When I first started marketing homes, I did what so many agents do. I used the marketing remarks section of the MLS to list as many features as I could squeeze into the 1000 character limit.
It wasn’t long before I realized I was missing the point.
Buyers don’t buy homes based on the checklist of things they want in a home. They buy the home that they can imagine living in. They buy the home that lets them live the life they hope to live.
Inman News, a leading real estate industry news publication, explains that:
There is only one reason prospects do not want to see a home the second time: They have not seen a home they can picture themselves living in that satisfies their emotional needs, like convenience, safety, fun, pleasure, and pride of ownership.
The article goes on to recommend that agents work with a lifestyle checklist so they can understand what is really important to buyers beyond the number of bedrooms and bathrooms.
Nowadays, real estate agents don’t go preview every listing on the market. There are 11,357 homes and condos on the market at this moment in the St. Lous region. And the inventory changes every day.
It’s simply not possible for agents to know all of these homes.
Since both buyers AND their agents are relying on the online marketing to decide which homes they should go see, it is critical that MLS listings advertise not just the facts of what exists in the home, but what it would be like to live in the home.
Here are some of the things we often highlight in our advertising:
- Chef’s kitchen – we don’t just list the appliances that are offered, we help people imagine themselves creating gourmet meals for their family
- Perfect for entertaining – is the open floor plan great for guest mingling? Does the yard have a patio big enough to throw a BBQ party? Is the dinning room large enough for the extended family at Thanksgiving?
- Room to spread out – if a home is likely to attract larger families because it has 4 or 5 bedrooms, buyers want to know there are spaces that they can go when they need a break from ‘together time’
- Master bedroom retreat – rather than say the master bedroom is huge or has an adjoining sitting room, buyers should be reminded that they can have a place just their own to get away from the household activity
- Park just a few blocks away – this also works for restaurants, schools and anything else in walking distance. Help the potential buyer imagine what it would be like to walk their kids to school or take an evening stroll on a nice summer night and grab dinner at that restaurant on the corner.
We go further than just writing up a good paragraph for the MLS listing. We create a custom map for each home which shows what is in the immediate neighborhood. We also create a video which spends as much time highlighting the community as it does the house.
Here’s a sample video that gives you an idea how how a home listing can promote lifestyle while still hitting the highlights of the homes features.
It really does work.
Of the 21 properties that we have had on the market this year, 13 are either closed or currently under contract. Another 2 owners decided they weren’t in a position to sell for the market value of the home and pulled the properties off the market. We have no doubt that the marketing of the remaining 6 will get them sold.
While some agents aim for a large inventory of listings so that they can financially succeed even though only a percentage of the homes sell, we expect every single one to sell…or we won’t take on the job.