Internet House Marketing

By: Kevin Bilberry

There are very few people who do not use the Internet these days. House hunting on the Internet is much more fun than the time-consuming chore of dragging around to each property with the real estate agent.

While a virtual tour can hide flaws, it can also give a prospective buyer a feel for a house. It can eliminate many 'wasted' viewings.It is not surprising that 80% of all prospective house buyers will start their search on the Internet.

Many real estate agents are cashing in on this and efficiently laid out web sites are probably better for sales than the traditional methods of newspapers and brochures. Private 'for sale by owner' properties are also going up on the Internet. If you are marketing your home in this way, there are certain strategies that will make the process easier and more successful.

Make sure that the main photo you display shows your home at its best. If you have back up photos that have to be clicked on remember, if the main photo is not appealing to buyers they may go no further.

The main photo is usually the house and the front yard. Take it on a day that is sunny. Wait until the time that the sun shines on your house. If you have large trees in your front yard, step back and try and include part of them in your photo.

Before the photo, prepare the front yard: ensure that all the lawns are cut short, all the paths are trimmed into a neat edge and any beds are weeded! If it is winter, see if you can buy a few small trees or shrubs in large pots, and place them effectively.When you take the photo, place the potted plants and tress in a spot to enhance the angle of the photo, you can always re-position them later..

If you are clever on the computer and wish to enhance the color a little (i.e. brighten the white paintwork, or more green on the trees) make sure you keep it close to the real look of the home. The National Association of Realtors inform us that when a home has multiple photos it is viewed almost three times more than other homes.

There is always a debate about the wisdom of putting your address and phone number on the site. From a security viewpoint we would not normally advertise the interior of our home with its goods and chattels, and then also give the address!

However, many prospective buyers like to drive by and check out the neighborhood, so you may lose buyers without an address. Real estate agents will often list the address of their listings these days. It is a matter of personal choice.

Plan to have an open house, and give yourself two or three weeks to get your home ready. Photocopy your web site details and photos and hand them out to visitors to the open house. Have a pot of coffee and trims in the kitchen and keep soft music playing. Read about 'home staging'.

This is basically getting your house ready to be seen by strangers at its best - its best from the stranger's point of view. This is the key. The stranger does not want to see your family photos and golfing statues all over the living room, he or she wants to visualize them self in your home. So de-clutter and de-personalize.

First impressions are important, so make sure your home has curb appeal. This means that all the work you did to prepare your front yard for the main photo must be kept up to date. Also ensure that no garbage bins are left where they can be seen; you will have to walk the extra distance while your house is on the market!

Another thing that can get missed is the smell of the home as you step in the front door. Invest in one of those inexpensive plug-in air freshener, and choose a scent that is un-feminine, say sea breeze or lime.

Every house has a smell of its own, we all get used to the smell of our pets, or shoe closet or carpets and don't notice it, but others will. The smell itself is not so important as just having an air freshener that is permanently putting out a generic smell.

When buyers come into your home, let them wander; any relaxed ambiance you can impart into your home will surely help your prospects.

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