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It’s amazing how connected people are today with the internet, iPhones, blackberries (I call mine my crackberry), iPads and more. They want information to be accessible everywhere, instantly. Virtually everything in our lives is touched by this hi-tech vibe and its revolutionizing the way people buy and sell real estate these days.
Did you know that over 95% of buyers shop online first before even going to see a property? Whether they are browsing through MLS listings at home or viewing them on their iPhone while they are out and about, people are doing their initial search first without even seeing the property. We have dubbed this speed dating for houses because sellers have literally seconds to impress potential buyers before they click on the next listing.
So what do the pictures of your listing say about your home? Are they good enough to impress those design savvy buyers who will pay MORE money for a home which has a modern design aesthetic and has all those great smart upgrades? Well, here are some things which can either entice a buyer to visit your property .. or scare them away!
Lack of Pictures or only ONE exterior Photo
This is one of the key things NEVER to do with a listing. True or not, if a buyer can’t view pictures of the interior of your home they are going to assume its in terrible shape and move on! Without pictures to represent your home, its natural to assume that there is something wrong if photos aren’t present. We call this the Kiss of Death for any home!
Pictures of Seasonal Decorations
Nothing says “I’ve been listed for sale too long” better than pictures of Christmas trees in homes in February or March. Buyers are always looking for the hot, new listings and even if your home just came on the market, seasonal decor of any kind can make it appear stale. If your listing does feature pictures with seasonal decor, ensure you take down the decorations right after the holiday and then have new photos taken!
Pictures of Cluttered Spaces or Rooms with Crazy Decor Schemes
Your online pictures are the windows to your home’s soul. If that soul appears chaotic or very personalized, you’re going to lose out on the majority of your potential buyers who are searching for neutral, modern spaces. As the saying goes, you don’t get a second chance to make a great first impression so make sure that all the photos of your home showcase bright, spacious modern rooms which buyers can appreciate. Pack up all your collections, lighten and brighten with some paint and work with a stager to professionally stage your home. This way buyers will be jumping for the chance to visit your home!
Piictures Which Tell Buyers Nothing or Which Showcase Strange Areas in Your Home
Nothing confuses buyers more than pictures of rooms or areas which are undefined. Unless of course they are shots of your floor, your mouldings, your countertop or your staircase. Undefined rooms or awkward spaces actually detract from your home’s overall value for buyers – because they can’t figure out a use for it! So don’t post pictures of these areas, instead showcase the rooms which WILL draw buyers in, which are defined and well staged. As to pictures of architectural elements of your home, its better to show these things as part of an overall picture as opposed to snapshots of them individually. If you have gorgeous wood floors, a picture of that room with the light streaming in, the furniture arranged to highlight the gleaming wood is far more effective.
Pictures of People and Pets
As cute as your dog, cat, baby, best friend or neighbour is – they don’t belong in your home’s online photos. Buyers are going to be more interested/amused by these cameos than they will be by your home – and its not going to entice them to visit. So save those pictures for display in your new home and opt to showcase professional pictures of all the rooms in your home so that buyers can instead appreciate the elements which come with the property!
Professional Pictures and Virtual Tours
We learned early on in our staging career that professional pictures was the best way to showcase a home online. A professional photographer has the right equipment, experience and talent to take those great shots which look like they came out of a magazine. As buyers are shopping for a lifestyle upgrade, professional pictures of a modern, bright home are going to attract them in droves. Additionally, virtual tours are also a vital part of a home’s strong online presence. Done right, they show buyers everything they need to know about how rooms connect and flow with each other so that they can get a great sense of the home without even visiting!
Put That Toilet Seat Down!
I lost track recently of the number of pictures on MLS which feature bathrooms where the toilet seat is up. Do I need to explain why you need to put the toilet seats down for pictures? I hope not! Let’s just say, for aesthetic and sanitary reasons, keep those toilet seats closed!
Pictures of Principal Rooms Without Furnishings
Vacant homes are a tough sell. We’ve written blog posts on this topic because without staging (and adding that personal touch with great furnishings) a vacant home appears empty and undesirable. Without furniture, buyers can’t get a sense of how big the spaces are and will instead fixate on elements which need fixing, updating, painting or replacing. If your home is going on the market vacant, invest in some key staging so that when buyers shop online, they get a great first impression! One last note, leaving one item in a large room or doing what we call ‘vignette staging’ only makes the home appear more unloved and doesn’t do justice to the space.
Turn ON the Lights!
Again, this one should be self explanatory as to why its so important. It doesn’t matter what time of day it is, the lights should be on when you’re taking photos of your home. Additionally, open those blinds and draperies to let in all that gorgeous natural light. Buyers are attracted to bright, airy spaces so they will steer clear of homes where its impossible to determine the function of a room because they can’t see it.
Rooms with Wall to Wall Furniture
Rooms with wall to wall furniture either say you love to entertain all your friends and family every night or they say that the rooms are so small you couldn’t fit everything in without it appearing cramped. Editing out furnishings is an excellent way to make rooms feel spacious and large however most sellers don’t know what should be edited out. This is one of the key things a professional home stager will address so take the time to have a consultation done before your home goes on the market and that way you will have a customized PLAN so every room shows to its fullest potential!
Pictures tell buyers a vital story online and with how accessible listings are online, its more important than ever that the first impression buyers have of your property is a great one. We work with a professional photographer who does amazing virtual tours and this is one of the top things we recommend to our clients after staging their homes. Remember, buyers have what we call model home mentality so magazine calibre pictures will garner your property the interest and visits it deserves!
- Is Your Kitchener-Waterloo Listing Stigmatized? (decoratingdivas.wordpress.com)