Thanks to Geoff Williams of Huffpost Money site for this excellent reporting:The Worst Home Buying And Selling Advice Realtors And Mortgage Brokers Have HeardWhat’s tricky about bad advice
Before We Take Pictures Of Your House
(Excerpted and abridged from a REALTOR.com article)
If you're listing your home for sale, your goal is to make it an online "click-through stopper"—the listing that makes a buyer slow down, take a good look and read about it. The intention is to make sure that the photos showcasing your home are up to that task. Here are tips from the pros that will help you set up a picture-perfect house.
1.Tour your own house like a buyer
Walk around your house and imagine how it looks to people who don’t live there. View as if you were considering buying.
Assess each room from a variety of angles. Keep in mind we are not presenting your home; we're presenting a prospective buyer’s home. Good photos will reveal every little detail, so it’s important to show off your home’s best features while minimizing its flaws. If you can see it, the camera will also pick it up.
2. Make a clean sweep outside
Clear away anything that detracts from your curb appeal.
The front, exterior shot is the ultimate first impression everybody gets about your house. You don’t need perfect grass, but you want your yard to look neat, with your bushes and trees trimmed.
Hide the trash cans, garden hoses, and kids’ toys and bikes from the driveway.
Clean up after your pets, and pull out any dead things from your garden. Lots of people have empty flowerpots; fill them up with something to add some color.
Set up your patio umbrella and outdoor dining area if you have those features. Have a pool or a hot tub? Turn on pool lights, water features, and spa bubbles. Straighten up storage buildings.
3. Undo that ‘lived-in’ look
Sure, your busy family lives in the house, but it doesn’t have to look that way in your photos. Excess furniture and knickknacks distract from your home’s features, plus, they don’t photograph well. So lose the magazine piles, remote controls, framed photos, books, and stray shoes. Clean off the front of your fridge so your images don’t capture every school note, magnet, and shopping list. And keep the toilet lids down!
I don’t think you can declutter enough. Once you think you’ve completed decluttering, go back and do it again. Don't neglect to remove the toiletries on the bathroom counter or the toaster and five appliances on the kitchen counter.
4. Don’t let home-staging tricks backfire
Yes, home stagers rely on visual tricks to draw in potential buyers and point to a room's best attributes. Think a large plant near a window with a view, or a cluster of pillar candles next to a gorgeous stone fireplace.
They're smart tactics, to be sure, but some of them are best employed after you shoot photos.You want to help buyers see the entire room in your photos, so avoid setting up obstacles that visually impede your home’s flow.
For example, some people put beautiful flower arrangements on a coffee table or a dining room table, and while it may look good for a visitor, it stops the eye from flowing through to the other side of the room in a picture.
Another tip: Ditch the throw rugs and runners—you'll expose your floors and create the illusion of more space.
5. Let the light work in your favor
Got great views? Highlight them in your images. Wash your windows, and leave curtains and blinds open so that natural light can flow through. (If you've got heavy drapes, go a step further: Take them down and replace with sheer linen curtains—or just leave your windows bare.)
Turn on lamps and lights—inside and out—but turn off ceiling fans. I always recommend that you install the highest wattage bulbs allowed by the fixture manufacturers and install "bright white", not "soft light" bulbs. The latter, though great for ambiance, can give a yellow tint to pictures. Poor lighting will always show a room as smaller than it truly is.
Make sure all your bulbs work. If only two out of three shine, that will show up in the photographs, and it sends the wrong message—that something isn’t working.
Bottom line: Buyers scan house photos very quickly, so make your house stand out photographically.
Article written by Wendy Helfenbaum after interviewing: Buddy Mountcastle, a real estate photographer in Fort Lauderdale, FL; and Mike Small, a Phoenix, AZ, real estate photographer
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