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Copywriting: Sell Real Estate With Your Words

Copywriting - Sell Real Estate Your Words

Realtors® are often very focused on having great images in their marketing. They want the best pictures of the home and neighborhood to share on postcards, social media, and more.

There’s a good reason for that! Pictures tell a lot of the story when it comes to real estate marketing. As they say, “A picture is worth 1,000 words.”

But I’m going to create a new adage: “A picture with the right words is worth a million bucks.”

Let me explain.

What Words Do in Real Estate Marketing

Why do we use words at all in real estate marketing? We do it because the picture alone isn’t enough. It doesn’t tell the whole story.

Pictures alone allow the viewer to draw their own conclusions. They may decide a bedroom is too small, without knowing how big it really is. They may decide a kitchen doesn’t look new when in reality it’s recently been remodeled.

Words also help answer questions. What is the neighborhood like? How does the layout feel? What kind of life can you live in this home? What brand is the furnace, and how new is it?

Most importantly, though:

Words tell a story that creates emotion.

Buying decisions are made based on emotions and then rationalized with logic. With great copywriting, you can help a buyer fall in love with a house, and then fill them in with the details to help them justify buying it.

How to Create Emotions with Words

There are a lot of ways to create feelings with words, but many Realtors® don’t take the time to do so. Unfortunately, many agents have a “Just the facts, ma’am” approach to copywriting.

If you could take 30 more minutes to craft your message, and sell your listing significantly faster for a much higher price, would you do it?

I hope so!

Tell a Story

Stories are incredible at creating emotions. When you tell a story, people set aside some of their biases, concerns, and fears. Great storytellers can create a broad range of emotions in a short time – we see this in good movies, good books, and even good news stories.

You want to do the same thing. Tell a story that allows the buyer to imagine themselves living in the home. Talk about what they might do there on a Saturday. If it’s a family-oriented home, talk about their children enjoying the neighborhood and schools.

Tell a story that makes the buyer feel comfortable, happy, and fulfilled. When you connect that story with owning the home, you’ll have created a powerful emotional draw.

Use High-Emotion Words

Decide what emotions you want to elicit from the buyer. This will differ depending on where you’re advertising.

If you are advertising on social media or through the mail, you need them to respond. So work on creating curiosity and urgency.

  • Have You Heard
  • Insider
  • Off-the-record
  • Missing Out
  • Left Behind

If they are on your website, focus on happiness, comfort, and fulfillment.

  • Lifetime
  • Completely
  • Peaceful
  • Cheerful
  • Heartfelt

As you are showing the home, work on creating feelings of safety and satisfaction with choosing this home to make an offer on.

  • Certified
  • Protected
  • Official
  • Long-term
  • Durable

You can find comprehensive lists of words that help create these emotions – I’ve provided just a few to get you started.

Are You Ready to Sell?

When you combine great pictures with exactly the right words, the results really are worth a million bucks. When you prepare your listing, tell stories and use the right kinds of words. You’ll be amazed how much your sales will improve.

If you’re ready to get a new set of Just Listed or Just Sold postcards out the door with the perfect combination of images and words, we’d love to help. Contact us today!

5 Reasons Smart People Sell Their Homes in Winter

Winter Real Estate Marketing

If you’re like a lot of Realtors® and homeowners, you think winter is the worst time of year to sell a home.

It’s cold, the weather can be bad, trees and yards are barren… who wants to sell a home in the winter?

I’ll tell you – savvy and smart Realtors® and homeowners. Here are five reasons listing a home in the winter is brilliant.

Less Competition for Your Listing

There’s less inventory available in the winter, meaning that your listing will stand out more easily. If you combine this with writing a great listing and having professional photos, your listing will be head and shoulders above the rest.

Redfin found that homes listed in winter are 9% more likely to sell and tend to sell one week faster than listings in other times of year. If you’re curious why that might be, let’s look at reason #2 that smart homeowners sell in the winter…

Buyers are More Serious in the Winter

Unfortunately, tire-kickers and “just for fun” looky-loos abound in the summer months. In fact, I’ve seen lists of date ideas that include “Go to an open house and look around just for a good time.” It’s ridiculous!

However, in winter these thrill seekers are off doing other things – they certainly aren’t braving snowy roads and cold temperatures to pretend interest in a new home. The buyers you get in the winter time are much more serious about buying a home, and are more likely to make a decision quickly.

In fact, those looking in winter may be facing an unforeseen move, such as a job relocation or family change. In those cases, they not only want to buy quickly but are more likely to pay top dollar.

Staging is Easier in the Winter

While summer months leave people feeling hot and wanting wide open, airy spaces, the winter months call for something different. People are looking for a festive, homey feel. As a result, it’s easier (and sometimes more fun) to stage a home in winter.

You don’t have to tell homeowners to get rid of as much stuff as possible in winter. Many times, you can arrange personal belongings together into neat sets and create a comfortable feel that will help a home sell, rather than feeling like you have to make a home as barren as possible.

It’s More Convenient for the Homeowner

No one enjoys having people traipsing through their home at all hours, but it’s part of the selling process. The good news is that during the winter, since there are fewer house hunters, there will be less people asking to see a home. That’s more convenient and easier for the homeowner.

In addition, you’ll find that the people who do visit are more serious about buying, which means there will be fewer overall visitors before a sale is made. If someone is nervous about listing in the winter, just remind them that fewer showings and more serious buyers lead to a more convenient, faster sale.

Realtors® Give More Personal Attention in the Winter

As a Realtor®, you’re not going to have as many clients in the winter compared to the spring and summer months. This can be a great benefit for your client, because you’ll be able to give more personal attention to their listing.

With less of a demand on your time, you may have a chance to try an innovative new marketing method, such as making a walk-through video or connecting with other Realtors® on Instagram. This means that you’ll get experience with different marketing methods, and they’ll get even more professional attention than normal.

Selling in the winter isn’t a terrible thing. In fact, research shows that homes may sell faster because buyers are more serious and are more likely to need a home quickly. There’s also less competition in inventory.

If you’re interested in beefing up your listing presentation for winter listings, consider printing out our list: Seven Reasons Selling Your Home in Winter is BETTER Than Waiting for Spring or Summer. You can use it as a handout and educational piece.

Happy winter selling!

5 Incredible Ways to Use Real Estate Videos

Real Estate Videos

Realtors® who think videos are the future are already a step behind. Videos are one of the most important marketing tools you need to be doing right now. And you need to be doing them well.

Consider that:

Convinced yet? Ok, let’s take a look at 5 ways any Realtor® can leverage videos for their business.

Use Real Estate Videos to Sell Your Homes

This is the most obvious way to use a video. Give your prospects a virtual tour of the home. Some Realtors® will simply walk around the house with an iPad and shoot a video. Others will hire a professional video company or contractor to shoot and edit their tour.

If you’re going to shoot /edit the video yourself, make sure you’re really, really good at it. A bad video can do more harm than good.

If you’re going to outsource it, it is possible to be too showy (Hollywood-style effects and hard drum beat music is a bit much). But it’s not possible to be too professional.

Make sure they look and sound amazing.

… And They Keep Selling

Another motivator for doing a good job on your videos is knowing that these posts will act as “evergreen” marketing tools, that will keep selling you, long after you’ve sold the house.

People will look up your website and your YouTube channel when they’re thinking about hiring you. So treat each video as a showcase for yourself and your brand, as much as it is a showcase for the home.

Use Real Estate Videos to Sell Yourself

You should also use a video to introduce yourself and your entire staff. This adds a much needed personal touch to your website, or YouTube and Facebook profiles.

“People are curious by nature, so it should come as no surprise that business videos that explore real-life personalities and behind-the-scenes footage are compelling and helpful in attracting new customers,” said BusinessTV.

“And in this era that’s over-saturated with technologies, adding a ‘human’ element is crucial in creating a sense of connection with customers.”

Use Real Estate Videos to Sell an Area or Neighborhood

You don’t want to just sell this home. You want to sell every home in the neighborhood.

To build yourself up as the expert in the area you’re trying to focus on, you need to have a video that showcases the area as a whole.

“Of homebuyers who use video in their search, 86 percent use it to research a particular community,” wrote Real Estate Blogger, Kathryn Royster.

Use Real Estate Videos to Boost Your Google Ranking

We’ve already thrown a few stats at you, that speak to how videos help your search engine optimization (SEO). But here are a few more.

  • Videos get 50 times better organic page ranks in Google, compared to simple text
  • Video searches garner 41% higher click-through rates, as compared to plain, static text content

And let’s not forget the value of video search from people’s phones. Google’s new algorithm makes sure that mobile-friendly websites get a search ranking boost on mobile searches. And 70% of mobile searches lead to online action within an hour.

As you can see, using the virtual tour is pretty much a prerequisite for all houses for sale these days. But, don’t forget the value in using them to sell yourself (and your team), while leveraging them to boost your SEO ranking.

Now that you’re looking at your video marketing, how are your branded print materials? Click here to browse what we have to offer.

4 Ways to Market Real Estate Listings

Real Estate Listings Marketing

The challenge you face in making a real estate listing is right in the name itself: Listings. By definition, your property will be displayed in a list (in either online or print) among other ads that are trying to do the exact same thing you are.

When human eyes see a series of listings, they immediately go into “Just the facts, please” mode and start scanning for the things that will jump out to them. This means they’re only looking at price, location, neighborhood or the picture. That’s your small window to grab them.

So let’s take a look at 4 things you can do to make sure a homebuyer’s eyes stop scanning and stay locked on your real estate listing.

Spend the Time to Make Them Stand Out

The minimum effort will get the minimum results and attention. You should spend the time to teach yourself how to write compelling real estate listings, and figure out what words people respond to. Take them seriously, and really think about how to describe the home in the best possible way to showcase its best features.

Give the same amount of effort to the visuals. You need to combine expert home staging with professional photography to capture your audience’s attention when they’re scrolling or flipping through other real estate listings.

Just because you can shoot high-quality pictures on your iPhone doesn’t mean you will. Blurry, poorly frame and unprofessional looking pictures will turn people off immediately and send them to the next ad.

Create a Landing Page or Blog for Your Real Estate Listings

This helps you in selling this property to human beings, as well as search engines. This shows people that this house is worth all the effort you put into building a page/blog for it, while giving it an online presence.

“A dedicated post or landing page for a listing can help you build a robust marketing campaign for a property (beyond just the listing page),” advises real estate marketing expert, Sandra Manzanares.

“Add more in-depth descriptions, photos, video, and information about the area to better pitch the property, and optimize the post with hyper-local keywords, address names, and property type keywords to attract organic traffic. Share your blog with your network as you would a regular blog post.”

Add Videos to Your Real Estate Listings

Give your property the virtual tour treatment to take homebuyers inside the home and show them what it really has to offer. Videos are great, interesting, shareable, and really show the seller you’re serious about this home.

“Did you know that 73% of homeowners say they’re more likely to list with a realtor who offers to create a video for them, but only 4% of agents put their listings on YouTube,” said communications expert, Jess Maria.

Like your photos, make sure these videos look amazing. So either hire a professional or get a good camera and become really good at shooting them yourself.

Make Sure You Have Printed Takeaways at Open Houses

Put together a little bundle that gives your open house guests all the required information (floor plan, area comparables), while also using all of your professional photos to remind people how amazing this place is.

Also, always put your business card front and center, so they can quickly get in touch with you for the next step. Never send them away empty handed!

Real estate listings are an art AND a science. So invest the time it takes to make them stand out with great words and pictures, while giving them a strong online presence with videos and a first rate open house takeaway package.

If you need to print new packages or any other real estate materials, start by clicking here – we’re here to serve!

Do You Still Need to “List to Last”?

List to Last

There’s been a long-standing catch phrase in our industry that real estate agents need to “list to last”. That is, if an agent didn’t focus on listings, they wouldn’t last in the industry for very long.

Many Realtors® are challenging that idea now, especially with internet marketing increasing exposure for both listing agents and buyer’s agents. With great online marketing in an internet-savvy market, a buyer’s agent can certainly be successful. But my contention is they can’t be as successful as a well-positioned listing agent. Here’s why.

Buyers Take More Time

This is a simple reality. It takes a lot of time to show buyers around. I read an article by a buyer’s agent who said he maximized efficiency by showing most information through email and online, limiting in-person showings, and turning down buyers who seemed too needy.

Well, that’s a great gig if you can get it, and he’s obviously an established agent in a large market to be able to lay those boundaries. But the simple truth is, many clients aren’t internet savvy. Many listings don’t have great online pictures or a video walkthrough. And many clients need to really see and feel a space in person before they can make a decision. So, as a buyer’s agent, spending time on the road is a reality.

As a listing agent, on the other hand, you have a certain amount of work up front but then the work is mainly from the office. You communicate with potential buyers over the phone, and market the property online or with an open house or two. You can give high-quality service to many more listings at one time than you can buyers. Thus, a successful listing agent has better earning potential than a successful buyer’s agent.

Listings Generate More Business

We all love referrals, and a happy buyer can certainly send some your way. However, when you list a home, you have a lot more opportunity for visibility than a buyer’s agent. The sign in the yard is a big deal. The sign is a visual that puts your name and smiling face in front of others, both buyers and sellers, every day. Besides that, your name is in the real estate section of the newspaper, online, and more.

It’s very popular to say that traditional marketing techniques don’t matter in the age of the internet, but it’s simply not true. The opposite of “out of sight, out of mind” is “in sight, in mind,” and that’s exactly what a listing sign, newspaper picture, just-listed postcard, and more do for you.

Buyer’s agents may argue that you can more cheaply advertise online, and that online marketing is the great equalizer. The problem is, online advertising is also much more crowded. Standing out online is much harder than standing out through a yard sign, postcard, or newspaper real estate spread. Your return on investment as a listing agent is simply higher.

There’s Nothing Wrong with Buyer’s Agents!

I’m not trying to say it’s wrong to want to be a buyer’s agent. Many Realtors® I know love the experience of finding a buyer’s dream home, and hate dealing with sellers and their unrealistic (at times) expectations. I get that. But realize that you’re making a trade-off. You’re happier and enjoy your work more, and you’re lowering your earning potential. That’s a valid choice!

However, if your goal is to maximize your income and your time efficiency, you’ll find that listings are essential to your business. You can give great service to more listings at one time than you can buyers, and your marketing opportunities are much greater. You’ll find that through listings, you’ll reach not only new listings but buyers as well. You may find you want to partner with a buyer’s agent so you can give great, targeted service to both groups.

Being a listing agent takes a similar, but slightly different, set of skills than being a buyer’s agent. The presentations are different, the hustle is different, and many times the personalities required are slightly different. However, the old adage of our industry is still true – if you want to be the most successful you can be, you still must “list to last”.

Do you think Realtors® need to “list to last”? Why or why not? Share in the comments!

How to Take Great Listing Photos that Sell Homes Fast

Real Estate Listing PhotosIn today’s internet-focused culture, how you post your real estate listings online can easily make the difference between a sale and not even getting a call. Most Realtors® know that a listing with photos will get many more calls than one without. Unfortunately, many Realtors® don’t have a great idea of how to best display their listings online. Following these simple tips will help you take great listing photos and sell your properties quickly.

Use a High Quality Camera
Consider a good camera to be a necessary investment in your real estate business. Using a cell phone or simple point-and-click camera will look unprofessional and result it unclear, grainy photos. You want to display both yourself and your listing in the best, most professional light possible.

A professional photographer setup isn’t necessary for a Realtors®, but a good resolution camera with a tripod will result in high quality, clear photographs that will really make your online listings stand out among the rest.

Make Sure You Have Good Light
In any photograph, the light sets the scene and makes it easy to see the details of what’s in the picture. A picture that’s dark sends a message that the home is dark itself, which is not feature buyers are looking for! In addition, real estate listing photosdarkness tends to make people think of dirtiness and hidden problems. Getting photos that are properly lit will help potential buyers have a chance to fall in love with a home.

To achieve proper lighting, take your pictures on a sunny day. Open windows to let in light. Consider bringing in lamps if a room doesn’t have enough natural light to frame it well. Take time to research lighting setups or take an introductory photography class if you have time. Remember, you’re investing in yourself and your success!

Choose your Listing’s Best Side
I’m not talking about the particular side of the house, of course. I’m talking about making sure that you frame everything you photograph in the best possible way. Make sure rooms are picked up and organized before photographing inside. When taking pictures outside, avoid unattractive features such as torn awnings or an ugly yard. Avoid dirt and stains, and really showcase what makes the house such a great purchase.

Potential buyers are looking to put themselves in the picture, and are trying to imagine what it would be like to live there. Use your photos to make that picture very easy to see, and very appealing! Use photos to show off the home’s best features, not the current owner’s collections or oddities.

Take a Lot of Photos
When taking photos, be sure to get a lot of shots. Try different angles – a house almost always looks better at an angle than straight on from the front. Photograph rooms from various locations. After you’ve taken all your pictures, you’ll have a wide variety to choose from in creating your online listing.

Buyers also enjoy when there are more photos on a listing, so don’t skimp in uploading the great shots. If there are only one or two pictures, it may make the listing seem amateur or imply that there’s something to hide. When you have a large number of photos, you can upload all of the best shots and display the house to its full potential.

90% of buyers start their home searches online. Online listing sites are becoming more and more popular. Buyers want to feel like they can see themselves living in the home. By following these simple listing photo tips, you can make your online listing stand out from others and generate more leads, more calls, more showings, and sales.