Today’s home searcher is more savvy than ever before. According to the National Association of Realtors, people perform seven to eleven online searches before they take action. Make sure that your listing appeals to today’s tenant with these 5 steps to a listing that rents/sells fast!
Your listing represents your brand. It is all the prospective tenant has to learn about you, how you operate and what the prospective tenant/ buyer can expect. Everything that follows your listing (written and verbal communication) cements that first impression.
Before writing yours, it is important to know who your audience is and what they are looking for. On AHRN.com, home searchers are military-affiliated. From there, sub segmentation is going to vary greatly depending on the type of housing you are offering. For example, apartments for the single soldier (22-30 age range, primarily male), town home for the new family (20-30, women primarily make decisions) and homes for rent or for sale for the more senior enlisted or officers (28-40, primarily women making the decision). With that in mind, take these 5 steps to create a killer listing that converts!
1. Anatomy of a listing
Did you know that 80% of the emotional impact is in the first 20% of the data that people receive? That means you really need to WOW people with the first 20% of your listing.
- Summary page billboard: When people are searching, the first things they see on the summary page are photos, headline and price. Those 3 core items need to be rock solid and truly compelling to draw the prospect to review your detail page. Read below for more on maximizing these 3 critical elements.
- Detail page: This is where you have to remember the 20% rule – it’s your make it or break it point. You want the call, the email or the “favorite” icon to be clicked. The photo, price and headline got the person to click, and now the description is going to be very important.
TIP: Fill out as many fields as possible because you NEVER know which fields the user may be searching on. IF someone searches on square feet or 2 car garage and you didn’t enter that data, you have missed out on a potential lead!
2. How to price it right
Without the right price, your listing will be excluded from automated searches and housing profile matches.
- Understand BAH for your area and match your rent/estimated mortgage payment to the appropriate rank range for your listing. Type in your zip code to see the current respective BAH amounts for your area. Service members ranked E1-E4 will usually live on post/base unless they are married. Keep in mind that BAH amounts can be adjusted every calendar year so you will need to check back when re-listing a property.
- What are the prices where you are advertising?
- When you upgrade your rental listing to Gold, you automatically get the RentSmart tool to help you compare your listing to what is in the AHRN.com database!
- RPP / Discounts and allotment: An allotment is a program offered by DoD finance where a service member’s rent payment is disbursed by the military directly to an account you specify on the first of the month without going into the service member’s bank account. Since the payment is made by military finance as an automatic payment, consider offering tenants who pay via allotment a discount for the security of knowing that payment will be made every month on the 1st.
3. Photos that wow & other digital assets that sell / rent
Did you know that listings with AWESOME photos get 139% MORE CLICKS? It’s worth the investment of time or money to provide prospective tenants with spectacular photos that showcase your property. Let’s do the math. You have a rental for $1,700. Each day the place is empty is $56. Each week is $392.
Professional photography = $250
Floor plan / flyer = $70
Video = $0
TOTAL = $320
If you can rent your place out ONE WEEK faster, you’re in the black by $72.
And, once you invest in these assets, you’ll have them for the next 5 years, as long as nothing about the rental changes.So, if every time you rent the place out (let’s say every 2 years), you rent it one week faster. You’re actually gaining revenue of $392 every time!
A professional photographer can range from $150 – $500, depending on the photographer. $250 is a good middle ground. Utilizing a professional will add to your cost, but ensure the photos are done right the first time. If you decide to DIY, here are tips and checklists on how to get great DIY photos.
The quality of your listing photos is critical, but so is knowing what photos to take and what order to place them in. Click here for a PDF Checklist of photos and order.
TIP: Use www.picmonkey.com to freshen up your existing photos and even watermark them.
4. Write an irresistible headline and description
A great headline and description can make the difference between a potential tenant browsing and their taking action to get more information. Know your audience so that you can speak their language and answer the questions that are most important to them.
- good price, modern, close to good bars, gyms, running trails and restaurants
- good value (good size & price with room to grow), safe, no reported sex offenders, close to parks, great daycare and schools, jobs nearby (Amazon fulfillment center, for example, at JBLM)
- safe, great high schools / colleges nearby, nearby shopping and jobs with emphasis on space.
DO spell check. Keep it to a max of 3 medium sized paragraphs with strong introduction and a call to action at the bottom. Keep it professional and welcoming.
DON’T USE ALL CAPS, it can be considered offensive/yelling.
TIP: Hire out! Write a draft and then send it to one of these resources to help: scripted.com, odesk.com, fancyhands.com, or thumbtack.com.
During the busy PCS season, your property may need an extra boost to get in front of prospective tenants/buyers. If you need a little help rising to the top, upgrades are the way to help your listing get seen first above all the rest. With more pictures and a place in the featured listing carousel, your upgraded listing is sure to be noticed.
You can also boost your business in the AHRN.com military business directory and capture new people coming to your area. This offers a consistent way to keep your name in front of the incoming military audience, even during the slower times of the year and when service members first start their home search.
For the ultimate in visibility, try AHRN.com’s regional banner advertising. Post an ad of your business or an ad of your listing and get that extra visibility you’re looking for!