You’ve probably heard this statistic before: 95%+ of home buyers start their search on the internet. The thing that entices them the most? Nice looking real estate photos of your home! If your home doesn’t stand out from the crowd of other listings-for-sale, some buyers may never bother to come and look at it. Conversely, poor (or no photos) are a major contributor to expired listings. Want to have a few laughs: See some of the worst photos on the MLS right here.
As a seller, you should hire a real estate agent who takes the time and care to present your home in it’s best light: this includes fantastic real estate photos and an enticing text description of your house or condo.
Showing the best real estate photos
Ok, you’ve selected your listing agent, (hopefully not one who whips out his cell phone and starts taking pictures with THAT). Your agent has called the professional photographer, and the appointment is set for tomorrow morning. How do you get your home ready for the best pictures? Here is how:
Staging the Kitchen
The most important room in the house has always been the kitchen. Buyers consider this the focal point of the house, where meals are prepared and often consumed, and guests marvel at the nice cupboards, size of the room etc. Here are some of the things sellers should do in order to get the best possible photographs of this central room:
- Clear off the kitchen counter
- Take all notes, magnets and pictures off the fridge
- Hide the dish-cloth and soap
- Obviously no dirty dishes anywhere
- Clean, Clean, Clean…..stovetop, counters, floors
- If you have under-counter lighting, make sure it all works
Second only to the kitchen, are the bathrooms. Thats because buyers realize that bathroom renovations are among the most costly renovations in any house. Even if your baths have not been upgraded, you can still show them off, and here is how to do that:
- No visible tooth-brushes
- Put out a fresh soap bar, or better yet, a bottle of soap dispenser
- Hide all cosmetics
- Fresh towels hung from racks
- Full roll of toilet paper on the dispenser
- Clean, Clean, Clean….everything.
The Living Room
This room should look comfortable, inviting and relaxing. NOT overstuffed with furniture, and the real estate photos should reflect this.
- Dust and vacuum everything
- A couple of decorative pillows on the couch
- Lamps all work properly
- Remove any excess furniture
- Make sure curtains, drapes or blinds are in good condition and clean
The Dining Room
This room sometimes becomes a hosh-posh of furniture. It can often look like a library, a computer room, even a place to let the exercise bike collect dust. Declutter, and follow these tips:
- Should only contain a table, chairs and hutch
- Less is more: Remove excess chairs
- Take any extra centre pieces out of the table (make it smaller)
- Flower or Glass Vase centre-piece on the table is ok
- Clean, Clean, Clean…..everything
The Master Bedroom
This ‘sanctuary’ should appear to be relaxing, not too busy and cluttered.
- Remove everything off the dresser top
- Night-tables are for a lamp and maybe one book
- Make sure lights and lamps all work (they will be ON during the photo-shoot)
- Obviously, bed properly made.
- Use a duvet (borrow one if you have to) and accent pillows
- Make sure curtains or blinds are clean and in good condition
Front and back yard are important for making that first impression a good one. Follow these steps.
- Curb Appeal starts with the front yard…
- Rake leaves, clear off the driveway and sidewalk
- Curb Appeal also includes the back yard…
- Grass cut, any bare patches filled in
- All toys and tools packed away
Look at it this way: There are possibly hundreds of homes in your price range, all competing for the buyers attention. Another statistic I read recently is that the ‘average buyer looks at 11 homes before making an offer’. If there are hundreds of homes available, but a buyer only looks at 11, how do they decide WHICH 11 homes to see?
The answer: photographs. Buyers ‘weed out’ the homes which show poorly, and may not come to see any of those houses or condos. Make sure that your home is in the 11!
Infographic: Get Ready for Real Estate Photos
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