Your listing’s MLS description is the very first gateway to charming and attracting a potential homebuyer. And while the contents for the listing itself are pretty standard — the address of the property, list price and a short features summary with photographs — it’s critical that your listing stand out in the crowd of listings.
To make your listings pop on the MLS, you’ll want to avoid the common mistakes that are instant turnoffs and send perusers on to the next listing. Here are four seemingly small, but truly impactful, MLS mistakes you should avoid at all costs.
1. Setting the price wrong
Negotiating the listing price with a seller is always tricky. They want to sell for the highest price imaginable, and their heart is in it as well.
Your job, as their agent, is to get them the best price based on market conditions — in other words, to manage realistic expectations. You’re the pro, but the agent often has to negotiate a compromise price with the seller. And when they do, it often ends with a nine, as in $499,999.
Is this really the price you want potential homebuyers to see? Of course not.
Round numbers are always better. They are easier for consumers to wrap their heads around and sound less like the price of gas or a sale item from a store. So instead of $499,999, go with $490,000 or $500,000.
A nice round number also increases the likelihood of the listing being found by consumers searching the internet — you essentially double the listing’s exposure with a whole number.
2. Overloading the text
Agents often make the mistake of going way overboard on text when describing a property listing. While the temptation is understandable — you’ve got a great listing, and you want to cram in every detail — this unfortunately often points out potential flaws to would-be homebuyers.
Potential homebuyers are likely looking at multiple listings, and how you describe the property should draw them in and make them want to pick up the phone or send you an email to see more.
Remember that buying a home is an emotional decision, and how you describe the property matters. Don’t give it all away in the listing description. Descriptions should flow with the photos and describe the best aspects of the home to entice potential buyers to want to learn (and see) more.
Also, note that grammar mistakes matter. In a 2014 study from Redfin and Grammarly, nearly 45 percent of the 1,300 people surveyed said they would be much less inclined to tour a home if there were spelling and grammatical errors in the property description.
Photos were unanimously more important than text, but 87 percent of the survey participants said that descriptions were “extremely important or very important,” the report noted.
And you might want to think twice about using multiple exclamation points in your descriptions.
3. Skimping on the photos
Photography might seem like a quick and easy aspect of a listing to tackle, and so agents are often guilty of taking their own photos (or worse, not using any photos for their listing).
Let’s be clear: The property doesn’t stand a chance if you do not have quality photos from a good professional photographer that showcase the property to its best potential.
Listings that are professionally shot by a photographer close faster and often for more money than those more haphazardly done.
4. Not organizing the photo presentation
Another common mistake agents make is just loading the photos as they receive them from the photographer. A lack of organization on the MLS can confuse the consumer and make it less likely for them to want to look at the property in person.
Instead, load the photos in the order you would show the house, starting with the front of the home. Or if that is not the strongest exterior shot, start with the backyard. Then show the home room-by-room, starting with the living areas and progressing to the more private ones.
Use thoughtful descriptions for the photos, especially when the room or area needs a bit of a boost or could be used for various purposes.
Perhaps that fourth bedroom has more appeal as a playroom or media room, or maybe that garage-to-home hallway as a “mudroom.” Use your imagination to help potential homebuyers use theirs.
It can be tempting to take shortcuts, but a thoughtful, well-written description with professional photographs is the most important way to generate potential homebuyers for your listing. Take the time to create a compelling listing, and it will increase the odds of attracting buyers — and that will help sell it quickly and for the best possible price.
Shari L. Mattern is the director of marketing and communications with BHGRE Gary Greene in Houston, Texas.