How to Create an MLS Listing That Gets Clicks

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MLS listings are a crucial way of getting the word out about a home for sale. Your fellow real estate agents are paying attention—and so are buyers.

With so many listings, how can you make yours stand out? Annapolis-based Realtors® David Orso and Scott Schuetter share their best practices on making the most of your MLS listings.

Spend money on professional photography

Excellent photos are an essential part of your MLS listing.

“It’s the first thing the reader looks at,” says Schuetter. “'You never get a second chance to make a first impression' may be a cliché, but it’s absolutely true in this business.”

If you can’t spring for professional photos, then pay close attention to aspects such as lighting, staging and camera angle. If you’re taking the pictures yourself, learn what makes good home photography.

Related: 5 pro tips for taking great listing photos

To give potential buyers a better idea of the home’s layout, for example, Orso recommends arranging them as if they were on a walking tour of the home.

Use words to fill in the rest of the picture

Your excellent photos will give readers details about the home’s interior and exterior.

There’s no need to waste words repeating facts about granite countertops or stainless steel appliances when the slideshow already demonstrates that.

Instead, focus on other aspects of the home.

“Tell what it’s like to live in the house,” advises Schuetter.

Is it in a quiet cul-de-sac? Does it have an adjacent green space or marina? What are the schools like? How close is it to places of interest, such as downtown areas, airports or stores? Buyers are interested in these details, but they can’t glean them from just the photos.

Tell the home’s story

A good MLS listing catalogs the details of a property. A great one tells a story—and helps buyers imagine themselves living there. Not all aspects of a home are equal, so decide which ones contribute most to a home’s appeal and lead with those.

“I ask the sellers to tell me three things they loved about their home,” says Orso. “An old real estate maxim says the buyer of your home will be just like you, so those themes will likely resonate with potential buyers.”

For example, did that quiet cul-de-sac turn out to be the perfect place for the previous homeowners to raise their children? If so, that’s part of the story you can tell—perhaps there’s another younger couple looking for a place to grow their family.

Don’t distort the truth

Honesty is the best policy.

It might be tempting to make a home seem better than it is, but that actually works against the best interests of all parties. You want to attract potential buyers who are most likely to make an offer—not those who will take a tour of the home and leave disappointed.

“Don’t call it turnkey if the kitchen hasn’t been remodeled since the ‘80s,” says Schuetter. “Setting expectations the home won’t meet wastes everyone’s time.”

Instead, you may say that it’s been well cared for but is in need of an update. An honest assessment will cull out inappropriate buyers and promote an environment of goodwill that’s healthy for the entire process.

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