Step 1. Don't lose them at the starting gate.
It sounds so simple, but before home buyers can even consider your listing, they have to know it exists. Over the years we've seen many homes lose exposure because the listing agent entered the online data in such a way that buyers and agents never found it in their searches.
* Include any information that could be desirable. Does it have mother-in-law unit potential, or do the condo facilities include an elevator? If so, include that in the listing detail!
* Don't enter frivolous information that could cause someone with overly specific search criteria to needlessly eliminate it from their online home search results.
* Double-check all of the online listing data to make sure it's accurate. (It's not uncommon to see a home listed as being in an incorrect location, or as having a carport when it really has a garage.)
Step 2. Get them to CLICK.
Your listing usually pops up in the search results next to twenty other homes. Why should they click on yours? Don't lose home buyers here - make that exterior photo entice them to take the next step.
* What are the exterior features that appeal to your target market? Make sure they're completely obvious (and definitely not inadvertently hidden) in the photo.
* Cover the basics: Before taking the exterior photo, de-clutter the yard, hide trash cans and get cars out of the driveway.
* Edit the photo so that the light looks perfect (not too dark or dreary.)
Step 3. Get them into their car.
Here's where your online photo gallery should make them sit up and glance at their car keys.
* Prepare the property first. You don't need to be a full-fledged home stager - simply de-cluttering a room works wonders.
* Use a camera designed for interior shots, such as a 24 mm. (A 35 mm camera makes rooms looks too small.)
* Edit your photos for light and color tone. Nearly all interior shots need to be brightened.
Step 4. Lead them from the street to the door.
If you prepared the home well for the exterior photo, they should want to see the inside after a drive-by. Here are a few things you can do to draw them in even more.
* Make sure there's a clear line of sight from the street to the front door. (No big plants or structures subconsciously blocking their way into the home.)
* Lead them towards the home with visual anchor points. Pots of colored plants work well for this.
Step 5. Don't lose them at the front stoop!
Once they've arranged for a showing, there's always that moment when everyone stands outside the front door while the agent scrabbles around with the key. What are their gazes drawn to as they wait? Everything! They're gaining an important first impression - make it a good one.
* Walkways and exterior entryways need to be swept clean frequently. (Accumulated leaves and dust are depressing.)
* Spring $12 for a new doormat - preferably one that says "Welcome."
* Give them something to look at. A color spot in the form of a potted plant attracts their gaze instead of letting it wander.
Step 6. Keep the experience going inside.
Once they're in the door, remember that you have a plan for them to get the best impression of the home's desirable features.
* Remove or rearrange blocking furniture so that there's an easy natural flow from room to room.
* Use visual anchor points to lead them through the home.
* Be conscious of any smells that need to be dealt with.
Step 7. Create a complete package.
Let's face it - agents don't sell homes to buyers. Buyers sell themselves on homes, and we just make it as easy as possible for them. So ask yourself - by the end of the showing, is there any valuable feature they could possibly have missed?
* Use note cards to point out items that are easy to overlook, such as a pantry, high tech wiring, or extra storage space.
* Provide a handout showing desirable neighborhood selling points that might not be obvious to a first-time visitor.
The bottom line:
In the end, it's all about increasing the odds of success for you and your home seller clients! Put these techniques to work in your business and you'll see more prospective home buyers getting into (and loving) your real estate listings.
Seattle area agents Irene Dorang and Michelle Blue publish "Real Estate Success Savvy," a bi-weekly e-zine for real estate agents who want results, not theory. If you're ready to go from concept to cash in your real estate business, get your FREE tips at http://www.TheAgentGuide.com