Online Real Estate Marketing Strategies for 2012

The housing market has changed significantly over the past several years. Housing prices have faced a steady decline in value. This has left many homeowners upside down on their mortgage. They now owe more on their home than the actual value. While some homeowners have simply walked away from the debt and their dream home, others are holding out for a short sale. Still other homeowners are lucky enough to have the time and money to wait for the right offer. However, it is a buyer’s market, and this is also to your advantage. It is important to understand the different ways that home buyers view media and also what options they utilize to search for their dream home.

The option to hire an agent or to sell the home yourself creates options and challenges. A real estate agent will gladly take 6% off the selling price as their commission. The commission doesn’t sound like much but can be several thousand dollars or more. However, if you don’t want to give away 6% of the selling price you can sell it yourself. The benefit of using an agent means that you let them do the marketing for you. When you interview agents, make sure they know about marketing your home. If they are not familiar with new media, they are probably not the right person for you. Ads placed in newspapers will likely not be seen. The world has gone digital and you need a real estate agent that understands this media.

Twenty years ago homes were sold with yard signs, newspaper ads, advertising slicks and word of mouth. However today there are literally dozens of ways to promote your home online. Selling your own home can be a tricky process. You need to be able to meet potential buyers according to their schedule and you must be able to handle criticism about your current home. Home buyers tend to be brutally honest about areas that need to be updated with paint, flooring, fixtures and lighting. If your home is in good condition but you haven’t updated the faucet in the sinks, the door knobs, cabinet pulls, and applied new paint then you may be in for a rude awakening. This is why some people choose realtors instead of managing the sale themselves. Filtered comments via a realtor is easier to digest than unfiltered comments from buyers as they walk through the home.

Buyers want to see pictures of each room, not just profiles of the home’s exterior. They want to see sparkly kitchens and bathrooms, warm living areas and cozy bedrooms. You can get good photos with terrific resolution on a smart phone. If the lighting isn’t great, this can be improved through the use of Photo Shop or other digital applications. Once they have been edited, the photos can be uploaded to websites and used in mobile marketing as well.

There are many websites and tools that can help you sell your home. One creative way to sell your home is to create a web site with photographs, a map, details of your home and contact information. You don’t need to know programming languages or be a graphic designer.

Creating your own website may seem daunting but can be accomplished in a day. The website should be built in advance of selling your home. This will ensure that search engines have time to locate and index your site. If you launch the site the same day that you list your house for sale, you may not see any traffic on the site for several weeks. A simple website can have between one and five pages, with each page dedicated to a specific area.

Page one is the landing page. This page should have a glorious photograph of your home. It should also contain specific key words which is how buyers locate the site. Utilize key words such as; for sale by owner, your zip code, square footage, year built, lot size, number of rooms and any special features. The price of your home is important but should not be the prominent feature in key words. Buyers may see the price and immediately move on to another website.

Page two can have beautifully laid out photographs.

Page three can have the home’s descriptions, features, location and information on schools and shopping.

Page four can be a map of the area.

Page five can be a ‘Contact Us’ form. This allows buyers to reach out to you by email. You can post your phone number, but I don’t recommend it. If people drive by the house and don’t see any cars, they can call you to ensure you are not home. This scheme is used by criminals to gain entry into your home, and they can take their time because they know when you will return.

If you don’t want to maintain a website there are other options. There are several web sites where you can post your home anonymously. This protects your privacy and you don’t need to worry about answering the phone when you can’t be available. These web sites give you room to load information about your house, including photographs and a detailed description of features and amenities. The great thing about these sites is that potential buyers contact you by email. The information on these sites can be managed by either a realtor or by a home owner.

If you decide to build a we bsite then consider buying a domain name that showcases your property. Consider the location, features and amenities – something that sets your home apart from similar homes in your area. Something like HoustonGardenHome or NYCTownHome or SanFranLoft is easy for people to remember and immediately sets your home apart. has more than 22 million people that visit the website each month. That is a lot of eyeballs! You can go with the option called ‘Make Me Move’ which is a free listing. The homeowner sets up a profile in a pre-market move as For Sale By Owner and posts their dream price. The listing is anonymous and potential buyers can contact you by email. Zillow has a mobile app for smart phones which makes it easy to follow up on your listing. is a web hosting site where you can easily build your own website by using drag and drop templates. is another website with fantastic templates. The only problem with wix is the sites are built in flash. Those of you with iphones will realize that other users will never see a web site built in flash on your iphone. Wix offers a mobile site that gives the highlights and can be seen on flash-friendly smart phones. It is built very similar to your website but is typically a condensed version. manages domain names, offers web design and web hosting. This is a DIY site if you want to keep everything in one place. They offer templates for web design or they can build a site for you.

– YouTube is another way you can market your home online. Short video clips of the exterior and inside give a prospective buyer a better idea of how your home is laid out and lets them walk through in a virtual world. If you choose this route, set up a dedicated page on YouTube. Include a link on your website to ensure potential buyers go directly to the video and don’t get lost in the channel and give up searching for your home.

– Another option for selling your home is to post an ad on facebook. You can select a daily budget based on the number of times people click on the ad, or based on impressions which is the number of times the ad appears on peoples pages. This is an easy way to reach people within a target market and allows you to test the messaging to see what is most effective. You could build a dedicated facebook page as well, but be aware that you could receive unwanted traffic and comments.

Selling your home requires planning, patience and a little research. Managing this process gives you the advantage of promoting your home in ways that very few other people are doing. The more digital channels that you use, the higher the likelihood of selling your home in a shorter time period.

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