June 18, 2009 -- What sells a house these days? Well, some unusual anecdotal evidence suggests just may be a good Internet listing.
Consider the home for sale at 13909 Morning Frost Drive in Orlando. For some reason -- and nobody is quite sure why -- this home on the market for $200,000 is the most viewed property in the county on the giant Web site Realtor.com.
So why is it so hot?
"It's a very large house to accommodate a family," said real estate agent Rustina Gibson. "It's a great neighborhood."
The two-story, 2,840-square-foot house had been home to a husband and wife who both lost their jobs and moved in with family in Virginia. The price is less than the mortgage they owed, according to the Orlando Sentinel, which first reported about the shocking number of Web hits Wednesday.
Of course, Web hits can be manipulated, not that there is any evidence of it here. But look at some of the other most-looked-at houses.
The No. 1 house on Zillow.com is a four-bedroom house outside Seattle for $754,000.
No. 2? A $224,000 house on a large lot in New Jersey.
These Web listings are crucial because 85 percent of buyers now say they start their searches online.
"Sellers used to have to worry about curb appeal: How does the grass look, etc.," said Spencer Rascoff, CEO of Zillow.com. "Now a seller needs to worry about Web appeal: When a buyer is browsing on the Web, what is their first impression."
Selling Your House
Some people are so bent on increasing their home's Web appeal that they shoot their own videos. If you give it a try just be sure not to pan too fast or zoom too much. Why? Because that can be annoying to watch.
Granted, not everything is presentation.
A high-end video can get you Web hits, but a low end price is even better.
The National Association of Realtors says sales of homes under $100,000 are up from a year ago, whereas all other price ranges are down.
"A home that is priced aggressively is going to generate a lot more buyer interest," Rascoff said.
And for proof, look no further than the home in Orlando. There's no video and just four photos on the Web. But four years ago, it sold for $385,000. Today, it's priced at $200,000.