9 Listing Photo Do’s and Don’ts

You have one chance at a great first impression — knock their socks off with listing photos that shine.

Your bags are packed, you’re ready to move and the last thing you want to do is follow your agent’s advice about putting time and money into your listing photos. But if you don’t, your photos could prevent the home from selling quickly.

Consider these nine do’s and don’ts to help your listing attract the attention it deserves.

1. Do: Take a shot from the curb.

USA, California, San Francisco, Houses at Lombard Street; Shutterstock ID 346436030

Keep your home’s curb appeal top of mind. Buyers often decide in a matter of minutes (or seconds) whether they want to keep looking or move on to another listing.

Make sure you get the whole house in the shot, and don’t let cars or other objects block your line of sight.

Don’t: Create a landslide.

SAN FRANCISCO, CA, USA – OCTOBER 2017: A steep residential street with rows of houses stepping up the hill and cars parked on the street; Shutterstock ID 738803863; Requester Name: Amy Morby; Project: Porchlight; Client/Licensee: ; Other:

When taking a shot from the curb, be mindful of your camera’s angle. The roofline should be parallel with the photo’s frame to make it look level — not like there’s a landslide on the property.

2. Do: Welcome visitors.

An attractive front door and entryway go a long way in setting the tone for the rest of your home. Leaving the door open in one of your photos can also send a welcoming message.

Don’t: Threaten visitors.

Remove any threatening signs or barriers on the property before taking photos. The goal is to create a feeling of warmth with your listing photos — not scare onlookers away.

3. Do: Consider a bird’s-eye view.

Aerial water view of home; Shutterstock ID 20398507; Requester Name: Amy Morby; Project: Porchlight; Client/Licensee: ; Other:

Taking a photo from above is a great way to show off a large property or a waterfront location. Crop the photo close enough so the home is visible without having to draw an arrow or a box around it.

Don’t: Consider a fisheye lens.

Victorian house with white picket fence through fish-eye lens, Woodstock, NY; Shutterstock ID 178249571; Requester Name: Amy Morby; Project: Porchlight; Client/Licensee: ; Other:

Some folks use a fisheye lens to make smaller spaces appear larger. However, it often has the opposite effect, making the space feel smaller and distorted.

As a general rule of thumb, stick with a traditional lens for listing photos, and make small spaces appear bigger with design tricks.

4. Do: Capture your home’s selling points.

White and blue bathroom interior with a round white tub, two narrow windows, a tree in a pot and a ladder in a corner. Side view. 3d rendering mock up; Shutterstock ID 717830713; Requester Name: Amy Morby; Project: Porchlight; Client/Licensee: ; Other:

You may think it’s best to skip the bathroom when taking listing photos, but if yours was recently updated, show it off! Bathrooms are among the first spaces to be upgraded in newly owned homes, and research shows that blue bathrooms sell for more than expected.

Don’t: Capture yourself in the mirror.

Man with camera in mirror; Shutterstock ID 535036807; Requester Name: Amy Morby; Project: Porchlight; Client/Licensee: ; Other:

While a vanity can be a selling point, you want buyers to picture themselves in the mirror — not you. Stay out of your listing photos by avoiding angles where you or your camera’s flash may be reflected.

5. Do: Stage each room.

Furnished master bedroom in new luxury home.; Shutterstock ID 304626107

The goal is to put your home’s best foot forward. That means staging each roomto sell shoppers on the lifestyle your home offers. Create cozy vignettes in each photo so it’s easier for shoppers to envision themselves living there.

Don’t: Stage a mess.

Luxury loft bedroom cluttered with books by wall and decorated with blank picture frames. 3d Rendering.; Shutterstock ID 643690621; Requester Name: Amy Morby; Project: Porchlight; Client/Licensee: ; Other:

If there’s one absolute “don’t” for listing photos, it’s capturing a mess. Tidy up each room before taking any photos so your home looks its best.

6. Do: Play up the season.

Christmas composition on white wooden table; Shutterstock ID 512131063

Even if your home has been on the market for a while, it will feel up-to-date if the photos reflect the season. If it’s summer, take a sunny photo of the backyard. If it’s winter, create a cozy feel with a fire and a warm blanket.

Don’t: Play up your holiday decor.

Traditional dining room table set for Christmas dinner. ; Shutterstock ID 727142821

Over-the-top holiday decor can be a turnoff, especially if buyers don’t celebrate that holiday. Instead, consider ways to decorate for the season as a whole and take photos of rooms without themed decor.

7. Do: Show off the view.

Tropical bedroom interior with double bed and seascape view; Shutterstock ID 161500337; Requester Name: Amy Morby; Project: Porchlight; Client/Licensee: ; Other:

If the view is one of your home’s selling points, you’ll definitely want to show it off. It’s best if you can capture it with a part of the house in the shot, like the deck or porch. That way, buyers can picture themselves there.

Don’t: Show off your pets.

furry golden retriever dog lying on floor in bedroom; Shutterstock ID 675251131; Requester Name: Amy Morby; Project: Porchlight; Client/Licensee: ; Other:

Focus on the parts of your home that will be there when a buyer moves in. Unfortunately, your pets don’t fall into that category, as cute as they are!

8. Do: Show off architectural details.

Archways, beams and other architectural quirks may be hard to photograph, but they give your home character. Try to capture a few of the architectural details if you can.

Don’t: Show off architectural blunders.

Bathroom with a pink toilette during demo day on a residential home renovation and major remodel.; Shutterstock ID 624960662; Requester Name: Amy Morby; Project: Porchlight; Client/Licensee: ; Other:

Every home has its blemishes, but that doesn’t mean you have to capture them all in the photos. The listing is the time to put your best foot forward — the open house and inspection are when the buyer can take note of the imperfections.

You may also want to consider making a few small improvements, like updating the bathroom, before listing your home.

9. Do: Take a night shot with the lights on.

Beautiful villa with wide backyard and decorative outdoor lighting, external view; Shutterstock ID 436575742

While it’s easy to assume daytime shots are ideal, a nighttime exterior shot can create the right amount of contrast to make your photos stand out. The key is to leave your home’s interior and exterior lights on while you take the photo.

Don’t: Capture a dark room.

When it comes to interior photos, you want all the light you can get. Use lamps and daytime window light to make your photos as bright as possible while still looking natural.

 

Posted by Catherine Sherman on Zillow

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U.S. Housing Inventory Crunch Continues… List Your House Today!

Every winter, families across the country decide if this will be the year that they sell their current houses and move into their dream homes.

Mortgage rates hovered around 4% for all of 2017 which forced many buyers off the fence and into the market, resulting in incredibly strong demand RIGHT NOW!

At the same time, however, inventory levels of homes for sale have dropped dramatically as compared to this time last year.

Trulia reported that “in Q4 2017, U.S. home inventory decreased by 10.5%. That is the biggest drop we’ve seen since Q2 2013.”

Here is a chart showing the decrease in inventory levels by category:

The largest drop in inventory was in the starter home category which saw a 19% dip in listings.

Bottom Line

Demand for your home is very strong right now while your competition (other homes for sale) is at a historically low level. If you are thinking of selling in 2018, now may be the perfect time.

 

Posted by The KCM Crew

 

20 Tips for Preparing Your House for Sale [INFOGRAPHIC]

Some Highlights:

  • When listing your house for sale your top goal will be to get the home sold for the best price possible!
  • There are many small projects that you can do to ensure this happens!
  • Your real estate agent will have a list of specific suggestions for getting your house ready for market and is a great resource for finding local contractors who can help!

Posted by The KCM Crew

Do Your Future Plans Include a Move? What’s Stopping You from Listing Now?

Are you an empty-nester? Do you want to retire where you are, or does a vacation destination sound more your style? Are you close to retirement and not ready to move yet, but living in a home that is too big in size and maintenance needs?

How can you line up your current needs with your goals and dreams for the future? The answer for many might be the equity you have in your house.

According to the latest Equity Report from CoreLogic, the average homeowner in the United States gained $14,000 in equity over the course of the last year. On the West Coast, homeowners gained twice that amount, with homeowners in Washington gaining an average of $38,000!

Do you know how much your home has appreciated over the last year?

Many homeowners would be able to easily sell their current house and use the profits from that sale to purchase a condo nearby in order to continue working while eliminating some of the daily maintenance of owning a house (ex. lawn care, snow removal).

With the additional cash gained from the sale of the home, you could put down a sizeable down payment on a vacation/retirement home in the location that you would like to eventually retire to. While you will not yet be able to live there full-time, you can rent out your property during peak vacation times and pay off your mortgage faster.

Purchasing your retirement home now will allow you to take full advantage of today’s seller’s market, allow you to cash in on the equity you have already built, and take comfort in knowing that a plan is in place for a smooth transition into retirement.

Bottom Line

There are many reasons to relocate in retirement, including a change in climate, proximity to family & grandchildren, and so much more. What are the reasons you want to move? Are the reasons to stay more important? Let’s get together to discuss your current equity situation and the options available for you, today!

Posted by The KCM Crew

The Importance of Using a Professional to Sell Your Home

When a homeowner decides to sell their house, they obviously want the best possible price for it with the least amount of hassles along the way. However, for the vast majority of sellers, the most important result is actually getting their homes sold.

In order to accomplish all three goals, a seller should realize the importance of using a real estate professional. We realize that technology has changed the purchaser’s behavior during the home buying process. According to the National Association of Realtors’ 2016 Profile of Home Buyers & Sellers, the percentage of buyers who used the internet in their home search increased to 94%.

However, the report also revealed that 96% of buyers who used the internet when searching for homes purchased their homes through either a real estate agent/broker or from a builder or builder’s agent. Only 2% purchased their homes directly from a seller whom the buyer didn’t know.

Buyers search for a home online but then depend on an agent to find the home they will buy (50%), to negotiate the terms of the sale (47%) & price (36%), or to help understand the process (61%).

The plethora of information now available has resulted in an increase in the percentage of buyers that reach out to real estate professionals to “connect the dots.” This is obvious, as the percentage of overall buyers who have used agents to buy their homes has steadily increased from 69% in 2001.

Bottom Line

If you are thinking of selling your home, don’t underestimate the role a real estate professional can play in the process.

 

Posted by The KCM Crew

Listing Photos: Your Home’s First Showing

A picture is worth a thousand words, and could be worth thousands of dollars when it comes to attracting the right buyers to your home.

Let’s face it, buyers form their first impression of your home based on the online listing. As they say, Web appeal is the new curb appeal.

If you are serious about selling your home, you have to take your listing photo shoot very seriously. If your photos don’t excite buyers, they may not step foot inside.

You should prepare for your photo shoot as much as you would for an open house or private showing. Work alongside an excellent local real estate agent, and follow these tips to make sure your home looks its best.

Never list your home online without photos

Today’s buyers get email and text alerts when a new home that matches their criteria hits the market. There is nothing more frustrating than to see the desired address come across as an alert, only for the listing to be incomplete.

Buyers (and agents) will punish you for jumping the gun. Will they go back later and look again, once you have the photos up? Maybe — but maybe not.

You’re adding an extra step for them, and it comes across like you don’t have your ducks in a row. That’s not a great way to start out with your future customer.

Clean, declutter, organize and remove

You should spend a good amount of time preparing for your photo shoot. This means that you fluff the pillows, put toilet seats down, put Fido’s bowl and toys away, and ensure the home is in impeccable condition.

People can zoom in, zoom out and play with photos in online listings. They’ll notice everything. If your photos don’t show your home well, it sends a message to the buyer that you don’t care, and that you are not a serious seller.

The buyer is your customer. You have a product for sale. Take the time to present it in the best possible light.

Poor photos won’t cut it

Images that are blurry, poorly lit, or distorted are not going to sell your home.

It’s a good idea to hire a professional photographer who will take high-resolution photos, and even bring extra lighting or equipment to enhance their work. They’ll also take dozens of pictures and work tirelessly to show your home in the right light and from the best angles.

Don’t skimp on the number of photos

When it comes to photos, the more, the merrier. You want to make it easy on buyers to get comfortable with and learn more about your home.

Not only are the listing photos their initial impression, but they serve to help orient the buyer after the first or second showing. Once they have been through the home in person, they are better able to relate to the floor plan and how it flows. Going back to the listing photos allows them to make connections and dig deeper. Encourage them to do so by posting plenty of photos.

 

Posted by Brendan DeSimone on Zillow

Should You Take Your Home Off the Market for the Holidays?

Nobody’s buying homes between Thanksgiving and New Year’s, right? (Or are they?)

Home sellers often suggest to their agents that they should take their listings off the market during the winter holidays. Surely nothing happens between now and the end of the year, they ask? It’s best to wait for the spring selling season, right?

Perhaps surprisingly, the answer is: not necessarily.

Conventional wisdom used to be that you shouldn’t even try to sell your home during the busy holiday season. Potential home buyers were attending parties, cooking holiday meals, buying presents, or vacationing this time of year. With all that going on, there just wasn’t time to ride around with a real estate agent to look at properties.

But with the Internet, smartphones, tablets and our always-on lifestyle, that conventional wisdom isn’t relevant anymore. The reality is, the home-buying season is now year-round.

Here’s why you should consider listing your home during the holidays — or even in January.

Today’s buyers check the listings 24×7

These days, serious buyers are always real estate aware — and the holidays are no exception. They may check out the latest listings in a mobile real estate app before bed or while waiting for the bus. You know the drill. We can’t pull ourselves away.

Our hectic lifestyles also play a role. Many serious buyers today work hard. They don’t shift into holiday mode until the last minute. Even during the holiday break, they’re still squeezing in work. There’s no such thing for them as “going off the grid.” So why not continue to monitor real estate listings, too?

The inventory — your competition — is lighter

Despite our always-on lifestyles, many sellers still believe buyers stop looking come mid-November. At the same time, sellers who’ve had their homes on the market for months often take them off now to give the listing “a rest.”

The net effect is that the inventory for good homes often tightens this time of year. There’s less competition for sellers, at a time when motivated buyers are out there looking — and no doubt wishing there were more properties to see.

If you’ve been considering selling, are motivated, are flexible on timing, and have a salable home, consider listing right after Thanksgiving. There’s still a window of several weeks to get buyers into your home before the end of the year.

And those buyers swiping right will be excited to see something new and awesome hit the market. Buyers will be motivated to see your home, regardless of what the calendar says.

Update a slow mover

If your property has been on the market for months, most buyers and their agents will assume it’s stale, overpriced or that something is “wrong” with it, no matter how light the competition is.

In that case, it’s time to take action, and the year-end holidays can be a great opportunity to shift course. Dramatically reducing the price or overcoming some major obstacle that’s been preventing the sale might be what’s needed to sell your home.

If you received lower offers early on but weren’t ready to accept them, or you keep hearing there are issues with how your property shows, this is a good time to show the market you’re listening and are serious about selling.

The motivated buyers, desperate for good inventory, will notice you and take a look. Strike while the iron is hot.

You might even get a sale closed before the end of the year. But before you make any big changes, talk it over with your real estate agent, as always.

Plan B: List in January

Admittedly, the thought of keeping the house clean, holding open houses and vacating to accommodate last-minute showings during the holidays is a dealbreaker for some would-be sellers.

If so, consider listing your property after New Year’s Day. Traditionally, not much inventory comes onto the market in early January. Many areas are seeing cold weather, bare trees, and dead landscaping. Many sellers wait until the spring — a more conventional time to sell.

While January inventory is typically still very tight, the number of buyers may be growing. Often, new buyers — with their fresh New Year’s resolutions to stop wasting money on rent and buy a home — are ready to jump into the market as soon as possible. Some buyers are motivated to search for a home in January because of year-end tax planning.

Whatever the buyers’ motivation, for sellers it means one thing: Demand for homes can increase at a time when inventory is traditionally low. And that means if you’re ready to sell, you’ll have an even more “captive” audience during the holidays, all the way through January.

Posted by Brendon DeSimone on Zillow