I remember when I was younger and watched my parents comb through neighborhoods, scouting for houses on the market, pulling leaflets out of those plastic tubes above “For Sale” signs.
Thankfully, times have changed.
Instead of driving around aimlessly for hours, you can now scout homes and area prices right online, especially with one of the most popular online real estate database companies, Zillow.
There are a lot of reasons why millions of potential home buyers flock to Zillow to find the home of their dreams.
Aside from the ability to customize your search as well as use keywords to find properties with specific amenities, Zillow also determines home estimates, publishes home value reports, enables you to estimate your mortgage, and even allow you to get in touch with a realtor directly through phone or email.
And those are just a few of this site’s standout features.
So as a real estate agent looking to maximize your real estate listing on Zillow, what can you do to make your property not only standout, but also entice potential buyers?
No worries. I’ve done the work for you.
Below, I’ve laid out five easy steps to get your Zillow listing up to par, hopefully bringing you in some buyers and, of course, a good sell.
Fill Out Your Listing Completely
Yes, I know, but you’d be surprised at some of the things I’ve seen.
Filling out your listing in its entirety should be common sense, but for the sake of just getting the property up and out into the digital world, sometimes realtors forgo essential elements of a property listing, leaving out room types, construction, and other additional features that could be the very buying points future homeowners are looking for.
Even keywords, which function as an additional search tool for those looking for properties with specific amenities, may be left out, and keywords (as I’ll later show you) can be a big factor in property pricing.
So please. The empty fields are there. Fill them. You can’t provide too much information on a property. Just as your real estate agency software is ineffective when you don’t use it to its capacity, so too is Zillow.
Spruce Up Your Photos/Add a Walkthrough
The thing about real estate, and especially when potential buyers are looking for homes online, is that images can greatly impact their interest.
For example, when I was looking for an apartment online, I bypassed any listings that didn’t include photos or enough photos to convince me to visit the property.
A floor plan alone? That’s seriously not enough.
Having to rely on public transportation, I couldn’t take a gamble on one pixelated photo or haphazard images that don’t really show me what I’m getting. I needed more than that, especially since there were so many listings out there to choose from.
As a realtor, you can’t make that same mistake. Low quality photos or a lack of photos as a whole can keep potential buyers away from what’s really a standout property.
Even Zillow knows this.
In “10 Listing Photo Do’s and Don’ts,” Catherine Sherman lists some common mistakes made when capturing photos of an available property. From poor lighting to messy spaces, they’re all real estate faux paus that you’d want to avoid when capturing the essence of a home.
Many of these are basic, but probably occur more often than you think. Believe me, I’ve seen my fair share of room photos filled with soiled laundry and food wrappers about.
But if you aren’t sure how to go about this or you’re questioning your photography skills, investing in a professional photographer may be the way to go. Still, be sure that you’re showcasing the home accurately and not photoshopping details or over-exaggerating amenities. It’s not entirely illegal, but I’d hate for you to have a lawsuit on your hands. Plus, homebuyers coming to check out the place will be greatly disappointed, wasting both their time and your own.
If you still do want to go it alone, there are still some great photo apps you can use to make the most out of your iOS or Android camera, particularly for real estate properties.
But don’t forget about the impact of walkthrough either.
According to Zillow’s profile builder, video walkthroughs get listings three times more views than listing with just photos. And if that sounds difficult, not to worry. Zillow takes you through the process, which you can simply record through your own mobile phone.
Choose the Right Keywords
Keywords hold major impact. As a content writer, keywords are important (not as much as you, of course), to help get my posts up in search engine results so others can find my content. The wrong keyword or at least one that doesn’t rank impacts my future searches, meaning fewer people read my articles. And like any writer, it’s nice when people read the stuff you work so hard on.
For homes on Zillow, not making the most out of certain keywords can prevent your property from being sold.
On their own blog, Zillow’s Catherine Sherman again does a great, quick runthrough of what may be keeping you back from buyers. For example, she reports that “lower-priced listings with the word ‘luxurious’ sold for 8.2% more on average than expected. ‘Luxurious’ signals that a home’s finishes and amenities are high-end,” meaning more interested buyers in your property. Even a simple word like “beautiful” can sell 2.3% more on average.
But keywords can also be your enemy as well. In an accompanying article, Sherman lists nine keywords that be detrimental to your listing, including those like “cosmetic,” “bargain,” or even “nice,” all of which can reduce your overall price from 1% to 7.5% less than expected.
Fill Out An Agent Profile
As an agent, your contact information has the potential to show up in both the upper left tab and in a box on the righthand side, conveniently located next to property details. The thing is though, while your name may be there, nothing else will be unless you consciously choose to add it.
So when you’re constructing your profile, think of these three things, according to Zillow’s Paul Moore:
- Invest in a photo
- “Agents generally have two schools of thought about what to use in their profile photo: a professional headshots or a company logo,” says Moore. “I’m in the headshot camp; I think they’re more personable — but no selfies, please.”
- If you’re a little lost in the headshot game, they also have an article to help walk you through the process, which you can view here.
- Add your agency’s name (if you have one), links to your (active) social media, and of course your contact information so potential buyers can get in touch with you easily and around the clock.
- Connect your current and past listings to your profile so when buyers are looking for realtors in the area, your properties, both past and present, will pop up and add some experience to your profile. An agent with only one property listed is no match for one with a history of sells on their side.
Also, if you weren’t already convinced, it’s free to fill out a profile.
Request Customer Reviews
In the world of ecommerce, “61% of customers read online reviews before making a purchase decision,” as “[c]onsumer reviews are significantly more trusted (nearly 12 times more)” than what’s advertised.”
Put yourself in the buyer’s position. Are you more likely to hire an agent with reviews or none at all?
The thing about creating your own agent profile is that filling out the basic information isn’t enough. You need customer reviews to ground your experience and make what you advertise a believable promise that translates into real life.
Even bad reviews, while less desirable, are also valuable, with Econsultancy saying that “a mix of positive and negative reviews helps to improve consumer trust in the opinions they read,” even improving conversion rates by 67% as “68% of consumers trust reviews more when they see both good and bad scores.”
Now, getting customer reviews doesn’t have to be a daunting task. Simply asking is a sound strategy. Just be sure to thank them later.
Can you think of any other ways to maximize your real estate Zillow listing? Let me know in the comments below.