The Best Ways to Reach Home Buyers Online

By Steve Flanagan

Listing your home online is not just a good idea these days, it’s a no-brainer for any serious home seller. More than 90 percent of home buyers use the Internet as part of their home search process, and more than half of home buyers start their search for a new home online. It’s your call. You could just post a “for sale” sign on your front lawn or in your window, or you could take advantage of online marketing tools that boost your listing’s exposure.

So much of our world is now digital, it’s natural for people to search for any product on the Internet. A well-crafted online listing with great photos placed on the most effective websites is a must for any home seller. Eight out of every 10 home buyers say photos and detailed information about properties for sale are the most useful website features, according to the 2013 Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers published by the National Association of Realtors.

Start with ForSaleByOwner.com
Our listing packages offer the resources, tools and information you need to get your online listing up and running. And ForSaleByOwner.com listings automatically appear on Trulia, Yahoo! Homes, Zillow and Redfin. You enter your information once, and we take care of the rest.

Post on Craigslist
Posting an ad for your house on Craigslist at no cost is another way to generate additional exposure for your property. And once you are a ForSaleByOwner customer, you can our Marketing Toolkit to post your listing on Craigslist, complete with your photos, description and a link to your listing.

Expand your Exposure with MLS
A great way to increase exposure is listing your home on the Multiple Listing Service (MLS) which reaches millions of home buyers throughout the country including every home buyer in your market who is working with an agent. More than 80 percent of U.S. home sales involve the MLS. Review our marketing packages that include an MLS listing.

If you prefer not to work with a buyer’s agent (a requirement for listing on the MLS), consider including using Realtor.com, a site realtors use to expose their listings across the country.

Use Social Media
Once your listing is live on ForSaleByOwner.com (and the MLS if you choose), broaden your reach even further by taking advantage of your own social media network. Let people know via Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Pinterest, even your blog if you have one. Someone you know may know someone else who’d be a great fit for your home, so spread the word far and wide.

Here are some ideas for getting started with social media:

1. Update your status. Post a link to your ForSaleByOwner.com listing on your Facebook timeline. Ask your friends to share the post on their walls and with their friends who are looking to buy. Use the Facebook “share” button on the top of your listing page to get started.

2. Create a new photo album with photos of your place. Upload as many photos as you want and post them on social media sites with a detailed caption for each one. Before you publish the album, use the album description to post a link to your listing. If you’re comfortable letting anyone see your album, set you album privacy settings to “public.” Ask your friends to share your album on their walls and with friends or neighbors who may be looking for a new home.

3. Upload a video tour to your Facebook page. Use your smartphone, iPad or video camera to take a video “tour” of your home. (If you don’t have a camera, you can use photo or video editing software to turn your listing photos into a video.) You can also upload your video to YouTube, and post that URL to your Facebook page. Again, if you’re comfortable sharing, make sure to set the privacy settings to “public,” so it will be visible to anyone who’s interested.

4. Splurge on a Facebook ad for your home. Even if you’re connected to everyone in your company or in the PTA, Facebook doesn’t allow all of your “friends” to automatically see your status updates. If you’re willing and able to spend a bit more money on advertising, Facebook ads offer even more exposure. Your ads can take users directly to your listing page, and you can set any budget you like. Facebook allows you to choose if you’d like to be billed each time the ad shows or each time someone clicks through to your listing. You can turn one of your posts about your home into an ad for as little as $5.

5. Don’t Post it and Forget it
Once your home listing is posted on ForSaleByOwner.com and the Internet sites you feel will work best for you, monitor visitor traffic to your online listing ads and update them when appropriate as circumstances change. A static listing ad can quickly become stale. Update often as you move through the selling journey, particularly as you get feedback from ForSaleByOwner.com’s Buyer Feedback tool.