Monday, October 18, 2010

Getting Buyers to View Your Home

With so many houses on the market, how can you guarantee your buyer will find you?

Buyers do searches of listings and then narrow down the list of homes they want to see.

Don't count on luck to get you on the list. Instead, stage your home, and then advertise it right.

Once your home is listed check your listing. Check it for mistakes and omissions. It's very common for a garage, basement, attic, bonus room or outbuilding to be listed incorrectly or not at all. Are the specifications right regarding important features like square footage, heating and cooling, septic, school district, size of rooms, taxes, roof, and flooring? Check even the obvious data like numbers of baths and bedrooms.

No one is perfect, and all these details are just entered into a computer, maybe by someone who hasn't had her second cup of coffee yet.

Are they selling the cars or the house? 
Check your photos too. They should do justice to your staging. Otherwise, replace them.

If you can't afford a professional photographer (which is a worthy investment imho) and you don't like the pictures your realtor used, you may  have to shoot some of your own pictures and send them to your realtor. Make sure any published pictures were taken after all the staging is in place.

And once your home is staged and photographed, don't disappoint buyers when they come calling by re-arranging furniture and adding in clutter. Changes like this will breed distrust.

Choose the best angle or two for each room, then shoot multiple pictures, tweaking the angle of the camera and other minor variables, so you can later eliminate all but the very best. 

Bad photos are often taken from a poor vantage point, or were not cropped and edited for brightness and contrast, resulting in drab and uninteresting images that tell buyers nothing. If I can edit photographs on Picasa, anyone can.

If neither your realtor nor you have a photographic eye, ask a friend with good photo skills to help you, or hire a professional photographer who has real estate experience.. 

For some how-not-to-photograph-your-home tips, visit . And be prepared to be aghast.
Especially crucial is the feature photo that headlines your listing. House hunters make quick decisions based on that one image.

Is the angle flattering?

Is the time of day right, so the home's details are evident and not lost in shadows?

Take lots of pictures from close, far and in between, and then choose the best one.

And, please, let's get the cars and garbage cans out of the driveway when we're taking that all-important shot.

Review the write-up and any handouts your realtor or you have prepared. Make sure there are no mistakes or typos there. When your literature looks sloppy, your home looses credibility and desirability.

It's empty. You've lost a prospect.
Do you have a weatherproof holder of print-outs available for drive-by house hunters?

Keep it full. It's a simple thing, but important.

If you change your price, make sure the literature tells people that.

Don't be shy about attaching a second sheet that lists all the amenities an MLS sheet may not mention -- how close the golf course is, the way the local schools are rated, town demographics, number of restaurants within walking distance, nearby hiking trails, public transportation, climate data, whatever makes your property look more valuable.  

Always remember that some buyers will be people relocating from elsewhere. Do they know the local abbreviations and lingo? Don't assume everyone knows all about your area's best features.

When I moved to Santa Fe, New Mexico, many of the real estate ads I read mentioned "v and k."

A realtor had to explain to me, someone moving there from Boston, that the "v" stood for vigas, the overhead beams. And "k" stood for kiva, the traditional adobe fireplace. Who knew?

You may have to explain the local real estate jargon and abbreviations. 

Home staging your own home is a great beginning, but part two is making sure people get to see the beautiful job you've done to showcase your home.

The best beginning for staging your home is my eBook, DIY Home Staging Tips to Sell Your Home Fast and for Top Dollar. And you can download it right now.

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