Article Courtesy of: Inman News
By: Santiago Arana

Listing not getting enough traction? Well, the good news is that there's a buyer out there for every home. Sometimes, all you need to do is freshen up the photography, copy and marketing. Here are a few tips to consider
Even in a sizzling market, there are some homes that, for whatever reason, just don’t seem to resonate with buyers at first glance. However, I am a big believer that there is a home out there for everyone and an owner for every home.

So, when the tough gets going, you have to get creative and breathe life back into your lingering listing to find the right buyer. Here, you’ll find five ways to refresh the listing and your approach to the sale process, without you or your client having to spend a fortune.

1. Set the stage

Having the right staging in a home is crucial to capture the hearts and minds of buyers, and if a listing is languishing on the market, it might be time to reevaluate the space.

When potential buyers walk in, they need to see how they would live in the space — where they would relax and watch television, cozy up with a good book or enjoy a meal with their family.

Selling a lifestyle is possible with staging, but it has to be the right staging. For example, you can’t have oversized furnishings in small spaces or small pieces in large spaces. You should also be mindful of mixing the styles of furnishings so much so that it creates too much of a juxtaposition that it is unsightly.

The staging also has to be functional and seasonally appropriate for the climate. As a note, if the home is empty and not staged, you can always use a virtual staging program to create the desired effect for images and marketing material. The same principles will apply to virtual staging as physical staging. (I personally like the Spotless Agency virtual staging services.)

2. Up the curb appeal

Once your interior staging is in order, take a look outside to make sure your listing is checking all the boxes in the curb appeal department. If the grounds need some TLC, encourage your client to invest in a gardening service or to pick up their weed whacker and rev up the lawnmower for a family day in the yard.

Having an overgrown or unkept garden does not create a great first impression and can signal to the potential owner that there is a lot of work associated with the upkeep of the home.

Additionally, look athow the exterior paint, driveway condition and even mailbox are maintained. Sometimes, adding a fresh coat of paint to the exterior, fixing broken pavers, power-washing or replacing a broken mailbox can give an instant improvement to the first look of a home.

Of course, all this work does come with a price tag, so make sure you are able to set realistic goals and expectations with your client.

3. Level up your listing photos

Now that your listing has had a refresh on the inside and the outside, it is ready for its close-up. If you have made significant changes, you will need to have a full reshoot of the home. If not, make sure you capture the best elements of the updates to add to your marketing materials and MLS profile.

Buyers are shopping so much online these days that the first thing they see of the house is typically the listing photos. Make sure you have a full set of good-quality photos that showcase the best parts of the home on hand.

If you want some advice, ask fellow agents to review the images of your listing for their feedback, and check in with your marketing team, if possible. You can also ask fellow agents to show you listings that have sold quickly and take a look and see how your images stack up against theirs.

4. Whip up copy with flair

Now that your images are perfect, it’s time to take a look at the listing copy. Once the images have captured potential buyers’ attention, they will want to read about the home and all the amenities and features it has.

Make sure your listing copy is easy to read with no typos and that it includes all the special elements of the home. Be descriptive where you can so long as word count allows.

5. Consider a marketing makeover

If you have you’re on track with everything that’s mentioned above, but the listing is still not hitting the mark, it’s time to look at your marketing campaign.

Are you getting the home in front of the right set of potential buyers and are you telling the narrative of the home in a way that would resonate with them? These are the first questions I tell agents to think about when it comes time to evaluate a marketing campaign.

I always say that it’s good to be creative and to think outside the box when it comes to marketing. Perhaps all your listing needs is an eye-catching video, a different image on the front of the postcard or a refreshed headline in your e-blast copy.

If a listing is languishing on the market, try taking a look at the staging, curb appeal, listing images, listing copy and your marketing plan. As I mentioned earlier, there is a homebuyer out there right now searching for their dream home — your listing. You just need to make sure that they find each other using these tried-and-true techniques.

Santiago Arana is a managing partner at The Agency, in Los Angeles.

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