Tuesday, September 11, 2007

P is for Pictures

Cofer KitchenIf your listing doesn't have good pics, you'd better make it REALLY cheap. REALLY, REALLY cheap.

84% of buyers these days start their search online. They aren't looking for prose. They want pictures. They want lots of pictures and they want those pictures to be good. If there aren't good pictures from good angles that are lit in a manner to let them see the features they want to see, they move on.

Here in the Atlanta market, there are more than 100,000 homes for sale. Obviously these homes are in a variety of price ranges, and locations. They feature wide ranging levels of amenities and finishes. But, do you think there aren't any other homes competing with yours? If one house has great pictures of a beautiful house, and the next has a picture of the front, or even no picture (the horror!!), do you think that buyers are going to spend their valuable time investigating that house? Keep in mind that there ARE houses with excellent and plentiful pictures in their search as well.

There are several steps that one should go through to insure the best possible result. Cofer Family Room

  • Talk to the agent that is going to list your home. Among the things you should talk with them about are staging and photographs.
  • Get a consultation from a home stager. You might need to spend some time removing wallpaper, painting, or doing other things to show your home in the best light.
  • Suck up your decorating ego. Staging for sale is not all about decorating. It is about showing the house in a manner that lets the buyer move in mentally. Homes that are too personal to the seller might be beautiful, but that doesn't mean they are staged to sell.
  • If you really hate what you were just told by the stager, get a second opinion.
  • Complete the needed work. In some cases, this might mean doing the work, in other cases this might mean hiring the stager to "set" the house.
  • Get pictures. If your agent isn't able to produce quality pictures, get them to bring in a photographer. The higher the price, the more willing your agent should be to bring in a professional photographer. There are some agents that will be able to make great shots, others are pretty challenged. Look at the pictures.
  • Make sure that your listing looks good on the MLS, as well as on realtor.com. Realtor.com is the most heavily trafficked real estate website, and only REALTORS(R) have access. I would also recommend that the listing be "enhanced", which is an extra service that your agent should have.
  • Keep the pictures reasonably updated. Snow in the summer, and spring flowers in the winter are clues that the listing has been sitting.
As with all things real estate, there are variations. But, it should be easy to get the idea. Make sure that YOUR house looks better on the internet than the house you are competing with. Those pictures ARE the first impression.

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