The majority of people in the UK who are looking to move house use the internet to find properties for sale. So it makes sense to ensure that your property is on the web if you want to sell. If you are with an estate agent, most will list your property on one of the major property portals. However more and more people, tired of paying thousands of pounds to estate agents who do little work, are voting with their feet and deciding to sell their home by themselves.
There are over 100 websites in the UK where you can advertise your home for sale, ranging from a basic text listing to a full internet estate agent service. However most will have a limit to the amount of information which you can add and the number of photographs which you can include. Often this will be much less information than in an estate agent’s details.
The answer is to create your own webpage to sell your house. You don’t have to be a great computer expert, and you could do it all in an evening, using this step by step plan.
Where can I host my webpage?
Maybe you have some free webspace offered by your Internet Service Provider. Now is the time to use it!
If you know a little about web design you are very lucky, as all you need is some very basic knowledge of HTML and you are ready to make an effective webpage. If not, you can use a word processing package such as Microsoft Word which will convert a document to a webpage.
If you don’t have webspace you can use the free webspace offered by well-known search engines such as Lycos Tripod or Yahoo Geocities. Most will have website building packages too, so that you can simply enter the information into a template and you have an instant website.
Write a concise title for your page
Write one sentence using as few words as possible which sum up your property, for example ‘For Sale: Three-bedroom semi-detached house in London’. Use this as your page title.
Prepare your details
However you decide to create your webpage, prepare your details beforehand using word processing package. You can do this in your own time, it will check your spelling for you and you won’t lose all your work if your browser crashes. Measure all your rooms and give the measurements in both metric and imperial. Remember to add anything interesting or unusual about the house, special about its location and mention if it is in catchment for a good school.
Take your photos
Use a digital camera to take your pictures if at all possible. You can take prints and scan them but there is always a loss of quality. Photograph the front of your house and all the best features, the nicest rooms, the best corner of the garden, the great view if you have one. Take loads. Now choose only the best few pictures and make the image sizes as small as possible. If your image manipulation software allows you to optimise for the web, do it, it makes a very big difference to download times.
Put it all together
Now put together your main webpage. Use a simple design with a pale background, dark text and go easy on the animated icons! You want people to look at your house, not be distracted by a garish design. You also want it to load fast so only put the best picture of the front of your house on this page. Add your written details. Put extra photos on separate pages, only a few to a page. Use informative links, for example ‘Click here for pictures of our large mature garden’ is good, ‘more pictures’ won’t invite many people to look.
Give them even more!
There are several websites which offer maps of the UK which you can link to. Help prospective buyers find you easily by adding this to your page. If you know a bit about technical drawing you could make your own floor plans and include them in the website – this would be a real bonus as they are still quite unusual. Finally if you are a wizard with a video camera you could have a go at making your own virtual tour.
Finally, add your contact details
Now include your phone number and an email address. You may want to use a free ‘disposable’ email address for this, because putting your email address on the web will tend to attract spam. Alternatively there are many websites that will produce a scrambled version of your email address which will work perfectly but cannot be read by spammers.
Now all you need to do is upload your website. You can submit the website to search engines and don’t forget to include the website address (URL) with your emails, flyers, newspaper advertisements, on your ‘For Sale’ sign, and link to it from FSBO websites.