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    What Home Buyers Really Want to See in Your Listing

    Home sellers--are you putting off writing your home listing because you don’t know what to say, exactly? You already know the ad is super important to draw attention to the property, but you just don’t know how to translate the details to buyers.

    No problem! MilitaryByOwner has a cheat sheet just for you!

    This information comes straight from military home buyers polled on social media. They shared their opinions on everything from photo quality to the specific details they prefer, like attic storage and proximity to public transportation. 

    Take notes, military home sellers, because everything you need to know about writing your home listing is right here!

    What Home Buyers Really Want to See in Your Listing

    What Home Buyers Really Want in Your Online Listing

    Photos Are the Most Important Factor

    Over and over again, home buyers are begging for an abundance of clear, well lit photos of all the rooms of the house. There’s no need to show off less than great features, but buyers are looking for details that you might leave off in the property descriptions.

    Well lit photos of your home are important for your listing.


    For example, a picture of the laundry room might not be pretty, but it could let buyers know if it's outfitted with gas or electric lines, or if it has a utility sink. These items don’t sound important, but they are to some buyers.

    Remember, military families are likely shopping from afar and probably won’t have the option to visit the property multiple times before purchase. Give them all the info they need, so they don’t move past your listing after an initial glance. Some buyers even said if there weren’t appealing photos, they didn’t give the ad a second glance.

    More tips for your best photos:

    • Shoot the pictures horizontally. This direction uploads better and encompasses more of the room. A wide angle lens often shows rooms better, but don’t use panoramic or fish eye views!
    • Always, always, use natural light to your advantage. Natural light is requested by buyers during a house hunt over and over again.
    • Don’t try to take pictures at night. Indoor lighting in the evening isn’t enough for the amateur photographer to exploit. One exception is the use of professional photos of the exterior at night. But, these must provide a “WOW” factor that many homes don’t have. Think of a magazine spread that highlights a high end pool and entertaining area in the evening.
    • Messy photo shoots turn off home buyers. They are most interested in envisioning their own lifestyle within the property lines. Your groceries on the counter, pets in the yard, and laundry filled bedrooms don’t allow their imaginations to take over. Your personal proof of life is all they can see.
    • Leave people out of the photo. This includes the photographer! Check photos of mirrors for your identity!
    • Label each photo and room. It’s difficult to learn a floor plan through pictures alone. By labeling each, buyers can connect the dots, room by room, and create a flow in their mind. If they’re guessing if the picture is of bedroom #2 or #3, they’ll be discouraged.

    Add Even More Specific Features

    Mention kid-friendly features such as school district in your home listing.

    Think about buying a car. You know it comes with four wheels and at least two doors, so your next interests lie in what makes the car special. Maybe it's the navigation system or the hands free parallel parking. The same is true with a house. Front door? Check? Roof? Walls? Check, check.

    Describe to buyers what the makes the house better than the others on the market. Here are some of the most requested specifics from readers, then take a look at more tips in 7 Easy Tips for Writing a Home Listing that Sells.

    • Even if you don’t have school children, many buyers do. Report the proximity to the public and private schools. Note if there are school bus stops near the home or if children walk to school and smaller details like awards or specific high school programs.  
    • Do you love the small businesses near your home? Mention them! Coffee, ice cream, convenience stores, and gas stations all make a difference in quality of life. If saving time and supporting small business were important to you, there’s a good chance buyers will enjoy the services too, especially if they are walkable!
    • Even though small businesses are important, we all need the big name stores, too. There’s a documented real estate phenomenon that states homes near in-demand stores like Trader Joe’s, Whole Foods, Target, and Starbucks earn higher sale prices.
    • If public transportation is vital in your area, list the exact bus or train lines that are near. Station stops and the distance to and from popular military bases are also important.
    • Detail the commute to popular work destinations. Not only the miles, because those could be deceiving. Add the time spent in the car.
    • Listing the name of your subdivision, neighborhood, region, or other distinguishing name could help home buyers make sense of the overall geography. Maybe they know for sure that Jonestown Plantation is zoned for Maple Grove Elementary School and are searching for listings with this neighborhood name.
    • If you have a sunset view from your deck every night, let home buyers in on this detail! The same holds true for any feature specific to your property.

    Know Your Market 

    Knowing your market, like those popular with pet owners, will help your listing reach your desired audience.

    You’ll need your real estate agent’s advice to guide you through specialized listing details unique to your home. A pro agent will offer their opinion on topics that are debatable, such as the presence of pets and their accessories in your listing and photos.

    In a neighborhood that reveres pet ownership, a yard tailored for their entertainment is a high quality perk; so is the space under the stairs that was transformed into an indoor dog house. Add more pictures of your beloved dog and a mention these pet friendly luxuries in the listing! But, there are neighborhoods with a deep pool of potential buyers who don’t appreciate built-in pet food centers. These characteristics shouldn’t be displayed as focal points. 

    Knowing your market’s pain points and how to remedy your buyer's needs also deserve a mention in the listing. For example, in a neighborhood that is short on parking or garage space, mention your solution, such as a dedicated driveway or enough land to potentially build a custom garage. Both are attractive, but often hidden details.

    It's All in the Details

    Be sure to add details like attic space in your home ad.

    Early in the home listing search, buyers probably filtered the options by price, bedrooms, square footage, or some other very general descriptor. No need to waste buyer’s attention spans by writing “3 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms” again and again, because you could be focusing on other general, but telling, characteristics.

    Get more tips on crafting the wording in your ad in How to Create an Unforgettable Home Listing.

    Focus on home details such as: 

    • Storage space. Discuss basements, attics, cabinets, garage, and other useful areas to store items.
    • A brief history and/or description of the physical house. Age, building materials, and architectural style are all important.
    • Living and sleeping arrangements. Some seek first floor masters, while others prefer all of the sleeping quarters upstairs.
    • Outdoor features. Pools, entertaining spaces, high-end landscaping, and fenced-in yards are all features buyers should be aware of.

    There’s no excuse to put off writing your home listing! This step-by-step guide is easy to read, but packed with the best information to get the most traffic to your property. PCS season never truly ends; there’s always a time when someone is reading over your home listing. Take this information and write a brilliant home ad so they’ll come with an offer in hand!

    Easy Steps to Prepare for Your PCS
    Dawn M. Smith


    Dawn M. Smith

    Dawn is a real estate and military life writer who has a serious HGTV habit. When she is not writing, her teen daughter, Army husband, and golden retriever keep her busy through chauffeur duties, travel planning, and long dog walks. Dawn is pleased to share her experiences with MilitaryByOwner readers who are hoping to simplify military family journeys of all kinds. Follow Dawn on Pinterest for more ideas and resources and visit her site at Dawn M. Smith Custom Content Creation.

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