TODAY   |  March 05, 2011

Selling house? Give your home online click appeal

Lots of people try to sell their homes online, but many miss the boat attracting buyers by using poor word choices and unappealing pictures. Savannah Guthrie talks to TODAY contributor Barbara Corcoran about the dos and don’ts of virtual real estate.

Share This:

This content comes from a Full-Text Transcript of the program.

SAVANNAH GUTHRIE, co-host: This morning on TODAY'S REAL ESTATE , what not to do online if you're selling your home. Many prospective homebuyers turn to the Internet for a sneak peek at what's on the market. And they could easily click right by your listing if you make some key mistakes. TODAY real estate contributor Barbara Corcoran is here to set us straight. Barbara , good morning.

Ms. BARBARA CORCORAN (Today Real Estate Contributor): Good morning.

GUTHRIE: OK, so there's a lot to do and not to do. Let's start with how you describe your home. And everyone knows in real estate , it's location, location, location. What are good words to use?

Ms. CORCORAN: Good words in location is anything that connects the word location to a feature, like two blocks from a park, a block from the ocean, two blocks from the subway or something like that. Anything that's a benefit is the right word for location.

GUTHRIE: What about kitchen? A lot of people say, well, beautiful kitchen, or they use some kind of generic adjective.

Ms. CORCORAN: The magic word there is gourmet kitchen. When people hear gourmet kitchen, they think it's huge, it's sunny, it's top-of-the-line appliances and everything is perfect.

GUTHRIE: You mentioned sunny; this is another big buzzword, right?

Ms. CORCORAN: This is beyond a buzzword; it's the second most cited reason why people pick their particular home that they buy.

GUTHRIE: Really?

Ms. CORCORAN: So it's sunny, sun-filled, sun-flooded. Anything with sun is always a buzzword.

GUTHRIE: And what are some other words that, if you could just drop them in your description?

Ms. CORCORAN: Well, the number one word in real estate that every buyer wants to hear is the word beautiful. When people hear beautiful...

GUTHRIE: Really?

Ms. CORCORAN: ...they actually associate it with excellent condition, everything's meticulous, and I could move right in. Landscape means perfect grounds, big backyard. Not big backyard, but landscaped home promises a lot more than that. Turnkey is so much better than move in; people don't believe move in anymore.

GUTHRIE: Turnkey? I had never heard that before.

Ms. CORCORAN: Turnkey is a great word. People are like, turnkey. Oh, it's a turnkey operation, all right. It means your home is immaculate, in perfect condition. And of course, another great word for a kitchen is a chef's kitchen. It's almost as good as gourmet.

GUTHRIE: OK, and let's talk about pictures . Let's just -- let's just put it out there. You should not not post pictures .

Ms. CORCORAN: Let me tell you, pictures are the name of the game . People shop by pictures . They are 10 times more important than even the words you use.

GUTHRIE: And the kind of camera you use even matters, right?

Ms. CORCORAN: The kind of cameras, everything. You need a high definition camera that's going to take great shots. If you're not going to have professional photography done, which you certainly should, for between two and $500 is the average in the United States right now, you should definitely pick a sunny day and rent a wide-angle lens.

GUTHRIE: OK, because a lot of people now looking on their iPad or their iPhone.

Ms. CORCORAN: Exactly. And you know what? These other photos just don't show up well there, so you've missed the whole boat.

GUTHRIE: All right, how many photos should you put up?

Ms. CORCORAN: At least 12. The average right now...

GUTHRIE: Twelve, OK.

Ms. CORCORAN: ...most people post is eight, but buyers again and again want more photos; 12's the magic number .

GUTHRIE: All right, just like the words, the pictures matter, too. We have some dos and don'ts.


GUTHRIE: I think we have an example to show of our log cabin for sale. It should -- there's a snowy one and there's a spring one. Which is right, which is wrong?

Ms. CORCORAN: Well, you're going to see it here in just a minute, I hope. Here comes -- oh, there it is over there. That's the spring shot. That is a beautiful, beautiful curb appeal shot. It's been cropped properly. Who wouldn't want to live there. Even those forward plants have been pulled in in a pot. There's the same house . Hard to believe. If you're going to sell in the wintertime, you have to take your shots in the summer or the spring because every house looks better then. That's a horrific shot; that'll never sell that house .

GUTHRIE: OK, let's see this living room do and don't. The one word that

comes to mind: clutter.

Ms. CORCORAN: Clutter is right. I mean, even the doilies on the tables are additional clutter. That just ought to be clean swept.

GUTHRIE: But it's lived in, Barbara .

Ms. CORCORAN: It's lived in, and that's fine while you're living there, but it's no good when you go to sell.

GUTHRIE: All right, and what about the dining room ?

Ms. CORCORAN: The dining room -- oh, this is actually a living room .

GUTHRIE: Oh yeah.

Ms. CORCORAN: So there's the dining room . Empty rooms just don't sell. They make the house look small. That brown wall should be painted right out. And certainly you see that little curtain on the window should be ripped right off.

GUTHRIE: So now there you have a decorated room. It's staged, but it's not cluttered.

Ms. CORCORAN: It's not cluttered and it just has minimal stuff. And setting that table is an old trick, but it still works.

GUTHRIE: All right, and let's do the master bedroom and see what you think of that real quick.

Ms. CORCORAN: That master bedroom , of course, is a great room, but those curtains should be totally removed, and the valance on the bed should be taken so you could look under the -- under the bed.


Ms. CORCORAN: That's a perfect bedroom. Who wouldn't want to sleep in that one?

GUTHRIE: OK, Barbara . Full of opinions, letting us know. Barbara Corcoran...

Ms. CORCORAN: Sorry for being so strong, but it's important.