You may already know how to read a listing ad, but what if you need to write one of your own?
Creating a listing to sell your home is a strategic endeavor. Throwing together a few facts about your home and a snapshot to post online or in the newspaper typically doesn't cut it. Just as you fix up your home to ensure buyers and the home inspection yield a positive response, you also need to touch up your listing.
A recent study by Bennie Waller, a professor of finance and real estate at Longwood University in Farmville, Va., told the Wall Street Journal what specific words are most appealing to buyers. Using the information from the study, you can better understand what listings buyers are more likely to skip over and what you need to do to ensure your ad catches a reader's eye.
Details increase interest
Waller told the source that property characteristics - excluding standard features such as bedrooms - translate to a higher probability of selling and an increased sale price. For each trait, the chances of selling increase by 9.2 percent on average, and the probability of a higher closing figure goes up to a little less than 1 percent.
"The more verifiable information, the better," he told the Journal.
Positive words are also beneficial for grabbing buyers' attention. Words such as "beautiful" and "fabulous" could mean a sale price increase of 0.9 percent.
Conciseness still necessary
The professor's findings are not to say that you should load your listing with information. In fact, he reminded sellers that the ads should be short and to the point. Given that buyers only skim a listing for one to two seconds, there isn't room for verbose language or fluff. Mara Flash Blum, associate broker with Sotheby's International Realty in New York City, agreed with Waller.
"Less is more," she told the Journal. "If you give them everything, they have nothing to call you about. You want to tease them to the point where they'll call."
Eric Tan, real estate broker and attorney with Redfin in Pasadena, Calif., shared this sentiment, and said he likes to highlight special features and property upgrades. Typically, his listings are noticeably shorter than the limit set by his local multiple listing service system.
The importance of working with a real estate professional
Although you may have faith in your selling skills, it's often best to leave the listing creation in the hands of a professional. If you haven't already, you might want to talk with an agent to discuss the best way to highlight your home's features. Given that real estate agents know what buyers and other agents are typically searching for, they can make certain that your listing gets more recognition.
However, don't feel that employing an agent lets you take the backseat on selling your home. You still have to make sure that your home is clean and staged for when potential buyers visit. Additionally, you'll need to ensure the property is in order when an interested buyer schedules a property inspection to get a thorough report on the condition of your home.
Diligence is even necessary in regard to the listing. Although the agent will write it, take a moment to review the ad before it is posted. Make certain that the listing is free of spelling and grammar errors and the asking price reflects what you and your agent discussed.
Also, be mindful of private agent-to-agent comments. Although these comments, which can only be seen by agents, can increase the selling price by 3 percent, too many compared to the average listing can result in a 6 percent decrease.