A house hunter’s first view of your property is often online, and if the photos accompanying your home’s listing don’t impress, you may not get a second chance to entice that potential buyer — meaning your real estate photos are valuable assets when it comes to selling your home. The following tips can help your home put its best foot forward on picture day.
Check out potential agents’ listings. Before diving into photo-day planning, choose a good realtor who knows how to market your property through high-quality photos! It’s so important to be sure your real estate agent is prepared to deliver quality listing photos, so before choosing your realtor, study each candidates’ listings to get a feel for the quality of the photography. Here are a few questions you may want to ask about how the agents you’re considering handle photos:
* Do you use a professional photographer? THE ANSWER NEEDS TO BE YES!
* If you take the photos yourself, what equipment do you use — professional camera and tripod or a cellphone? THE ANSWER NEEDS TO BE THAT THEY NEVER TAKE THEIR OWN PHOTOS, unless they are also a professional photographer, of course!
* How much time is typically allotted for the photo shoot?
* What can I do to make my home look its best in photos?
Clean the windows and open the shades. Ample light can go a long way toward making your home shine in photos, so get those windows sparkling clean, and open the shades and curtains wide.
Perk up houseplants. Fresh green plants add a feeling of life and vibrancy to interior photos…ailing plants, not so much. Trim away dead leaves with a pair of sharp scissors. Dust large-leaved plants with a soft cloth. And this needs to be minimal – you don’t want a jungle of plants, but just a few strategically placed is ideal!
Remove counter clutter. Gleaming, clutter-free counters will make your kitchen look more spacious. Put away everything, then clean counters well. It’s fine to leave out one or two small appliances, such as the toaster and coffee maker, but stash anything extra, as well as small appliances (especially the ones that have seen better days!).
Polish wood floors and shine appliances. Wood floors can be a major selling point, so be sure they look their best in photos by treating them to a thorough cleaning…dirt and dust show up so easily on wood floors, especially dark ones. The same goes for those stainless-steel appliances — using a product designed for stainless-steel, buff the surface until it gleams.
Hide toiletries and freshen bathrooms. Aside from a fresh bar of soap at the sink, the bathroom should be completely free of toiletries — too many products crowding the sink and shower suggest that there’s not enough storage space. Pull open the shower curtain, clean the mirror, put the toilet seats down (this is a huge pet peeve of mine!) and turn on the lights. Remove old towels and put out fresh, fluffy white towels if you have them. If not, just leave the towel racks bare.
Neatly tuck in bedcovers. Photographs seem to pick up every little imperfection, so spend an extra few minutes straightening up the beds on picture day. Fluff the pillows, pull the bedcovers taut, and clear away clutter and personal items from bedside tables.
Do a photo-ready walk-through. The aim on photo day should be to make your house look as spacious, clean and inviting as possible — so it’s in your interest to declutter as much as possible. Here are some under-the-radar items you may want to stash before the photographer arrives:
* Shoes in the entryway, but also anywhere and everywhere!
* Piles of mail and paperwork
* Remote controls
* Kids’ toys that can’t be put neatly away
* Pet food bowls, beds and litter boxes (temporarily move these to an area that won’t be photographed)
* Fridge clutter (magnets, photos, cards)
Switch on all lights & turn off ceiling fans. Unless your home is flooded with natural light or you know that your real estate photographer will be using portable studio lighting, the general rule is to turn on all lights, including lamps. Be sure they all have bulbs! Also, turn off the ceiling fans – if they’re on, the blades will blur in photos and it’s not a good look. 🙂
Highlight special features. Have a lovely working gas fireplace or an outdoor fire pit? Make sure it’s lit on photo day. Likewise, if you have a hot tub or a pool in the backyard, make sure it’s uncovered and clean for the photos.
Focus on the first impression. This isn’t the time to worry about major landscape changes or reviving a dead lawn. Instead, focus on the quick fixes that will make a positive impression in a head-on photo of your home. Deadhead flowers, rake leaves, clear away porch and driveway clutter, and set out a few pots of blooming flowers. You may also want to leave your own car parked in front of the house until the photographer is ready to shoot the street view — otherwise you could wind up with your neighbor’s SUV blocking the shot!
Last but not least, check that all outside areas are neat and tidy, with outdoor furniture in place, tools put away and garbage cans tucked out of sight.
I always enjoy articles written by Houzz magazine. The tips are great in this one – not only for the photographer but for me as I am preparing for showings. The Real Estate business is hard work, lots behind the scenes, but what a fun business! If you are interested in seeing all the listings I have available, you can click HERE or don’t hesitate to give me a call at 214-549-7978.
Looking forward to hearing from you soon!
Heather Kinder Sims
Whether you are buying or selling a home, it can be quite an adventurous journey; you need an experienced real estate professional to lead you to your ultimate goal. In this world of instant gratification and internet searches, many sellers think that they can For Sale by Owner or FSBO.
The 5 Reasons You NEED a Real Estate Professional in your corner haven’t changed, but rather have been strengthened, due to the projections of higher mortgage interest rates & home prices as the market continues to pick up steam. Think twice about these 5 things before you trust your home sale to an inexperienced person (like yourself, perhaps!)…
1. What do you do with all this paperwork?
The state of Texas has different regulations regarding the contracts required for a successful sale, and these regulations are constantly changing. A true real estate professional like me can guide you through the stacks of paperwork necessary to make your dream a reality. Another reason to make sure the paperwork is right is for your protection. From the seller side, would you know what you would have to disclose to buyers about the home, what has happened in the home, what is happening around the home, etc.? From the buyer side, what rights to you have to specific information before and after the sale? These are very important, and potentially very costly, issues!
2. Ok, so you found your dream house, now what?
According to the Orlando Regional REALTOR Association, there are over 230 possible actions that need to take place during every successful real estate transaction. Don’t you want someone who has guided people through those steps numerous times before, someone who knows what these actions are and can explain them in a clear and concise way, to make sure that you acquire your dream?
3. Are you a good negotiator?
So maybe you’re not convinced that you need an agent like me to help you sell your home because the market is just so hot. However, after looking at the list of parties that you need to be prepared to negotiate with, you’ll realize the value in selecting a good realtor. From the buyer – who wants the best deal possible and likely has an agent who you most likely will be responsible for paying – to the home inspection companies, to the appraiser, to the title company, there are at least 11 different people that you will have to be knowledgeable with and answer to, during the process.
4. What is the home you’re buying/selling really worth?
For sellers, it is important for your home to be priced correctly from the start to attract the right buyers and shorten the time that it’s on the market. You need someone who is not emotionally connected to your home to give you the truth as to your home’s value. Also, contrary to way may be popular belief, sellers make more money when they hire a realtor…according to the National Association of REALTORS, “the typical FSBO home sold for $185,000 compared to $245,000 among agent-assisted home sales.” For buyers, you don’t want to pay more for a home than it’s really worth, which is a big cause for concern in a hot market like this, and you need an agent to help you run the numbers and determine that.
5. Do you know what’s really going on in the market?
Just like you probably have your finger on the pulse of what’s going on in the industry in which you work, a good realtor like me knows what’s going on in real estate. There is so much information – and misinformation – out there on the news, the internet, and these home shows on networks like TLC. Home sales, prices, and mortgage rates; how do you know what’s really going on and how the market works specifically in the Dallas area? Do you want to trust your own limited knowledge about real estate to buy or sell the biggest asset you’ll probably every buy or sell, or should you call an expert like me to help?
Dave Ramsey, the financial guru, advises:
“When getting help with money, whether it’s insurance, real estate or investments, you should always look for someone with the heart of a teacher, not the heart of a salesman.”
Hiring an agent will make your buying or selling experience an educated one, and you can be more assured that you will be making decisions based on real knowledge that will lead to success.
You wouldn’t replace the engine in your car without a trusted mechanic, you wouldn’t perform your own surgery, and you wouldn’t build your own house brick-by-brick without being qualified in one of those fields. Why would you make one of the most important financial decisions of your life without hiring an expert in the field of buying and selling real estate? Considering a move, get in touch with me and let’s talk!
November ushers in the start of the holiday season with one of my favorite holidays: Thanksgiving. I think it’s important to stop and take stock of what we’re grateful for more than once a year, but Thanksgiving is a wonderful excuse to pair it with a delicious meal.
Owning a home is often included in the list of things people are thankful for each year at their Thanksgiving dinner, but I started to think about how many different areas of life owning a home touches and affects in a positive way.
1. Homes – at their most basic – offer shelter from the elements, warmth, and safety.
Having a warm, safe place to put your head at night is crucial to having good mental heath and a happy outlook on life. Homes often become a shelter from the rest of the world, a place where you can most truly be the person you are.
2. Homes contribute to a healthy lifestyle.
Homes have kitchens, which gives homeowners the ability to cook fresh, delicious food, which in turns offers energy, strength, and can positively affect your mental health. It’s an easy, taken-for-granted thing that can be overlooked here in the United States, but having a kitchen isn’t a given around the world. Most homes in Thailand, for example, usually forgo a kitchen in favor of eating out from street vendors.
3. Homes offer the space to host friends and family.
There’s nothing more wonderful than the joy of hosting the people you love in your own space, whether that’s for dinner or for a weeklong stay. Homes are generally much larger than apartments and this means that hosting is much easier and more comfortable for everyone…just don’t make things too comfortable or the guests might become permanent fixtures in your home!
4. A home can be your own personal sanctuary.
Few people, it seems, bother to decorate or truly personalize an apartment because apartments are transitory and who wants to pay that deposit fee? But with homes, you’re the queen or king of your own castle and that means you can make improvements, changes, and invest in décor that speaks to you and makes you feel happy and safe.
5. Homes contribute to financial health.
I love the word “wealth”, don’t you?? And this is something else that might be obvious, but the financial benefits to owning a home can have a deep impact on the rest of your life. Homes offer savings on taxes, by deducting mortgage interest, property taxes, and private mortgage insurance. Homes save money in the long term over paying rent for someone else’s property and offer you increased wealth and equity in return. As home prices continue to trend up, this offers homeowners increased value for their investments and builds wealth.
Final Thoughts on Thankfulness
This season, I am not only thankful for the privilege of owning my own personal home, but also so thankful that I can help others see – through the home buying process – how this positively impacts physical and mental health, social life, and financial wealth as well. I wish everyone a Happy Thanksgiving and a very fruitful year ahead!
Ah, the crisp smell of fall is in the air, the leaves are bursting into brilliant color, kids are back in school, and it might be the right time for your to considering selling your house. Conventional wisdom says to list your home in the spring, but is that the right choice this year? Here are a few facts to consider that might sway you to sell during the autumn season.
1. There’s less competition in the market.
The traditional time to list a family house is in the spring when the flowers are beginning to bloom and families are looking to move before summer vacation takes hold, but the mild temperature of autumn, beautiful orange and gold leaves, and less competition on the real estate market can make it easier to make a home an enticing find to prospective buyers.
2. Demand is still strong.
According to the Realtor’s Confidence Index, demand throughout the country is still high and it’s a good time to take advantage of it now before…
3. Inventory increases.
The negative equity situation in previous years has trapped many families in their homes and caused them to stay put, but since real estate prices have been climbing in recent years, there’s a renewed desire for many homeowners to sell. This means means that many homes will be coming to the market in the spring and summer months. Additionally, now that builders have more confidence in the market, new single-family homes will be coming on the market so the choices buyers have will continue to increase.
4. Buyers can take advantage of tax breaks.
Property tax and mortgage interest are both deductions you can tax on your taxes for the whole year, even a buyer closes on a property in December. This is worth thinking about and just sweetens the deal for prospective buyers. Another tax advantage is for buyers who can close on a house before January 1st – that is that they’re able to file for homestead exemption. So, not only is this good for sellers as an advertisement for buyers who might want to buy their home before the new year, it is equally good for sellers who are also buying a home!
5. And it’s a GREAT time for you to upgrade.
Home prices will continue to rise and if you’re planning on moving into a bigger house, now is the time to do so before prices appreciate. Rates are forecasted to increase in 2017, AND house prices are projected to go up a whopping 5.3% over the next year. Lower rates and lower prices give you more buying power. Selling your home now will put you in perfect place to upgrade to a newer, larger home before these increases.
If you think that selling your home this fall might be the right choice for you and your family, get in touch with me today. I’d love to take you for a nice fall-flavored pumpkin spice latte and give you a free home estimate as we have our coffee talk!