This week I listed one of my rental properties with an online agent to find new tenants. My chosen agent listed the house really quickly for me which was great, but there were a couple of issues that needed to be addressed before the Rightmove listing met my very high standards. Some of these are detail oversights that just happen when you’re translating from one medium to another, but some are driven by Rightmove and other system quirks. It really is important to make sure that your online listings are perfect, because these are going to form the first impression of your property for potential buyers or tenants, so it’s essential that the impression is a good one.
The most important thing by far, whether you’re listing to rent or to sell, whether you’ve written your own description or you’re using an agent or consultant to script it for you, is to check, Check and CHECK again! You’re the one who owns the property after all, and you know it best. Little mistakes on the listing description, bullet points or photographs can be overlooked so easily by you or the agent, but those little mistakes can make you look incompetent and could cause you big problems. You and your agent do not want to fall foul of the Property Misdescriptions Act, and you also don’t want to waste prospective buyers’ or tenants’ time. Make sure everything on the listing is correct and not exaggerated, there are no typos or grammatical errors (a pet hate of mine!), and confirm that the most attractive features of the property are prominent in both the description and the photographs. Think like a buyer or a tenant – what would you want to know about the property?
Check that the photographs are of good quality – I recommend turning lights on and clearing as much clutter out of the shot as possible, to show the room rather than what’s in it. I recently conducted a consultation at a client’s house for a Property Staging Report to help prepare the house for sale, and on my second visit I was astounded to realise I hadn’t previously noticed the rather bold decor in one of the bedrooms, purely because the room was so full of possessions I didn’t see past them to the room itself. If I can get distracted by possessions, then just think what you’re hiding from your own buyers by having too much of your own stuff in the listing photographs! Remember that windows and mirrors can give you unexpected inclusions in the shot – you don’t want your agent or yourself in the image, but on the other hand you can use reflections to your advantage, to show two sides of a room in one photo. If you can’t get a good shot first time, try again – a good agent should be happy to re-shoot to improve photo quality. Also see my post on how to prepare a house for sale…
Finally, it is worth checking your property listing on at least one mobile application, or on the mobile version of the internet site. One example of a ‘bug’ is rental properties on the Rightmove iPhone application showing up with a title ending in “…for sale”, so if this happens to you, ask your agent to notify Rightmove straight away. Bear in mind that it can take a number of hours for changes to be refreshed on Rightmove, so keep tabs on any changes you’ve requested until you’ve confirmed they have been made accurately.
And a final note on pricing – take note of the options available on your agent’s own website and on Rightmove for searching by price. Rightmove uses whole thousands with 5,000 or 10,000 segments for sale properties, so find your range and go for a price that puts you in as many searches as possible. For example if you’d like to set an asking price of £150,000, it’s not necessarily the best idea to use £149,950 as the asking price because this will only appear in searches up to £150,000. Using £150,000 means that your property will show up in searches up to £150,000 but it will also appear if anyone searches between £150,000 and £160,000 or higher – this way you’re getting your property in front of more prospective buyers.
A little thought to end on – think of the online listing as your property’s dating profile. Best make it good then!!