How to Write the Most Effective Real Estate Listings

How to Write the Most Effective Real Estate Listing

Selling a home involves many steps. One of the most important is listing the home for sale online. Real estate listings must accomplish many goals. Listings must be accurate, factual and entice buyers to see the property in person. When writing a home listing, keep certain things in mind. Effective listings generate leads, show the properly off to well and ultimately get it sold at the highest price quickly.

Avoid the Basics

Readers already know the house has three bedrooms and two full bathrooms. They can scan the accompanying fact sheet that is up on every single listing. There’s no need to repeat information that is written elsewhere. Leave out details that the buyer already knows about. The space allotted for descriptions is typically quite short. Make every single word count.

Show Off the Home’s Best Features

Now is the time to brag. If the home has special features that other homes do not, mention them. Updated appliances, an extra large yard, brand new hardwood flooring, a jacuzzi and a three car garage — all these details should go in the listing. The same is true of any additions that have been added recently, such as a new deck or a brand new roof. Discuss the updated baths and the recently installed skylight in the master bedroom. Directly demonstrate what’s unique about this home compared to other homes for sale right now.

Use Highly Specific Language

Research has shown that certain words tend to appeal to buyers more than others. Use as many of these words as you can in the listing. Note that these words tend to be quite specific. For example, “luxurious” and “captivating” are better than a bland, unfocused word like “nice”. Nice means virtually nothing. Descriptive words like landscaped, spotless and upgraded all conjure up a precise and enticing image in buyer’s minds. Any listing should aim to draw a vivid picture of this home in the buyer’s mind the second they read it.

Let the Buyer See Themselves

The goal is to let the buyer imagine they live there already. Copy like, “stretch on this home’s painted wraparound front porch and watch the sun set over the city each evening,” immediately tells the reader what it’s like to own the home.

Writing a real estate listing is an art form, and all the best professionals have mastered this talent. Try some of these tips for your next listing and see the difference.

*Content was originally published at JasonCohenPittsburgh.org

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What’s the Big Deal with Tiny Homes?

What's the Big Deal with Tiny Homes_ by Jason Cohen Pittsburgh

It’s hard to escape the Tiny House phenomenon. There are HGTV shows, Instagram accounts, and a plethora of stories about buying a home under 400 square feet. They require downsizing your possessions, they’re crowded, and they lack a lot of the amenities of a full size home, so why go tiny? While it certainly isn’t for everyone, there are numerous benefits to living in a tiny home.

Minimalism is Key in a World of Hoarders

Oftentimes, people decide to go small because their life has become riddled with material possessions. Maybe they want to escape the clutter. Maybe they want to donate items and give back. Perhaps they are just tired of cleaning up the mess of a huge home. Regardless the reason, a small home will undoubtedly require purging, and it can certainly be good for the soul. However, the minimalist lifestyle isn’t for everyone. A lot of towns have outlawed the portable housing, which can make relocating difficult. There are towns that encourage tiny house living, however, to help boost their economy.

Cheaper than Mortgage, and Maybe Even Rent

According to the Washington Post, a lot of tiny house owners go tiny for freedom from a mortgage. In fact, cost is one of the first factors in deciding to go tiny. It often gives people the opportunity to be homeowners when they couldn’t normally afford it. It also makes traveling more flexible, as tiny homeowners can uproot their home to each city they travel to and avoid hotel costs and having to constantly eat out. It’s just important to know the laws of states you’re traveling to.

Green as the Cash You’re Saving

Tiny homes are often first purchased as a means of saving money for people looking to avoid paying property taxes, rent, or long-term temporary housing. However, they sometimes stay because a tiny house allows them a more environmentally-friendly lifestyle. Tiny houses can run on solar energy, can have composting toilets and are often in remote areas where you can garden and grow herbs and spices. Plus, they require much less electricity than traditional homes.

Looking for a minimalist lifestyle? An affordable mortgage? Wanting to help out the environment? Tiny house living may be just the right option for you. Just keep in mind that it can be difficult to find land to “park” your home. However, once you know where you’re going to set up your new digs, the possibilities are endless.

*Originally published at JasonCohenPittsburgh.net

4 Tips for Making Your Lease Protect You

As a landlord, you began investing in real estate to make money, but, if you’re not careful, you may end up paying out more in expenses than you’re making. The lease can be much more than a rental agreement. It should be used to help you protect yourself against mounting upkeep costs that should be the burden of your tenant.

Include a Guest Clause

The largest cause of property damage is people. The more people you have occupying a unit, the greater the wear and tear on the apartment. For this reason, it’s important to have a clause that designates just how many people can live in the unit. You can and should also add a clause limiting the number of guests that can stay overnight in the unit. As a part of that guest clause, include a clause that states that the tenant is responsible for any damage or other liabilities caused by guests of that tenant.

Put a Cap on Utilities

If you’re paying for the utilities, be sure to include a clause in the lease about the tenant’s privileges. The best way to handle this situation is to designate a number, such as $50 for gas, and state that the tenant is responsible for paying overages. If the tenant knows he’s responsible for paying the difference, he’ll be much more concerned with conserving resources.

Include Property Inspections

While most leases do have a “right to entry” clause, you might want to consider specifying routine inspections. This is the best way to protect yourself as the property owner. By making a routine inspection occasionally, you can ensure there are no serious damages to the property, unregistered tenants, or unapproved pets. This is your property and you have the right to ensure it’s being cared for in a proper way.

Specify Restrictions

This means going into detail in the lease on how the property is to be used. If you don’t want tenants using the fireplace, state that in the lease. Also point out that using utilities in a way other than intended is prohibited. This way, if their son throws a toy down the toilet and that creates a costly plumbing repair bill, the tenant will be held responsible for paying it. This is added protection against damages caused by the tenant.

If there’s anything that concerns you in renting out your property, you should make a point to mention that in the lease. This is your opportunity to let your tenants know what is and isn’t acceptable. By providing detailed clauses in your lease, you can ensure your property will be well tended and you’ll be spared the costs of paying for damages.

*Originally posed on JasonCohenPittsburgh.net

Should You Buy or Build?

What does success and achieving the American Dream look like to you? For many, the answer would be owning a home – with or without the stereotypical white picket fence. Owning a house implies permanence and financial in a way that even long-term renting never could; it shows that a person has the financial ability and will to set down the roots that will allow them to provide a long-term home for themselves and their family. But for some, buying someone else’s house isn’t enough; no property looks quite right or feels quite like home. They decide to build their new property from the ground up, and bring the house they dream of into reality. But how feasible is this plan? Should you build – or would it be better to buy? Let’s take a look at the facts.

According to statistics provided by The United States Federal Reserve, the average sale price of a home sold in the first quarter of 2018 stood at $375,000 – a hefty sum, given that the Bureau of Labor Statistics puts the median wage for American workers as of 2017 at  $44,564, and the average household income at just $73,298. To add yet another obstacle, the average American household is knee-deep in debt; the BLS further estimates that on average, households are responsible for repaying about $137,00.

Taken together, these financial barriers make it difficult – but not impossible! – for families to buy or build the home of their dreams. Prospective homeowners should consider the following points before they enter into the market:  

Do you have the resources to build?

Americans that earn more than roughly $400,000 to $600,000 per year, possess relatively small debts, and have substantial nest eggs could reasonably build a home without too much financial risk.

Do you plan on settling down in an area for longer than a decade?

The longer one plans on living in an area, the more easily one can make one’s mind up regarding this tough situation. If there are any chances that one could move in the remainder of their working lives, renting is likely the best option available.

Odds are, you wouldn’t want to go to the time and trouble of building a home from the ground up if you foresaw yourself moving within five years. If you have an occupation that requires you to travel or move often, renting would by far be your best option. However, if you intend on staying in one area for years and want to live in one home for over a decade, building your dream home could be a great option. That said, if you plan on moving to a bigger home in a few years, buying might be your best bet.

Cost comparison
Realtor indicates that the median home purchase price hovers around $223,000, whereas building one from scratch is roughly $289,415. Building could be cheaper in some cases, though buying is almost always the more affordable option.

*Originally posted on JasonCohenPittsburgh.org