Buyers Buy With Their Eyes. How To Prepare Your House For Listing Pictures.
American homebuyers primarily shop for homes online before choosing a real estate agent. They crave lots of interior and exterior pictures and many won’t read about a listing that doesn’t have them.
For example, a consumer wrote in a forum at CityData.com, “As I am looking at a listing, if there are no pictures, I disregard the listing . . . and if the bedrooms and baths aren’t shown, I disregard the listing.”
There are reasons that a listing may not include pictures of the home. These include:
The seller requests that no pictures be published
The pictures aren’t ready to be published yet
Homes in foreclosure often don’t include pictures of the interior
The reasons listed above are rare, but they do happen.
Since your home’s listing will include attractive, compelling photos, let’s talk about how to get the home ready for its moment in the spotlight.
We sat down with our Southern Indiana home photography expert, Kyle Craig, with Diamond Home Imaging to get his perspective on listing pictures. Here is our interview with Kyle:
Buyers notice more than you think they do
Cluttered kitchen and bathroom counters. The toilet seat left up. Dark walk-in closets. Dirty baseboards.
While you worry about the color of your living room in your listing pictures, potential buyers are wondering if those nasty baseboards are an indication of a general lack of home maintenance.
Is your car parked in the driveway a sign that the garage is overstuffed because there is little to no storage space in the home?
A thorough cleaning of your home is the first task to accomplish. This will help people perceive the home as well-maintained.
After that, it’s time to get rid of the clutter. With no strange faces peering at them from your family pictures, home shoppers are better able to imagine themselves living in the home, surrounded by their “stuff.”
They can’t imagine that with someone else’s toothbrushes on the bathroom counter. Stash personal items and leave only the decorative stuff on countertops.
Then, play up every room’s focal point. This is especially important in rooms viewed from the entryway. If you need some help with this, check out the tutorial at serendipitysocial.com.
Although the photographer will adjust each rooms’ lighting to his or her needs, ensure that there are adequate window coverings throughout the home. Often, a room may need to be photographed with the window coverings closed to avoid glare or the sun streaking on the floors.
Then, ensure that every light fixture and lamp in the home has a working bulb.
The photographer can only do so much
In fact, the experts at realestatephotographerpro.com prepared a quick list for home sellers:
“Photographers cannot do the following:
Move or re-arrange furniture
Make beds, clean, dust or declutter
Pick up toys or yard items
Photoshop vehicles, walls, damaged walls, power lines, wall pictures, cords, etc.
Touch personal bathroom supplies such as shampoo, toothbrushes, deodorant, towels, etc.”
The latter item, by the way is an important one to consider because “Bright, artificially-colored packaging, like on cereal boxes and shampoo bottles are also very distracting to the eye,” according to the pros at Eddy Photos, an El Monte, California photography studio.
You’ll find additional prep tips online at photoslc.com and kellycolson.com.
The exterior pictures are important because they are digital depictions of your house’s curb appeal.
Before the photo shoot, walk around the yard and remove anything that might distract the viewer from the home: cars, garbage cans, kids’ toys and other clutter.
Freshening up the landscaping with new mulch, trimming bushes, and adding seasonal flowers can all add to the visual “pop” of the front of your home and give buyer’s an great first impression.
The 812 Living Group Preparation Checklist
We provide each of our clients a staging checklist to complete prior to picture day and before listing their home for sale. Below are our 5-Point Staging Tips
1. Clean – Buyers buy with their eyes, so your home must be clean. Buyers will discount the value of your home for dirty floors, scuffed walls, unpleasant smells (including animal odor), and other signs of an unkempt home. Take time to do a thorough cleaning of your home and utilize air fresheners as appropriate.
If needed, the 812 Living Group can refer you to a professional cleaning service. If necessary, the 812 Living Group can refer you to a professional cleaning service.
2. Decluttered – Buyers buy with their eyes, so your home must be clutter free. Buyer’s can easily be distracted while looking at your home. If they have to wade through or look past piles of collectibles, books, clothes, etc, they will mentally devalue the worth of your home. Or worse, they may even mark your home off their list completely.
Since you are planning to move, take this opportunity to sell or get rid of extra items that you don’t need. Any items you plan to take with you, should be boxed up and/or organized and stored in a closet, garage, or storage unit.
3. Neutralized – Buyers buy with their eyes, so the paint color and other décor should be neutral in order to appeal to the greatest number of buyers. If you have bright color walls or an eclectic taste in décor, it would be wise to make a change prior to listing the home. Neutral colors like white, beige, grey, etc appeal to the widest number of buyers. Plus, painting your home can give it a fresh feel that buyers will appreciate.
If you need someone to help you paint, the 812 Living Group can refer you to a local professional painting company.
4. Repair – Buyer’s buy with their eyes, so any defects or repairs that you can see in your home they will see too. What makes this even worse is that buyers tend to overestimate the cost of repairs they see while shopping for a home. So an item that may really cost $25 to fix, buyers will often estimate the cost at $100 or more. This overestimation can cause buyers to discount the value of your home or worse, cross it off the list because they feel it “needs to much work”. It is best to complete any known repairs upfront so that you can control the cost, choose the contractor, and prevent an offer from getting derailed late in the home selling process.
If you need a contractor or handyman to help you complete repairs, the 812 Living Group can refer you to a variety of local contractors that can help with repairs.
5. Maximize Space – Buyers buy with their eyes, so it’s critical that you open up the space in your home so they can imagine their possessions in each space. When you have too much furniture or oversized furniture items in one room, it can make a big room feel small. If buyers feel like they have to turn sideways to get past items, it can make them feel like the room won’t hold their stuff. Evaluate each room and remove items you can live without for a short time. Move these items into a garage or storage unit. The more you can move out the bigger the space will feel.
Buyers buy with their eyes, and that begins with the pictures. Use this checklist to take any and all steps you are capable of to make you house appeal to the eyes of potential buyers.
High Quality Listing Pictures Are Key To Selling Your Home
As Kyle Craig mentioned in our interview, the pictures of your home are more often than not the first impression potential buyers have of your home.
It has an enormous impact on whether they decide to visit your home or pass your home up for the next one on their list.
That’s why preparing your home for pictures is critically important and why the 812 Living Group hires a professional, experienced photographer for each home we list.
Great pictures can literally keep thousands of dollars in your pocket by driving buyers to your door.
If you have questions about real estate photography or would like to talk about a staging plan for listing your home, please reach out to us at 812Living@gmail.com.
And for more information and educational videos about buying or selling a home, please check out our YouTube Channel at https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCalOCYq9kFTL0cKqBQRbTYw
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