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Marketing Your Vacation Rental Home Part Two – Online Marketing

This article, part two of a series, will help vacation rental home owners learn more about marketing a rental property online. It is important to understand that people who are looking for a vacation rental home are generally looking for more than they can get with a brand-name hotel. They typically want space, privacy, laundry facilities and – almost always – a cheaper rate than if they stayed in a hotel.

The one major difference between booking a private vacation rental home and a branded hotel chain is that you know ahead of time what you will be getting when you book with a hotel chain. Plus, if things are not quite right, you always have the manager on hand to sort things out for you. On the other hand, vacation rental homes are almost always privately owned and operated, and in the past you never could be sure just what you would be getting.

The Internet has changed everything about marketing a rental property. Now, prospective renters can visit a website to view pictures and read information about a vacation rental home before making a final decision – which means that online marketing of a rental property should be a major priority.

The Benefits of Marketing a Rental Property Online

By marketing your rental property online, you have the perfect low-cost way of showing that vacation rental home to the world. Online marketing can put you on an even footing with the big hotel chains; in fact, it actually gives you an advantage. While their sites will be practical and informative, you can take time and TLC to make your site warm and welcoming while reassuring prospective renters that your vacation rental home will more than fill their requirements.

Plus, establishing a website for your vacation rental home gives you a global presence. While the vacation rental market in the United States may still be in its infancy, it is the norm in many other countries for families to stay in vacation rental homes rather than hotels. Marketing a rental property on the Internet can help an owner in the U.S. reach families from abroad and draw them to the home.

Putting Your Vacation Rental Home Online

There are several ways in which you can use the Internet for marketing your rental property:

  • Create your own website
  • List your vacation rental home with a property rental agent or manager
  • List your vacation home on one of the many vacation rental sites

While all three options for marketing a rental property have their place, creating your own Internet site is essential. Having your own site gives you complete control of how your vacation rental home is displayed to potential renters. If someone contacts you wanting to rent your home, do you really want to send them to a site that contains other homes similar to your own? Remember, there are always other owners out there who are also involved in using the Internet for marketing their rental property and who will undercut you just to get the rental. Listing sites can help you reach more people, but in the end you want a renter to see your individual site.

Creating Your Own Site for Your Vacation Rental Home

Your website should consist of the following standard pages, which are all important for optimally marketing your rental property:

  • Home Page
  • Property Description
  • Photo Gallery
  • Visitor Information
  • Rates
  • Contact Information

The Home Page

The Home page is probably the most important part of your strategy for marketing your rental property, as this is a visitor’s first point of contact with your home. Make sure the design of your home page is simple, clean and uncluttered. Consider adding two pictures instead of just one to make your site stand out from the competition. One picture can be the traditional front-of-the-home shot, while the other image can be of something that sets the rental property apart – a great view, a beautiful sunrise, a scene by the pool, and so on. You can also consider taking a picture of the house lit up at night, which will certainly make the image memorable.

The Text

You will also need to write text that helps you with marketing your rental property. This step does not have to be difficult, but you should take time and give some thought as to what you want to say. You want to sell your home, not just state the facts. The text should help prospective renters imagine kicking back by your pool with a cool drink while watching the kids splash around. Set the scene first, rather than starting with a list of the best things about your vacation rental home. Be descriptive and use your imagination so that you are marketing your rental property in a way that will make the reader want to find out more.

In order to get some ideas of what to focus on in the text, ask yourself the following questions:

  • What do you your family and friends love about the vacation rental home?
  • What do you enjoy doing when you are there?
  • Is there something you have found that you love but is not generally known about on or near your vacation rental home?
  • What special features does your home offer?
  • What would you want to know if you were going to rent this property?

General Picture Ideas

The use of good quality pictures of your home’s exterior and interior cannot be overstated for successful marketing of a rental property. In a highly competitive area such as Florida, pictures could make the difference between securing a booking or missing out. Sometimes a potential guest will be considering several properties with the same features and at the same cost. In this case, guests will undoubtedly choose the vacation rental home they like the look of. This means that quality pictures are critical for successful marketing of your rental property. Common faults are images that are badly lit, that are taken from strange angles, that feature pool decks and porches devoid of furniture, or that have inappropriate things in view (wet towels, piles of papers, and so on).

Some additional things you may want to consider when marketing your rental property with photos are:

  • Consider using flowers. A fresh vase of flowers can be welcoming, but don’t go overboard, and don’t be tempted to move one vase of flowers around as you take pictures – it will look silly if the same vase keeps turning up in different rooms.
  • Set the tables. In the formal dining area, open a bottle of wine, fill wine glasses, light candles and use napkins. In the kitchen dining area, set it for dinner with the family, with more casual place settings, a pitcher of lemonade, and so on.
  • Make sure the kitchen of your vacation rental home sparkles. It should be spotless, with a bowl of fruit on the counter. Basically, you will want to make the home looked lived in and like you are just waiting for guests to arrive.
  • Make the bedrooms welcoming by turning down the sheets, fluffing up the pillows, and placing magazines and books on night tables.
  • Photograph the bathroom in the evening. Fill the tub, add lots of bubbles, light candles, have fluffy towels and perhaps a glass of red wine on hand to create an atmosphere.
  • Use a digital camera so that you can take hundreds of pictures of your vacation rental home. Even if you are not a photographer, you are sure to get some good ones that you can use for marketing your rental property.

Marketing a rental property with your own website can be a part of a strategy that uses many other techniques, from print ads to online listings on real estate marketing sites, allowing you to attract more renters to your property. Future articles in this series will explore additional avenues for marketing your vacation rental home and their benefits to you.

Tips on Marketing a Luxury Home

When thinking of luxury real estate you can expect to pay more than five hundred thousand dollars for a home. With the economic recession behind us, the market for luxury homes is booming once again. The market is now getting the benefit of the rising income levels of people along with their desire to own a lavish, grand residential space. It is just as easy to sell a luxury home as it is one that is affordable to those without a lavish income. The market will basically targets the individuals with high net worth that also has big cash reserves and is looking for high quality living and potential investment options. These luxury properties are usually found in an up-market locality where the residents can enjoy a lifestyle that is world-class and has ultra-modern amenities.

One thing to note is that the prices of a luxury home can be very volatile. At one time, they can be at their peak when the demand is at the highest point and then it can drop substantially where you have no buyers in the market for luxury real estate.

There are many different ways in which you can market a luxury home. One way that is very important is that you will need to advertise aggressively. You should use mediums of advertising like radio, the internet, newspapers, and television effectively to attract potential buyers. You can also use billboard and pamphlets as a means of advertising in order to draw the attention of potential buyers. In your advertisements, make sure that you highlight the specifications, layout of the home, the location, and the facilities to generate more curiosity.

You can also organize seminars and exhibitions where you can showcase the luxury properties that are available to the buyers. Ask the sales representatives to interact with them personally and be able to solve your buyer’s queries. Convince them how investing in the properties will be in the long term advantageous to them.

Make sure that you can assure your potential buyers that they will have legal clearance on the homes they are considering purchasing. No buyer wants to spend millions, or even hundreds of thousands of dollars on a luxury home only to find that there is some form of legal trouble related to the property.

You can also hire a brand ambassador, who could be a celebrity that works in some of your commercials that is helping to promote the luxury properties you are trying to find a potential buyer for. Make sure you promote the luxury home throughout the world as a potential buyer can come from anywhere.

Selling Your Home – FSBO – Is it Time For a Total Shock and Awe Marketing Campaign For Your Home?

In today’s over-crowded real estate market to pull out all the stops when creating a marketing campaign for your home. You need to use every marketing means available.

You need to overwhelm the market with information about your property. If you don’t your home is likely to get lost in the sea of other properties on the market. You might want professional help for planning out your campaign, or else do a lot of reading to get knowledgeable on real estate marketing.

The first thing you will learn is that there are literally dozens of places to advertise your home-for-sale website. You will also learn that many of them are free to use if you comply with the website terms.

The only cost to advertise on these sites is the time to register at the site and set up your property advertisement. It may be more efficient to hire somebody to do this for you because there is a learning curve in working with all these websites out there for you to advertise on.

The same is true for other places online you can list information about your property for sale. By this I mean social bookmarking sites, social networking sites, blogs, forums and directories. There are more of these than you think, i.e., dozens of each kind that are available to you.

Then there is the non-internet advertising media. There are more of these than you think too. People think there are only two newspapers in Maryland (in Baltimore and Annapolis) but there are actually 36. The same for magazines and free distribution “shopper” type papers for classified ads.

The thing you won’t want to do is blow a lot of your money on one or two expensive ads (like a display ad in the Washington Post, for example). Every dollar you spend has to be analyzed to give you the most “bang for the buck” in terms of exposure, readership, and traffic.

Paying an internet marketing consultant with expertise in real estate marketing will give you access to dozens of free (or very cheap) advertising vehicles, and this will cost less than some expensive ads can cost.

Internet marketing even allows you to set up “word of mouth” advertising campaigns, which can be the most effective. There are dozens of paid advertisement websites online also, including Google, which now gives local real estate search results.

Virtual Vs Actual Home Staging

More often than not, a home is a person’s single largest financial investment. As such, it is critical to find the best marketing strategies when selling a home. Staging is an important part of a real estate marketing plan, and should be considered in order to sell the home faster and for the most money. Realtors may suggest a staging consultation is needed for an occupied home, or recommend full staging services complete with rental furniture and accessories for all or key rooms in a vacant home. A virtual staging consultation saves time and money by discussing staging advice over the phone after analyzing real photos of a property by email. The use of virtual staging software may be a lower cost marketing tool for vacant homes, but may not be as effective as actual home staging. There are many differences between these types of staging strategies.

Virtual staging is the process of making computer renderings of an interior design concept from a digital photograph of a room to help potential buyers visualize a space. These renderings are often used by builders and investors in the marketing of new construction homes or rehab properties. The illustrations may be used to show flooring, cabinetry, finishes and other material options, especially during the pre-construction or development phase. The virtual photos may also indicate what a future home remodeling project could look like, and is useful to show decorating ideas to clients. However, actual staging for a vacant home, or model home staging for a new community, has proven to be most effective.

Professional home staging uses property styling techniques that appeal to the target buyer demographic to make a home look its best and stand out from the competition. With staging, furniture and accessories are brought in and artfully placed to highlight aspects of the home. Unlike virtual, actual staging helps to create an emotional connection with buyers and a welcoming feel that they will find attractive in the home.

Most people first browse real estate listings online when shopping for a home. The virtually staged pictures may spark initial interest online, but often appears misleading and ineffective when an empty home is viewed in person. The home may also require more updates than what is shown in the photo diminishing the home’s perceived value. Potential buyers visiting the home may still question the size of the space as well as furniture layout since there is no point of reference without actual furniture. Staging is effective when it romances the buyer in person. They need to fall in love with a home and develop an “at home” feel in order to decide that this is the home for them.

Real Estate Marketing: 3 Ways Realtors Can Brand A Home For Sale

Executing an effective marketing campaign for your listings can seem like a dreadful undertaking – specifically for newer agents – but it doesn’t have to be. You’ll likely find yourself asking, “How should I present this property to the public? How should I present myself?” The solution to this seemingly beleaguering problem is actually found in this simple answer: there are essentially three ways to brand any listing.

What exactly is a brand? For our purposes, we’ll define a brand as a design strategy associated with a product. The application of the brand to a product or service is called Branding or Brand Management. Through regular branding, the consumer is trained to remember & recognize your product by its direct association with your design scheme. A brand establishes a feeling for a product – a visual connotation of sorts – that is essential for effective marketing.

There are three ways to brand your listings:

1.) Utilize your company brand

A great benefit of hanging your license at a real estate firm is the ability to use its brand to your advantage. Depending on the company, the brand can be a powerful marketing tool because all of the Brand Management has been done for you through years of consistent presence in the market. Therefore, the general public is already familiar with that brand – even if they do not recognize your name – and you should use this to your every advantage. Sotheby’s International Realty, for example, caries such an impressive reputation that you can enjoy the brand’s benefits with little effort, allowing you to do what you do best – selling homes.

2.) Develop & use your personal brand

A second avenue for branding a listing is the creation of your own personal brand as a realtor. Many of the world’s top producers understand this. They have a consistent listing portfolio, they are known in their respective geographical areas & they advertise continuously to their spheres of influence. This is achieved through persistent Brand Management. An agent’s personal brand can be anything from a recognizable logo to a consistent color pattern to a unique type treatment – or any combination thereof. A smart brand integrates well with the brand of the broker. An agent’s personal brand should never clash with the company logo & should always be versatile.

How does this effectively brand a specific property? This approach communicates to the public that you are a consistent producer of not only sales volume, but of quality marketing. With your personal brand, you build the same level of trust with your clients & prospects as any mainstream commercial product, giving the public confidence in you as their realtor.

3.) Create a brand that is entirely unique to a specific property

We all know an exceptional property when we see one – perhaps it’s a well kept mid-century modern in the suburbs or an early 19th century Spanish architectural in the hills. These special properties deserve special marketing. A talented graphic designer or marketing team can tailor your specific campaign to reflect the soul of the property in its design scheme, creating marketing materials that reflect the personality of the home. This route not only wows your sellers, but signals to the public that the listing belongs in its own category & should be treated as such.

Now you’re ready to go!

Now that you’re familiar with the three ways to brand a listing, you can more easily structure your “plans of attack” when releasing your listings onto the market. Each of the three above methods can be blended together or used singularly as desired – just remember to keep your brands consistent & complimentary of one another.

And now it’s time to sit back & watch your listings fly off the shelves!

Tips to Market Your Home

Selling a home online is the simplest way for an owner to sell his home himself. Like in any kind of sale, online selling also warrants extensive marketing. Marketing techniques used to reach the target market help in the quick sale of the property.

Effective marketing techniques are those that make the deal seem lucrative to the buyer. Online facilities offer the seller a lot of flexibility for marketing the property. However, one should use these facilities to bring out the features of the property in an attractive manner.

Here are some useful tips for marketing a home:

1. Property portals allow the seller to post descriptions about the property. Generally, there is no limitation on the number of words that can be used. However, it is beneficial not to go overboard and write lengthy descriptions. You should write brief, precise description of the property. This is because the prospects lose interest in lengthy descriptions and may opt to read about a different property.

What should you include in the description of the house?

• Location of the house

• Number of bedrooms

• Number of bathrooms

• Square-foot area

• Highlights such as the type of flooring, if kitchen sinks are made of steel or any other features, etc.

• You should also highlight if public transportation system is close-by.

• It is also beneficial to mention nearby malls, schools, etc.

The description should be worded such that the seekers can easily find relevant information.

2. You can post a number of pictures on the website. You should take care to capture attractive images with a proper lighting of the home. You could also consider home-staging before taking the photographs. Photographs should be taken from vantage points so as to make the home look spacious.

3. Online listing offers you the opportunity to post a virtual tour of the property. This enables the seeker to get a fair idea about the house. Before you record the video you should ensure that the home looks attractive. For this, it is essential to de-clutter and organise the house. Home-staging also helps in enhancing the appeal of the home.

4. Although the trend is for buyers to search properties online, it helps to advertise in the newspaper also.

5. You can also distribute e-flyers.

6. You can put up ‘Home for Sale’ boards in your yard.

7. You can send direct mails to neighbours, agents of buyers and to buyers in other locations.

Though not exhaustive these are some useful pointers which help in marketing a property effectively. In addition to these, you can use your creativity to market your home. Effective marketing will enable you to sell your property without an agent. This will help you in enhancing your gains.