Home Selling Tips / Marketing a Listing

Get Buyers in the Door: Five Tips to Achieve The Perfect Online Listing


Today, 9 out of 10 home buyers find their new home online—usually on a listing website like Zillow, Trulia, or Realtor.com. That’s hardly a surprising statistic, but it reinforces the importance of having an online listing that showcases your home in its best light.

What is the online listing comprised of?

A short description, a set of photos, and all of your home’s relevant data (bed/bath count, square footage, subdivision, etc.) When this info is inputted into the MLS, it feeds directly to hundreds of listing websites automatically.

Of course, even the “perfect” online listing won’t bring in a prospective buyer if your home doesn’t meet their general requirements, budgetary or otherwise. But optimizing these five key components of your listing will help entice more prospective buyers into your home.

1. Insist on great professional photography

By professional we don’t mean an agent with a fancy camera. Make sure you’re using a photographer with extensive experience shooting homes—someone who knows the right angles, lighting, and tricks of the trade to make your home shine. You’ll be amazed at the difference.

Photos are the most influential factor in an online listing, and the first—and often only—place the eye is drawn to. Just check out the heat map tracking users’ activity from one of our recent listings:

2. Start with a clean, de-cluttered home

Even the best photographer can’t overcome a home that looks disheveled or cluttered. This doesn’t mean your home has to look straight out of Restoration Hardware catalog. Simply taking the time to temporarily remove everyday items from countertops, side tables, and vanities will make an impact. And, by all means, make sure your place doesn’t look like this $950K, recently-listed Lake Claire home

3. Ask for a Zillow Video Walkthrough

The giant of all home listing sites, Zillow, encourages agents or photographers to add a professional video walkthrough to each listing. And you’re rewarded handsomely for it.

Zillow discloses: “Listings with video walkthroughs are sorted to the top of search results on Zillow, resulting in more than double the page views and double the saves than listings without.”

That’s why each and every one of our listings includes a video walkthrough.

4. Don’t try to ‘oversell’ or pack your description with adjectives

If you’ve done any real estate browsing lately, you’ve likely noticed a fair share of listing descriptions packed with hackneyed phrases and over-enthusiastic adjectives. In our experience, most people don’t read the listing description too closely. But there have been a few studies showing specific terms can correlate to a higher or lower sales result, like this one documented in the popular book, ‘Freakonomics: A Rogue Economist Explores the Hidden Side of Everything.’

Five Terms Correlated to a Higher Sales Price
  • Granite
  • State-of-the-Art
  • Corian
  • Maple
  • Gourmet
Five Terms Correlated to a Lower Sales Price
  • Fantastic
  • Spacious
  • !
  • Charming
  • Great Neighborhood

Of course, correlation doesn’t equal causation, but it’s interesting none-the-less. So, what’s the takeaway? Aim for including specific, straightforward, and useful details instead of ambiguous adjectives that may come off as false enthusiasm.

5. Ensure all data is inputted correctly

This one’s simple and straightforward, but important. When placing a home on the MLS, an agent is asked to enter pages of data—and being detail-oriented is key. If something is not entered correctly, such as the square footage, neighborhood/subdivision, or year built, your home might not show in a prospective buyer’s (or their agents) search results. Further, if your property is not properly geotagged in the MLS with the correct geographic coordinates, your home won’t show up in a user’s radius search. These missed opportunities are easily preventable, but surprisingly common.

Want your home’s online listing to be as effective and beautiful as possible? Start by getting a free, 97% accurate home valuation—entirely online.