In the ultra competitive cut-throat world of online portal property listings, some listings are left to die a natural death while some flourish and sprout new business for the lister. Comparing the death listings and the lively ones which bring in the eyeballs time after time, one tends to see a pattern emerge, and applying this little bit of knowledge might just save you from wasting your time, energy and money on cultivating a listing that is bound to fail. So today I share with my readers the SEVEN HABITS OF HIGHLY EFFECTIVE ONLINE PROPERTY LISTINGS.
1. LOCATION, LOCATION, LOCATION – Effective listings are always in a good location (Portal)
Isn’t it a bit of surprise that being realtors, some still don’t get it? Or maybe they just fail to see it. The next sentence may about to floor you. The online world is similarly to the offline world whereby web traffic or human traffic in offline terms almost guarantees listing traffic / sales most of the time. Get it now? With the proliferation of multiple property portals nowadays, its no wonder that some are confused which is better. Simple Analogy: In property terms, Is a matured estate with all amenities and transport links up a better bet than a developing new town?
Of course you may add that a unit in a matured town cost much more than a unit in the suburbs. But hey! we aren’t talking about real property here! You may need an arm and a leg to get an actual property in a bustling part of town but you maybe just need to fork out a few hundred more to become a subscriber of a prominent portal. That’s a big difference.
Matured property portals have gone through the tailwinds of its startup days and probably has the majority of the market share of the online portal market. It also has the awareness of the general population and the branding recognition that it brings, meaning guaranteed web traffic. You may not have to spend a dime on a brand new portal but hey, we aren’t talking about collecting subscriptions here! Being on ONE crowd pulling big portal is way better than being on many small portals in my opinion. If the mothership ain’t pulling in the traffic, what hope does your small listing on the first page of the portal have?
Habit #1 – Being on the right page.
2. PLAY THE GAME – Realtors who play the game make their listings work for them by being visible.
There’s no point in being in the game if you are not going to play. Property portals may charge what seems like an exhorbitant rate for being on the top of the page or being a featured agent. You may have to expend more credits/money in a day than the number of times you go to the bathroom but hey, that’s what it’s all about isn’t it? If you want visibility, you are going to have to pay for it and that’s where portals make their money. Smart realtors know the game and they play it well. Invest more in good listings to keep them at the top and spend none on poor listings. When they do spend on unsellable listings, they make sure these listings are the ones that will bring them the branding mileage that will bring other business in.
Let me give you an example: A good sought after and highly in demand area has plenty of buyers but no sellers. A savvy agent knows that if he ever comes across an unreasonable seller who demands an amount that no sane person is likely to pay, he has to take the listing no matter what, as this listing when listed online prominently, will generate the buyers and he will have them in his bank. With a little bit of education and patience, these buyers may be able to help him transact deals in the months to come.
Habit #2 – Being Visible
3. PRICING IT RIGHT – Advanced search means your listing may not even show up to the most sincere buyers if its priced out of the market
Sincere buyers know the market because they have been studying it for a while. Sincere and urgent buyers are short on time which means they only want to work with realistic sellers. With the sheer number of listings on the market and in their desired area, they tend to narrow down their search to only those that can meet their budget which is usually in line with the market. Buyers usually work within a certain geographic location by selecting the district or town in the advanced search and proceeding to limiting the search by dollar terms. If your price falls out of the search filters, it simple means your listing is out of the equation for them. An effective listing is a listing that is priced correctly so that it shows up on buyer’s radars most of the time.
#Habit 3 – Price the listing correctly within Market Value
4. PLAYING THE EYE TRICK – Attractive thumbnails bring in the crowds and the clicks
Your cover picture thumbnail is like a cinema movie poster you see in cinema waiting areas. Have you ever experienced a total blank figuring out which movie to watch and finally deciding to go with the poster that either has famous actors or actresses in it or an intriguing storyline alongside an apt poster design. Having both will surely mean your decision is made in the blink of an eye!
An unusual cover picture thumbnail is an attention grabber. Some realtors have mastered it in a not too subtle way by super-imposing blood red words over the thumbnail screaming “Fire Sale”. You could do that if your listing, to borrow a cliche, is truly a sale worth waiting for. If not, it could backfire terribly on you instead, to being known as a misfiring realtor who sells everything as a fire sale even if the price is nowhere near on fire, in short being fired by consumers who doesn’t bother with your ads when they wise up to you.
A realtor once told me he got a spike in calls once, when he put up a picture of a pair of Chinese buns as the cover thumbnail for his listing. As silly as it sounds, you do get the idea that people are curious and visual creatures. Although that is deeply discouraged as unethical advertising, no one is stopping you from putting up actual photos of the property but done in an artistic or colourful way. Instead of taking a normal photo of the living room for instance, why not do a close up of the bright red sofa or the elegant stand lamp so that it stands out most in the picture. Can’t find a visually loud part of the house to take a photo? A simple solution would be to take that normal photo and give it a bright hue in Photoshop! An increasing number of realtors have also begun to wise up to the idea of a visually appealing thumbnail by taking wide angle shots or fish eye shots so that the house looks visually big and spacious even on a small thumbnail.
#Habit 4 – Seek Attention!
5. PICTURES TELL A STORY
As with the previous point we covered on taking quality pictures using different kinds of lenses, a good realtor knows that quality photos tell a different story to the buyer. Simple photography skills can be gleaned from the web and video sites like YouTube and it isn’t really that expensive to invest in a basic DSLR camera nowadays. As a prominent real estate leader always says, “There are no bad agents, only lazy agents.” If one doesn’t see the need to constantly improve himself, not withstanding the fact that photography will always be needed in real estate, he will remain as he is and grow obsolete.
#Habit 5 – Invest in Quality Photos of the Property
6. STANDING OUT FROM THE NOISE – Online and Offline
The portal landscape has evolved drastically since the days of normal classified style advertising. With the emphasis now on quality listings, realtors today have a variety of tools to stand out from competitors. From featuring floor plans, to uploading videos and the newest fad, 360 degree virtual tours, to their listings, realtors can create a branding for themselves by being different.
A branding like many multinational companies understand, is not built overnight but involves years of work. The rewards will come in time to come when a buyer or seller who sees you often offline, through newspapers or flyers for the past couple of years one day needs a real estate service. He ventures online to portals as now he is serious and sees a familiar face, there is no question who he will call up.
To sum up, effective online listings can be made even more effective by offline marketing.
#Habit 6 – Being Different By Creating A Brand For Yourself
7. DESCRIBE IN CHINESE – Add on further description in Chinese below your English description.
Everybody knows who are snapping up the most expensive properties all over the world – The Chinese. To put it in perspective, the number of millionaires – those with at least $1 million in assets – in China has risen by a multiple of more than 25 since Year 2000.
According to Reuters, Chinese investors are set to fork out $20 billion on offshore property in 2015, up 21 percent on 2014.
One big reason is that China’s rich are seeking safer havens to park their monies with the unstable economic outlook in their home country. Singapore, with our appealing demographics such as political stability, safety and non language barrier, has always been high on their list. Your listing in Chinese may just open doors to the many Chinese buyers actively looking at overseas property investment. Chinese based here locally may also share your listing over Weibo or QQ with their counterparts overseas. It would be wise not to underestimate the power of the internet Chinese community.
#Habit 7 – Always Target Chinese Buyers
Hope this article, Seven Habits of Highly Effective Property Listings can improve your online listing hit rate. For more property articles exclusively written by me, please come back here regularly or drop me an email, I will be glad to share more!