By Kevin Reid Shirley
When it comes to home sales, looks do matter.
Once a home comes onto the market, how soon it moves can depend on its location, design, quality of construction — not to mention how well it’s been maintained, the neighborhood, school district … it’s the sum of at least a dozen contributing factors. But when it comes to home sales in the Washington, D.C., metropolitan area, looks now matter more than ever before. Making sure a home is camera-ready could well be the most important single thing a homeowner can do before listing a house for sale in the D.C. area this fall.
It’s in the Numbers
The 2013 National Association of Realtors® survey found that a decisive 92% of all home buyers use the web to search for a home. That’s more than just a coup for your computer, it also points to something vital for D.C. area home sales — something sellers can’t afford to ignore. Unlike previous generations of home buyers, the attention span of today’s online audience is miniscule. With comps (comparable listings: the competition) just a mouse click away, the success of home sales in the D.C. area is directly influenced by how eye-catching its online presentation is … whether it has what the ad industry calls ‘pop!’
Accentuate the ‘Good Sides’
Successful film stars and fashion models leave nothing to chance when it comes to photography. They know which angles accentuate their good sides. Likewise, photos that spur home sales don’t just show living room, bedrooms, kitchen, etc.—they highlight the most interesting features in ways designed to draw the viewer’s eye. For example, if a splendid dining room has to compete with a blazing sun during the day, it’s bound to be better shot at night. Ditto, any room with a sparkling chandelier. As for the exterior, if the siding is unremarkable but the new roof is gorgeous, angling the picture to emphasize the positive makes visual sense.
Up Close & Impersonal
Buying a home may be an intensely personal affair, but when selling one, photos are not the place to showcase a favorite collection or kids’ sports trophies. Make an effort to remove very personal objects before photography begins. One key to home sales in the D.C. area is to transform your space (not too appealing to potential buyers) into a place they can easily envision being their own.
In this era of high-res photography and lickety-split download times, a sparkling clean house is the mandatory starting point. Double-check that the house is devoid of dirt, stains, and even dust that might pick up the light. Although most small blemishes can be removed in editing, the less retouching that’s needed, the more natural-looking the result will be.
It’s important, for sure; but there’s no need to freak out about the photography. With an experienced real estate agent as your home sales advisor, you’re sure to snap a series of appealing shots that makes your listing stand out from the crowd.
Thinking of selling in this fall? Call me today to discuss how to come up with your home’s glamour shots — as well as the entire marketing plan!
Kevin Reid Shirley is an associate real estate broker licensed in Washington, D.C.; Maryland; and Virginia. You may reach him at 202-320-6634 or kevin@RealAstute.com.