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Sellers, is your property being marketed effectively?

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The real estate market is a competitive space, with daily newspapers, weekend papers, and online media all carrying property related adverts. Similar properties are for sale on the same platforms, undoubtedly influencing the reach of the property being advertised.

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Considering this, the way the advert is structured is vitally important, says Richard Gray, CEO of Harcourts Africa. Gray believes that the traditional template of trying to sell the home with elaborate adjectives and hard-sell headings is becoming less effective. Before publishing an advert these questions have to be asked: Will buyers respond to the advert, and does it make it easy for the buyer to find the desired listing?

Due to the ever-increasing importance of effective digital marketing, the inclusion of keywords in a home listing is an essential component of the advert. “Listings need to be worded in such a way that someone searching online is able to find the property relatively easy,” explains Gray. For a real estate agent, using the appropriate keywords will add weight to the website’s Google ranking.

Although most property portals have a structure in place that assist in creation of the adverts, the description and photographs paired with the advert often lacks a strategic approach.

Speak the language of your target marketGirl whispering in boy's ear

Gray says it is important to determine which market the listing is targeted at. This will determine the language used in the advert as well as what keywords to identify. For example, if selling a home in an area with a large amount of millennial demand it would be counterproductive to use forceful, traditional jargon. “Studies show that millennial are more informed and often know quite a bit about the property market,” says Gray, explaining that it may aid the sale more to add insights of value – like the potential investment return, instead of sticking to strictly describing the home.

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Once the target market has been identified the three most attractive features of the home must be highlighted and described in plain and simple language. People browsing for homes want to be informed on the property, not sold on it, let the listing speak for itself.

Photographs, if done correctly, can be a great addition to the listing. Grey cautions, however, that these photographs cannot just be random snaps. Often the required photographic skill to present the home in a desired manner is lacking, with photos doing more harm than good. The photos must do the property justice, capturing its feel instead of just showcasing.

Keywords and SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) may sound like swear words for some, but they are essential tools for marketing a home effectively. Choose phrases that the buyer would need to type into a search engine to locate the property. Don’t just paste these phrases into the advert; blend the keywords and phrases with the rest of the description.

The techniques described here are basic, research and appropriate use will position the listing in such a manner that the appropriate buyers are easily reached and influenced. A seller should enquire from his/her agent how these themes are being used in the digital marketing of the property to ensure effective selling


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