A new study recently covered by the Wall Street Journal has confirmed our suspicions:
A picture really is worth 1,000 words. And then some!
“Real Estate Homebuyer Internet Search Behavior” found that 95% of viewers viewed the first photo of a listing – in this case the exterior of the home – for a total of 20 seconds, more than double the time spent viewing any other photo.
Researchers used eye-tracking technology to study the viewing patterns of individuals looking at online listings. We’ve used the results of this study to create a series of best practices for listing real estate online so you can make sure that every property has the optimum impact on potential home buyers.
1. Your first photo should be of the front of the house – and it should be good!
The users in the study spent twice as long looking at the photo of the front of the house than they did looking at any other photo – including the kitchen and the master bedroom. Translation: curb appeal counts! Help your sellers prepare for success by passing on curb appeal tips, then make sure to take the best shot possible and use it as the lead photo on your listing.
Hiring a professional photographer and home stager is a good idea if you have the budget, but with a little practice you can also take some decent pictures with your iPhone. Just be sure to get out of your car first (unlike this guy).
2. Don’t skimp on your listing description.
After viewing the first photo, 76% of users moved on to the property description to check out details like location, price and number of rooms. This is an area that you want to fill in as much as possible because it is where prospects go to see if the home meets their basic criteria. If the home looks nice and has the features they want, you’re that much closer to scheduling a showing.
Don’t skip out on the square footage of the lot or put “N/A” if you don’t know about a specific field. You’re the listing agent; it’s your job to find out!
3. Keep your agent comments concise.
A shocking 40% of participants didn’t even view the agent remarks on the listings in the study. So if you’re spending hours composing the perfect sonnet about every square inch of the house, stop! Keep your remarks short and sweet. Focus on the neighborhood and the lifestyle surrounding the listing, rather than the features that are already visible in the photos.
Would you add anything to this list of best practices for posting real estate online?