Home Stagers are experts in styling homes for photo shoots. In a few hours we can whip and flip a home into a stunner. Your on-line photos are the #1 advertising element of your for sale home. Don’t stop short when you publicly introduce your home to potential buyers by not making it perfectly groomed for its Internet close-up. Here are a few of my top tips and techniques.
Make your bedroom a showstopper
Master bedrooms are a big deal for buyers. A place to relax and unwind from the stresses of the day and every room needs a focal point. Plump those pillows (no pancake, lumpy old pillows) invest in fresh new pillows and bedding. It’s a small investment that can go with you to your new home and trust me it makes a huge difference in how buyers react to online images.
Make bathrooms sparkle with a spa theme
Every bath needs fresh, clean, fluffy towels, a seat down, glistening surfaces, and not a personal product present. No toothbrushes, potties, boxes of tissues, bath rugs on the floor, toilet brushes, cleaning products etc. etc. Many bathrooms are small and the least bit of clutter will make it even smaller online.
Remove all clutter, small appliances, paper towel, vitamins, paperwork, boxes of cereal etc. etc. Kitchen counters tend to be a dumping ground for all and sundry. You want to show how spacious your counters are and highlight those fabulous finishes. Don’t forget to remove rugs, door mats, dish soap and tea towels from stoves.
Photography and Lighting
I can’t stress this enough. Hours of of staging and prep will be ruined with dark, blurry images taken from bad angles. This is your chance to shine and impress buyers who are seeing hundreds of online images of the competition. Open all drapes and blinds. Often perfect opportunities to wow are lost when a beautiful view from a window is unseen or you can’t see how beautiful flooring or molding details are. If your images aren’t cutting it hire a professional, you won’t be sorry.
When I visit a client for a staging consult one of the first things they say to me is “I know I have to de clutter and clean”, but that is only the start in the staging process. Staging is the last step in property prep, after rooms are de cluttered, furniture rearranged or rented, all repairs and upgrades are completed and the house has been deep cleaned, then a stager can begin. It’s the icing on the cake that will entice a buyer when surfing though thousands of online images. You only have a few seconds for your home to wow, so you have to make the most of it and use all resources available.
Staging for your buyer demographic is crucial. The average seller has lived in their home for quite a few years and if the property hasn’t been upgraded or décor is stuck in the last decade or three it raises a red flag to a younger buyer. One thing most buyers object to is wallpaper. It’s one of those décor choices that is very personal. Yes, you may love the bold floral pattern, that’s why you choose it, but that’s the problem, you choose it. The time and money a buyer will have to invest in removing it is often enough to put them off buying a home, so remove their objections, do it before selling. Trust me on this I’ve seen it time after time.
Fresh paint is money in a can. Certain colours photograph better than others, I always advise to change bold colour choices. Deep colours in certain rooms don’t show off their true potential. I recently consulted with a Realtor on a home that has been lingering on the market for almost a year. The main areas of the home were clean, bright and well presented but the basement was dark with dreary wood paneling and buyers were not impressed. It was letting the rest of the home down. I advised the Realtor i consulted with to repaint the whole basement in a creamy white and it looked fabulous once it was complete. Bright, clean and much more inviting, the difference was amazing. All for a few cans of paint. The listing has since sold.
With window treatments, less is more. If in doubt remove it, especially in the Summer months. Bright rooms entice buyers so ban the nets, heavy drapes and valances. Show off those moldings, that view, a beautiful garden, those are your selling features, not the drapes from 1985. Again stage for your buyer demographic, not your tastes. Simple, plain fabrics work best on an updated rod. When I say simple, not a sheet, flag or my personal pet peeve, knotted in the middle (excuse me while I rock in a corner) Show buyers you take pride in your home and don’t distract them with bad decor choices.
The same principal applies to furniture. Less is more. Often staging requires removing items rather than adding, so if you have an abundance of seating or too many dressers in the bedroom, some has to go. You are selling square footage and buyers want to see it. Furniture layout can be tricky in some homes and this is where your stager can advise the best layout for traffic flow, picture taking and to show buyers the potential use of a room. Often a few simple adjustments to layout will make a world of difference. I’ve seen sofas blocking fireplaces, doorways and windows that have fabulous views, all selling features you want to highlight not hide. The eye needs somewhere to rest. There is no eye resting in the room below, every wall plastered with something and a strange furniture layout makes the room look strange Did you even notice the fireplace in the room ? See what I mean about furniture layout hiding the best features.
So, after many other issues are addressed a stager can work their magic. It’s a multi step process and giving yourself lots of time to prepare is key. Investing in at least a Staging Consult can save you time, money and frustration. We deal with all these issues and more every day so we can help make your property stand out and attract a buyer, when the competition is turning them away with lackluster presentation.
We all keep hearing over 90% of buyers are searching for their dream home on line . A captive audience,or is it? Bad images don’t entice a buyer, grab their attention or do any listing justice. A great picture should stop a prospective buyer in their tracks enough to investigate that listing further and arrange a viewing. There is no way to get people in the front door if they don’t like the image on the screen. We see it all the time. Agents eager to get a listing on the market snapping a home that is nowhere near ready to be photographed, with a cell phone camera or a good quality camera for that matter. Having a better than average camera doesn’t guarantee good images. It’s not what you have, it’s how you use it! Not marketing a property with all the tools available in this day and age is doing a client a great disservice.
Staging and professional photography has to be seen as a very worthwhile investment. The two go hand in hand. A home can be beautifully staged and ready for buyers but bad lighting and odd angles don’t do it justice in the eyes of a buyer. Having professional pictures done of a home that has not had the trained eye of a Home stager do at least do a consult at the property, is not maximizing the potential of a client’s largest investment.
In the images above you can see the before and after. In the first first image the room has awkward furniture placement and too much has been removed, leaving it sparce and uninviting. Only one section of the room is featured, leaving it to the imagination how much space there really is. Light is poor out and even the wall colour is not true. The second image after the room has been rearranged and a few items from my staging inventory have been added for colour and interest. You can see the whole room, light is balanced and you can see the view outdoors. Some light staging was all that was needed in this home but it made a vast difference. This property was sold within 3 weeks after staging and professional photography.
If you were in the market to buy a home either for yourself or as an investment, ask yourself this: Would the pictures you take draw your attention to the property?
As the saying goes “you only get one chance to make a first impression” so why waste it.
The online images of your home have to impress a buyer in 15 seconds or less before they dismiss your property as a non contender.Gone are the days when any old photo will do.If your images don’t look professional you risk losing a buyers interest at “hello”.
Professional Real Estate Photographers know all the tricks to make your listing stand out from the crowd.Their use of lighting techniques, elevation and professional equipment ensure your home outshines the competition.Listings with good quality photographs that have been professionaly staged sell faster and at a higher asking price so you reap the rewards.
PREP recommends Farm Gate Imaging owned and operated by Vanessa Lentz for top quality images for Real Estate.