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You can’t judge a book by its cover . . .

I remember hearing that phrase as a kid and not really understanding what it meant.

Being an avid reader, I have since learned how true it can be.

In marketing we call it a hook. It is called a hook because a marketer will essentially throw out a line or a phrase or a picture designed to “hook” you and cause you to open whatever it is you are reading.

Once you know what a hook is, you will start to notice it everywhere.

In magazines and newspapers, it is the headline that hooks you.

As you surf thru your social media it could be a picture of a cute puppy that hooks you.

With the human attention span down to a mere 8 second, creating hooks has become a science as more and more marketers try to get your attention. The hope is that the hook will cause you to STOP whatever you are doing and take a closer look at whatever you are reading or scanning.

In real estate, there are several hooks.

The first hook is the photo. As buyers are looking at homes whether in print or online it is the picture they see first. For this reason, it is imperative that professional photos be taken of the home. I am amazed each day as I surf the newest listings at how many real estate agents use their phone to take pictures of the property they are marketing.

A few years ago, I presented my homebuyer with a list of homes I had scheduled for viewing that day, they wanted to eliminate one based on the pictures. I pushed them to ignore the pictures and at least see the home. They fell in love the minute they walked in. They purchased the home and we had many good jokes about how bad the pictures were.

The next hook is in the property description.

In our Multiple Listing Service (MLS) we are only allowed 150 words. It is not always easy to describe a home and create the hook to cause curiosity and interest in 150 words.

One of the first conversations I have with my buyer clients is about hooks in pictures and descriptions.

We discuss how there is a science to taking pictures of the house without showing the large apartment building next door. Or the use of an extra wide lens which makes the room look much larger than it actually is.

Then we discuss how words like “cute,” “picturesque,” “newer,” and “spacious” take on a whole other meaning when you begin to go out and view homes. I have had some clients go back and reread the description wondering if we were at the right house.

As a real estate broker it is my job to “sell” or “market” a home for my home seller clients. We become marketing experts and learn how to create hooks to capture the home buyers interest in 8 seconds. It can be quite a challenge.

There is just no substitute for actually getting out and seeing the home, walking the neighborhood before ruling it out or in.

It is true you can’t judge a book by its cover and it is also true you can’t judge a home by the pictures and descriptions.

Have a great week,


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