The process of selling homes has indisputably changed – especially in the last ten years. The increase in buyers who are willing to pay more money for a home which is in great condition with key upgrades and a modern design aesthetic has made the preparation and showcasing of homes absolutely essential.
Additionally, how those buyers preview homes has also changed. With advent of tablets, iPads, iPhones and Blackberry products, people have information at their fingertips 24 hours a day. As over 95% of buyers are shopping for homes online first, a home isn’t making a first impression in person anymore – it is making an impact on buyers online. 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 is modern in design 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!
1) 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 it’s 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!
2) 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!
3) Pictures of Cluttered Spaces or Rooms that Feature Personal Decorating Styles
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. Too much furniture, lots of wallpaper or very personal color choices go a long way to scaring off potential buyers.
4) Pointless Pictures or Photos of Strange Areas in Your Home
Nothing confuses buyers more than pictures of rooms or areas which are undefined. Strange 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.
5) 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 amused by these cameos than they will be by your home – and it’s 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!
6) Pictures of Principal Rooms Without Furnishings
Pictures of empty rooms do very little to entice or impress buyers who have a difficult time visualizing each space with the right furnishings. Additionally, as empty spaces mask the function of a room, leaving it to the target buyers to determine the purpose of a space is almost like saying ‘Okay, I give up – you figure out what this room is!’ If buyers can’t figure it out then they will assign little to no value to the space. Empty rooms also fail to convey the lifestyle a home owner should be creating for their buyers and it’s this lifestyle which fosters that tangible emotional connection which in turn, makes buyers fall in love with a property.
7) Turn ON the Lights!
Again, this one should be self explanatory as to why it’s 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 it’s impossible to determine the function of a room because they can’t see it.
Important Note: Buyers feel very uncomfortable in dark rooms and this dictates how quickly they will walk through the property. Ensuring each room is well lit with a variety of levels of lighting (not just overhead) creates a warm, inviting atmosphere buyers will quickly feel at home in.
8) Professional Pictures and Virtual Tours
We learned early on in our staging career that professional pictures were 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. When a home owner lists their home for sale, they should ensure that the realtor they choose to work with offers both professional photography as well as a consultation with a professional stager as this means the agent understands there is a direct correlation between the appearance/condition of the home and how fast it sells!
Pictures tell a vital online story and are the key to grabbing a buyer’s attention. When it comes time to list your home for sale, putting a professional stager and photographer to work for your home will go a long way to ensuring buyers see the appeal and value of your property both in person and online.
This article was featured in the October edition of Kitchener Waterloo’s popular Homes & Land Magazine. As we received so much positive feedback on it, we thought we would share it here on our blog.
- Five Common Costly Mistakes Made by Untrained Home Stagers (decoratingdivas.wordpress.com)
- Kitchener Home Staging – Showcasing a Beautiful Doon Luxury Home (decoratingdivas.wordpress.com)