How to Raise a List Online


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In situations where buyers cannot view homes in person and even agents may have limited access to the properties they are marketing, how can luxury real estate listings provide a superior online presentation?

Jackson Herlong

“My favorite business quote is from Jack Welch, former CEO of General Electric. He says, ‘If you don’t have a competitive advantage, don’t compete,’ says Jackson Herlong, lead broker at Joan Herlong & Associates, Sotheby’s International Realty “Advertising a home on the internet has been a fundamental expectation of buyers for nearly two decades now. If you only care about meeting your industry standards, you’ll never get farther.”

Sergio Lach

Agents should take a holistic and detailed approach to the virtual presentation of each home. “We went listing by listing, link by link, click by click on our website to make sure everything was working properly,” said Sergio Llach, President and CEO of Dominican Republic Sotheby’s International Realty. “It’s always been important for an ad to stand out online. Today, we have more tools available to make an ad grab a buyer’s attention.

Let’s take a closer look at how these tools, techniques, and strategies can be leveraged to help your own ads stand out. According to Herlong and Llach, here are four of the top considerations that can differentiate your properties from others.

1. Provide a welcome distraction

aerial view of luxury house

Photo courtesy of Joan Herlong & Associates, Sotheby’s International Realty

While the primary job of an ad is to sell a home, there are strong arguments to be made – especially in times of upheaval – for the escape to be had in a well-designed property page. “Faced with an unprecedented situation where even live sports are canceled, I realized that people would be glued to their screens, especially on weekends, and hungry for any type of new content after running out of things to watch on Netflix,” says Herlong. “Real estate as content is universally appealing as an online business.”

There are tools that can help you connect leads to ads as potential buyers browse their social networks. For example, Social Ad Engine enables agents in the Sotheby’s International Realty network to effectively promote their properties with custom campaign templates, automatically optimizing them for Facebook and Instagram leveraging artificial intelligence and machine learning.

It’s a worthwhile investment: by promoting his properties through digital channels, Llach has seen his clients turn to real estate for solutions to their current problems. “We see families looking to buy houses with large yards surrounded by trees and away from towns. We are also seeing that families who were not ready to move before the crisis are now considering their options to complete a transaction in two to four months.

Whether or not you have access to tools like Social Ad Engine, creating beautiful ad pages and sharing them on social media is a great way to drive traffic to your property’s web pages and generate leads directly. from Facebook and Instagram. Plus, potential customers will be grateful for engaging content, whether they’re looking for a new home or not.

2. Virtualize your customer touchpoints

luxury living room

Joan Herlong & Associates Sotheby’s International Realty

When you share listings online with clients, you can go two ways, depending on your situation: you can offer guided virtual tours of the property as it is, or you can design the listing with a virtual staging to encourage self-guided customers. discovery of the property and its characteristics.

While measures such as social distancing prevent agents and buyers from viewing a home in person, virtual staging may be the perfect solution. For existing listings, stage the home virtually to align outdated furniture or dark walls with your clients’ preferred aesthetic. Tools such as CURATE by Sotheby’s International RealtySM allow you to digitally imagine the interiors of your homes and adjust furnishings, creating a more engaging visual experience for your customers and expanding the appeal of your properties to a wider range of buyers. 3D home tours like those designed by Matterport are another example of technology agents can leverage to allow their clients to virtually inhabit and navigate a home they cannot visit in person.

“Our company strives to allow customers to virtually visit our properties in a way that allows them to form a more accurate impression than just photos and videos,” says Herlong. “By investing in Matterport 3D/VR technology, we’ve created an online experience that comes close to in-person viewing.”

For Llach, these tools have also long been table stakes. “We prioritize 3D tours, 4K videos, high resolution images, AR floor plans and multilingual property descriptions,” he says. In a recent virtual initiative, the Llach team set up a 3D scavenger hunt, giving participants clues on what to look for in a particular listing. Prizes included gift certificates and the open invitation meant the team could expand its reach beyond clients looking to buy a home immediately.

Even when you can’t go home or meet with your customers, prioritize personal contact with your buyers and sellers. “Right now, it’s important to let your customers see your face and make tons of video calls,” advises Llach.

3. When you can’t show, say so

Turning your ads into consumable virtual content means thinking beyond visual media and engaging audiences through print, especially since professional photography and videography services aren’t currently available to many agents. People don’t just want to see pictures, they want compelling storytelling that imbues the home with history and personality. Establishing this human connection allows customers to have an emotional connection to the properties you offer.

Ask your sellers for their perspective on what’s special about their homes — everything from design, architecture, and history to their favorite quirks, details, and moments they’ve shared while living there. Adding ideas from your colleagues can add a sense of voice and individuality to your descriptions, and make them more conversational than mechanical. “We add specific quotes from the listing agent view of the property to give the feeling of a multi-dialog interaction,” says Llach.

When your visual and interactive media are enough to bring your ads to life, keep your stories crisp and engaging, and include key terms your prospects are likely to search for so you can turn your written content into an SEO advantage. “We try to make descriptions as concise as possible, while including all the details that a potential buyer might be interested in,” says Herlong. “Less is more!”

4. When it’s safe to do so, update your visuals

Luxury swimming pool in the garden

Dominican Republic Sotheby’s International Realty

It will likely be a gradual process for your real estate practice to return to normal, and business operations will reopen in phases. As government restrictions and advice evolve, think about what services you will prioritize once they become available. For example, hiring a professional photographer to take more high-resolution photos, once it’s safe, can help your ads withstand future economic pressure. The same goes for videographers and their ability to provide up-to-date material for your virtual listing, whether through 3D floor plans or a virtual home tour.

Because potential buyers still won’t be able to view the properties in person for some time to come, the Llach team has taken special care to provide more exterior photos of the homes, as well as their different views and vantage points. seen. When your customers are browsing from home and remotely, it is recommended to overcast. “We’re posting more photos than expected — preferably 30 to 50 per property,” he says.

“All of our properties are marketed to the same basic photo and video standard,” concludes Herlong. “Media for a $500,000 ad must meet the same requirements as a $5 million ad.”

In times of upheaval or uncertainty, real estate can provide a tangible solution and virtual respite for those seeking a change of scenery. Identifying creative and inspiring ways to manage listings and deliver engaging content is just one way agents can serve their communities.

About Sotheby’s International Realty

Sotheby’s International Realty was founded in 1976 as a real estate service for the discerning clients of Sotheby’s auction house. Today, the company’s global footprint spans 990 offices located in 72 countries and territories around the world, including 43 company-owned brokerage offices in major metropolitan and resort markets. In February 2004, Realogy entered into a long-term strategic alliance with Sotheby’s, the operator of the auction house. The agreement provided for the licensing of the Sotheby’s International Realty name and the development of a franchise system. The franchise system is made up of a network of affiliates, where each office is independently owned and operated. Sotheby’s International Realty supports its affiliates and agents with a wealth of operational, marketing, recruiting, training and business development resources. Affiliates and agents also benefit from an association with the venerable auction house Sotheby’s, established in 1744. For more information, visit

The affiliate network is operated by Sotheby’s International Realty Affiliates LLC, and the company-owned brokerages are operated by Sotheby’s International Realty, Inc. Both entities are subsidiaries of Realogy Holdings Corp. (NYSE: RLGY), a global leader in real estate franchising and provider of real estate brokerage, relocation and settlement services. Sotheby’s International Realty Affiliates LLC and Sotheby’s International Realty Inc. fully support the principles of the Fair Housing Act and the Equal Opportunity Act.


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