The best way to get potential buyers through the door and interested in your home is with a stellar online listing. Photos of the house and a description of the property are standard fare, but not all listings do what they’re supposed to do. In fact, some might actually do more harm than good.
So, what are the parts of a listing that can turn buyers off? Below are some of the worst offenses.
1. Lackluster (or non-existent) description
“If it is a lakefront home, highlight the best parts of living on the lake; if it is an urban town, mention that you are within walking distance of top-rated restaurants,” says Cynthia Emerling, listing specialist at Finger Lakes Premier Properties in Canandaigua, NY.
Also keep in mind that the online listing might initially show just a couple of lines of text, so make sure the most eye-catching information appears first.
2. Too much (or the wrong type of) information
3. Amateur photographs
“Everyone thinks they can take quality pictures with their smartphones and save a few dollars, but you only get one chance to impress potential buyers online,” says Robert Taylor, owner of The Real Estate Solutions Guy, a house-flipping company in Sacramento, CA.
“I can’t tell you how many times I’ve seen the infamous ‘real estate agent in a mirror’ shot,” Stevenson says. “When the photo quality is lacking, it sends a message that your home is low quality, too.”
4. Not staging your home
While many buyers like to think of a new house as a blank canvas for their own furniture and design tastes, leaving the rooms completely devoid of furniture and art in the listing photos can hurt you in the long run. Buyers like to see the potential of the home, so staging is highly recommended.
“When a house is staged, you can get the sense of use and purpose for each space,” says Matt Morgus, a San Francisco-based real estate agent.
That’s especially important for houses with open floor plans.
5. Too many days on the market
Buyers look closely at the listing price and days on the market (DOM) because this information can help them determine whether the house is priced too low or too high—and how much they should offer if they’re interested.
Because every real estate market is different, there isn’t a hard and fast number of days it takes for a listing to be considered stale. However, most real estate agents agree that it takes about 30 days on the market for a listing to lose its luster.
So how can you revive a stale listing? Additional marketing efforts like new photos or an added incentive (free tacos with purchase, anyone?) may help. But the most effective way to generate more buzz about your property is with a price adjustment.
“If you have been on the market for a while and activity has stalled, you should consider reducing the price,” Lippi advises. “Even if you reduce it by a small amount, it will show up in buyers’ emails again and appear online as a price correction, and this gets eyes on your listing.”
The best tactic, ultimately, is to price the house correctly the first time, so it doesn’t end up languishing on the market for a couple of weeks.
“An overpriced home will force a seller to drop the price of their home numerous times to reach the ‘sweet spot’ where buyers become interested in the listing,” says Shawn Breyer, owner of Atlanta-based Breyer Home Buyers.