Creating a property listing is as simple as uploading some photos and writing a few lines of text, right? Well, not exactly. If you want to attract more potential buyers or renters, you have to treat each listing like a marketing campaign.

According to the National Association of Realtors, 97% of homebuyers search online, with 43% starting their home search by perusing real estate listings on the web. Plus, the remote purchase of homes has increased during the pandemic, so it’s not unheard of to attract serious out-of-state buyers based on your listing — provided you craft an attractive and informative one.

Give buyers a photo or video tour of your property

A sole exterior shot of a home wasn’t effective in attracting buyers before the pandemic, and it’s practically useless now. Even though the vaccine rollout and proper social distancing protocols are helping to bring back open houses safely, online searches have become the norm. Therefore, include a gallery of interior photos so buyers have a clear idea of what’s inside the home.

Professional photography is always a good idea — bonus points for virtual walkthroughs — but at the very least, your photos should be in focus. Aim for at least one photo of every room so buyers can get an idea of the size and layout of your home. Be sure to capture additional details like walk-in closets and garage space so buyers can see the amount of storage available.

Rather than concentrate on getting every aspect of a room like you’re documenting it for a magazine, aim to take one or two good photos of every room. Buyers get excited when they see dozens of photos on a listing — until they realize each room is shot from eight different angles.

Staging a property is always ideal, but if you’re selling a home that’s currently being lived in, it might not always be possible to keep things picture-perfect. At the very least, keep things tidy at least for pictures, and be sure to have a critical eye toward the details, like lighting. So many listing photos fall flat because a heavy curtain or blind is shutting out the natural light, making an otherwise fantastic man cave look like, well, a cave.

The details count

Move that garbage can out of view. Make the bed. Put the dishes away. And for goodness sake, lower the toilet seat. These seem like no-brainers, but so many photos out there have all these housekeeping faux pas front and center. It’s one thing to show your property is liveable — it’s another to show it being lived in.

If you’ve gone through an extensive fix-and-flip, go ahead and show off every single room of the home. But if you’ve trimmed your budget so only a room or two are fully renovated, you might want to leave out the other rooms. Understand, though, that buyers know how to count. If your two-bath home is only showing pictures of one bathroom, buyers will notice, and they might assume the worst. Even if that room isn’t updated like the others, you can show buyers it’s at least in working order.

Tell the rest of your property’s story

Photos are what woo a buyer, but that doesn’t mean you should skimp on text. You’ve got limited space and so much to say, so be sure to focus on what matters most to your target audience: motivated buyers.

Avoid repeating things like number of bedrooms and bathrooms in the text — save that for the home highlights that typically appear next to the text in an online listing. Instead, explain the details of your home that are most important to buyers. Use applicable keywords that show up in their searches, like granite countertops, stainless steel appliances, walk-in closets, storage space, finished basement, etc.

Also, there are standard ways of abbreviating important terms, so don’t stray from them or you could get skipped in searches. For example, W/D always means washer/dryer, and CAC is central air, so don’t create your own abbreviation when these are the ones widely used and recognized.

Highlight the most desirable features

Another tip is to concentrate on what you have in the property versus what you don’t have. Your backyard might have “room for a pool,” but you’ll disappoint homebuyers who are actually searching for a yard with a pool. Instead, “large backyard” is the better choice for your listing.

While the text should elaborate more on the layout of the home, it should also illustrate the location. Is it close to mass transit? How far is the highway? Are there schools in the area? How many cars can fit in the driveway? These details could be what make or break a home for many buyers.

One more thing: Stop putting descriptions in all caps. You might think it’s easier to read that way, but it’s not. Plus, it seems like you’re SHOUTING at the buyer instead. Let your words speak volumes for themselves.

The bottom line

A picture might be worth a thousand words metaphorically, but you still need to include actual words that will attract and inform potential buyers. When you understand what homebuyers want most in a home, you’ll be able to more easily craft listings with that perfect combo of words and images to attract buyers.

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