Many people are choosing to sell their homes without a Realtor these days, a plan that can save you some serious money. Of course, your house has to actually sell before you can consider that strategy effective. Below are some tips and tricks for writing an ad that generates interesting in your house and, hopefully, leads to a sale.
o Consider your ad options. Not very long ago, a real estate ad had only one purpose: to appear in your local newspaper. And while newspapers are still a great option, modern technology calls for a more far-reaching marketing strategy. The best place to start is by asking yourself where you would look if you were in the market to buy a home. The answer, for most people, is the Internet. It’s ideal becase you don’t need to leave your house to browse the selection, and it’s ready whenever homebuyers are. These are the same reasons you want your ad to be online, and there are plenty of for sale by owner (FSBO) websites that will be happy to run your ad. Newspapers, of course, are a tried-and-true option that shouldn’t be discounted, even with the Internet’s prominence. If you’re outside a major metropolitan area, make sure that your ad appears in your local paper, as well as a large daily in nearby cities; you never know when someone will want to move out of the city and into a more rural location.
o Set the scene. It only takes a few words for homebuyers to grab the nearest phone and beg to see your home-or for those same homebuyers to turn the page without giving your house a second thought. Include basics such as the style (ranch, two story, etc.) and the number of bedrooms and bathrooms, but you also want to include descriptive phrases that help people imagine themselves living there. Make it easy on readers by spoon-feeding them gems like, “Spacious kitchen that opens into a great room-perfect for entertaining” or “Remodeled master bathroom that recreates your favorite spa.”
o Put a positive spin on things. It’s not okay to lie, but it is okay to make your house sound as charming as possible. If it’s not move-in ready, say something like, “Ready to be fixed up into the home of your dreams.” And if you live in a neighborhood that has a less-than-desirable reputation-maybe it’s known for older houses without much space-be sure to convey how your house is different. Describe how your house sits on a big lot or the fact that you have an oversized garage that can be used as a workshop. Give homebuyers a reason to change their minds about the neighborhood.
o Create a winning headline. It’s the first thing people will read, so it has to grab them. Pick out the absolute best feature or characteristic of your house and make that the headline: “Upscale family living at a great price” or “Sprawling country retreat with orchards,” for example.
o Include a photo (or two). While fabulous copy can create an attractive mental picture, there’s no substitute for an actual photo. When you have plenty of space-website ads and flyers, for example-include multiple photos of the inside and outside of your home. When you only have room for one photo, it should be the outside of the home, preferably taken on a sunny day. No matter what angle or space you’re photographing, the number one rule is “clean and tidy.” Clear out all clutter before snapping a picture, and be sure the area is spic and span.
o It’s all about the price. It’s astounding how many home sellers omit the asking price in their ad. Whether by accident or intent, it’s a mistake. It doesn’t matter how much someone loves your house, if it’s $100,000 over their budget, you’ve wasted your time and theirs because there’s no way they’ll be making an offer. Letting people know up front how much the house costs is both efficient and courteous. You don’t have time to field 20 calls a day from people inquiring about the cost, only to have them slam the phone down upon hearing it. You want to take phone calls from people who know the price, are comfortable with the ballpark, and want to set up an appointment to see it.
o Keep it short and sweet. The paragraphs, that is. The best way to lose someone’s attention is to cram a lot of info into rambling paragraphs. Bullets are a great way to separate facts into easily digestible bites.