It all starts with a picture. Your future buyer’s first impression of your home starts (and may end) with a photograph. The vast majority of homebuyers will choose the homes they want to see from photos on the internet. Therefore, it is very important when selling your home to make sure it is well presented in photographs. To start, when you list your home and photos are taken, be sure that all rooms look magazine perfect. For photographs, condition can be easy to fudge. You can’t see dust in a photograph, and you can hide your clutter out of the camera’s sight. But do take the time to move or store the evidence of your daily living. Clean off all countertops (kitchens and bathrooms). Remove refrigerator magnets. Remove all evidence of pets (including Fido himself). It can be amusing to check out listings online and see how many sellers and/or their agents do not put their best foot forward in photos. A quick scan of the MLS shows rooms photographed with the goodwill pile right in the middle of a room, unmade beds, glasses out on countertops, garden objects strewn around the yard, showers laden with bathing supplies, overflowing hampers, pillows askew and toys laying about. Not the best of first impressions.
What is photographed is equally as important. Your online presence is what will influence a buyer to choose to see your home, or not. Sometimes less is more. If it is hard to get a good angle on a room to make it look spacious, better to leave it out. Photos using a wide-angle lens will greatly aid in showing the whole room and conveying a spacious feel. If your agent does not use a professional level camera, you may need to request a professional photographer do the photography in order to present the rooms in their best light. Close up photos are rarely helpful, unless an architectural element is being highlighted. Be sure your kitchen and yard are included – two key items for a buyer – if they aren’t pictured online, buyers will assume there is a problem that you don’t want the public to see. On the other hand, do not include photos depicting what buyers may perceive as issue – leave out children’s rooms with bold paint colors (or repaint them first) and rooms with strong or dated wallpaper. You want to be certain that you don’t give a buyer a reason online to not come and see your home!
Your home’s pictures can make or break your listing. They need to present your home honestly (buyers feel deceived if they get to a home and it is not as pictured) but in doing so, need to present it in the best possible light. Be sure to take the time to adequately prepare your home for photographs, and review them periodically to be sure they reflect current condition. You may only get once chance at a buyer prospect – be sure your home shines in its photos!