Your home's first impression may not be one that is face to face with a prospective buyer. In today's world, 84 percent (National Association of Realtors) of home buyers start their search online. That's an impressive figure, and one that means your home needs to make a strong virtual impression.
Part of this impression is made through online photos. And as you begin the listing process, your agent will want to set up a time to come and photograph your home.
How can you stage your home to be photo ready?
Showing your home is about creating a story line. A home buyer is looking for certain amenities and specifications during their buying process, but in addition, they are looking for a home that will give them the lifestyle they seek. To answer this need, you must make sure your home has an ambiance that is appealing.
A properly staged home can tell this story in pictures.
To create a virtual experience and ambiance, one must develop a plan. What is the demographic of your buyers? Is this a home that will interest empty-nesters, large families, or vacationers?
Once you have distinguished this, then consider what story each room should display.
A step for all buyers is to remove clutter. Grab a box and walk through each room. Pick up the kids' toys and games. Take your old magazines and papers to the recycling bin.
Next, tidy up. Buyers will notice if there are marks on the wall and dust bunnies on the floor. They will notice if your kitchen sink is full of dishes. So, sweep the floors and wipe down counters and mirrors. Replace burnt out light bulbs. And give each surface a nice dusting.
Now, make repairs. If you have very obvious issues in your home that need attention, there will be buyers who notice. This includes that cabinet door you took off to repair, and the tile work that needs regrouted. It also includes terribly dated wallpapers and borders. Making these repairs before your photos are taken could increase the number of buyers who request a showing.
Now that your rooms are clean, de-cluttered, and in good repair, its time to "edit." Step back and take a look at each room with new eyes. Less is more when it comes to photos. You want a story line, yes, but you also want the room itself to shine through. Remove unnecessary knick-knacks and decor.
Is this a home that has good entertaining potential? Set up your dining room and table with your best china. Light candles and set out fresh flowers. In your kitchen, have a plate of fresh baked cookies sitting on a plate. And don't forget to take pictures of the yard and landscaping, as well.
During the photography session, embrace natural light. Not only do buyers look for homes that are light and bright, but natural light also has a way of opening up spaces. Try to arrange a time for a photographer to come when the sun is out!
Be sure the photographer takes several pictures of each room and from different angles. Most MLS sites allow for your agent to list over 20 pictures of a home. This means you should show your buyer as many pictures as possible, in order to give them the clearest vision of you home and its setup.
Good luck during your selling process!