Top tips to make your listings stand out in 2017

Get social: Shoot a 60-second or shorter video ad sneak peek of the property and post it on Instagram, Facebook, everywhere. Make it a teaser and just show off one really cool feature. Promote it within your sphere and hold a “where in (insert the town)?” contest to see if anyone can guess where your new listing is. Take the first winning guess out for coffee.

Make a house memorable: Your sellers have been very good at listening to your advice. They’ve staged the home for sale. They’ve packed away personal items. They’ve stashed the photos and that collection of porcelain cats. They’ve got neutral colors, coffee table books, and bowls with balls of twine set just so. It’s perfect. The problem is, it’s in the middle of seven showings that day. How are your buyers going to remember your house is the one they liked best? Have one can’t-be-missed quirky or unique staging item in the house, so they can refer back to “the house with the lion statue” or “the house with the bright red rug.”

Get professional help: You advise people not to FSBO because it’s really better for them to use a trained professional. The same argument can be made for photographers. Yes, you can take pictures on your phone, but that doesn’t mean you should. The vast majority of your marketing effort will be focused the visual representations of the house. Buyers will click or not click based on the one photo they see first. Make it – and all of the 35 others they see behind it they very best quality possible. Why wouldn’t you want to make the very best first impression? Professional real estate photographers know how to frame a picture, how to use lighting, and have better equipment. Your portfolio will look better, and your clients will be happier if you spend a little on using a pro. It’s the single best investment you can make as a REALTOR. Make sure the photographer you use know the industry and what to shoot. Unless there’s something really, really special about it, you don’t need to see pictures of a toilet or the inside of a closet. You’re better off including lifestyle shots of the neighborhood and town than including a picture of a dirty shower.

Write better property descriptions: You’ve got 720 characters. Use them well. Write descriptions that appeal to emotions or paint a picture that goes beyond what can be seen in the photos. For executive properties, use words like exclusive, hand-crafted, or bespoke. For historic homes, consider words like vintage, authentic, or curated. If you’ve got a typical suburban home, try spacious, inviting, or friendly. Sell a story. Talk about the experience of living in the home or neighborhood. Emphasize the lifestyle. Use brand names of the appliances and fixtures where appropriate. Avoid too many statistics and numbers. Buyers can see bedroom counts and square footage in the listing. Also avoid using all caps or random capitalization and the over-use of exclamation points at all costs. It’s distracting.

Get a property-specific website: Set up a property-specific website for every listing using the address as the domain name, like Most give you more space for information than the MLS provides, so you can include virtual tours, maps, floor plans, photos, longer property descriptions, links to neighborhood activities, etc. The key here is to include in your description words that search engines will pick up – like all of the features, the name of the subdivision, street, neighborhood, school, town, nearby shops and trendy attractions. Make sure it’s slightly different from the wording on the MLS so the bots catch it. Include links so buyers can share the listing on their social networks.