After you’ve rehabbed a property, you probably want to sell it or rent it out as soon as possible. For this, you’ll need to do some marketing, which entails creating a listing. But for many real estate investors, marketing doesn’t come as easy as finding, analyzing, and fixing up a property. In fact, marketing is a whole new territory for a lot of investors, yet it’s just as important a step as all the others. When selling a property, the listing is one thing that could make the difference between a fast sale and a property that you’re paying on for months to come. Whether you’re creating a listing that will appear on the MLS or a listing that will go on Craigslist, Bigger Pockets, Mashvisor or elsewhere, following are the secrets to writing listings that sell your property fast.
Your listing should be as specific as possible. That way, potential buyers can get a fuller understanding of everything your property offers. In other words, you want to use adjectives that modify your nouns. For example, instead of saying “brick house,” say “red brick house.” Instead of saying “tile flooring,” say “ceramic tile flooring.” This kind of descriptive language supports visuals being created in the mind of the reader, which are more likely to entice them to want to learn more about the property. Being specific in your listings also subtly builds the trust that a potential buyer may place in you. Vague listings often come across like the seller has something to hide, even when that’s not true. The more specific you make your listing, the more open and honest you appear.
It goes without saying that sellers should be accurate in their property listings; however, unintentional inaccuracies occur all the time. Unfortunately, inaccuracies can lead to misunderstandings or even a breakdown of the sales relationship. When a buyer reads something about the property, they expect it to be true. When a listing is misleading, a seller is hard-pressed to prove that it was only an oversight. The most common inaccuracies occur with specs. Pay close attention when mentioning square footage, dimensions, and capacities. For instance, if you are unsure of the BTU of an A/C unit, either leave it out or find out exactly what it is without any doubt. Don’t guess. Get the square footage of the property from the tax assessor’s office; don’t assume what you were told by the seller is accurate. Finally, confirm all these details before you hit the “publish” button anywhere. It’s very easy to transpose numbers when writing your property listings.
Provide the Financial Selling Points
Don’t hesitate to list the financial selling points that most interest real estate investors if that’s your target buyer. For example, turnkey rentals rarely stay on the market for very long, and part of that is due to the fact that the important numbers are listed right up front. Potential buyers are told the cap rate, cash on cash return, and net cash flow each month based on a 20% initial investment. It’s all right there in an easy-to-read box on the front page of the property listing. Then if someone’s interested in learning more, they can download all the detailed financial information. If you do the same with your property listings, your potential buyers will be more likely to want to delve deeper into what your property can offer them.
Related to accuracy, don’t exaggerate or “stretch the truth.” This only leads to disappointment, which ends up in wasted time and no sale for you. Professional marketers know that it’s much better to under promise and over deliver than vice versa. Marketing is about making something sound very enticing, but it should never be about trickery or making misleading claims. One very common listing exaggeration or misleading claim is to say that a property has a pool when in fact it only has access to a community pool. Those are two very different things, especially when it comes to property value. Another common exaggeration is to say that a property has a sunroom when it really only has a rickety screened-in porch. Call things what they are and don’t try to mislead your readers. Potential buyers will appreciate your honesty and you won’t leave them disappointed.
Draw Attention to Special Features
At the same time, you do want to mention features about the property that make it unique, charming or special in some way. For this, you’ll need to put on your rose-colored glasses. Every property has at least one special thing about it no matter how rundown or plain it may appear on the surface. It’s just harder to identify these on some properties. And remember, even if you’re selling a property to another investor, pointing out special features makes your listing stand out and helps the investor imagine their own listing when they want to rent it out or whatever. Special features are ones that make the property different and are not found just anywhere. They include things like:
Built-in shelves, cabinets, etc.
Antique light fixture
Original hardwood floors
Vintage cabinet hardware
Low flow toilet
Stained glass window
Don’t Put Your Listing Entirely in the Hands of Your Real Estate Agent
If you’re using a real estate agent to sell your property, they’ll create a listing for you. Keep in mind, though, that real estate agents are trained to buy and sell properties, but they aren’t necessarily taught how to write effective listings. Some real estate agents are shockingly bad at writing listings to the point where they farm it out to freelancers. The freelancer may be able to write well, but as a third party, the listing isn’t going to be as detailed and accurate as it should be. Long story short, you shouldn’t put your property listing entirely in the hands of a real estate agent, if you’re using one. Writing a listing is part of the service provided by a real estate agent, but that doesn’t mean you have no say in the final product. You should either write the listing yourself and collaborate with your real estate agent on the final draft, or review and edit the listing they create. Go through and make sure it adheres to all the tips provided here.
Whether you’re marketing to an investor or to an owner-occupier, use these strategies to sell your property as quickly as possible. Once you start taking care of all these steps on a few properties, you’ll find that your listings become easier and easier to write. And hopefully, you’ll probably also notice that your properties start selling faster than before!
This article has been contributed by Antoine Martel.