How to Sell your House Online

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The internet has upended the real estate industry, opening new ways for buying and selling properties. Many people use online resources before dipping their feet in real estate. If you have ever thought about buying a house, there’s a good chance you have checked the information online.

The internet has also sped up the home shopping process. Homebuyers in 2021 and at the start of 2022 spent eight weeks looking for homes online. 95% of all buyers used online tools in the home search process, according to the 2021 profile of home buyers and sellers by NAR.

Things to consider when selling a house online

Online resources can help you find the correct information to sell your home online.

What’s the importance of ordering a payoff when selling a house?

When selling your house, ordering a payoff is of the utmost importance. Most homeowners will sell their home before the 30-year term requires them to order a mortgage payoff. A mortgage payoff will let you know exactly what is owed on the mortgage so you can satisfy your loan to the bank. Once you have the payoff, you will know exactly how much money you will make from selling the property, and you can begin planning your move.

When selling a house, it is standard that the new buyer will get a free and clear title. For this to happen, the mortgage must be paid in full at closing. Send a copy of the payoff letter to your attorney or title company, and they will ensure that some of the proceeds from your house go to the mortgage company to pay off the house. The payoff letter should be requested close to the closing date. Most payoff letters have an expiration date since the amount owed will change as you make or miss payments. Once the mortgage company gets the proceeds of the house, they will send a payoff letter stating that the mortgage is paid in full and the new buyer can take ownership.

How has virtual reality transformed the property-buying experience?

Virtual reality brings the inside of a property of interest to anyone’s computer, tablet, or smartphone. It also allows a home’s complete “story” to be told using various content and tech tools to help satisfy the online buyer’s needs. According to Zillow buyer research, viewing a floor plan as part of the online search process was deemed as “extremely or very important” by 58% of buyers, more than professional photos (46%) and almost two times as important as viewing a property video (30%). Through tools such as FloorPlanOnline’s 3D Walkthrough Tour, a user can get a complete picture of the property using the 3D tour, the 2D interactive floor plan, the 3D drag & drop planner and designer, and professional photography and video content.  

This type of content gets results. First, 99% of homeowners surveyed said this type of content makes their home more competitive online, and they want to work with agents that offer it as part of the listing service. Second, 55% of all buyers, and 64% of Millennial buyers (the largest buying group), say they would be willing to make an offer without a physical property visit if the listing had a comprehensive virtual tour featuring the various content options.

Why is interior design crucial when marketing a listing?

Ugly properties do not sell. Visual representation of your listing is an essential part of real estate marketing. Even tweaking the initial interior design just a little bit can increase traffic. Unlike location and square footage, interior design is well within control, and taking time to spruce up pays off as it turns properties into homes with clear potential. Research your target audience to determine the best style for your potential buyer. Pay attention to the details but don’t be too picky. Hire a team of professionals instead of getting your fingers burnt with unqualified people.

Virtual home inspections

Virtual home inspections are still novel, but they are gaining popularity. 

During a virtual home inspection, an inspector records and presents findings remotely. A buyer or seller can watch the process and ask questions during the process. While the essence of a home inspection is still the same, not everyone has to be physically present.

Today, it’s not uncommon for buyers to be in a different city when they buy a property. Modern technology allows you to attend virtual home inspections as long as you have reliable Internet.

Virtual staging

Almost 85% of potential home buyers say photos are the most critical factor when looking at properties online.

Virtual staging involves digital designers creating property details. It allows designers to integrate them into an image of empty space and create an appealing image. 

What part does virtual staging play when selling a property online?

When you’re selling a property, appearance is everything. You want to ensure that your home looks its best to get top dollar. 

Unfortunately, most people can’t afford to hire a professional stager. 

Virtual staging is the perfect solution for sellers who want to stage their homes on a budget. With virtual staging, you can choose from a library of furniture and accessories to create a room that looks like it was professionally staged. Plus, virtual staging is fast- you can have a room staged in minutes! Using digital images of your property, our team can create a realistic preview to help potential buyers see themselves living in your home. This will help you stand out from the competition and speed up the sale process

Real estate photography

In real estate, good pictures of your home can make a difference in how quickly you can sell it. Thanks to technological advancements, buyers can look at your property without ever meeting you. The crisp photos of your home can pique a buyer’s interest and prompt them to contact a real estate agent. 

Hire a professional real estate photographer to get quality images of your property before putting it on the market.

What are the best tips about online real estate photos?

Over 90% of buyers begin their home search online these days, with 83% stating that photos were the most important and useful tool of their search.

If you’re planning a home sale, be sure to include these six important areas in your photo gallery: The home exterior, kitchen, living room, master bedroom, master bath, dining room, and outdoor living area.

Post pictures in an order that makes sense, as if you were walking through the house. Start with the exterior front, entry, dining room, and bedrooms, ending with photos of the backyard. Include a number of pictures of each room from different angles.

Before you photograph your home, you should have decluttered and staged it. Be sure to include any outstanding features like a fireplace, stainless steel kitchen appliances, or a beautifully landscaped yard.

Don’t post blurry, upside down or sideways photographs. Also, be careful with photo-shopping; don’t edit out a too-close neighbor’s house or gravel pit next door. It’ll only make buyers angry when they show up. Go ahead and edit out a car in the driveway or that garbage can you forgot to put away.

Selling a house online with a real estate agent

Online resources can help you to prepare to put your home on the market. A skilled real estate agent can help you market your home and negotiate the price to get more money. 

Real estate agents have access to many flat fee MLS listings, a database formed by real estate brokers to share data about properties listed for sale. They know real estate trends and can help you find the right buyer for your property.

90% of home sellers work with a real estate agent to sell their homes. 

What is a virtual open house?

A virtual open house is a showroom tour of a property held online. Online visitors and clients can explore the property through a 360 virtual tour that covers a panoramic view of the space. 

Real estate agents can guide their clients through a screen-sharing platform like Zoom during the virtual open house. As the agent gives a virtual walk-through of the property, clients can navigate around the space with a click of a button. 

Before the virtual open house day, the property has to be shot by a virtual tour agency. These experts take images of the property from all angles and then stitch them together for a 360 view. The agency also has the skills to customize the virtual tour by adding interactive features such as videos, navigation menus, or floor plans to highlight property details. 

Virtual open houses benefit agents as a lead strategy as an online platform can invite many more visitors. First-time viewers are more likely to view a potential property online than travel out of their way. If the agent finds an interested client through the virtual open house, they can invite them to the physical showroom to close the deal. 

  • Kyler Lam, The Red Marker

How do real estate auctions help buyers in a seller’s market?

Real estate auctions have become popular in selling non-distressed real estate in a seller’s market due to the high demand of buyers trying to find homes. The current market in traditional real estate has been frustrating for buyers to find homes due to multiple offers, escalation clauses, and waiving appraisals and inspections to compete in finding their dream home. Many agents have written multiple offers with buyers and still lose out.

An auction is the most transparent means of purchasing a home where all bidders are on the same playing field. Buyers can know the current bidding price and the price increase through a live auction or an online auction. All bidders are bidding on the same terms, which eliminates the frustration of losing out on a home. Some buyers have spent months looking for homes or waiting for them to come on the market. The problem has been when a listing hits the MLS or Zillow. It becomes the hottest ticket in town, with buyers unable to book showings in time to compete for an offer. An auction is advertised as a one-day event that gives buyers the advantage of seeing the home and competing for the highest price.

  • Beth Rose, CAI, AARE, AMM, Beth Rose Real Estate & Auctions, LLC, and Chair of the National Auctioneers Association Board of Directors, How Auctions Work

Selling a house online by yourself

The internet has opened access to many resources in the real estate market, which used to be available only to insiders. The available resources have also enabled homeowners to sell their homes without real estate agents. 

You can hire real estate photographers to get photos and videos of your property. Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube are free tools for marketing your property.

“For Sale By Owner,” or ‘FSBO,’ allows buyers to avoid paying real estate commissions and have complete control over the sale. But it also has some drawbacks, and data shows that only 7% of recent home sales were FSBO. 

FSBO requires significant time and effort, as sellers need to market their homes and interact with potential buyers. Selling your home without a real estate agent can expose you to legal risks. Some documents in the home selling process are legally binding and need a good understanding.

How to organize a virtual open house?

The idea of a virtual open house experience is to combine an interactive tour like the one above with video conferencing and screen-sharing software. This way, you offer your clients a live, guided tour of the property. It’s all virtual and online, but with your personal touch!

It all starts with a virtual tour – you’ll need to shoot panoramic photos of the property or hire someone to do it for you. Use a virtual tour editor that you can easily access in your web browser. 

Once you have a 360 virtual tour of your property ready, you need to organize a video conference, open the virtual tour, and share your screen with the audience. Fortunately, there is a lot of free and paid software out there that will make this easy!

Zoom is our recommended solution. It’s a popular video conferencing platform that allows you to schedule meetings easily and share a meeting link with all your clients via email or text message.

What is your best advice for advertising a property online?

First, you must ensure that your property listing is as detailed and accurate as possible. This means including lots of high-quality photos and a description of the property and any amenities it has. You should also take advantage of all the features available on sites like Craigslist, such as their advanced search filters and the option to post listings for free. Finally, it’s important to be proactive about following up with potential buyers and responding quickly to any questions or offers they may have.

There are many ways to advertise a property online; the most effective strategies depend on your situation. However, by focusing on creating quality listings, utilizing all of the available tools, and being responsive to potential buyers, you should be able to find success in marketing your property online.

What are your recommendations when taking real estate photographs with a smartphone for online listings? 

Many modern smartphones provide the ability to take good real estate photographs. You can do a few things to improve the quality of the images you take for your property listing. First, you need to give sufficient phone support for sharp images. Holding the phone at arm’s length (as above) will not give you a perfect photo. Hold your elbows against your chest to create a stable base. You could also use the volume button instead of the on-screen button to trigger the shutter.

Avoid using the zoom feature, as you want the widest possible image your phone can capture. Using the zoom feature will also reduce the quality of your image.

Make sure you hold the camera at landscape orientation. You may be inclined to hold your camera upright but keeping it sideways in the landscape will get much better photos.

Compose your images from the corner of the rooms to give you the widest view of the room possible.

Use photo editing apps like VSCO and Snapseed to improve your images’ brightness, colors, and sharpness.

What are the benefits of selling your home to a real estate investor?

There are several benefits of selling your home to a real estate investor. One of the main benefits of selling to an investor is the quick close option. A typical real estate transaction with a non-investor typically closes within 30-60 days after an offer is accepted. Whereas, with investors, many purchases use cash, allowing the transaction to close as early as 7-14 days after the acceptance. If the investor is financing the purchase, the quick close benefit may not be an option.

If the investor buys the property in cash, the investor will likely waive the appraisal contingency. Contingencies in an offer are opportunities for the buyer/investor to back out of the deal. Therefore, if an appraisal contingency is waived, it gives a seller more certainty that the deal will close, which is another big benefit.

Another great benefit is that investors are more relaxed when it comes to inspections. Many investors will not request an inspection contingency. In the cases where there is an inspection contingency, investors are still much more relaxed about the inspection findings. This is because they are prepared to make repairs, and/or their experience has taught them which items to focus on.

  • Brian Robbins, Residential Real estate Investor, House Cashin

What are the marketing costs to keep in consideration when selling a home?

A reputable agent can do the job if you want to market your home properly. Remember that you will bear all the marketing costs, depending on the agent you work with. They might already include advertising costs in their commission, but other expenses you may have to cover are:

  • Advertisements in metropolitan/local newspapers and property magazines
  • Online advertising
  • Brochures and/or flyers
  • Professional photography
  • Video production (if a professional team is required)
  • Floor Plan Layout
  • Copywriting

Your agent should present a marketing strategy to help you sell your home, but the costs will vary according to the property. To give you an idea, sellers can spend between 0.5-1% of the selling price on the marketing—1% being the maximum you should spend. But these won’t be finalized until the house is sold and your agent rounds up the numbers. 

Marketing your property is a vital part of the selling process. While you might be concerned about the costs of working with professionals, they know how to feature your property in the best light, saving you time in the long run.

  • Isabelle de Braux, Soho

What costs are important to keep in mind when selling a house?

Real Estate Professional Costs – These are the largest real estate transaction cost, pricing anywhere from 4-6% of the property’s value, on average. Many sellers try to avoid this cost by listing their property as FSBO (for sale by owner), but if you are interested in this, you have to be prepared to take on the duties and responsibilities of a real estate agent. You can use any digital tool to list a property as FSBO or a Flat Fee broker with access to digital tools for a relatively easy home-selling experience. 

Closing Costs – Though the home buyer takes care of many closing costs, it is common for the seller also to chip in. Closing costs include property transfer taxes, title insurance, and escrow fees. Miscellaneous seller costs can easily add up to over $1,000 on a real estate transaction but will rarely be higher than the agent commissions mentioned above.

Repair Costs – There are two categories – necessary repairs and investment repairs. Firsts include work that has to be done to make your home comparable to other listings in your market. The 2nd  is improvement repairs, which aren’t required but add enough value to your home to charge a higher price. It will only cost a few hundred bucks and some labor but can increase what somebody will pay for your home. Whether your project is a necessary repair or an improvement repair, costs can add up quickly, so be diligent, research, and ensure you know how much value a repair will add to your property.

Selling a house to a cash buyer

The internet also made it possible to sell your property for cash, as you can market your home across many platforms.

The number of homes sold for cash in the United States reached 48,000 in 2021, according to Statista – the highest figure recorded since 2004.

Selling your home for cash is more straightforward than selling it with a real estate agent or yourself. You don’t have to market your property and wait for the highest bidder. 

Investment buyers looking to fast-track the transaction are willing to pay for your home with cash. It’s not uncommon to close in just a few weeks. 

The technological advances enabled home buyers to explore options from the comfort of their homes. Sellers can communicate with buyers before they even set foot on the property. 

The online tools available today make it easier to market your property on the internet. Whether you are selling your property by yourself or with a real estate agent, you can use digital tools to sell your home.