April 16, 2020 - By Lexi Klinkenberg
The real estate industry has been shifting to a digital landscape over the years, but no one expected the digital revolution to happen so quickly. We’re seeing the effects of COVID-19 on the US housing market, stay-at-home orders have brought most traditional open houses to a temporary halt, and in-person showings few and far between. But if you’re looking to sell your house, don’t worry, you can still make your home shine online and reach potential buyers without face-to-face contact.
With virtual home touring options such as 3D walkthroughs and live video-chat tours, potential buyers can still interact with agents and explore every nook and cranny of your home, almost as if they were touring in-person. With virtual tours, you can also attract homebuyers no matter where they reside. Maybe a potential buyer is currently living in Atlanta, GA and wants to buy a home in Portland, OR – they can still virtually tour your home, no matter the distance. Here are 8 tips to make your home stand out against the competition during a virtual tour and impress potential homebuyers.
1. Enhance your space with the right lighting
Lighting is an essential component when it comes to creating an eye-catching and camera-ready atmosphere, and this is especially true with a virtual tour. “Your home will look it’s best on camera if you film in the middle of the day. Keep your window shades open and bring in as much natural light as possible to help the room feel larger and look brighter” says Makayla Zurn, the Creative Production Manager at Redfin. “You can even try layering light by turning on lamps and accent lights to create a warm and cozy atmosphere”, says Zurn. “Just be sure to avoid artificial lighting that overpowers the space too much. “
2. Transform rooms with the perfect paint color
Whether you have faded and scuffed walls in the living room, or a bright orange accent wall in your kid’s room, take this opportunity to repaint the interior walls and opt for a camera-friendly shade. This is an easy and inexpensive fix that 68 percent of realtors recommend. “Lighter, neutral paint colors show best in video while darker colors tend to make spaces look smaller than they actually are,” says Zurn. “If you’re showcasing a room with darker paint it would be helpful to note the measurements of that particular space in the description.“
3. Clear your home of clutter
During a virtual tour, potential homebuyers will try to imagine your home as their own. This can be difficult if you have areas in your home where things have slowly piled up over the years. “Personal items can take a buyer’s attention away from what you really want them to focus on, the features of your home!” says Zurn, “So clear off your kitchen and bathroom countertops, make the beds, and tidy up.” Maybe you have a pile of paperwork in the kitchen, excessive cords in your home office, or perhaps a box filled board games in the living room.
Find permanent homes for items that are sitting out, or donate things you no longer need. To create a more open and calming atmosphere, try removing an item or two before taking photos and filming. One trick is to clear off any surfaces, and then add items back one-by-one until the desired look is achieved.
4. Get your home looking spotless
Cleaning is one of the simplest ways to create an appealing interior. Potential homebuyers will be able to detect a clean home from a dirty one, even over a virtual tour. Washing mirrors and windows, vacuuming hardwood floors, deep-cleaning carpets, and organizing your closets are just a few tasks that will make your home look more attractive. Furthermore, the potential homebuyer may even ask the agent to describe what they’re experiencing on the property, including certain smells and the cleanliness of the home. So make every inch of your home shine, from floor to ceiling.
5. Stage for a picture-perfect home
Staging is now more important than ever. Begin staging rooms that could influence the buyer’s decision, including the entryway, living room, main bathroom, master bedroom, and kitchen. Remove or rearrange furniture to make the space appear larger, add flowers to the kitchen table for a splash of color, and arrange decor in odd numbers to achieve balance. To help potential buyers picture themselves calling your house home, remove any family photos or keepsakes. Look online for inspiration and tips, chat with a professional stager over video, or consider a virtual staging service. This is a cost-effective service where home stagers use photo-editing software to transform rooms by adding furniture and decor into the photos of your home.
6. Have professional photos taken
Although additional safety measures are being taken during the Coronavirus pandemic to ensure the safety of you and the professional photographers, photo and video shoots are still being offered. Now, it is especially important to have your home staged and “showing ready” for the shooting, as photographers will not be touching or moving anything inside the homes.
The listing photos will be the first thing a potential homebuyer sees of your home and may determine whether they request a virtual tour. So make your home stands out against the competition with professional photos. Real estate photographers know the correct lighting, angles, and minor details that give a much better depiction of the home, capture it’s selling points, and attract the attention of potential homebuyers. If you’d want to showcase your entire property, capture a bit of the neighborhood, or highlight the breathtaking view, consider having aerial photos taken to offer a unique angle of your home.
7. Highlight your home’s best features
What characteristics of your home attracted you to it in the first place? Is it the new kitchen appliances, extensive breakfast bar, large outdoor space, or simply the open floor plan? Whatever it may be, it’s likely that your favorite features of the home will be what attracts potential homebuyers as well. So, be sure to give special attention to these features in photos and during a virtual home tour.
8. Spruce up the exterior
Enhancing your curb appeal is just as important as sprucing up the interior of your home. A well-maintained landscape, lawn, and porch can make a great impression on potential homebuyers and can add perceived value to your home. Remove any dead debris, mow your lawn, and trim the plants or shrubs lining your property. Consider re-staining your front porch, pressure washing the siding of your home, and adding flowerpots to enhance the entryway. And if you have any outdoor furniture, be sure to stage it as you would with your furniture inside.
Virtual tours are now more important than ever. Be sure to take time and prepare your home for showing just as you would for an in-person tour, and show your home in the best light.
This article is U.S. based, originally posted on Redfin.com. The information however is valuable and a good read, so we thought we'd share it with you!