By Mark Cipolletti, Realtor
Ninety percent of home buyers say they found their house online. That’s no surprise when you think about how many websites, mobile apps and social media platforms are known for featuring up-to-the-minute listings of homes for sale.
Buyers review dozens of homes online before deciding which three or five homes they will request an in-person showing with their agent. How will they narrow the field? The listings that provide the most information and present the house from “every angle” rise to the top over the listings that leave the buyer with more questions than answers.
Smart sellers are choosing real estate agents who understand how to populate a house listing like an Amazon.com product page, rich with content to help it stand out in the crowd.
Here are some of the key features that buyers expect to see in an online listing:
- Photos and Video: High-quality photos and video that accurately showcase the property's best features, including the exterior, interior, and any outdoor spaces are a must. No iPhone photos here. You will want to use photos shot by a professional real estate photographer who will know the best angles, lighting and lenses needed to make your home look like it’s on the pages of a home decorating magazine.
- Detailed Description: A clear and detailed description of the property should include information about the size, layout, and condition of the home, as well as any notable features or amenities. It’s okay to be creative, just don’t overdo it.
- Floor Plan: A floor plan shows the layout and flow of the home, including the location of bedrooms, bathrooms, living areas, and any other key rooms. Include the floor plans in the photo gallery and consider making them downloadable supplements to the listing so that the buyer’s agent can easily download and print them.
- 3D Virtual Tour: A 3D virtual tour allows buyers to see the interior and exterior of the property from multiple angles and get a sense of the property's style and flow. Buyers can digitally walk through the house as if they are there in person providing a realistic showing experience without having to even get in the car.
- Map: Buyers like to see a map that shows the property's location in relation to nearby roads, schools, places of worship, shopping and parks.
- Aerial Photos: Most real estate photographers can also take aerial photos of your home using a drone. Buyers use these photos to see the property in relation to neighboring properties. Aerial photos can be especially useful to see the distance between the home and amenities like a neighborhood pool or school.
- List of Major Improvements Projects: Home shoppers and their agents are sure to ask about whether major improvements have been made to the home. Save everyone a little time and provide a list of improvements and the years they were completed. Be sure to note age of roof, HVAC systems, windows, water heater, appliances and any renovations to the kitchen and bathrooms.
Sellers who hope to sell their homes quickly and for the most money cannot afford to get filtered out early in the vetting process. An investment in these listing features will pay for themselves many times over by generating more interest, showings and offers.