photographers or videographers, stagers, copy editors, web developers—individuals who can craft your home's digital curb appeal and storyline. The more capable and experienced this network, the more positive and professional your property’s image will convey.
The next step in online property marketing involves your actual property listing. Although it's standard procedure for available homes to have a local MLS listing, verify that the listing appears on sites such as Zillow, Trulia, and Realtor.
Beyond that basic online presence, you'll want to make sure it's polished and professional.
Spend a few minutes scrolling through home listings and you'll realize that not all listings are created equal. It's easy to see who spent time developing their home's web presence and who did not.
Your basic listing is where common sense plays the most significant role in your digital marketing efforts. You want to present your home in the best way possible without misrepresenting it. Online buyer interest comes down to photos, virtual tours, and copy. Get to the point and quick! You only have moments to capture that buyer’s imagination.
Start with professional, high-quality photos. Visually speaking, this is the initial introduction a home shopper has to your property. As noted, your agent will have a team of several well-regarded photographers. If sourcing your own, look for photographers with experience snapping pics of real estate properties and not portraits. It’s a totally different ball game.
Make that first impression count by following some simple guidelines before the first photo is taken:
Clean up and declutter your home, including depersonalizing its contents. Messy homes are not photogenic and can make even the largest houses seem small or not functional when viewed on the web. And as meaningful as they may be, personal knick-knacks and family photos can make it difficult for online visitors to envision a home as potentially their own.
If possible, have your home professionally staged—this is particularly helpful if the house is vacant. A professional stager understands how to bring cohesion and livability to even the most disjointed spaces. Staging can show off the versatility of a home's underused spaces, making it more attractive to potential buyers. Homes that are staged typically increase their value by 6-10%.
Don't neglect your home's exterior, either. Photos of a neatly manicured front and back yard, junk-free patio, and well-maintained property will convey to online shoppers that your home is well valued and worth seeing in person.
If you want your listing to generate views, a virtual tour is a necessity. This now-standard marketing tool brings home more into focus, providing dimension to the online experience that a static image might lack. A buyer can see how your home flows as well as the greater detail of each room.
Take the virtual tour one step further and create a video walkthrough. Even more dynamic than a 3D tour, video projects the feeling of actually being in the house. Couple the interior production with drone footage of the home's exterior and you’ll have a highly marketable presentation.
The final aspect of your property's online listing is the descriptive copy you pair with its images and tours. And yes, prospective buyers do read the property descriptions. The story is imperative to keeping your audience’s attention.
The information you provide gives your home a greater context—in a sense, its story. Yes, just like a great movie. Share a narrative that outlines unique features, detail recent improvements, or specify the home’s particulars (such as the brand of appliances in the kitchen).
The key to crafting good copy is making it accurate, clear, easy to read, and free of errors (grammatical and spelling). Your words should paint a vivid picture for the reader, filling in the blanks that photographs and virtual tours don't readily provide. It doesn't need to be fancy to be effective, but it should be well-written.
Similar to the evolution of the virtual tour, advertising on social media platforms once stood out as a curiosity. Today, marketing your home on digital platforms such as Facebook and Instagram is equally as important as your house showing up on MLS, Zillow, and Trulia.
What effectively amounts to a virtual billboard for your home, at a basic level, social networks are structured to provide advertisers with a vast audience. However, the most successful social media campaigns—which include pictures of your home and links to its online listings—harness the power of a platform's user data.
For example, by creating a Facebook Ad, you tap into Facebook's vast collection of user data. You then target your ads directly to the buyers most likely to show an interest in your home based on demographics, geography, income, lifestyle, and interests.
Again, having a real estate agent who understands social media marketing is a huge benefit. They'll know how to create campaigns with high ROIs and put highly motivated and qualified buyers at your doorstep.
Most often reserved for grand homes or luxury estates with a high wow factor—and even higher price tag—a dedicated property site works as an extension of your other marketing efforts.
The solo website allows you space to tell your home's story. The compelling copy and high-quality imagery are unbound by the limits posed on standard listing services. You can also frame the house in far greater detail—pictures and virtual tours featuring more of the home and its environment than the abbreviated versions offered elsewhere.
You can use the site to connect with serious buyers who appreciate the use of direct channels for discussing property and transaction details.
There may be additional costs involved in setting up your stand-alone site, and a savvy agent will assist you in defining the particulars, including giving the website maximum exposure.
Finally, while it might seem decidedly old school, email remains one of the top methods for digitally communicating information. After all, it's available on every single electronic device we own—laptops, tablets, smartphones, even watches.
Your first inclination might be to send information to friends, family, and cohorts after a listing goes live. A better strategy is to build an email list before your home hits the open market.
In the early stages of prepping your home to sell, create either a presale dedicated property website or a stand-alone landing page. This will serve as your email collection point. Include the site link in presale social media marketing campaigns.
When interested parties arrive at your home's website or landing page, invite them to leave their email address for further information and updates for when your property officially hits the market.
This allows you to identify genuinely interested buyers—those who took action to seek out more information on the property sale. Email marketing techniques are highly beneficial if you are looking to move one or more investment properties.
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