Property Staging: How to Prepare for Your Photo Shoot

First impressions are everything. Nowhere is this more evident than when it comes to selling a home. Roughly 90% of homebuyers begin their searches online, where they spend plenty of time viewing property images. One of the best ways to help your listing’s images stand out is proper staging. Here are four savvy tips for utilizing staging techniques to create noticeable and engaging photos.

Start with the basics: First, the home needs to be properly cleaned and decluttered. This requires more than just your typical spring cleaning. In addition a good sweeping and mopping, everything from the gutters to the attic should receive a bit of TLC. Pre-packing is also a crucial part of this step: Be sure that all knick-knacks have been put into storage, to remove any items that reveal the current owner’s personal taste. Leave out just a few handpicked accessories that help define (and not distract from) the space.

Next, minimize the amount of furniture in each room. Exposed floorspace and open walkways give a room the impression of having more space. This also helps create a sense of flow, so potential buyers can move naturally from one room into the next.

Give your walls a makeover. For main living areas, like family rooms and dining rooms, paint in light colors. Avoid bland white and off-whites, and choose soft blues or greens instead. These lighter shades will reflect more light and make the room feel much bigger. 

Don’t forget about curb appeal! Clear the yard of any unsightly debris or tree limbs. Make sure the lawn and hedges are trimmed, and move any plants out from in front of the windows. If necessary, give the front door a fresh coat of paint and be sure to remove any clutter from the porch that may distract from a picturesque entryway.

Smartphone Sorrows (Or, Why Do-it-Yourself Photography is a Big Don’t)

Picture this: You’ve just acquired a brand new property listing. The house is gorgeous, with plenty of square footage, green space, and excellent curb appeal. You’ve seen it for yourself and you just know that a place like this should sell high and fast. But, before you can start shopping out this little piece of heaven, you need a few shots of the property. No big deal, you might think, I’ll just shoot them on my own. This house could practically sell itself!

I hate to tell you this, but you couldn’t be more wrong.

With the advent of the smartphone, everyone now has the ability to be an amateur photographer. While this is a leap forward for the world of creatives, your trusty pocket assistant isn’t the best option for real estate professionals. The camera on your average phone is great for making memories with your friends or remembering where you parked your car. However, when it comes to your listings, your smartphone may be holding you back.

While your phone is capable of taking pictures, and the cameras are getting better all the time, a smartphone simply isn’t made with professional photography in mind, particularly when it comes to real estate. While you can control things like white balance, flash, and even throw on an attractive filter, there is only so much you can accomplish with a phone camera. And getting the widest angles, and best possible photos matter - a lot.

According to a 2017 trend report from the National Association of Realtors, 99% of Millennials and 89% of Baby Boomers in the market for a home search online. In this digital age, first impressions are everything. Of those polled, 85% of homebuyers said that they found photos very useful to their search, and you want to grab a potential buyer’s interest immediately. Studies back that quality photography helps a property sell up to 50% faster than a home with lackluster visuals.

Now, don’t let that fool you into going out and buying a new DSLR camera of your own. Aside from the steep technical learning curve, you probably don’t have the time and patience to shoot and edit your client’s photos. Not only will a professional bring his or her best equipment to your shoot, but they also bring a compendium of knowledge and skill, and take the extra work off your plate.

Sure, there is something to be said for saving money by DIYing it. But, when it comes to your business, why should you phone it in? A professional real estate photographer’s skills, techniques, technologies, and experience become a worthy investment once you - and your prospective homebuyers - see the finished product.