In this day and age, more and more potential home buyers are searching for their next purchase online. The latest statistics report that 80% to 90% of home buyers begin their real estate search online before ever calling an agent. Home buyers can spend countless hours going through hundreds of online listings searching for homes that catch their attention. This is both a blessing and a curse to the real estate professional. While no one would make the argument that the internet has hampered real estate marketing, it has become increasingly difficult for agents to get their properties noticed.
When a user is browsing listings online, what is the marketing ingredient that will draw them to your listing above all others? Pictures! Buyers love pictures; the more, the better. However, while a great picture will set your listing apart from the others, a bad picture will turn away potential buyers.
Sellers are also becoming increasingly demanding as to how their properties are marketed. When listing agents are competing for a home, why not offer the seller more than the standard pictures taken by most agents? Taking the time to hire a professional photographer will make you stand out from the competition, and will guarantee that your seller will appreciate your efforts to do more to sell their home.
While most people think that taking pictures of real estate is very easy, it actually requires more equipment, more skill, and more time than other forms of photography. Today's point and shoot digital cameras simply cannot compete with DSLR professional photography when it comes to photographing real estate effectively.
As an agent or homeowner, why waste your valuable time traveling to take images of your properties only to have those images do the opposite of what you would hope to accomplish? Pictures are the most important ingredient to any successful real estate marketing campaign, so why not ensure that you are getting the best? Hire a professional and get the images you need today.
The more you prepare your home before the photographer arrives, the better the pictures are going to look. Remember, there is only so much that a photographer can do with a house that is in poor condition. It’s not possible to make a messy room look uncluttered in the picture. Make sure your space looks as good as it can before the photographer captures it.
As you are arranging the furniture and adjusting the decor, keep in mind that you should have the goal of making the area look like a tastefully furnished hotel. Keep the furnishings and decor somewhat generic, but stylish at the same time.
FIRST IMPRESSIONS MATTER
A person's first view of a room will typically be from the doorway, so keep that perspective in mind when you are arranging the furniture. You want to create a lasting impression from the moment that they walk in the room, and they will likely spend more time viewing the room from the side where the door is located.
From a photo standpoint, the real estate photographer will take photos from the doorway area, and will also make use of the room's windows and natural light. So, consider the way the furniture is placed as it corresponds to the windows and doorways. It's definitely a good idea to capture the windows in the photos, because people like to see the natural light that comes in the room.
If there are built-in features in the room, such as a fireplace or decorative pillars, the photographer will take the photos from an angle to include those, as well. So, be sure to arrange your furniture so that it complements the built-in decor.
LESS IS MORE
It is always best to clear the clutter out of every room, because a clean space is more appealing. Get rid of anything that is cluttering the room, and when you think you are done… continue working to get rid of a few more items in the room.
The goal is to create a stylish, generic room in which the buyer can picture themselves living. If you include too many personal effects, such as photos and knickknacks, then it makes it more difficult for the buyer to imagine their own things in the room. Get rid of the distractions and eliminate any clutter that may be present.
GET RID OF THE GRIME
A quick wipe down to “clean” the house isn’t enough to get rid of the grime, and it is important that all areas are deep-cleaned in order to remove hard water buildup, dirt, or anything else that might be visible. Make especially sure that the windows are spotless, so no fingerprints or marks show up in the photos.
If you have any pets, it is best to have them out of the way during the photo shoot. Don’t let the dogs run around in the yard during the photo shoot, and any indoor animals should be moved out of each room as it is being photographed.
Curb appeal matters! Buyers want their new home to look good on both the outside and inside. The exterior of the home is the first thing that a person will look at when they are viewing the listing, so it is important that you clean up around the house to make it look good.
The front yard is the most important, but don’t neglect the back yard. It won’t look natural to have front yard photos of a beautifully manicured lawn and flower beds, with a back yard that is in disarray.
EXTERIOR TASKS SHOULD INCLUDE
Before the photographer arrives, you should make sure that you are letting in as much light as possible. Open up the blinds and curtains and turn on every light in your home. All lamps and surface lights should be on, including the lights that are part of furniture and appliances, such as those on the stove or built into a bookshelf. If any light bulbs are burned out, make sure to replace them and use high-wattage bulbs to make the room brighter.
As with other areas in the house, you want to get rid of any clutter that is visible in the kitchen. Kitchen counters often collect a lot of items, so make sure that the counters are as open as possible. Get rid of extra small appliances that are sitting around, as well as stacks of paper or dishes that may be placed at the end of the counter.
If you have child-proof equipment that is visible on the outside of the cabinets or cupboards, it is better to remove that equipment for the photos. Clear the school notices, crayon drawings, and magnets off of the fridge.
Clear away dish racks, cutting boards, tea towels, hand and dish soap bottles, cleaning products, mops, brooms and garbage cans. You can add a little decoration with a nice bowl of fresh fruit or a vase of flowers.
LIVING ROOM PREPARATION
As the formal sitting room in the house, it is especially important to make sure that the furniture is arranged appropriately. The goal of the living room should be to create a beautiful and comfortable space, where the potential buyer could imagine their family spending time.
If you have a nice coffee table book, set it out as decor on the table. Remove any magazines, because they often look cluttery. If bookshelves are in the room, take out half of the books and arrange the remaining books in a nice pattern. Keep the nice, hardback and colorful books on the shelf, and clear out the ratty, old books.
FAMILY ROOM PREPARATION
Small items are sometimes left in the living room because it is the space where the family often spends the most time. Collect the TV remotes, video game systems, DVDs, or any other cluttered electronic items. Also, it is a good idea to pay attention to the way the electronic cords are arranged, and try to move them to a place so that they are out of sight. Clear out any toys that the kids may have left in the room.
DINING ROOM PREPARATION
Make sure the dining table is scrubbed and the chairs are arranged neatly around the dining room table. You might consider adding a nice centerpiece, such as bowl of fresh fruit or a floral arrangement. Don’t leave any leftover plates or dishes on the table, and make sure that the remnants of the previous meal have been cleared away: wipe the table, sweep the floor, and mop the floor to remove any marks.
It may be tempting to stuff everything under the bed in order to hide the clutter, but the items under the beds can often be viewed in the real estate photos. Instead of trying to hide clothing and toys under the bed, move everything out of the room so that the space is as open as possible.
With teenager bedrooms, sometimes there are unique or usual decorations to match the personality of the child. Those decorations may need to be adjusted in order to make the space appear more generic and neutral, instead of hip or trendy. Remember, you want the buyer to imagine themselves in the room, and unusual themes in the bedrooms can sometimes be distracting.
Look at pictures in magazines to see the way the beds are made, and match the bedding accordingly. You want the bed to look beautiful and inviting. Use a nice bedspread and big, fluffy pillows that are neatly arranged at the head of the bed.
If anything is sitting on the nightstand, get rid of it! Common things that need to be moved include phone chargers, tissue boxes, lip balm, a glass of water, jewelry, or anything else that is kept at your bedside.
In the bathroom, everything should be moved off the counter, including makeup, razors, soap, toothbrushes, and any other beauty products. In the shower and tub, remove the shampoo, soaps, washcloths, and baby toys.
The garbage cans, bathmats, laundry baskets, extra toilet paper, toilet brush, and scales should also be moved out of the room. Finish it off by closing the toilet, and hang fresh towels on the towel rails.
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