The single most important goal in selling your home is to get your highest asking price. Whether this is to make a profit or just to pay off your current mortgage, you have to “keep your eye on the prize.”
Plentiful, good quality photographs play a major role in nailing the sale and give you a competitive edge over other sellers who don’t dedicate much effort to pictorially showcasing their property.
Ask yourself this question: if you were looking for a new home and there were only two for sale that would fit your needs, which seller would you trust more: one who posted obviously amateur pictures showing dishes in the sink or the one who’s pictures created an environment of a pristine lifestyle?
The answer is obviously the latter. You want to build up your credibility as a serious seller and the buyer’s confidence in your home’s quality by putting in the extra effort.
Read through these tips to get the ball rolling:
· Imagine that you are shooting a photo spread for a magazine. It all starts with cleaning, cleaning, cleaning! Get rid of the clutter, move out old and ugly furniture, and put your personal belongings out of site.
· No cute puppy pictures. This is important. Even if you’re a meticulous pet owner, advertising to potential buyers that you have birds in a cage, a free roaming guinea pig, or a bedroom dedicated to a family of rare Siamese cats is going to make people wonder about odors, stains, and the destruction that animals can cause. It’s best not to bring any attention to your furry children.
· Add some “pop.” Invest in some simple, colorful home accessories. It can be as simple as new couch pillows, a throw rug, or an inexpensive print. Add a healthy green plant or a vase of colorful flowers strategically placed in each room for the photo shoot.
· Light it up. Avoid dark or washed out pictures. If you don’t have a lot of natural light, add some additional LED lamps in the corners or off-camera to add the brightness you need.
· Hire a professional stager. If decorating is not your forte, you can hire a professional stager who can optimize your space by rearranging furniture and adding decorative accessories to improve eye appeal. While interviewing stagers for the job, be sure to ask about their rates per room. You may decide to only photograph certain rooms in the house, but understand that the more pictures, the better.
· Hire a professional photographer. Although you can take great pictures on your own without an expensive camera, professional pictures can give you an advantage over other sellers by increasing the perceived value of your home.
Potential buyers want to see pictures of both the interior and exterior of online listings or property websites. In order to optimize eye appeal, create excitement, and turn virtual viewers into physical tourists, it is important to follow these important steps before snapping a single photo:
· Cut the grass. Give your lawn a clean, close cut and manicure the edges of sidewalks and driveways. Obliterate stubborn weeds along pathways, the house, and around trees. Repair, seed, or use groundcover to detract from bald patches in the yard. You can also use a commercial turf dye aerosol paint colorant to cover dead spots caused by pet urine.
· Trim the hedges. If there is one thing that makes a home look like an abandoned hideout, it’s a runaway row of hedges. Make sure that hedges are nice and even to give your home great curb appeal.
· Colorful landscaping. Plant a variety of colorful flowers, and spread pine straw or cedar chips. It’s a great idea to include a night photo for effect, so consider adding some LED path lights.
· Give it a bath. Wash the windows, power wash the house, and clean the gutters. Sweep the pathways and driveway. Invite buyers by showing that the home has been well maintained and kept up.
Differentiating property listings through high-quality photography and video pays huge dividends. Until recently, the cost of providing aerial photographs was cost prohibitive because you would had to hire not only a photographer, but also a private plane or helicopter to get those shots from above. However, drones have become the most important new technology to enter real estate marketing since the evolution of the internet. These flying cameras produce dramatic footage of sweeping landscapes and fly-arounds of homes for sale for approximately $200-to the low $1,000s for detailed video tours of every room.
Hiring a local drone professional may seem an extravagant drain on your budget, but it takes many hours of practice to learn how to fly and take great shots in 10-minute flights. Also, they have gone through the process of getting an FAA UAV operator’s certificate. They know what they are doing.
Drone photography will “out market” your competition and create new business opportunities by:
· Creating a “big picture” view. Create a beautiful, visual story that brings your property’s advantages to life with dramatic, compelling aerial photographs or video that includes the house, the landscaping, walking paths, nearby parks, and schools.
· Showing buyers “the road home.” If your drone is capable of creating video footage, you can take the potential buyers on a ride up the street, pull up into the driveway, and walk to the front door.
· Generating new business. Using drone videos and photos shows prospective sellers that you utilize every opportunity to highlight their properties and that you will do what it takes to stand out.
If you are a “gadget” person and the thought of flying your own drone really appeals to you, you can expect to pay between $1,000 and $3,500 for a professional grade ready-to-fly camera drone.
Whether via traditional photographs or drone videos, taking potential buyers on tour through their future home could be just the motivation they need to further explore and make the purchase.
While there is a definite learning curve to shooting these videos, the ROI of time and money will be well worth the effort. The whole point of providing a well-produced listing with great pictures and video is to make it easy for buyers to fall in love with your home. The more interest you generate, the more value you will create, the more offers you will receive, and the more quickly you will make the sale.
The following is a list of tips compiled by experienced real estate agents:
If you have multiple entrances to the home, consider making a separate video from each door to give the viewers multiple perspectives.
To kick it up a notch, consider making it a guided tour, either with an on-camera guide or a voice-over.
You can certainly be the star of your own show if you’re comfortable in front of the camera, but if you are not, you can hire a voice-over professional through an online agency.
If you save long-distance potential buyers the cost of a plane ticket, you’ve already won in their eyes. Everyone likes to “win.” If you can create a sense of urgency — that the house will not last long on the market — buyers will compete to be the lucky one to snatch up your property before it’s gone.
Recently, the FAA issued more than 500 permits for commercial drone use. Real estate businesses received the lion’s share of those permits, with more than 30% being issued for the purposes of real estate marketing. The use of drones and aerial photography tours are quickly drawing a line between serious real estate agents and those just dabbling in the industry. It has become necessary to add them to a serious real estate agent’s marketing portfolio in order to remain competitive and carve out a reputation of professionalism and credibility.
Using a smartphone to take quick pictures and videos is practical, but the quality of the end result will cost an agent points for professionalism, whereas aerial photography and video that elevate an agent’s ability to highlight the unique aspects of a home will catapult his/her reputation to the top of the list. Listed below are just a few of the many benefits of using aerial photography for marketing purposes when selling your home.
The true shape, layout, and overall size of your home are properly and easily captured through the use of the drone used for the aerial photography. The true dimensions of the entire property layout and property line previously unreachable from above are laid out for detailed review. One video can replace blueprints and albums in showcasing every detail of the property.
There are multiple professional aerial photography services teaming up with real estate agencies and their clients to cover both photography and video using drones from the ground.
VIDEO WALKTHROUGHS IN MARKETING
Since the majority of potential buyers conduct their research online or through their real estate agent, offering a video walkthrough is one of the best tools in a seller’s “bag of marketing tricks.”
The video walk through was invented on Valentine’s Day, 1962 when Jackie Kennedy gave the world a peek at the recently renovated White House. This famous tour made was the first ever First Lady televised tour of the White House and is the first prime-time documentary targeting a female audience.
Imagine yourself of equal presidential stature as you walk through your own home to describe its value, assets, and attributes to your potential buyer. In her famous tour, she appealed to viewers and helped them fantasize about living in the house. This is exactly what you want to accomplish with your own tour: you want your audience to dream and fantasize about the life they could build should they buy your home.
By providing your prospective buyers an intimate view with maximum exposure to the entire property, you will capture the attention of the serious buyers and weed out those who may waste your time.
Your job is to make your home highly photogenic. Take care of those minor improvements, remove the clutter, fix or remove broken items, and, if necessary, add a fresh coat of paint before snapping a single photograph or hitting the “record” button.
It has been said that one minute of video is worth a million words. Don’t worry about host costs for videos. Simply upload it to YouTube and let Google handle the hosting duties while you embed the video on the listing site.
TIPS FOR PRODUCING A VIDEO WALKTHROUGH
Below are some general tips on how to create the perfect video walkthrough as a marketing tool for the sale of your home:
· If you’re living in the house, store all personal items out of sight.
· Ensure proper lighting; that there are no burned out bulbs, and that the shades and windows can be opened for optimal natural light exposure.
· Keep the video under three minutes long to ensure that it is just long enough to capture a viewer’s attention short enough to keep from becoming boring.
· Begin by filming in the rooms that are considered the greatest assets of the home, such as a newly renovated kitchen, bathroom, or outdoor living area.
· Don’t attempt to be the star, director, and camera person. If you’re not going to hire a professional, enlist the help of someone to follow you and record you showcasing the home and property.
· Include a view of the street, the front of the home, and the backyard, just to ensure that every aspect of your home is in the video.
· When your video is complete, send it to your real estate agent (if you are working with one) to add it to your listing. If you are managing your listing yourself, then make sure that you place it strategically on the listing where a potential buyer will immediately see it.
Remember, the video is not meant to replace pictures, but to enhance the entire presentation. Make sure that both your photographs and video walkthrough of your home can be easily found within the listing.