Forgive me if this is getting too personal for a business blog, but I have to share this. I recently decided to test the waters with online dating. Being a naturally shy person I did this with some trepidation.
Not knowing where to begin, I enlisted the assistance of a much more outgoing and experienced friend to help me. Which is best? Match, EHarmony, J Date, Bumble, Plenty of Fish, Tinder, OKCupid – so many choices. How do the sites work differently? Does the woman make the first move or is she waiting to be contacted by men? My expert friend also helped me with my online profile- friendly but not too friendly, pictures with different looks and settings, honest but not honest to the point of seeming weird. It’s a balance!
I loaded up my profile and it was off to the races. Once I started it became fun–even relaxing. Every night I would get in bed and, instead of reading the New York Times on my iPad, I would check my inbox and start reading through profiles. I took my time reading through each one carefully. It was honestly fascinating to see how different guys presented themselves. Then I would swipe after viewing each one–left for “no” and right for “yes”.
It’s amazing how many profiles there are to look at. Eventually, I worked my way up to swiping faster and faster through profile after profile having developed some basic criteria to quickly weed through tons of potential matches. It’s crazy to think of making a split second judgement on a human being, but that’s what online dating is.
For example, if a guy attended the “school of hard knocks”, posed shirtless and was not at the beach, prominently displayed himself in front of any red vehicle or had excessive tattooing, stated an age and then in small print disclaimed that age (ie, my profile says I am 52 but I am really 63) or did not take the time to write a description of themselves, I swiped left right away. Next!
Then it dawned on me. This is exactly what buyers do when they look at homes online. They may start out carefully reading through online descriptions and looking at photos, but then they will progress to speed swiping. Think of buyers as potential dates. How do you make sure that your property gets a right swipe rather than a left swipe? How do you ensure that you are “matched” with as many potential “suitors” as possible so that you end up with the most qualified and best match?
Here are my top tips for success in the world of real estate matchmaking:
- Preparation of the property– This is all important and can be time consuming. You can’t jump straight into shooting photos for your online profile without doing the right prep, correct? You would need to select the right outfit, put on some makeup and at least brush your hair! Unfortunately, many sellers don’t take the time to do the prep or they don’t want to invest the money into properly preparing a house for viewing by potential suitors. An experienced realtor can tell you what you should do to prepare your home for both online photos and in person viewings so that you don’t spend money on things that aren’t important and don’t overlook items that will be more critical to enticing the buyer pool. Just as you wouldn’t pose for your online photos after rolling out of bed, you need to take the time to get your property ready for the market.
- Price– Most 35 year olds don’t want to date a 70 year old. The price category you select will be key in getting you in front of the right matches. Price is your biggest marketing tool and buyers are smart about pricing. You can’t fool them. If a buyer is looking online for a 4BR/2BA house in Springfield between $500-$600,000 and yours looks the most attractive and interesting to the potential suitors, you will get a date. If yours looks like the 70 year old guy in a crowd of 35 year olds, you won’t get a date. Simple. Price your property correctly so that it competes well with the competition.
- Quality of Photos/Descriptions– Make sure your photos are professional quality. No lame selfies taken in front of a mirror. Remember, your “dates” are making a split second decision. Your photos online are your first impression. If you can’t take the time to properly represent yourself in a way that does you justice, you won’t be attractive to matches. Make sure your marketing descriptions are accurate and not too fluffy. Be honest but positive. No typos!
- Choose an agent who is more expert than you are– Just as I had to ask my friend for help with online dating, your agent is there to guide you in an area that for most sellers is unfamiliar. We do real estate every day. You don’t. Work with an agent who is a full-time professional, who gives you honest advice (like “that shirt looks awful on you” and “don’t wear that in your profile photo”), who is experienced with all of the latest technology and advertising platforms and who can give you the most exposure to potential matches. Think of your realtor as your dating coach. He or she can help you find “the one” quickly and painlessly.