Improving Digital Curb Appeal To Sell Faster

If you perform a search for a home in a city nearby, you might see something like this.

Let’s talk about the listing on the left. While the condo unit’s community will be important to buyers, a picture of the sign may not be the best image to represent the property in home search results.

Why does improving digital curb appeal matter? According to the NAR’s 2020 Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers, 97% of recent home buyers used the internet to search for a home—an all-time high that was hit in 2020 during the COVID-19 pandemic. As home buyers get more and more used to shopping and narrowing down their options online, paying attention to your listing’s digital curb appeal is increasingly crucial. In this blog, we’ll explain what digital curb appeal is and what you can do to maximize it to attract more buyers.

What is digital curb appeal?

Curb appeal is how attractive (or appealing) your home is when someone views it from the curb. Over the years, it has grown to represent the entire exterior of the home. As buyers moved much of their search online, however, Realtors® have had to focus on a different kind of curb appeal—digital curb appeal.

Improving digital curb appeal is a fancy term for improving it’s online profile. You have one chance to make a great first impression. And that first impression is typically made in the listing preview.

Typically, the listing preview shows:

  • One feature photo (and an option to scroll through the other photos)
  • The listing’s price
  • Number of bedrooms and bathrooms
  • Square footage
  • The property’s address
  • Special identifiers for the listing (like new constructionvideo tour, or hot home)

The listing itself prominently features the photos, a 3D walkthrough or video tour if it’s available, and a description—along with many of the property details you cannot change.

Why is digital curb appeal important?

According to the NAR’s profile of home buyers and sellers, the first step that 43% of recent buyers took in the home buying process was look online at properties for sale. Many home buyers have been browsing through listings online for years. This means they’re familiar with the process—and they continue to look even when they find a Realtor® to help them with their search. Other agents will also share your listings with their buyers, and they rely on listings to narrow down options for in-person visits.

Improving digital curb appeal 101

We went over what goes into digital curb appeal already, so let’s move on to explain how to optimize your digital curb appeal to attract more buyers, and ultimately sell faster.

Optimizing the listing preview

A lot goes into the little piece of real estate that your listing takes up on a home search results page. Changing the price and photos is an easy fix. You can also use pre-listing home improvements to further improve the visual appearance of the home or even alter the number of bedrooms and bathrooms as well as square footage.

We won’t go into pricing strategy, but we want to focus on the featured photo as well as the others that home buyers can scroll through within the preview. Ultimately, your goal should be to provide the best image to represent the home so you can get as many buyers as possible to click through to the listing. Of course, in doing so, you don’t want to misrepresent a home. The last thing you want is for buyers to be surprised when they scroll through the additional photos or visit the property in person. Improving digital curb appeal is important – but deceiving buyers is never a winning strategy.

While it’s common to use a photo of the front of the house as your featured image, doing so may not be the best option, and we’ve seen more and more listings featuring the living room or kitchen. If your traditional curb appeal has a wow-factor like this one, then, it will catch the attention it needs to. For a condo that doesn’t have traditional curb appeal or for a home that needs some improvements to its curb appeal, choose the most Instagram-worthy photo to feature your listing.

The feature image is important, but so are the additional images you choose to share within the listing. Within the preview, viewers can scroll through the photos. If there’s a stark contrast between your preview photo and the rest of the images, buyers will be wary.

Luckily, there are a few ways to ensure your listing preview presents the property in the best light.

1. Begin with pre-listing home improvements

From taking on basic repairs and painting to updating fixtures and even remodeling, pre-listing home improvements allow Realtors® and their sellers to control the listing’s visual appearance and price point.

With Curbio, Realtors® can provide a pay-at-closing home improvement solution that both them and their sellers will love. And there’s no need to worry about how much time a home improvement project could cost you, because Curbio’s full-time Project Managers are the General Contractor on every Curbio project, and they manage and execute the entire project.

We work with you to make smart, pre-listing home improvement decisions that add value to homes and maximize your sellers’ profit. More profit will leave your sellers happier, meaning more referrals down the line for you.

2. Complete the look with staging

According to NAR research, 40% of buyers’ agents cited that home staging has an effect on most buyers’ view of the home and 83% of buyers’ agents said staging made it easier for buyers to visualize the property as a future home. When the staging of a space is done well, it not only shows a homeowner what can fit within the space, it also elevates the space through expert design.

One reason Realtors® choose not to stage a home is because the burden of the cost generally falls on them. This is in part because homeowners like their own furniture and want to feature it. What they don’t realize is that this can damage their home sale. Curbio does market research of trends in the area to highlight features, styles, and colors buyers are looking for. Staging might seem like an optional add-on, but it’s a crucial part of maximizing a home’s value.

We’ve found that virtual staging is a bit controversial among agents. At the end of the day, it can be a much more affordable option. It still serves the purpose of showing home buyers the possibilities of the listing. If you’re unable to absorb the cost or work with your seller on the cost of traditional, physical staging, don’t worry. Virtually staging a few important rooms (like the living room, master bedroom, and kitchen) is a great compromise!

3. Package & ship the listing with professional photos and a virtual tour

It’s no longer acceptable to list a home with blurry, unflattering photos. The photos like this one won’t necessarily prevent a house from being sold in a hot market. They will, however, keep it on the market longer and require more showings and more work—ultimately, costing you time. Not to mention that posting bad listing photos can damage your reputation and brand as an agent.

Make sure you get professional listing photos taken. This is especially important if you’ve worked with the sellers to complete home improvement updates. Depending on the company, listing photos can cost as low as $200, and will be worth the time and stress they save you.

4. Take advantage of special listing identifiers

You can’t control whether or not your home shows up as a “hot home,” but you can control other factors. Take advantage of some of the other identifiers that will highlight a listing within search results. Provide a 3D walkthrough or video tour to allow home buyers to tour the home before requesting a showing. This will ultimately save you time, as you won’t need to host as many showings for buyers who aren’t the right fit.

Also make sure you update your listing to highlight upcoming open house events—you should see a spike in attendance!

Optimizing the listing

Optimized listing photos and the availability of a 3D tour will play a huge part in influencing buyers’ behaviors. But what’s left? The description.

Here are some tips for highlighting recent home improvements in your listing descriptions:

  • Share specific parts of the home that have been recently updated. Highlight modern design, new appliances, etc.
  • Share any information about warranties on recent work completed. Curbio provides a one-year warranty on all the work we complete, which can help home buyers feel more confident in their purchase.

Digital curb appeal checklist

The importance of digital curb appeal will only rise. Get our digital curb appeal checklist so you can ensure you are taking the steps necessary to list better.