Now I don't intend to discuss the various places to list your house or how to drive traffic to them. That's a whole other article. But what we need to focus on are the actual materials - the flyers, photos, and by extension website ads. In order to give people an idea of what your home has to offer you need to have brochures outside your home at all times. You need to have good, clear photos of the house and a beneficial description. The same information will likely go on a web page as well. These are probably the first two things potential buyers will see, so you'll want them to make an impact. Don't be turned off by the length of this article - it simply provides detailed tips on marketing materials that could easily be done in a few hours tops.
If at all possible the flyers should be full color. A picture really is worth a thousand words so that picture should show off your house to the best of its ability. (We'll discuss how to take a great photo in a minute.) You will want to take as many photos of your home as possible, then pick out the best three or four to put on the flyer. In addition to the photos, both the price and the address need to be displayed prominently. Then you can get into listing the features of your home.
When you do this, it is best to make a list of all your home offers. For example, you could list things like "Room to play on the huge acre lot" or "Enjoy the relaxing Jacuzzi in the master bath". Try starting outside your home. Can you talk about professional landscaping, waterfront location, large fenced yard, or mountain views? Then move to the inside where you could mention features like a fireplace, upgraded kitchen, wood floors, and rec rooms. Lastly don't forget about location, the most important word in real estate. Are you near shopping, restaurants, or activities of any sort? Mention the schools, parks and other family friendly activities even if you yourself don't have kids. When you are making your list, go from room to room and write down all the benefits you can see and think of. Once you are finished, rate them from most to least important.
The other things you need to consider are the "physical aspects" of your home such as square footage, age and so forth. Your flyer should list at least the total square footage, the number of bed and bathrooms, and the age of the home. You may also choose to include room sizes for the more important rooms, a sketch of the floor plan, taxes, heating and cooling information, any updates you have done to the home and so on. When you have these listed, you are ready to put your flyer together.
Designing a flyer is fairly easy once you know what you want to put on it. You first need to decide if you want a one or two page flyer. I suggest two pages, front and back, in order to give buyers a decent amount of information. You can put the photos and features on the front, and any other information on back. This way you can do color on the front and do the back in black and white. Pick the three or four best photos and lay them out on your page. You could put them all at the top, all on one side, or stagger them down the page. Make them big enough for people to see them but small enough to allow room for the features. Again, you'll want the price and address to stand out. In addition you should also have the square footage, number of bed and bathrooms and age somewhere obvious. After all of these items are in place you can start on the features. Pick the most important ones and put them on first. Work your way down the list and add as many features as you can without making the page look crowded. Any features that are left over can be put on the website (and yes, I suggest you get one, even if it is a free service, just so you can showcase as many photos as possible). The back can be reserved for a quick but accurate sketch of the floor plan, taxes etc.
The most important part of selling any home, in my opinion, are the pictures. When buyers first see your home online or on the flyers, the only way they know what it looks like inside is by the photos you provide. So you don't want some blurry photo of yourself reflected in the mirror or one of your teen's messy room. It doesn't really matter what type of camera you use, as long as it takes good quality photos. The very first step is to clean up your house. Remove all clutter and unnecessary furniture, mow, cut down overgrown bushes, and vacuum. Place nice items and collections on the mantle and the remaining furniture. Get some flowers (that are blooming) and place them around the outside of your home. Remove obvious signs of pets like litter boxes and dog food bowls. Whew! Then you should be ready to take your pictures.
Unfortunately most of us don't have professional photography equipment with wide angle lenses and Ipix capabilities. So you need to find the most flattering angle of your house or room and shoot from there. Wait for a partly sunny day and never directly face the sun. This might mean you will have to shoot your house from different angles at different times of the day (try for morning or late afternoon). But at least you will have the contrast of a blue sky. When doing outside shots it really helps if you can go across the street and stand in your neighbor's yard to take the photo. Center your home and make sure it's not at a weird angle. To take the backyard you may want to stand at the far end of the yard and shoot back toward the house so buyers can see the back.
Moving inside, take pictures of every room. Remember the website - you don't have to fit them all on the flyer. When shooting inside, ideally you should stand outside the door and look in for the best angle. You could also stand in the corner and look out. Take two or three pictures of each room at different angles. Make sure you take light into consideration. Your photos should not be too light or too dark, that can turn people off. And don't directly face a mirror when you shoot, the results are not good. Come at it from an angle. The pictures you choose for the flyer should be from the main rooms like the kitchen, living area, master bedroom and so forth. Save at least one for a shot of the front of the home.
Using these tips and techniques do not guarantee you a sale, but they are sure to help you out and make the buyers' first impression unforgettable. A final note: there are several things that buyers today are looking for in homes, and you would do well to mention these in your features. These include hardwood floors, walk-in-closets, large yards, big rooms, upgraded kitchens, energy saving features, and open floor plans. Don't forget that the kitchen, master bedroom, and bathrooms are often the spaces that sell houses so focus on them. Happy Selling!
Jen Lange is a pencil portrait artist and creator of http://www.inspirationearth.com where she sells her work. She has a B.A. from a top Southern college and commissions drawings of people, pets, and much more.