Selling Your Home? Online Tools Level the Playing Field

Modern home selling has gone way beyond the “for sale” sign on the front lawn. Nearly 90 percent of home buyers look online when shopping for a home, according to the National Association of Realtors. So your home-selling efforts need to cruise the Information Superhighway at top speed. “Despite a slowdown in the housing market, real estate consumers have increased their usage of the Internet as their ‘go-to’ real estate information source in order to successfully find the home they purchase,” says Greg Healy, vice president of operations for “Consumers are becoming more independent in the home-buying process, and are educating themselves about real estate issues.”

The number of buyers who ended up purchasing a home they first saw online has soared — from just 8 percent in 2001 to 32 percent in 2008 — according to NAR statistics. Meanwhile, the number of buyers who found their homes through a real estate agent has dropped from 48 percent in 2001 to 34 percent in 2008. Buyers, however, aren’t the only half of the real estate equation that is turning to more independent use of the Internet to close deals. More sellers are using Internet tools to independently market their homes in an economy where keeping every dollar of a home’s sale price is more important than ever. “Home sellers need to know how to use the Internet’s full marketing power to attract the growing number of buyers who go online to find their next home,” Healy says. They’re turning to sites like that now allow them to list their homes on the Multiple Listing Service and, which were once only available for sellers who used full-service real estate agents. In addition, the real estate website also posts their customers’ homes on Craigslist,, Yahoo Real Estate, Google Base, Facebook and other popular websites. The Internet and broader access to it have helped even the playing field between professional real estate agents and homeowners who decide to sell their homes independently. With access to many of the same tools the pros use to market homes, private sellers are able to better weigh the advantages of working with a real estate agent against the ability to retain as much of their selling price as possible.

Regardless of who’s doing the selling, a successful online home-selling campaign relies on several factors:

  • Placement on the right sites, such as local MLS sites and national sites like and
  • Comprehensive and professional-sounding descriptions of the property, including room sizes, overall square footage, selling points and neighborhood assets.
  • Multiple, high-quality color images and, if possible, video tours of the home.
  • Simple, easy-to-use ways to contact the seller and schedule a showing.
  • Competitive pricing based on selling prices of comparable homes in the area.

If cleaning your home is too overwhelming during the selling process, The Maids Home Services can assist you with a pre- or post- sale cleaning. The Maids offer a variety of project cleanings, such as move-ins and move-outs. For more information, call your local office at 1-800-THE-MAIDS (843-6243) or visit