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Promoting and Advertising Your Home Online

The National Association of Realtors® (NAR) reports that 90% of buyers use the internet at least once during their search. This is a statistic that can’t be ignored, so it is well worth examining how to not only display the home but to engage online with your sellers and potential buyers.

It bears repeating here that you might spend a substantial amount of time and money trying to accomplish sufficient marketing to sell your home FSBO. This money will come out of the sale of your home, as would the commission paid to a real estate agent. On one hand, you can DIY all the way, especially if you are a savvy sales and marketing professional and still end up paying for web design, hosting fees, advertising, etc.

When you hire a real estate agent, he/she will bear the responsibility for funding these efforts correctly. The Realtor’s® commission might be slightly higher than if you did it all yourself, but his/her fee is a steal of a deal when you consider the personal time and effort you’ll put into the marketing of your home. If you choose to skip the marketing, your house will take longer to sell (if it ever does) and you will have the stress of seeing the price reduced over and over again. The fees we pay professionals are often well worth the ROI they get back for us in the long run.


MLS listings remain the go-to source of information for real estate sales. They create a central hub for basic statistics (number of bedrooms, square footage, yard size, etc.) to features such as swimming pools, underground sprinkling systems, out buildings, and workshops.

MLS services don’t allow FSBO sellers to list on their sites. They require a licensed Realtor® with the state to be responsible for the listing. You can, however, remain a FSBO seller and negotiate with a Realtor® to have them list your home on the MLS for a flat fee. You will still have to pay the selling broker a commission that is separate from the listing fee. Be sure to pick a local company to ensure your listing is entered into the correct databases so that the buyers can find you.

You should add a number of photos and videos to your listing, making sure to effectively use as many different kinds of media as possible. However, it is not enough to post the information on the MLS site and sit and wait for interest based only on data. You will wait a long time.

There is a lot of competition in real estate, especially with the influx of third-party aggregators, such as Zillow, Trulia,, and These sites draw from all of the MLS data available, regardless of realty agency. So you are literally competing with every agent in your area.

How do you get your listing to stand out?

Customize. If your local MLS sites allow you to customize your listing page, choose colors, themes, and fonts that give the page a warm and inviting appearance. Using those customization choices consistently across your online marketing will create a recognizable “brand” for your home. When buyers recognize your listing, it becomes easy for them to navigate to your site to find basic data such as bedrooms, bathrooms, and square footage.

Features. Include the home’s unique features in the description. Highlight attributes, such as cook’s kitchen, double ovens or sprinkler system. Even seemingly mundane items like central air conditioning and French doors can be important to potential buyers.

Copywriting. Due to all of the intense competition, it is extremely important to write copy that is warm and engaging. Your copy has to speak to the potential buyers in “ad speak.”

An example of “what not to write:”

Three-bedroom ranch for sale with two bathrooms. Two car garage. Nice lot in a quiet neighborhood. Home features central air, spa tub, and lots of shade.

What’s wrong with it, you ask? While the information is there in a succinct language, it doesn’t say is, “Here is your new home! The search is over!” Use your imagination a bit and try something more along these lines:

This three-bed, two-bath ranch has plenty to offer the first-time home buyer. With a well-appointed kitchen and an open concept design, you’ll be able to prepare meals while enjoying friends and family.

The garage is roomy, giving you plenty of space for both vehicles and room to walk around them and store bikes for leisurely rides on the nearby bike paths.

Tired at the end of the day? Retreat to the master bathroom and relax with a glass of wine in the spa tub, sit outside in the private backyard or the inviting open front porch to talk to the neighbors. Either way, you will find plenty of shade from the hot sun.

On days that are just too hot and humid to be outside at all, you can stay indoors where the central air system will keep you cool all year round.

Now those are invitations!

This improved copy doesn’t contain much more actual information but it is presented in a way that draws readers into not only the description, but the home itself. If you are not a copywriter, don’t hesitate to hire a freelance copywriter to craft your listings. This is another case in which the ROI will be worth the expense.

Photos. If you don’t have any photos in your listing, most buyers will keep on scrolling. They won’t even look.

The same is true if there are only a few, poor photos of the outside of the home. This tells buyers that there is either nothing worth seeing on the inside or that you are trying to hide something.

Do all your repairs, beautification, and staging before taking the pictures because these photos are what form your potential buyer’s first impressions. Make sure the pictures are taken with a high-quality digital camera with a good flash so that even poorly lit areas are well-represented.

Try for a day with little cloud cover so you can take advantage of as much natural light as possible. Use wide angles so you can show context of rooms. Buyers aren’t interested in pictures of corners and closets. Unless the closet is something that could come out of a movie scene, pictures aren’t necessary.

Focus on the best features. Kitchens and bathrooms sell houses. Majestic fireplaces are important as well. Take exterior shots to show off the home’s curb appeal.

Don’t be stingy about improving curb appeal. Even a few healthy plants near the front door and stake lights along a walkway can substantially improve the look of a home.

Be sure to create a slide show for posting on social media and include a floor plan in that presentation. This will allow the buyer to “see” the home through the combination of the floor plan and photos.

Video. Video (or virtual) tours of homes have become very popular as real estate agents continue to “up their game” to stay competitive.

Videos are easy to produce, with equipment becoming more affordable and a variety of software available for editing and processing. These are great “teasers” to invite prospective buyers for a tour.

In the video, describe the mechanicals of the home (especially if they are newer and well-serviced) as well as extra touches, such as designer handles and pulls. There are a couple of different ways to approach video production. One is to simply make it a slideshow with artful transitions set to music or a voiceover. This is the easiest way, but adds the least amount of value to the listing. If minor effort is spent in repackaging the existing photos and reciting the description, there is nothing new and the buyer will likely notice the lack of effort.

A virtual tour invites buyers into the home and gives them a chance to hear the excitement in your voice. By making a personal appearance in the video, you can build rapport with the buyer, and they begin to feel like they know you and the home before ever meeting. To facilitate that bond, add in some personal touches. How do the home’s features relate to your own hobbies and interests?

Talk about how you love cooking in the kitchen and point out what makes it such a good space. If the backyard is clear of trees, talk about how perfect it is for stargazing. Get the buyer dreaming of the home’s possibilities.

Third-party aggregators aren’t going away anytime soon, so if you “can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em.” You can do this by actively promoting your listing through those sites. It isn’t free, but given how often buyers visit sites like Trulia before contacting an agent, it will be worth it to help get your listing to the top of the search.


The average internet user spends more than two hours per day on a mobile device. If you factor-in social media and video streaming, mobile devices actually account for most of the time we spend on the internet.

Facebook is a great way to advertise your home. You should set aside an advertising budget to sponsor posts designed to reach a certain demographic and geographic audience who would be interested in your home.

The information below will give you an overview as to what you can do on Facebook. You may want to set up an additional page that is separate from your personal page and dedicated to your home for sale in order to utilize the tips below. However, realize that page will start out with “0” friends. You can send invitations out to all of your Facebook friends to like your “home for sale” page, and you may get a few joins, likes, and shares, but it will not have the power that a professional real estate agent can generate with an established business page and established network of connections.

Listings. Facebook is a natural fit for your listing, but you have to be creative. Just posting a link back to your MLS listing is far too cold and business-like for the personal nature of Facebook.

Post a picture of the sun room, mentioning how great it is to relax there on weekends with a cup of coffee and a book. Or in the evening with a beer or cocktail.

Make your cover photo a picture of your house with a big “For Sale” sign in front. Your Facebook friends will see it and possibly view and share it, extending your market penetration into areas where it might not otherwise reach.

Photos. Just as with the MLS listing, you should be making use of lots of photos here.

The neighborhood. Facebook is a great way to help your prospective buyers learn more about the area surrounding your listings, including attractions, shopping, schools, etc.

Share posts about local schools, when a new restaurant opens, or when local institutions or businesses receive an award or are mentioned in the local paper.

Local customs. What makes your area unique? Is there a holiday tradition unique to your area? Share it and draw people in with the charm and character of your region. This is also a great way to share local history, making it easier for a buyer to see himself putting down roots.

Interact. Don’t just post and run! Answer comments and keep the conversation going!


Despite its “low-tech” approach, email marketing remains a very good marketing tool and a well-developed, extensive email contact list.

Email is a simple way for you to stay in touch with people who have demonstrated an interest in your house. You should collect email addresses from everyone who attends your open house and you should send out email updates about anything involving the area or the house.

These leads may take time to nurture and may not convert into the immediate sale of your home, but it keeps your name and your house in front of the prospective buyer and they may contact you again in the coming days, weeks, or months.


There are many other ways that you can engage prospective buyers online. Social Media: Twitter, Pinterest, Periscope, and Instagram are all great ways to expand your market reach and interact with home shoppers.

Adapt your posts to individual platforms. For example, Twitter’s 140-character limit is perfect for asking your leads questions or thanking someone for showing interest in your tweet.

Blogs. Most FSBO sellers aren’t going to set up a blog, but if you have set up a dedicated website, are a decent writer, and have time, you can set up a blog where you can write more extensively about your home and events in your neighborhood, allowing you to delve into the history and character of your region. Link your posts to your social accounts so that more people will be able to find them.

YouTube. Setting up a YouTube channel for your home is completely free and has the potential to place your listings in front of millions of potential clients.

Use it to host all of your virtual tours, as well as videos in which you offer insights and tips, trips to the local fair and whatever else will help you engage people.


According to Trust Media, “In-bound marketing is a marketing strategy where businesses implement tactics to ‘get found’ by customers.” As a FSBO, you aren’t exactly a “business,” but if you are going to go “all in” on marketing your home yourself, the following are some good ideas for engaging with more prospects.

About 90% of home buyers begin their house search on the internet. Your dedicated website’s main job is to capture leads, which come from traffic. How do you get traffic to your website? It’s simple: blogging. Blogging isn’t easy, but if taking the time to research and write blogs is a marketing tactic you are willing engage in to sell your home, it is important to realize that your buyers are your browsers first, and they will only find you if your website is set up to be found.

By setting up your blog to act as a “mini” landing page for your postings, you’re halfway there. If you can get people interested in reading your posts, they’ll see your postings and, boom! Your reader becomes your lead. But you can’t just post one blog and let it rot on the vine. This has to be something you update regularly (twice a week) with new articles, facts, and information that educate your readers on equity, homes, and tips. This also gives you material to share on social media so that you become an active contributor with unique blogs.

Be sure that your landing page contains important lead-capture elements, such as a header bar, “ask-a-question,” calls-to-action, social shares, drop-down menus, ways to schedule a call, or even one-touch dialing.


None of this is going to work well if your website isn’t optimized for mobile. At least 30% of buyers are searching from their phone or tablet, and you have to make it easy for them to find, navigate, read, and use your site.

According to Add This Academy, there are now officially more mobile devices than there are people in the world! Since 2010, mobile use has increased to almost 400%, with 20% of users between the ages of 18-34 spending all of their time on mobile devices versus traditional computers.

In 2012, 67% of users told Google that they are more likely to purchase from a mobile-friendly site, but would dump in a heartbeat a site if they had a bad mobile experience. You don’t want your leads to “quit you” before you ever have a chance to contact them!

In 2015, Google modified their algorithm to rank mobile-friendly sites higher than those that weren’t designed for mobile. If your website isn’t set up for mobile, you are losing out on 30-50% of your possible website traffic.

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