Home Staging: Online Photos Sell Your House

Buyers look for houses on the web, so your home has to show really well in online photos. If your home doesn’t show well in photos on the web, buyers will weed it out and never visit, and you will not sell your house quickly. This is a fact of life in a buyer’s market.

Here are two simple rules that will help you sell your house and may make the difference between its selling fast and near its listing price, and languishing, waiting for a price cut:

  1. Since a professionally staged home looks better than one that hasn’t been professionally staged, don’t take photos of your house until it has been professionally staged.
  2. Since you want a potential buyer to see how attractive your house is, don’t post photos online that aren’t of excellent photographic quality.

Look at photos on the web

Take a look at online photos of other homes for sale. How many aren’t well-composed or of really good quality?

  • Some photos are so dark that you can’t make out the features of the room. Dark photos won’t entice a buyer to visit.
  • A buyer wants to see the whole room as well as the focal point (such as a fireplace) set in the room. A kitchen shot should show the cabinets, some appliances and the table in an eat-in kitchen. A bedroom should show not just the bed but light and space. To take these interior shots requires a camera with an ultra-wide-angle lens. The 28mm equivalent lens of a standard point & shoot camera won’t show what a buyer wants to see. There are several suitable compact digital cameras available with a 24mm equivalent lens, high-resolution and good low-light capabilities at reasonable prices.
  • The photos of some homes are mostly exterior shots – with just one or two rooms shown. This doesn’t give buyers much information about those homes, and they’ll select other homes to visit instead. At least 10-12 interior shots are essential to give the buyer a good sense of what a home looks like inside.
  • Too frequently the photos are arranged haphazardly: duplicates or even triplicates, and in no particular order. This carelessness virtually assures that a buyer will look elsewhere. You want a buyer to see the home as in a visit: first the front of the house, then the entry, living room, dining room, kitchen, family room, and the bedrooms – or at least the master bedroom and bath – and then the backyard.
  • A well-made virtual tour – whether a video or pan and zoom stills — can be very useful to show how spacious your home is.

Ignoring either of the two simple rules above means that most buyers will weed out your house on the web and never visit it in person. Few buyers’ visits means a long wait for an offer.

Clutter eats equity

There is a saying among professional staging advisors: “Clutter eats equity.” This photo of a kitchen wall is unfortunately not unusual. The photo catches the room’s unattractive features, and the desirable features of the house are not shown. Online buyers will go on to the next house, and this one will miss potential offers.

To sell this house, the stager recommended painting the walls and cabinets, replacing the old countertop. . . and removing the clutter.

You can do two things to help sell your house:

  1. Have your home professionally staged before you show it in photos online.
  2. Make sure that you or your agent knows how to take top-notch photos.

Or kill two birds with one stone: Many professional stagers will take photos after they stage your house. Call a local home stager for a staging evaluation — even if your home is already listed and has been photographed. You can post better photos that will entice buyers to visit because online photos sell your house.

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