The Seven Second MLS Listing Rule



Seven seconds. That’s how long a listing has to capture the attention of a home buyer who’s sifting through 100’s of real estate listings on the computer as they start their real estate search. Will your listing make their short list?

According to the National Association of Realtors, as many as 97% of home buyers begin their search online by scanning listings. They spend an average of 7 seconds previewing a real estate listing online before deciding if they’ll look deeper or move on.

Too many MLS listings and photos are poorly crafted and fail to capture the buyer’s interest, meaning the opportunity with that buyer is lost forever. Studies have shown that once a buyer by-passes a listing, they don’t return to it for a second look. This does not serve your seller or your real estate business.

It benefits you to craft your listing remarks from the seven second perspective. What should you put in the “public remarks” section of your listings? Here are some ideas:

Paint a Word Picture…

…but don’t be flowery or vague. For instance, “Enjoy the large backyard and open floor plan” is a bit vague. But “Sleek mid-century 4-bedroom home on a lush 1/4 acre yard” paints a solid picture.  Weave data into the picture.

Words with Value

Choose your words carefully. Studies show that certain words help a listing get more attention. Which words should you pick? Check out this list to help you craft the best description of the properties that you represent:

Beautiful
This word has impact, so use it! All buyers want to live in a beautiful home.

Fresh, Bright, Light
Most buyers enjoy light. Emphasize these words where you can to describe the property.

Landscaping
Things like curb appeal and lovely landscaping attract attention and increase the value of the home.

Turnkey
Turnkey, means that buyers can move in without making any major renovations. This appeals to buyers who can’t or don’t want to fix up their new home.

Handyman Special
At the same time, a lot of people like to get their hands dirty. Some customers like to work with their hands and repair, renovate and remodel a house.  “Handyman special” appeals to a certain demographic, just as “turnkey” attracts another type of buyer.

Fixer
This word seems to connote real problems. If it’s not a major fixer, you’d be better off using Handyman Special.

Unusual Words
Sometimes being different gets more attention. The words “cool” and “unusual” get attention, as in “very cool backyard space for entertaining.” Too slangy for you? Is it too slangy for the kind of buyers who might want that home?

How to Address “Turn-Offs”

There’s always been a debate about how to handle problems with a property in real estate listings. Do you highlight the thing that might turn buyers off, or do you downplay those problems? You know the jokes…”Charming cottage” means small; “Easy freeway access” means right next to the on-ramp. Some agents believe this positive spin helps buyers see the bright side of the problem. Other agents believe in calling a dog a dog using humor. “Very small home, fit for gnomes and newlyweds.” Or “Right next to the freeway…how else would you get this much incredible home for so little.

Put It All Together

Check out this example of a remarks section that puts all the above advice together:

“Sleek mid-century 4-bedroom home on a lush 1/4 acre yard with a very cool backyard entertainment space. Beautiful fountains cover the hidden, but nearby street noise. Bright kitchen and fresh appliances. Turnkey property with 2 fully remodeled baths. A unique home that will pleasantly surprise you.”

Good MLS Photos Are Your Duty

One final notes about MLS listings…buyers look at photos to make a final determination. If your photos show things like the bathroom with the toilet seat up, bedrooms with piles of laundry in the corner, a kitchen with dirty dishes in the sink, the turn-off is instant! Immediately the value of that property drops. You have a duty to provide the seller with the best price and marketing possible. Tidying up the house is the easiest and first thing you should be doing so you can provide photos that attract buyers who are not predisposed to pay less before they even look at the property in person.

Be consistent. Be bold. Be smart. Linda Schneider is a real estate business coach for smart real estate agents who want to be more powerful in their business. Drop by RealEstateBusinessCoaching.com for more about selling skills and real estate marketing ideas to take your business to the next level.