What a real estate listing is, is Advertising pure and simple.

And Advertising is not an art. It is a science. Since I worked in the business for 30 years, I would like to share some of this with you. It cannot hurt to know this stuff.

All major clients test advertising. In the case of print, which is what we do on the MLS, there are things that we absolutely know.

First, we know where the eyes go. There is a thing called “eye movement detection” which shows where you look and when as you look at an ad. Everybody tests this, and it has serious consequences. Eyes usually go to the picture first. Because it's the picture that tells you how to feel about the words.


There are a lot of other things we test for as well. If an ad really interests you and makes an impression, you will remember it. So major advertisers do what is called the “Day After Recall Test” If you subscribe to Time Magazine, for example, you will be on a list. Research firms call people up, establish that the person has read the magazine, and then ask them what ads they remember. Effective ads get high scores. This obviously carries over to what we do. You want your listing to be remembered. It means someone cared.

A photograph is in many ways like an iceberg. 90% of it is below the surface. But it’s that part that tells you how to feel about that picture. You don’t have to be Freud to know this. And you want to generate positive feelings. Positive feelings are generated by involvement – the ability to put yourself in the picture. How are you going to feel in that living room? This is critical. That’s why natural light is the most relatable way to shoot a room. Flashes and lights on during the day look fake, because they are. And fake is not involving. The same goes for aerials, which generally look like a realtor’s attempt to make an ordinary house look important. They often just tell you how close you are to the road, or a neighbor. And nobody really cares how their house looks from 200 feet. An assesor's map is better than most aerials. And if you are close to the water, show the view of the water from the house. That is what the owner actually sees. Or the house from the water. I have a boat, as well as a drone.

Good realtors know how little of most purchase decisions are rational. Most of the time what we are dealing with is that 90% of that iceberg that is below the surface. Buyers will try and give you the rational answers. But remember that buyers are strangers. And most strangers only give you rational answers. Strangers seldom share their feelings. Do you?

The best realtors know that it’s close to impossible to sell a place that doesn’t make a buyer feel good. And making them feel good means that you have to work on the invisible.

That's what I do.