Many Users Shop for Homes Online
It goes without saying that the vast majority of people shop for homes online. With the help of realtors and the many real estate websites available out there, it’s very easy and convenient to search for homes on the internet.
Home shoppers can browse, compare, book viewings, and more; all from the comfort of their smartphone or computer.
For the potential buyers, surfing the web and looking at homes can even be fun, and it can be exciting to ponder and dream about what their next home will be. Because of this, when a picture of the sellers’ home is presented, they want it to connect with that buyer and make that all important first impression.
It also means this: the way homes are displayed online matters.
Not only does it matter, but it affects your bottom line in many ways: from the number of viewings you have, to the demand when it comes to offer time, and ultimately to the amount you get on your best offer when you finally accept and sell.
So how does it all work? And what role does visual media like pictures and video play in all of this?
We spoke with George Dmitrovic from WRX Property Group to get more insight on what happens when listings get published online, how the marketing process works, and why the visuals can play such a critical role for a homeowner selling their home.
What Does it Mean for the Seller? Putting a Home Up for Sale and Marketing It
What does it mean when you put a home up for sale? What happens?
There are two important facets to putting your home “up on the market”:
- Distributing your listing, which is done through various channels:
- It gets posted on the MLS, which all realtors have access to, and is the backbone for listing distribution, but it doesn’t end there
- Real estate agents also employ their own marketing strategies and efforts through a variety of other means, including digital ad platforms, social media, and search engines
- Making your home look appealing so that it generates interest and demand.
In other words: Show your home to as many people as possible, and make sure your home looks it’s best and is as appealing as possible to said people.
In a digital world, where information about your home is distributed through online channels, the visual media accompanying it (pictures and video) is crucial to making sure users actually take interest in your home.
If done correctly, this will translate into people showing interest to come view your home, and ultimately will result in people coming in with offers to buy it (which is what you want).
How Online Home Listings Work
An online home listing contains the following information:
- Possibly a Video
- Hopefully Floor Plans 🙂
- Possibly a 3D Virtual Tour experience (iGUIDE or Matterport)
- A Written Description
- A series of Technical specifics and Details (price, listing date, square footage, technical details about the home, etc).
In most cases, homes are put on the MLS, which is a massive network of listings that all real estate agents in a given area have access to.
Once it’s submitted to the MLS, all agents in the area will get the memo, and depending on their clients’ home search preferences, your home will be picked up by automatic searches that clients are subscribed to (resulting in hundreds or even thousands of buyers getting emailed about your home).
The listing is then picked up by individual agents’ websites and displayed online, and soon afterward, picked up by search engines.
Your selling agent will also deploy their own marketing strategy, pushing your listing through social media, online ads, search ads, physical signage, and more.
How Users Make Visual Decisions
So, once your listing gets pushed to as many people as possible, what happens then? Well, it’s a matter of it resonating with the right buyers, and these buyers deciding to take action.
When people are browsing listings online, they’re constantly making decisions about what they like and don’t like, filtering their prospects and deciding on which homes they want to go see.
Now for the punchline: if you haven’t guessed already, pictures and video play a huge role in this decision making and filtering process. It’s something that is true about all online browsing and shopping. Namely, visuals are a big deal.
They say a picture is worth a thousand words, and it’s true. A picture presents a massive amount of information, which users can take in very quickly just by looking at it.
What do you think is easier? Showing a picture of a living room, or describing in writing every detail in that living room? Which format do you think is easier to digest and more appealing for users?
So while the written description and point form technical specs are indeed important, the largest portion of information taken in by users are the visuals (in most cases pictures, occasionally a video, and/or a 3D Walk-Through virtual tour too). Naturally, the visuals go ahead to play a very important role in what users think of your listing.
How Visuals Impact Your Bottom Line
So how does this impact your bottom line?
First, it’s about how many people decide to show interest versus skip past.
Second, once you have their attention, the way pictures look affect the level of interest they show (mildly curious, to “I absolutely must have it”).
Lastly, how impressed they are also influences:
- How much they’re willing to pay
- If they’re willing to compromise on any details that are not ideal (for example “we wanted something downtown but this house is GREAT, even though it’s a bit further out”)
- How far they’re willing to go when it comes to putting in an offer (how high of an offer are they putting in, how much are they willing to bid up in a competitive scenario, how far are they willing to stretch their budget)
All of these come together and affect three variables:
- The number of people that show up to view and then put in an offer
- How much they are willing to offer
- How fiercely do they want to compete against other buyers (are they really determined to get the place, or are they lukewarm about it?)
These variables all directly impact the amount you’re getting in an offer, and how serious the offers are, which is ultimately your bottom line and your goal as a seller.
A lot of this stems from the visual impact that your listing makes on users that see it, all the way back in the initial stage when it gets distributed and marketed (when it gets “put on the market”).
So there you have it, visuals are important! Maybe you already knew this, but we really can’t stress it enough.
When someone sees a home they love, it’s a gut reaction and it’s undeniable. That’s why you need to take the time to get visual media that is as appealing as possible.
So, whether you’re an agent doing it for a client, or a client thinking about selling with an agent, this is something that you need to be aware of.
If you’re looking to sell and are shopping for an agent, look for agents that care about the presentation of your home. If you’re currently selling and your agent hasn’t really tackled visual media yet, bring it up with them.
In all cases, working with a professional real estate photographer ensures you’re set up for success. They’ll take care of capturing your home in the best light and making sure it’s easy for prospective buyers to envision themselves living happily in the house.