Home Prep

Making Your Home Picture Ready
Great listing photos require much more than a camera and a good photographer. Home owners, listing agents and home stagers all play a significant role in creating photos that sell. So put your team together and take a look at these simple guidelines. Some will be familiar but others you may not have considered before.

Undoubtedly you’ve heard this before but it’s worth saying again. Loose the clutter! Clutter distracts buyers. It distracts them when they’re touring your property and it’s especially distracting in a photo. Clutter diverts focus from your home and its unique characteristics. It’s an inexpensive fix but it’s one of the most important things you can do to prep your house.

Remember what you’re selling. You’re selling a house, not your family photos, your collection of teacups or the kids toys! Yes, it’s your home and you’ve filled it with all the things that make life meaningful to you but, when you put your home on the market, it’s no longer about you. It’s about helping buyers imagine themselves building a life in the space. Buyers are easily distracted by personal possessions. The more they see of you in the house the less likely they’ll be able to visualize themselves in the space. So neutralize the space by eliminating 90% of those personal items. This includes family photos on the walls and mantel, collections of all kinds and bookcases overflowing with your favorite literature.

Fresh paint is one of the least expensive and most effective ways to freshen a space and make a good impression. A neutral palette appeals to the broadest range of buyers. Bold color has its place. When used in limited quantities it can bring energy and character to a space. But be wary of over doing it and remember color will scare away some buyers. The vibrant Tuscan gold contrast wall in your dining room may actually work well but not everyone is going to love it. You run the risk of losing that buyer who is looking for move in ready and who hates the idea of a contrast wall. Also, if you’re working with modest square footage, it’s smarter to stick with a light neutral palette throughout the house. This will help to make it feel more open and spacious.

Color is a great tool for capturing attention and directing a buyer’s eye. For example, if your kitchen has a small bay windowed eating nook that is the perfect spot to hang out with coffee in the morning. You want buyer’s to take note of this charming feature. A great way to draw their attention is to place a bouquet of bright yellow daffodils in the center of the table. Their eye will go to the color, they’ll linger here a little longer and you will have succeeded in making them take note of this unique and special feature of the house.

If you live in a part of the country, like Oregon, that is “light challenged”, it’s essential to bring as much light into your home as possible. Buyer’s are always assessing the amount of light in a home and it’s the rare buyer indeed who’s isn’t looking for “light and bright”. Two simple fixes can make a world of difference. First, wash your windows. You’d be amazed how much light is blocked by even a subtle film of dirt on a window. Second, uncover your windows. If you have draperies or shades on your windows, pull them up and out of the way. Buyer’s will understand they can pull the shades when they want privacy but creating a first impression of light filled rooms is invaluable.

Curb Appeal
Good curb appeal is critical. It shapes a buyer’s first impression even before they get out of their car and it colors everything else that follows. Luckily, it usually doesn’t take much to spruce it up. Have trees and shrubs trimmed so buyers can see your house. Buyers don’t care that you planted the rhododendron by the front window the year your first son was born. They just want to see shrubs that are trimmed and tidy. Add color spots in flower beds near the front door. If you have a porch, include it in the staging so buyer’s can imagine themselves hanging out, visiting with neighbors or enjoying the neighborhood. And take care of any visible deferred maintenance items.

Front door
After a buyer has formed an opinion based upon curb appeal, what’s the first thing they see of your house? The front door. Front doors take a lot of abuse over time and it’s very likely you’ll find that your front door needs some TLC. Make sure it looks pristine and welcoming.

Fresh Eyes
If you’re working with a listing broker or a stager you already have the benefit of someone looking at your home through fresh eyes. This is essential. If you’re attempting to sell your home on your own, you’ll have to rely on a candid friend. And in the absence of a friend, who will give you the unvarnished truth, you’ll have to try to see your home as a buyer will. Not an easy thing to do when you’re familiar with every nook and cranny.

A major goal in prepping your home is making it “show well” in your listing photos and to the buyers who are walking through it for the first time. When your house shows well, it photographs well. When it photographs well, you’ll have more showings and more showing lead to a quicker sale.