How to Market Your House

Real estate market

Marketing your home becomes easier if you can identify the current real estate market. Agents tend to put a lot more money and work into selling listings when markets transition from seller’s to buyer’s market but strong marketing techniques are just smart business sense regardless.

Good marketing can bring higher prices in a seller’s market and it can mean the difference between “sold” or “expired” in a buyer’s market. Good marketing might not sell your house but it will make the phone ring and if buyers don’t call, you won’t sell.

Photograph the Front

Most home buyers begin a home search online so posting good photos is essential. Listings without photos or with only an exterior shot are often ignored. But that doesn’t mean an exterior shot from the front isn’t very important.

Your house photo will look 10 times better than your competition’s if you crop out sidewalks and streets. Remove vehicles from your driveway and from the front of your home. Shoot both close up and angled photos and avoid shade falling on the house—wait for another time of day if necessary. Clear away any vegetation that’s blocking the front door or the path to door.

Other Exterior Photographs

Take pictures of the clubhouse, pool, spa, or tennis courts if you own a condo or townhome without a yard. But keep in mind that buyers will want to see it if you do have a yard.

Emphasize space and shoot long. Mow the lawn and trim the bushes. Remove any evidence of pets and put away children’s toys. Avoid shooting into the sun.

Interior Photographs

Take photographs of every room even if you suspect that a certain room won’t photograph well. Shoot it anyway because the photo quality might just surprise you. It might be usable.

Open drapes and blinds and turn on the lights. Focus on interesting details like the condition of a wood floor or a fireplace mantle. Remove trash cans and close the toilet lids in the bathrooms and use floral arrangements in kitchens and dining rooms. Avoid shooting into mirrors because your image will reflect.

Virtual Tours

Virtual tours aren’t just for showcase million-dollar homes anymore. Every home should have one, even if it’s only two spins. Buyers love, love, love virtual tours.

A good virtual tour will grab a buyer by the hand and lead her from room to room, whether it’s 360 or a video. Depending on the tour company, you can add sound, music, or an exciting, professionally written description that scrolls with the movement of the tour. Virtual tours can also include individual photos available for download or to print.


Signage encourages home shoppers to immediately call you or your agent. It’s free advertising! A well-designed “For Sale” sign will generate phone calls. Put up two signs if your home is on a corner lot.

Keep in mind that some homeowner’s associations prohibit real estate signs. They only allow window signs. Try talking to a neighbor whose home is located near the corner of a busy street, asking for permission to put a sign in that yard with an arrow pointing toward yours.

Agent signs should include the phone number of their closest office when their brokerage operates multiple offices. They should also include the agent’s cellphone number.

Print Advertising

Print advertising reaches buyers who read newspapers and online ads reach the rest. You’re doing a good job if your neighbors say, “I see your home advertised everywhere I look!”

Put ads in major newspapers. Find out which days pull the most readers. It’s usually Sunday but some newspapers also publish “picture classifieds” on other days.

Don’t overlook local newspapers. You can often run a larger ad for less money that will more closely target those who are looking in your specific area. Check on press dates before you place ads in real estate publications. Can you wait? Make use of every website you can find. Most online listings are free.

Direct Mail

You can buy mailing lists from list brokers if you’re an unrepresented seller. Ask about a direct mail program if you’re represented by an agent. Oversized four-color postcards are good because they’re inexpensive to mail and they’re eye-catching. 

Give them to neighbors. Everybody has friends and relatives who might want to move near them. Give them to agents who represent buyers in your neighborhood and to buyers who live in other areas and often relocate to your neighborhood.

Open Houses

Not every home is suitable for an open house because of its location or other factors, but sometimes the only way to find out is to try. If nobody comes, that’s probably a good indication.

If your home is located near a high traffic area where buyers often swarm, it’s probably a good candidate. Place open house signs throughout the area directing buyers to your location. Advertise your open house in the newspaper and post open house times online. Invite the neighbors. They’re going to come anyway.

Host Broker/Agent Tours

You can skip this step if you’re planning to sell your home without representation, but it’s a good idea to draw as many agents and brokers as possible to view your home. Most buyers are represented by agents.

Agents who linger in your home will better remember details to later describe to buyers and the best way to entice an agent to hang around is food. It doesn’t have to be anything expensive. Sandwiches will suffice. The hope is that they’ll admire your home as they munch and network, then they’ll bring back a buyer.

Send E-Flyers

Technology has made it very easy to create and send electronic flyers. You can include multiple photographs of your house. Costs vary but these generally aren’t prohibitively expensive to produce.

Send them to real estate agents who sell in your area and to friends, family, and coworkers. Out-of-area brokers and agents who represent buyers in your area can be 

Don’t Forget the MLS!

This one isn’t a suggestion—it’s a must-do. Your listing agent will certainly make sure your house is listed in the Multiple Listing Service if you’re represented. But even if you’re not, the MLS can accommodate for-sale-by-owner listings.

Find a discount broker who’s willing to enter the information about your property for you without actually representing you. Many will do so for a flat fee. Posting your home here will make sure that many, many agents and buyers are aware of its availability. 

the balance: How to Market Your House. 06. October 2018.

Join The Discussion

Compare listings