You’ve spent time and effort getting your house into shape. It’s looking attractive and is priced (you believe) correctly; now all you need to do is attract some buyers and sell it. Do not underestimate the importance of promoting your home to find buyers.
While buyers might be a ‘hungry’ bunch, they are not detectives.
They are not setting up camp outside your home just in case you decide to put it on the market.
You can’t sell a secret!
5 ways to promote your home like a pro
Make it known by following these five promotion tips.
Use a sign
A sign out the front of your house tells it like it is. It says, ‘This house is for sale’. It might also use a few words and pictures to make a buyer think ‘Oooh, this is worth a squiz’.
I’m surprised when I find that vendors are reluctant to use a sign.
More so, when they’re also super keen to sell. A sign doesn’t degrade your sale or cheapen your image. It shows that you’re marketing savvy and creates awareness.
Of course, what you display on your sign can make a difference. Have you noticed how some real estate agents use tons of photos (sometimes of themselves) alongside essay-sized descriptions of the house? Who is supposed to read these?
Unless you happen to have a high amount of foot traffic right outside your house that happens to love wordy descriptions, the lengthy verse isn’t necessary. If a buyer wants to find out more, they’ll remember they saw a sign out the front of your house and, when they’re at home or work, they will search for property online and read all about it from the comfort of their chair.
What to put on your sign? There’s no need for anything elaborate. All it needs to say is ‘For Sale’ and ‘for open home dates visit www.’ and mention the name of the website where it is listed.
Remember, the majority of buyers search the internet for potential properties. They are well-used to logging on and reading online. Over 90% of all property searches take place via the internet, mainly the two major property sites – realestate.com.au and domain.com.au – which means as helpful as it is, your sign needn’t be elaborate, expensive or take up the entire street.
Craft your headline
I’ve seen a lot of poorly written house descriptions over the course of my career. While the description isn’t the be-all and end-all when it comes to selling a home, it certainly helps to get buyers through the doors for a first look. There’s an art to writing a decent headline, ask David Ogilvy, the advertising genius who said, “Unless your headline sells your product, you have wasted 90% of your money.’ A headline has to ‘hook’ the reader, make them interested and drive them to find out more. The key to doing this? To write a headline that speaks to them about the benefits of your home.Look at these two headlines about the same property:
Spacious three-bedroom home in great location
Amazing value – a five-minute walk to cafes and transport
While headline #1 speaks about the features of the house, it’s not telling the reader what the benefits are; it’s leaving them to do the hard graft and find out why they want to buy this house.
My tip is to write a headline and then ask yourself ‘so what?’ In this case, ‘spacious three-bedroom home’ – so what? So, there’s room for families, guests and you’re not all on top of each other. Maybe ‘Enough room for all the family and guests too’ would be better? Also ‘great location’ – so what? ‘Close to the train station’ answers this more succinctly.
Headline #2, however, does speak of the benefits. Amazing value tells them that they’ll be getting a great deal and, it gives the location rather than a general idea that you could attach to any home.
Play around with your headlines and ask yourself ‘so what?’ Sometimes the headlines come fast and furious; at other times they are slow to form. Ask family and friends for ideas, write them all down, scribble some out and play around until you nail your headline.
Craft your description to your house buying audience
When it comes to writing your house description, think carefully about the words you use. To whom are your words aimed? A common mistake I see is when a vendor chooses to describe their home as ‘unique’.
Unfortunately, this is often the opinion of the owner and is not a ‘carrot’ to dangle to a mass of buyers. Unique makes your home harder to sell. If something is truly unique, it’s only likely to appeal to a small audience. If for instance, your home was used in Lord of the Rings because it’s a hobbit house, then yes, by all means, describe it as unique – there are, after all, a limited number whom this would appeal to as a 24/7 living arrangement.
It’s more likely that you want to appeal to a larger group of people who fit into one or two niche areas. What I mean by that is that a one-bedroom apartment will appeal to a single person or a couple, not a large family and vice versa.
To help you word your description, use these three pointers:
To what specific group of people does my property appeal? Families, singles, couples, house-sharers, students or those who work from home?
How does my house solve their problems? How will your house make their lives better, more comfortable and give value? For instance, a family home needs space and plenty of rooms; it also requires a couple of bathrooms and outdoor space. Whereas a house for a single person needs all the conveniences of a larger home but with cleverly thought out space.
Are there enough people in this niche? Going back to the hobbit house. Are there enough hobbits in your local area or, do you need to widen your appeal so that you have a chance of finding a buyer? For instance, a hobbit home might also appeal to people who are looking for a holiday rental or pied-a-terre for investment purposes.
Using the right words to sell a property can make all the difference. If in doubt about how to shape your text, think about P- A – S
Problem – Agitate – Solve
Problem: Outline the buyer’s current problem(s) – e.g. the family has grown out of their current home, their house is too far from local schools etc.
Agitate: What does the problem mean to the buyer? – You are constantly on top of each other, and there’s no room outside to play, so Johnny needs to be taken to the park five times a day. If you’re not in the right zone for good schools, the kids will end up in a not-so-good school, or you’ll have to pay for private schooling.
Solve: How can your property solve these problems? – This home has a large, enclosed garden where children can play all day long. The house is in the catchment zone for a high-achieving school.
Go beyond the location when promoting
Many buyers are looking in a particular area; it’s where they want to live for a variety of reasons such as work, schools, nearby shops and cafes, close to friends – the list goes on.
However, some buyers struggle to find their dream home in their preferred location and have to widen their search and look elsewhere for a house that ticks all the other boxes, which is why it’s a wise move to also promote your home outside of your local area.
Buyers tend to have certain habits, for instance, they choose a location, then they search by house type and size and then, by the price. In just four-seven seconds, a buyer can determine whether your house is worth any more of their time, and by that I mean clicking a link, reading a description and looking at a few pictures.
In a survey of 1,000 home buyers, 54% were open to widening their search area if it meant finding their ‘dream’ home while only 26% would not consider buying in another area.
As you can see, the evidence is in favour of buyers being willing to search outside of their preferred area.
So, if you are hoping to optimise your listing, list it beyond your immediate area.
Promote your house within your network
Your house is promoted on two large real estate sites, you’ve got a board out the front, you’ve written appealing headlines and body copy that talks to your buyer, now what? Tell your friends, neighbours, work colleagues and anyone who will listen!
The more people who know about your house being on the market, the more the news will spread and who knows who will be listening? When your neighbour tells their friend, their friend might tell another and so on. Your promotional network expands beyond your control, and it could land you a buyer.
Some vendors feel uncomfortable telling their neighbours that they are selling, but let’s face it, they are going to find out soon enough when a sign goes up, and cars pull up outside to give the place a once over.
Get the word out there and get the promotional tongue wagging.