I was just reading an article on realtor.org from 2013 that states “real estate-related searches on Google.com have grown 253% over the past four years.” This was a study from the National Association of REALTORS and Google. While these figures might be slanted as the study comes from the States, a trend is a trend and we know this is the same case in the Middle East and North Africa. To read the full article click here.
While online real estate listings are perhaps a newer concept throughout the Middle East and North Africa, we see a lot of mistakes that can easily be prevented. Real estate marketing is more than just getting the listing online. It’s about making people click on that listing and to click on the Contact button.
The top listing mistakes we see are as follows:
Photos. Bad quality or missing altogether.
Trust us on this. A cell phone camera probably isn’t going to take the quality photos you need. This is because most cell phones have resolution and lighting issues. I have yet to see a museum photography exhibit with cell phone photos (there is a reason for this). Cell phone photos are not enticing and are often not clear. Other common mistakes include poor photo selection (5 exterior shots but no interior shots) or no photos at all. Buyers want to see the entire house. This means exterior, interior, all baths, bedrooms, living areas and the kitchen (including appliances). We say this over and over – you are competing with every other online listing. Make your listing(s) stand out with clean, clear, crisp photos that are laid out in a logical order. Start with a great exterior shot and work your way in.
If you have listings without photos, there is a very good chance (like 99%) that people will not click on the listing. Spend a little time and get some good quality photos. If you do not have a good camera or a good eye, hire someone to take photos. It will pay off.
We get a lot of listings with very vague descriptions or sometimes not at all. There is a buyer for every type of property. If a property is in need of renovation put it in the description. Many “do it yourself” enthusiasts love the idea of customizing a property to their specifications. Resist the urge to simply write, “in need of renovation.” Write about the great bones of the building, the flow of the space and the potential to turn this into a showcase property. Resist the urge to oversell a property too. Be honest and positive about the property and write an accurate description. A person might click on a property and not be interested in the property but might be interested in retaining you as an agent or broker.
Okay, this is a tricky one in this part of the world as many descriptions are translated from one language to another. However, good grammar is never a bad idea. If you are using a language that isn’t your mother tongue, consider having a professional translator. While the temptation to use google translate can be very enticing, it can produce less than steller results. Be cautious on this one. At least have someone check the listings to make sure it isn’t utter nonsense.
Forgetting about facebook
People love facebook. At work, at home and on mobile devices. People are on facebook whether they should be or not. Whether you are an agent, broker, developer or for sale by owner, you should have your listing(s) on facebook. It is possible there is a buyer or renter for your property through existing friends and clients. Facebook is a free and easy way to get your property out there.
Not Showing Property in a Timely Manner
If you cannot be available to show property, you need to retain the services of someone who can. We have seen listings advising clients to allow up to a month to a view a property. Imagine how many other properties a client can view in a month. In many cases this is an agent who lives abroad at least part of the year. If you are not within an hour’s drive, you need to find someone to help show the properties. You might spend a bit of money but you will have a lot more sales.
Not Responding to an Inquiry in a Timely Manner
We can see inquiries coming in. It is completely normal for one person to inquire on 25-50 properties. Who is more likely to get the client? The person who responds right away or the person who waits a few days? The first agent to get to a client has the ability to show other properties and to market themselves as the local expert. Always be the first to respond to an inquiry. Even an autoreply lets the client know their request has been received. However, do not let the autoreply do the work for you. You should respond in less than three hours every time.