You’re marketing your house all wrong.
Look at any listing right now and you’ll find the room to bathroom ratio, square footage, price, and a short paragraph that drones on about the “best features” of the home. How helpful is that paragraph, really? Does it make you want to drop your cup of nitro brew artisanal blend dark roast coffee and sign the paperwork right then and there?
Words like “charming” and “cozy” are notorious for double meanings like “old” and “small,” and most contemporary buyers aren’t fooled. You can gain the upper hand if you transform the once fluffy and misleading listing into a strategic, data driven marketing plan that works.
Use these internet resources to collect data specific to your property. Pair those numbers with descriptive, visual words that together showcase the unique personality of your home, and buyers will flock to it. Get ready to throw “spacious” and “stylish” out the window and bring on those cold hard numbers.
Here’s how to sell your house faster using data:
Use Data to Create Your Home’s Listing
1. Comps drive your list price up or down
You need to know what homes in your neighborhood are selling for to understand how your house stacks up. You also need to know what your home is worth so that you have a ballpark figure to go off of when you determine the list price with your real estate agent.
Both Homesnap and HomeLight use data to help you understand what the houses in your neighborhood are worth. Combine both services to sell your house faster.
Use Homesnap to explore comparable houses in your neighborhood. Walk down the street and snap a photo on your phone of homes similar to yours. Homesnap will pull up the estimated value, number of beds and number of baths.
A home with the same number of beds and baths and approximate square feet is a house that is comparable or a “comp” to your own. Take note of extras like a pool or updated kitchen that might make the comp more or less valuable than yours.
2. Pick your real estate agent by the numbers
If you’re still on the fence about working with a real estate agent, don’t be. We’ve seen too many FSBO sales fail or go for much less than they should have because selling a house on your own is incredibly hard.
The success of your home sale hinges on the talents of your real estate agent. They become your partner in crime, your trusted advisor, and your staunch negotiator. Not just any agent will cut it. You need a great agent.
That’s where big data comes into play.
Here at HomeLight we use actual home sales transaction data to pull real sales figures and performance statistics for every real estate agent working today. Then, when you need a real estate agent for your house, we compare all of the real estate agents in your area on their sales figures.
We find the top selling real estate agents near you and give you the list.
See for yourself: just tell us where you live.
These real estate agents sell properties just like yours, they sell them in less time than the average real estate agent, and they sell them for more money.
For example, take a look at top real estate agent Laura Kaufman in San Francisco.
As of this writing, Laura sells homes for 13% more money than the average real estate agent in San Francisco. Translation: that’s a whopping $130,000 more dollars in your pocket.
In city after city, we’ve seen that the top performing real estate agents, the ones with the best stats, can sell properties up to 4 times faster and for upwards of 20% more than the average real estate agent can.
3. List when the market’s hot to get high traffic and higher offers
Did you know that the time of year you list your house can hurt or help it sell?
We used our 2015 MLS data to analyze the month houses sold for the most money compared to the average sale price that year in 80 cities across the nation.
We found that the best time to list depends on your local market. Check out our table on the best time to sell a house to figure out when to list yours.
4. Sell faster: price your listing to end in 99
“Psychological pricing” is the phenomenon where items with prices ending in .99 sell more and faster than items with prices without the .99 tag. Zillow paired its data with studies that examined the effect of psychological pricing on consumers.
A study by Schindler and Kibarian examined retail sales and concluded that items with a tag that ended in .99 sold 8% more than items that did not. Zillow found that houses sold up to one week faster when priced ending in .99, eg. 429,900. You can use this strategy with your agent to get an edge on subconscious buyer appeal. Learn more about Zillow’s data studies in our list of best real estate books for 2016.
5. Assess the appreciation value of your property
Show buyers how much they can make in the long run. Calculate how much your property will appreciate with this home value appreciation tool, and give buyers proof that their investment in your place will make them money.
6. Prove income potential with Airbnb
There’s this huge movement in the rental market today. Investors, moguls, and the average Joe homeowner are converting properties into short-term rentals with services like Airbnb.
If there’s a market of buyers out there looking for their next side hustle, you should appeal to their baser instinct and emphasize your home’s short-term rental potential. Smartasset did a study in 2016 on the best cities for Airbnb income potential. Homes in San Diego, for example, could earn over $31,000 in profit from the city’s year round sunny skies.
You can even look up what your home might rent for on a per night basis!
Beyond Pricing is a data driven pricing tool that suggests prices per night based on a minimum price you set yourself. Beyond Pricing takes your baseline and prices out each night per month according to which nights they think will be in high demand. They’ll give you the reasons behind any deviation from your base price.
Use this data to charm buyers with hard numbers that show your home’s true income potential.
Design A Data Powered Marketing Plan to Sell Your House Faster
1. Buyers who care about accessibility devour high Walkscores
Walkscore takes your address and generates a number from 1-100 where higher numbers equal greater walkability. Your home’s score is based on accessibility to dining and drinking, groceries, shopping, errands, parks, schools, and culture and entertainment. What you need to do is provide the number and make the score come to life for a buyer.
Buyers who really care about Walkscore are people who want a place with tons of resources nearby, so if you have a score under 70 don’t add it to your listing but anything over 71 is advertising gold.
Try this on for size:
“This sea blue bungalow has a walkscore of 89, which means that the best taco truck in town is only fifteen minutes by foot. You’ll have to hop in your car to get to Target, but the best boutique shopping and the juiciest burger place with to-die-for truffle fries is steps off the beach and right around the corner.”
See what I did there?
Take your Walkscore, grab your favorite restaurant or shop, and let the buyer imagine walking their kids to get bubble gum ice cream at the parlour steps away from your front door.
The Walkscore page also generates a transit score with a map that shows various options like Zipcar, Getaround, and the different bus lines and the stops closest to your house. Walkscore rates any transit score over 50 “good transit,” so if you have a transit score over 50, tell buyers about it. If the 9 Old Town – Pacific Beach line is within a fifteen minute walk, tell buyers that.
2. Get bids from the biggest demographic in your area
The National Association of Realtors pulled together research in June of 2016 on The Best Purchase Markets for Aspiring Millennial Homebuyers. When you sell your house, you can use data like this to tweak your home’s listing blurb to appeal to the largest market of buyers in your area.
Counties like Sumter County in Florida are home to a large population of people older than 65, according to the Pew Research Center. NAR ranked Austin, TX as the top area for millennials looking to purchase a home. You can find the data for the demographics in your area from the US Census interactive population map.
Florida’s a great example but it works in any state or neighborhood. Using the data to your advantage looks like this:
The Millennial Pitch:
Walk one block to step out for a drink on Dirty Sixth or a quick 15 to stuff your face with barbecue at Franklin. Tap into the underground music scene at nearby bars where you can hear incredible sounds from top musicians in the area every single night.
The Over 65 Pitch:
People pay attention to the sunset and sunrise here, where the streets are quiet and the pace of life is relaxed, enjoyable, and slow.
3. Low noise levels attract families who crave peace and quiet
Enter an address and Soundscore produces a heat map that lays out the noise pollution of the area. Scores range from 100 (you can hear a pin drop) to 50 (frat party), and the heat map gives buyers a visual understanding of how sound radiates in your neighborhood. You can use this information to your advantage when you write the marketing material to sell your house.
If you live in a quiet spot, put your Soundscore in the listing with some kind of explanation.
Try, “with a Soundscore of 85 you’ll be able to sip your morning green tea and listen to blue jays chirp off the cherry wood balcony.”
If you live in a busy area with a low Soundscore (aka it’s loud where you are), don’t put the actual number in your listing. Instead, play up the walkability and upbeat action of the place.
4. Show parents they’ll live near amazing schools
Great Schools ranks top public schools in your area based on criteria like student performance on standardized tests, college prep, and quantity of material learned per year. The quality of the schools in your area are leading indicators of property values and you can use that to your advantage when you go to sell your house. With Great Schools data you can give buyers hard numbers of top schools and their ratings (8-10 is above average) in your area.
5. Use math to take Pinterest worthy photos of your home
Even if you’re not a trained home stager or photographer, math can help you stage photos that will appeal to buyers. Ever heard of the rule of thirds? The rule of thirds places the focus point of the photo to the left or right of the image.
If you want to get even more technical about it, Fibonacci’s golden ratio (1:0.618) stems from 12th century ideals of composition and perfect proportions.
A psychological study by Di Dio et al. measured brain activation when participants looked at a classic statue that employed the golden ratio. The study concluded that there was a distinct difference in brain activity when participants viewed the “beautiful” versus the “ugly” sculpture.
Software like Adobe’s Photoshop Elements have crop tools that lay out the golden ratio on top of your image so that you can scale and cut to the golden ratio grid.
6. Play up great weather trends if you want to sell your house
The National Center for Environmental Information collects historical weather data that you can show to buyers when you sell your house. For example, we took the historical data from San Francisco from the past year and plotted it on a graph using the Climate at a Glance tool. Use the tool to show buyers what a mild and pleasant Winter you have, or how temperatures in the Spring are perfect for picnics and barbecues on your back deck.
In San Francisco Octobers are glorious and warm, so to sell your house there we pulled the average temps for that specific month to show buyers that fog doesn’t always ruin the party. You can also use US Climate Data for more detailed information on average highs, lows, precipitation, and hours of sunshine.
Now, go forth and use data to sell your house
You’ve got the data to back those once empty words in your real estate listing. Time to get serious and sell your house fast. Talk to a great real estate agent and put your data driven marketing plan to work.