The 3 keys to a strong first impression

Today’s property buyer wants as much valuable information as possible in the shortest period of time. They want to decide quickly, ‘Is this home for me?’

So how do we help them do that? There are three areas to be addressed.

The first part of the snap-judgement trilogy is that the home’s style must be an expression of the buyer you’re targeting.

Many agents think it’s just a matter of hiring a professional photographer and Bob’s your uncle.

Savvy agents know there’s a very important step prior to taking images, and that’s getting a 'de-clutterer' and stylist in to oversee the creation of the eye-popping images to accompany the property’s marketing strategy.

Clever stylists know how to ‘work a room’ with the right accessories to target your premium buyer. It goes right down to selecting the right art, the right magazines and the right cushions to entice your buyer to linger on the images. Clever stylists know how to make the eye travel to achieve continuity and coherence in an image. All of this works to attract the ideal buyer.

Then it’s up to the photographer to capture the essence of the property. But is it? This is the second part of the snap-judgement trilogy.

The best agents will know exactly what they want from the photo shoot and will direct the photographer in how to display the lifestyle of the property. They’ll create two hero shots. They won’t automatically use an exterior as the hero shot. They’ll know which properties will benefit most from a dusk shoot. They might even do a couple of close-ups to create interest. The clever agent directs the photographer, not the other way around.

But images alone aren’t enough to create the kind of excitement that’s necessary to get a buyer to pick up the phone or get in the car and attend an open house.

Imagine skimming down the first results page after a search on one of the major portals. What do you look at? The images… and the headlines. When the image and the headline combine to create a match in the buyer’s mind, they immediately want more. And they’ll click through.

Now you’re in with a chance.

This is the third and all-important part of the trilogy. Here’s where you get to marry everything together and bridge that gap between the head and the heart – the copy.

A crucial part of that is the headline. The headline has to relate to the thumbnail image. Some experts say the headline is so important you need to spend about 80 per cent of your allotted time on this element alone.

Here are three examples of flat, boring, thoughtless headlines (found in a recent check on a major property portal for Paddington, Sydney):

• Stylish, renovated Victorian terrace

• Location, lifestyle, privacy, leafy outlook

• Charming traditional Paddington terrace

Agents need headlines that grab buyers by the eyeballs and suck them into the message. A compelling headline will do these four things:

• Grab your reader’s attention

• Screen and qualify

• Get the buyer to take the next step – clicking through

• Communicate the one ‘big idea’ or essence of the property

Sure, real estate does and will continue to sell with poorly written headlines, but the great headlines will attract more premium buyer enquiry and get homes sold quicker. Great headlines can set agents apart from their competition.

We talked about the importance of the ‘story-driven’ property description body copy in a previous article, which is of course part of the snap-judgement trilogy. But agents who study, understand and incorporate a brilliant headline will go a long way in helping their vendors' properties stand out above the rest.

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Karen Hutton

Karen Hutton

Karen Hutton's mission is to create useful communication products for sales and rental agents that inspire, delight and create a memorable experience for their clients.

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