Harnessing the power of online home searches

These noteworthy items should be considered when planning your marketing strategy.
Zillow
May 15, 2013

If you are trying to sell your home this spring, or anytime in the near future, you need to pay close attention to your online marketing strategy. Now more than ever, home buyers are turning to the Internet as their primary source of information when searching for a house. Nine out ten home buyers start their search online. As a seller, your success hinders on your ability to harness the power of online home searches. The following are a few noteworthy items that should be considered when planning your marketing strategy.

Gaining Exposure

When thinking about your online advertising, one of the first questions to ask your real estate agent is what website gets the most traffic in your local area. In order to achieve maximum effectiveness you will want to make sure your home is featured where the highest number of potential buyers will see your property. Ask your listing agent which sites are popular in your area and be certain that your property is included on those websites. And don’t forget about the apps that are out there for mobile devices - they are gaining popularity too!

Understanding Search Criteria

Once you’ve figured out where home buyers are looking online, it’s time to think about how home buyers are searching online. Remember that online searches are a process of elimination, not inclusion, which means the details of your listing should be filled in thoroughly. If there is a community pool, say so. Include your lot size, square footage, room dimensions, number of beds/baths, etc. You’ll want to make notations about any and all special features that pertain to your property. According to research, the most frequent home buyer searches are based on the number of bedrooms and bathrooms, available square footage, garage size, heating and cooling systems, and swimming pools. Of course price is another important, and widely used, search factor. Be aware of the price increments that people can select when conducting their search. For instance, if you list at $299,900 you’ll capture the buyers who search with a maximum price point of $300,000; whereas, if you list at $305,000 you will be eliminated from that group of search results.

Listing Photographs

We live in a visual society which means your online listing photos are critical to your success. If a home buyer doesn’t like what they see online, you’ll never get them through your front door, and if you don’t get buyers through your front door, you’ll never sell your home. Don’t allow your agent to take pictures on his/her cell phone. Have professional photographs taken; or something very close to it. Stage your home appropriately and make sure your photos accurately represent what buyers and agents will see when they tour your home in person. Don’t assume that by artistically concealing a home that infringes on your backyard privacy you’ll increase your chances of selling. Buyers (and agents) who discover the truth during a showing will feel frustrated by the dishonesty of the photos. In fact, if an agent feels they’ve wasted their time you could get “blacklisted”; so please be honest.

EDITOR'S NOTE: This story was written by Monte Mohr, who has sold over 2,500 homes, making him one of America’s top Realtors for the last 25 years. This experience has given him a unique perspective on the Nashville real estate market where he can be found at http://www.tennesseedreamhomes.com. He is also a regular contributor of real estate information here at to Nashville’s NBC affiliate station, WSMV Channel 4. To learn more about Monte Mohr’s experience as a real estate agent, to get free advice about your biggest real estate challenges or to request an interview contact him at Info@TennesseeDreamHomes.com