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Market Watch

Put Your Best Features Forward

Posted on January 24, 2017 by Carlee Spritzer

First impressions are powerful in a way that the mere concept of them elicits the internal reaction of sitting up a little taller and smiling a bit wider.  Homes that are on the market for sale are under the same scrutiny of putting their best features forward to prospective buyers.  Marketing strategies such as high quality photography, home staging, virtual tours, and an easily negotiated web presence are no longer models that are saved for the luxury market these days. Any property that is listed via a real estate professional using their local multiple listing service instantly hits the internet with a bang. Having a property in top condition prior to that moment is the key to gaining interest and momentum toward a sale.  Finding a home with photos or video "coming soon" will not impress savvy buyers. High-quality, well-composed photos are a powerful way to inspire potential homebuyers to go from scrolling property websites to setting an appointment to see the home. Since reportedly up to 91% of all home searches begin online, sellers have a captive viewing audience, but their REALTOR® must be able to convince the buyers to make contact for a personal showing with the influence of photos and words. Experienced real estate photographers can find the best angles and lighting for interior space to allow a glimpse of what it is like to live in a home.  The rooms should be portrayed as how they flow together versus chopped up. Clean and tidy rooms help buyers picture how they would personally make memories in the house.  Commanding photos actually speak to the senses and can result in a showing or a sale of the property. High end cameras are certainly preferred, but the knowledge of how to use a camera is even more important. Using the wide angle lens, portraying depth of space, and making certain the "scene is set" with immaculate rooms is something any camera should be able to accomplish. To stage or not to stage? That is certainly a question that may come up at the initial meeting when readying to list a property.  After a thorough cleaning, a purging of clutter, and addressing issues such as appropriate lighting, paint touch up and small time repairs, it is important to see if any rooms need a bit further attention.  Excess furniture can be removed or even repositioned to open up the spaces. Little used rooms that normally gather "extras" can be set up to show use as a craft or music room. A professional home stager can emphasize a home's best attributes while toning down the weaknesses. They may bring in furniture, art, or plants to a vacant home as well. Across the board, most agree that the living room and kitchen are the most vital if a staging budget is limited. When virtual tours came about, they were often limited to higher priced homes. As technology and consumer demand has advanced, most properties for sale can be accompanied by a tour. Whether a compilation of still photos strung together or a video format, being able to give buyers a bit more of an introduction to a home prior to seeing in person can be a competitive advantage. Music, commentary by the real estate agent, and photos beyond what is available in the original presentation materials all can gain additional buy-in from the prospective consumer. So once a property has been photographed, staged, and possibly videoed, how does the end user find it online?  Websites are plentiful and range from the big names such as Realtor.com® to an individual agent's website in Small Town, America. Recent information shared at the Inman Connect conference in New York stated that the top five real estate websites accounted for only 17% of search visits for property information. That means much information is coming from company and agent sites around the country. To break down another statistic, approximately 42% of the real estate web traffic is via desktop computers and 58% is on mobile devices.  Therefore, having a website accompanied by a user friendly, reliable mobile app is important to stay competitive and ensure that listings are featured in the best light to make that positive first impression.

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Agents: Robyn Erlenbush
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