Tag Archives: mobile home

Rachel Hernandez is ‘going it alone’

‘Mobile Home Gurl’ finds her niche

In her own words, the woman known to some as “Mobile Home Gurl” is an entrepreneur, a dreamer, a thinker. A doer.

Rachel Hernandez, AKA “Mobile Home Gurl”, addresses the audience at a recent author’s seminar.

She started investing in real estate with single family homes, but her mind was captivated and heart captured when she immersed herself in the world of mobile home investment. And she’s taken quite a few of us on the ride with her, in her blog and in the book “Adventures in Mobile Homes” and others.

Rachel Hernandez, as she also is known, operates in the vicinity of San Antonio, Texas. She prefers to buy locally to regionally, and rather than looking for parks she has concentrated on purchasing individual mobile homes, and and more recently securing the land they sit on or a good parcel where they can be placed.

“I focus on the area first and then find the deals,” Hernandez said. “As an experienced investor, I’ve learned to find motivated sellers. Usually, I can tell over the phone whether a seller is motivated or not.”

Strategy

Most of the deals Hernandez pursues are unadvertised. She has an education and background in sales and marketing, and networking is among her greatest strengths. She leverages that capability and relies on her industry interactions and relationships to find opportunity.

Her first deal took about a year to complete, and she continues to take it relatively slow. She purchases one or two homes at a time, and puts her “sweat equity” into them.

“Usually, I get them up to apartment standards,” Hernandez said. “New carpet and paint at a minimum.” She fixes the leaks, fills any cracks or holes and gives a thorough cleaning. Then she offers the home on a rent-to-buy plan.

“Most people appreciate this hybrid as it’s not like a mortgage where you’re locked in, but at the same time you’re not just renting,” she said.

Her inventory is on the rise, to the point where she owns in quantity what would be a small mobile home community. She does receive regular offers to partner, but has resisted the urge to purchase an entire community outright. She remains on the lookout for land, and does work in communities buying both homes and pads, operating just on the fringe from that investor who looks to buy or infill on a larger scale.

Investing-in-mobile-homes

Meet the Challenge

And while she appreciates having all of the particular on paper, she mostly “follows her gut” when deciding what to pursue and what to leave alone.

“It’s more the person than the price. If the person I’m talking with on the phone does not seem trustworthy, or seems like they’re covering something up…  I back off immediately,” she said. “No matter how good the deal sounds, an untrustworthy seller is a deal breaker for me.”

Still, Hernandez has run into problems.

“I imagined buying a home, filling it and moving on to the next deal,” she said. “Though I did this for many years without many issues, I started taking back more homes as my inventory grew.”

A rent-to-own resident loses a job, goes through a divorce or wants to move closer to family, and sometimes the only solution is to reclaim the home and find someone new for it.

“I knew taking homes back was part of the business. But I didn’t plan on it being a large one,” Hernandez said. “So, I had to learn to work with contractors. There was no way I could fix up all these homes myself.”

Another difficulty has nothing to do with residents and everything to do with one of her favorite parts of the vocation… the prime location.

“Unfortunately, sometimes local ordinances may place more scrutiny on mobile home parks, as an asset class,” she said. “There’s still that mindset.”

The not-in-my-back-yard attitude, the general concern of reduced property values, and the perceived threat of residents who pay less tax than many for the same municipal services, often can be difficult issues to navigate when looking to obtain rezoning or a new use permit – regardless of the great need for more affordable housing.

All part of the journey, Hernandez said.

The take-back and fix-up strategy, as well as the municipal hurdles, have resulted in another of her books, this one entitled “Real Estate Investing Sucks: How to Deal with Change and Find Success as a Real Estate Investor”.

“I document my entire experience,” Hernandez said. “I persist. I know what I want and keep going. Success takes time.”

Marketing to the Retirement-Age Consumer

 

The marketing and advertising world is ever changing, and something we hear quite a bit is that you have to keep on top of the next generation, making sure everything is new, exciting and changing with the time.

While these are important factors, in our industry it’s also important to maintain and customize your advertising to the generations that are looking to retire!

Some key details about your community, your home, or the area your home is located can be ideal for a retirement-age buyer. Here are some items you want to be sure to include:

Is your community an “Age Restricted” community?

Some communities require their home owners to be 55+ in an effort to maintain an environment suitable for this demographic. This is important to add to your community listing and your home listing. It is also helpful to note if your community allows exceptions to this rule.

Does your community allow Pets?

Not only do you want to include in your advertisements if the community allows pets, but it is helpful to detail specific restrictions. Some allow cats but not dogs. Some allow cats and dogs but only certain breeds or dogs of a certain weight. All of these details are incredibly important since no one wants to leave behind their furry family member!

Is the home accessible?

Some homes have modifications added to allow more accessibility for an individual who has a disability. If your home or the community has any specific features that would be helpful or useful for someone in this position be sure and include this in the description.

What is the community like?

We all have our own idea of what our “perfect” retirement environment would be. Is your community on the waterfront with access to fishing, or walks through a wooded path? Or maybe your community is a social one with planned activities and a game room. Either way letting the buyer know what the atmosphere of the community provides can be essential.

What is the area like?

Similar to the including details about the community, accessibility to grocery stores, shopping malls, cultural events and other local attractions are great details to provide your buyer.

While these tips might sound simple to include, they can make the difference in turning that interested shopper into a buyer!

Final Input Sought for Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac

The Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) has announced a final request for input on Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac’s (the Enterprises) recently released proposal on Underserved Markets Plans within the “Duty to Serve” program.

Mel Watt, director of the Federal Housing Finance Agency, speaks in Chicago on affordable housing finance initiatives. From left, Paul Mullings, Sr. VP of Single-Family Strategic Business Initiatives for Freddie Mac; Russ Cross, regional manager for community outreach with Wells Fargo, and Sandra Thompson, deputy director in the Division of Housing Mission and Goals for the Federal Housing Finance Agency.

FHFA, the regulator of Fannie and Freddie tasked with enforcing the “Duty to Serve” provision, issued a final implementation rule on Dec. 13, 2016 mandated by the Housing and Economic Recovery Act of 2008.  The statute requires the Enterprises to serve three specified underserved markets – manufactured housing, affordable housing preservation and rural housing in a safe and sound manner for residential properties that serve very low-, low- and moderate-income families.

The rule requires each Enterprise to adopt a three-year Underserved Markets Plan to fulfill this mandate.  FHFA requests public input on the proposed plans through its dedicated web page by July 10, 2017.

It is anticipated that implementation of “Duty to Serve” provisions will create more financing options for potential home buyers, which also would be a benefit for the housing sector, including the manufactured housing industry.

“I strongly encourage stakeholders to submit feedback on Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac’s proposed ‘Duty to Serve Underserved Markets Plans,'” said FHFA Director Melvin L. Watt.  “FHFA will evaluate stakeholder input as part of our review process to ensure that the plans help the Enterprises meet their statutory obligations in a safe and sound manner.”

Each Enterprise will update their “Duty to Serve Underserved Markets Plan” after reviewing public input and FHFA feedback. Each Enterprise’s Duty to Serve Underserved Markets Plan must receive a non-objection from FHFA before becoming effective Jan. 1, 2018.

The objectives in the proposed and final plans may be subject to change based on factors including public input, FHFA comments, compliance with the Enterprises’ Charter Acts, safety and soundness considerations, and market or economic conditions.

Internet Marketing in 2016 and Beyond Presentation

BY: DAWN HIGHHOUSE

A big thank you to all the folks that made the Louisville Manufactured Housing Show such a great success, once again! I was honored to give the opening seminar on Wednesday to a fantastic, engaged audience! Several professionals have asked for a copy of my slide deck. It was too large to email, so I am posting it here so that you can download the pdf. Click the first slide below to download. Note, the pdf is password protected. If you have questions or need the password, please feel free to contact me at MHVIllage. Thanks again for a great show – and we’ll see you in Tunica!

Louisville Presentation

It’s a BIG file – give it a few extra moments to download.

August Open House Sale!

Finish up your summer sales strong! MHVillage is having a:

Buy One Day, Get One Day Free Special on All Open Houses!

Regularly $1.00 per day, for every day you promote your Open House in August, MHVillage will add another day free, reducing the cost to just $0.50 per day.

When you advertise your Open House, it goes to the top of the search results.

When you advertise your Open House, it goes to the top of the search results.

For example, for only $3.00, your Open House could spend 6 days on the top of the Premium listing section with a big, bright, and bold Open House sign that can’t be missed. Having an Open House next weekend? Advertise it all week for just $3.50!

How does advertising your Open House on MHVillage work?

It is simple. Log into your account and go to View/Change/Remove Listings section. Just click “Add Open House” on any home. Your home will appear at the very top of all searches in your home’s area until your open house is finished.

No Adcode is needed for this promotion! The discount will be applied automatically. This special ends on August 31st.

How to add a Open House on MHVillage

Click Add Open House on your listings from within your account.

Smart Phone Shoppers – And Why it Matters to You

BY: DAWN HIGHHOUSE

89% of new home shoppers use a mobile search engine at the onset and throughout their research.

Mobile applications are used by 68% of new home shoppers at the onset and throughout their research.

(Source: Google & Compete Home Shopper Mobile Survey, 2012)
Where Shoppers use their mobile devices

(click to enlarge)

More and more, people are using their smart phones to shop for homes. What are they doing on their phones? Well, according to Google and Compete.com they:

  • Read general home information (51%)
  • Get directions to visit a home (48%)
  • Compare prices (44%)
  • Compare features (35%)
  • Search a listing company’s inventory (35%)
  • Call a listing company (28%)
  • Locate a listing agent (21%)
  • Read reviews (21%)
  • Research mortgage financing (20%)
  • Contact a listing agent, other than by calling (18%)
  • Watch an online video about a home (16%)
  • Other (3%)

MHVillage has a mobile app designed for buyers shopping for homes. Approximately 7,000 people a day look for manufactured housing using our mobile site. There is a huge market of home buyers looking for manufactured housing using their mobile devices; let’s see how the items above specifically impact your sales.

Read General Home Information

I’ve written about this before, but home descriptions matter. Let me give you two examples of homes that are on the site right now.

House One:

BEAUTIFUL VIEWS WITH WELL MAINTAINED MANUFACTURED HOME WITH GARAGE. LOCATED IN A 5 STAR COMMUNITY. PRICE TO SELL HAVE TO SEE TO BELIEVE CALL XXX-XXX-XXXX

House Two:

This beautiful home has over $60,000 in upgrades. tile floors throughout, tile counters, additional tiled & lighting above & below plant shelves in living room, bedroom & bath. Every room has fans & are wired for phones & Internet except baths, dining room & kitchen. This house is handicap friendly with raised toilets, vanities and an entrance ramp. A hobby room off the master with 7 cabinets & 3 banks of drawers.  5 cabinets in the Laundry room with tile counters. The master bedroom has a huge walk in closet and the master shower is tiled to the ceiling. The spacious kitchen is a cooks kitchen!!  Built for entertaining!!  Extended counter, massive amount of cabinets with all tile counters (great for a buffet), access to corner cabinets with double entry and new faucet.  There is a water softener & RO system. The garage is 34ft with 14 ceiling to floor cabinets and workbench. Extra outlets in the garage, house & good sized extra room. An extra area for the BBQ has been poured and front steps have been added. It has sun screens all around and also has a mountain view.

Both of these homes are in the same manufactured home community, but one of them gives the home shopper more of what they are looking for. Not only does the description in House Two give more information about the property, it also tells a great story. House Two is a home – it’s a place to cook up a great buffet dinner with the extended family or spend nice evenings grilling outdoors. These are the things that sell people on a home.

Get Directions to Visit a Home

On MHVillage, we make it easy for buyers to find your homes. Our website is designed for location-based searches. In fact, did you know that on the MHVillage mobile app, we have a button that buyers can click to “View Nearby Homes”? It uses their current location and pulls in all the surrounding homes, so if a home buyer is out driving around looking at neighborhoods, they can instantly see what is available in their area.

Compare Prices

It is probably not a big surprise that home owners compare prices. The best way to handle price comparisons is not to change the price of the home, the best way is to offer a better home. This is where creating good, solid home listings pay off – photos, descriptions, and caption lines, these can help you show buyers why your home is the best deal in the neighborhood. (For more information read: Three Easy Steps to Powerful LIstings That Sell, Part Three – The Right Price)

Compare Features

Do I sound like a broken record when I say I’ve written about this before? MHVillage makes it easy to showcase your home’s features – and it’s free. Learn how here: Missed Marketing Opportunity – Don’t Forget the Features!

Search a Company’s Inventory

Ahem: Missed Marketing Opportunity – One Simple Step to Getting More Leads

(Note: if you have your own website and are having a hard time keeping your inventory on it and up to date, let us know. If you have over 50 listings, we have a simple product called an i-Frame that will let you enter your homes on MHVillage and have them automatically update on your own website.)

Call a Listing Company and Locate an Agent

Here’s another reason to make sure that your company’s information is up-to-date. The best place to do that on MHVillage is on your Sales Center page. (Read about your Sales Center here.) If you are a Real Estate agent and help people sell their homes, be sure and add that information to your Company description! We get calls everyday from homeowners looking for a professional who can them sell their home.

Watch an Online Video About a Home

More and more people are expecting video tours. They are easy to do, you can upload them to YouTube and your own website. MHVillage offers a special link on Premium homes and Showcased communities so you can upload your video links on our site as well.

Putting It All Together

So, what does this tell you? That today’s shoppers aren’t predictable. Some shop with desktop computers, some on their phones. (Some will use both.) Some while shop while at home, some while at work, and some while eating dinner in a restaurant. There are buyers who will want to call you, others will prefer email. Your best bet? Use the tips and techniques in this newsletter to create the best listings you can – the more powerful the listings, the better the leads. If you need help, contact us and we’ll help you make the most out of your MHVillage account.

 

Missed Marketing Opportunity – Caption Lines

Note from the Editor: It is time for another in our Missed Marketing Opportunities series! We’re highlighting simple tips and options on MHVillage that can dramatically increase the performance of your online advertising. Today we are revisiting an article from the archives on Well Crafted Caption Lines. Caption Lines are available on all Premium and Featured Listings, Showcased Communities and Pro+ accounts.

Our research has revealed that certain manufactured home listings attract far more home buyers than others – often getting as much as three times the number of views as other listings. These high-performing power listings aren’t always the first ones in the list, or the cheapest, or even the fanciest homes. However, they do have some special listing details all in common – and here’s the best part – these details can be added to any home listing – regardless of the home!

The Well Crafted Caption Line

On MHVillage the Caption Line is your first opportunity to tell buyers about your home. When someone does a search they’ll get a list of manufactured homes for sale and rent in their area. The Caption Line is how you draw people in.

Here is a great example taken from a search in Bradenton, FL. The Caption Line is the line of text at the top in gray.  In this example it is: Beautiful…Fully Furnished……In Great Gated Community…Pet Friendly….

Homes for Sale in Bradenton FLAt the time of this article, there are 160 homes for sale in Bradenton. The Caption Line helps this home stand out from the crowd.

Caption Lines Are A Great Sales Tool

A well crafted Caption Line can attract the right customers – and weed out the ones who won’t qualify.  With just a few words, Caption Lines can showcase a home’s best features, grab people’s attention, and encourage the right buyer to click on your listing and learn more. They do this with specific details that target a particular audience.

Let’s look at some examples of Specific Details and the Audience they are geared toward:

  1. The kitchen is the most important room in the house for many home shoppers. Give them something to chew on: “Granite Counter Tops and all Stainless Appliances.”
  2. Home mechanics or wood hobbyists would home in on a potential work room: “Two car garage with separate 50 amp circuit.”
  3. Many customers need creative financing to purchase. If you are willing to help finance the sale, make sure the shoppers know this: “Owner financing available.”
  4. Some buyers will only locate in a 55+ or All Family Community, so include that if it applies: “55+ Community” or “All Ages, Family Community” as appropriate.

To compare, here are some examples of poor–performing Caption Lines that we frequently see. Any of these will result in below average traffic to your listing:

  1. Statements that don’t say anything: “The Best Home” or “Great Kitchen.” (Why is it the best? What makes it great?)
  2. Statements that repeat information already in the search result: “1972, 2 Bed, 2 Bath Home for Sale.”
  3. All capital letters and/or excessive punctuation. Usually this is combined with statements that don’t say anything: “THE BEST HOME” or “Great Kitchen!!!!!!!!!”.

One Special Case: What if your home is priced much more higher than that of comparable homes in the area? Listings that appear overpriced in the search results will not be clicked on. In this case, you MUST use the caption line to explain why. Here are a couple of examples:

  1. “Price includes Co-op Share, Association Fee just $149 / month.”
  2. “Completely Remodeled 2,300 sq. ft Home with Barrier Free Baths.”
  3. “Located on a Large Landscaped Corner Lot with Beautiful Views of the Lake.”

Use this space to tell buyers exactly what makes your home special – and more than worth its price!

Creating/Editing Your Caption Line on MHVillage:

The Caption Line is created from the “Listing Caption” text box located under the home’s description when you list/edit a home. Here’s a screen shot of that page:

You can add or change your Caption Line at any time.  Here’s how:

  1. Log into your MHVillage account with your email address and password.
  2. Click “View/Change/Remove Listings”
  3. On the right side of your listing listing click the “Edit listing” link.
  4. Go to the Description page.
  5. The Listing Caption text box is under the description field. Edit or add the Caption Line and save your changes.
  6. Remember – you might need to wait a few minutes before checking your search results because your changes may not show up for half an hour.

Note: only Featured and Premium listings have a Caption Line. If you have a Basic listing, consider upgrading to one of the other listing types so you can add a Caption Line.

  1. When you are editing your listing, go to the Options page.
  2. Select either “Featured Package” or “Premium Package”
  3. Save your changes and your Caption Line will appear.

You can also add Caption Lines to Showcased Communities and Pro+ account Sales Centers. If you have questions, or need assistance adding Caption Lines, email us and let us know. We’ll be happy to walk you through it.

MHVillage July Results

MHV-JulyResults

BY: DAWN HIGHHOUSE

It’s that time again – let’s take a look at the results of another strong month!

Website Visits

July 2013 – 1,799,581

Year to Date – 11,582,671

Last month was such a great month for web visits that we hit some record numbers. MHVillage typically has about 46,000 viewers a day, but in July, we started seeing a trend, with days with well over 50,000 viewers! That certainly kept us busy. In fact, we are working hard to keep those numbers high. You might have noticed a few small changes to the site. We’ve been updating the look, the tools and search results on our site, in order to generate the most manufactured housing leads for you. Speaking of which…

Sales Leads

July 2013 – 64,296

Year to Date – 422,867

As I always say: don’t miss the fine print on those numbers – these do not include the estimated 40,000 phone inquiries generated each month! Remember too that we’ve also created an easy-to-use mobile website for home buyers to help them quickly shop for manufactured housing right on their smart phone. This mobile site doesn’t have all the bells and whistles of our full website (though you can easily switch over to the full version anytime you choose.) Instead, it was designed to help home buyers and potential residents find the communities and homes they are looking for.

Homes Sold

July 2013 – 4,805

Year to Date – 36,068

Are your homes on MHVillage selling? If not, it could be that you are missing some of the powerful opportunities and tools offered on the site. Read my Missed Marketing Opportunities series to find some simple ways to make your listings more attractive to home buyers. Or email us, we are happy to look over your account for you and offer suggestions to help.

Missed Marketing Opportunity: Skimping on the Description

BY: DAWN HIGHHOUSE

The last few weeks I have been posting articles on the Missed Marketing Opportunities Professionals sometimes miss on MHVillage. These are simple, easy-to-do tips that can really change the effectiveness of your online advertising. Some of these tips may cost a few dollars, but most are free – including today’s tip: Writing Great Home Descriptions.

Whether you are advertising your manufactured homes for sale or rent on MHVillage, your own website or both, good, solid home descriptions are an essential key. To explain why, I am going to republish an article I wrote way back in 2010. I’ve updated it a little and added some additional data, but what was true 3 years ago is even more true today:

Missed Marketing Opportunity: Not Taking The Time To Write Great Home Descriptions That Sell

Here at MHVillage, we believe that almost everyone who wants to sell their manufactured home would be well served by working with a professional. After all, selling a home can be a complicated and confusing process, and many folks simply don’t have the time, or the know-how, to properly sell property. However, that doesn’t mean that we can’t learn from listings For Sale By Owner (FSBO.) In fact, homeowners tend to write terrific home descriptions and take great photos. Why? Because they care.

What FSBOs have that Manufactured Home Professionals Do Not:

Living, breathing day in and day out knowledge of the home.  When you live in a home, you know what makes it great; you know why you bought it in the first place. Maybe it was the amenities offered by the mobile home community, the great view, the good school system, the spacious living room or the deck out back. Maybe it was a simply good place to live with a low lot rent, but in any case, a homeowner intimately knows the pros and cons of their own homes. Let’s take a look at a couple of examples. Here are two actual mobile home descriptions from MHVillage:

Home #1

This gorgeous home has lots of storage with open floor space. The home includes: A large kitchen with lots of oak cabinets and counter top space, breakfast bar, pantry, formal dining room, bright, cheerful breakfast/sun room, PLUS family room. Surrounded by trees but with an easy care yard, on park walking path. Floor Plan offers a private, master suite with separate walk in shower, garden tub, linen closet and skylight. Double tandem carport, 2 decks, one which overlooks green belt area. Ceiling fans in every room, and an evaporator cooler that keeps this home cool and comfortable.  Please call 999-999-9999 for more information or to schedule a walk through.

Home #2

New carpet and hardwood floors.

Hmmmm…. which home would you want to drive out and see? Keep in mind that both these homes are in the same manufactured home community, both listed at about the same price. The only major difference is that one of these homes was listed by the owner and another was listed by an industry professional. Can you guess which one? The top description was written by a homeowner who is obviously passionate about their home and willing to go the extra step to sell it. And you know what? It works!

Use the Description not only for the home, but also to highlight great features in the community.

Use the Description Section for not only the home, but also to highlight great features in the community.

When you are listing your homes online, you need to take a few extra steps to capture the buyer’s attention. When people are walking through a home, they can sell themselves on the walk-in closets and extra bathrooms, but when they are viewing it online you need to use a combination of photos and words to tell the story. (To learn more about why check out check out last week’s article.) Every MHVillage listing comes with a description section with ample space for you to really sell your manufactured home. We’ve also added bullet points and text tools so you can use Bold, Italics and Underlined type – and there’s even a spell check tool so you know everything is correct.

Also, note how the homeowner above added a call to action on the bottom of their description: Please call 999-999-9999 for more information or to schedule a walk through. Every home you list should have something like this in the description. Encourage potential buyers to call, email, or check out your website. Let them know about special offers or if you offer financing. This is your chance to directly reach out to the buyer and start the buying process!

Looking for ideas on what to say?

If you are brokering the home, talk to the homeowner.  Ask them to tell you what they liked most about their home.  They may also know features about the neighborhood or the park itself, that can be big selling points.

The description section on MHVillage allows you to really sell your homes.

Or, try walking through the home as a buyer yourself.  Ask yourself the simple question, “Why should someone buy this home?”  If it is a handyman special – there is nothing wrong with stating it. In fact, that let’s buyers know what to expect when they come look at the property.  Many mobile homes come with extras people like: garden tubs, extra pantries, laundry areas and so on. Also look at the area where the home is located – is it close to schools, shopping, parks or bus lines?  Are there community features people would like? Examples could include a playground, shuffleboard courts, a pool or community activities.  Don’t wait to tell people about these features until they are at the home – you need to sell them first, so they get out of the computer chair and grab their car keys!

 

Looking for more tips on how to get more leads? Here are links to the other articles in the series:

Eight Missed Marketing Opportunities – Your Sales Center on MHVillage

Missed Marketing Opportunity – One Simple Tip To Getting More Leads

Missed Marketing Opportunity – Don’t Forget the Features!

To keep up with new articles in the series as they are posted, just subscribe on the right! They will be instantly emailed right to you.

Missed Marketing Opportunity – Don’t Forget the Features!

BY: DAWN HIGHHOUSE

If you have been following this blog you know that I am writing a series about common marketing mistakes that I see on MHVillage. For those of you not in the loop, here are the first two in the series:

Eight Missed Marketing Opportunities – Your Sales Center on MHVillage

Missed Marketing Opportunity – One Simple Tip to Getting More Leads

(Note: to get my articles delivered directly to your email, just subscribe over on the right side of the blog.)

Today’s tip costs no extra money and practically no extra time. In fact, it is so easy, I’m surprised to be writing about it, and yet, I see it being missed on a regular basis. I’m going to show you examples from MHVillage, but this tip is true no matter where you advertise your manufactured homes for sale. It’s simple:

Tell People What They Want To Know

When you are entering a home listing on MHVillage, we first ask the basics about the home – where it is located, what you are selling (or renting) the home for, the number of beds and baths and so on. Once you’ve entered that, the next section is all about the Features of the home. Occasionally, I see this left blank.

Here’s a list of just some of the items they’re missing:

A screen shot of the home features - it can be completed with just a few clicks.

A screen shot of the home features – it can be completed with just a few clicks. (Click the image above to enlarge.)

  • Roof type
  • Siding type
  • Color
  • Trim color
  • Garage
  • Carport
  • Storage shed
  • Gutters
  • Deck
  • Patio
  • Shutters
  • Ceiling type
  • Interior wall type
  • Heating type
  • Appliances that stay with the home

While every home is different, and not all have sheds, decks or patios, there is something in this list that can be filled out for every home. We’ve even made it as easy as possible – the form is a series of check boxes, drop downs and radio buttons so you can quickly just click and select.

Let’s take a look at some examples. Here are two screen shots of the Features section on two different homes:

2002 Cavco selling for $64,000

2002 Cavco selling for $64,000

These are from home listings that are currently live on our site. Both homes are in the same senior community.

Manufactured Home Features, Complete

1998 Cavco selling for $65,000

Obviously one listing has a lot more information than the other. But let’s talk marketing – why does it matter? And how does this effect your home leads?

Step back a moment and think about internet shoppers. Why do they shop online? What are they looking for?

When people shop online, whether it is for manufactured homes or digital cameras or a local gym, what they want is information. The more information they have, the better chance you have to sell. Good information not only makes your listings more appealing, it also increases their effectiveness. In other words, good information means not only more leads, but better leads.

Camera. $199.99

Camera. $199.99

Here’s how it works: take the digital camera for an example. While people don’t always buy homes online the way they do cameras, (although we hear regularly from customers who have sold their homes, site unseen, to relocating buyers,) there are a lot of similarities. If you were considering purchasing a nice digital camera, what’s one of the first things you might do? Go online and look at your options! What if all you saw was a photo and price? No information about zoom, lenses, or other features? Would you call the seller to find out more? Would you drive out to the electronics store to check it out for yourself? Or, would you click your back button and look for a different camera?

The same thing works with homes. Skipping this section might save you a small amount of time, but you’ll lose potential customers. On the other hand, what if when you were looking at the camera, it included this:

  • 16 effective megapixel, 1/2.3-inch CCD sensor
  • 3-inch TFT color LCD with wide viewing angle
  • DIGIC 4 image processor
  • 720p HD video in stereo sound with a dedicated movie button
  • 24mm wide-angle lens with powerful 30x optical zoom and optical Image Stabilizer
  • 30x Optical Zoom and 24mm Wide-Angle lens with Optical Image Stabilizer
  • DIGIC 4 Image Processor
  • 3.0-inch LCD with 461,000 dots
  • Enhanced Zoom Framing Assist button aids in tracking and capturing subjects during super telephoto photography
  • High Speed AF

If those are features you are looking for, this ad will catch your attention and perhaps start the buying process. – and that’s exactly what you want to have happen with home listings! Here’s the best part – the people you attract with an informative listing have already started to sell themselves. They already know it meets their needs. And if the home doesn’t meet their needs? Those are not people who would buy anyway! You save yourself time by narrowing down leads to the very best ones.

Quick note: What about color? Do people really choose their home based on color? Some do, but that isn’t the point. Most people shopping for homes love to do drive-bys. Drive-bys are your friend – if the customer likes what they see, the next step is calling you. Listing the color makes it easy for them to find the home!

The full menu of Features is available on every home listing type on MHVillage – Basic, Featured and Premium. You can edit, update and change this section at any time. Need help? Just email us and let us know – we are happy to assist!