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Online listings are essential to modern real estate marketing, but many sellers make mistakes. In Northeast LA, these tips are essential for home sellers.

The Internet has transformed the real estate industry and the tools are getting better by the year. Once upon a time home hunters peered over listings in newspapers, posted in the windows of real estate offices, or paged through listing books in Realtor offices. Where did people find the time?

Today a homebuyer and a home seller will meet in a way akin to Internet dating. It’s infinitely faster than the analog methods and also a time-saver in that it eliminates unlikely showings. That is, if the online presence of the listing is done smartly and honestly. 

Smart and honest are two sides of the same coin. It’s important to be realistic about what a home looks like, but not necessary to highlight some of its lesser features (again, the online dating metaphor works: no one posts pictures that zero in on a skin blemish, or what their hair looks like after waking up, or before the 15 pound weight loss). At the same time, over-selling a house before the first visit can backfire: for example, the use of a wide-angle camera lens to make a small room look bigger is a recipe for disappointment.

Another advantage of online advertising of a home for sale is it has fewer limits, particularly where it comes to photography. You can show every room in the house, plus the exterior (front, back and sides), as well as the neighborhood. This works for attracting people from out of town – émigrés to Southern California are reading about NELA, Northeast LA, so they naturally would like to see how it compares to other areas.

Mt. Washington real estate in particular, as well as Highland Park homes, have been two high-demand areas – red hot markets – that have benefitted tremendously from online listings. A listing for Highland Park, for example, might include pictures of specialty retail and restaurants on York and Eagle Rock Boulevards to get a sense of what they might do on weekends. Sellers in Mt. Washington might want to show off its green, quiet overlook roads and the laid-back character of its windy mountain streets and panoramic views.

But a seller can confer with their Realtor to make sure the online ad is a good digital version of what is called “curb appeal” (the first impression a buyer has upon pulling up in front of the property). Here are some things to boost interest through the online ad:

Photo magic – Unless you are versed in the basics of photography and have a design sense, you should leave this job to the professionals. The property should be cleaned of clutter, with angles and lighting that complement its best features. It’s quite remarkable how many FSBO (for sale by owner) listings do this amateurishly.

Online ads are more than photos – The copy helps sell the property too, once it’s gone through the search filters and has managed to grab the buyer’s attention. Headlines are of utmost importance. The job a headline is to deliver a benefit (e.g., views), something not available everywhere (e.g., in four directions) with a touch of intrigue (e.g., a mix of city and country): “Views in every direction, looking at downtown and a nature preserve.” The reader is given a mental image that should get them to read further into the listing.

The rest of the copy should sell a lifestyle as much as X number of bedrooms. Describe the physical property, but weave in the story about what it’s like to entertain there in the summer or at the holidays, the kind of neighborhood it’s in, and if it’s a quiet place to sleep – or a wonderfully urban neighborhood full of vitality and things to do: “This is the kind of bungalow that defines Glassell Park (or Garvanza, Hermon or Highland Park…).”

The 15 words that sell – Thanks to data analytics, Zillow has identified 15 words that increase the sale price. They specifically looked at lower-tier priced homes and found these words were most associated with higher closing prices (listed from most to least): luxurious, captivating, impeccable, stainless, basketball (meaning recreation nearby), landscaped, granite, pergola, remodel, beautiful, gentle, spotless, tile, upgraded and updated.

To be clear, only words that actually apply to the property should be used. The online ad is step one of the process, and therefore needs to be truthful while compelling.

A successful Realtor is skilled at telling a story about your home that draws buyers in and engaged them. Make sure the Realtor you choose to represent your home uses high quality photography and media, along with a compelling marketing description, to make the most of online exposure. 

tracy 150x175With over 30 years experience in helping clients buy and sell homes in Northeast Los Angeles, Tracy King has a depth of real estate knowledge that makes her the go-to for both the first-time home buyer and the seasoned real estate investor. When she's not holding open houses or negotiating offers, Tracy enjoys wine tasting, cooking, or planning her next trip to Paris. If you are looking to buy or sell a home in Northeast Los Angeles, contact the Tracy King Team at 626.827.9795 or