As we look forward to another strong year in the real estate market, many real estate agents and managing brokers are working through their 2017 plans, projections and budgets. As agents look for ways to gain an edge, creating a strong online impression for their listings will continue to be critical for success. Why? Nearly all buyers look at listings online before contacting a realtor, so why not let the online listing start the sales cycle earlier and finish stronger?
It was wisely once said, “You’ll never get a second chance to make a first impression.” To ensure that you’re making the best first impression with online listings you should use professional staging and photography - the foolproof combo. We’ll take each in turn, starting with why you should use professional home staging.
Lisa Vaisvila, owner of Home Staging by Lisa in Lombard, IL states that “professional home staging is more than just a savvy marketing tool—it’s a smart investment that will positively impact the time line AND bottom line for the listing agent.” She goes on to list 8 reasons agents should use professional home staging:
Professional home staging is a powerful and effective marketing tool proven to sell homes faster and for top dollar. In fact, staging can reduce market time by up to 80% and increase the agent’s bottom-line by up to 10%.
Most buyers begin their home search online and form opinions within 10 seconds. Professionally staged homes stand-out in the crowd and make a fantastic first impression which generates immediate buyer interest online and can lead to more showings.
Only 10% of buyers can visualize a home’s potential. Professional home staging highlights the space and great features, detracts from imperfections and defines the purpose of every space.
Most homeowners cannot objectively view their homes and personal belongings. Working with a professional stager helps sellers understand buyers expectations!
Trying to market and sell a poor product - or one of perceived poor quality - will cost you valuable time and money.
Home staging is not a cost but an investment that pays for itself with an average return of 500%!
Today’s buyers want an attractive, move-in ready home that fits their lifestyle - not a home improvement project. Professionally staged homes increase the perceived value in the eyes of target buyers and are viewed as well-maintained & move-in ready.
It doesn’t matter if the market is hot or not, to be competitive in any real estate market homes need to be priced right and look exceptional to sell quickly and for the highest price.
According to Lisa, the irony is that agents will invest the time and money in staging, only to then take photos of the staged home with their smartphones. “It’s like throwing money down the drain - you just can’t do the listing justice by taking your own photos.”
To further illustrate the point Leslie Lemons, professional real estate photographer in Naperville, IL offers 4 reasons why realtors should not take their own photos of staged listings:
Out of Focus: Real estate professionals have many things on their plate already - getting new listings, closing existing listings, networking, business development...the list goes on and on. When real estate professionals decide to take listing photos into their own hands they’re putting yet another thing on their plate - and a critical one at that - in taking photos, editing them and using them to convey the quality of their listing. Ultimately they’re not staying focused on their core competencies which are getting and closing listings.
Longer Close Cycles: Simply put, professional photos move real estate more quickly than those taken by realtors themselves.. It’s not just me saying it, as a Realtor.com article cites that listings with professional photos close 50% faster and 39% closer to the original listing price than those not listed with professional photos.
Poor Quality: As mentioned above, almost all homebuyers look at online photos of the listing before they step foot in the door. Smartphone cameras are great for capturing moments throughout our lives, but the quality and resolution are simply not high enough to convey the quality of the real estate listing in online photo galleries. Consider a typical smartphone camera photo file is about 1 megabyte, while a professional photo is around 25 megabytes, which means that the depth, colors and vividness of the photos is much greater with professional photos over smartphone photos.
Increased Costs: Many real estate professionals embark on doing the photos themselves by buying an upgraded SLR camera, photo editing software and file sharing services. Inevitably they don’t have the time to learn how to exploit the sophistication of the camera and editing software, so they drop thousands of dollars only to get a similar result to what they were doing before with their smartphone photos.
As you look to 2017, give your listings the best chance at success by using the foolproof combo of professional home staging and real estate photography!
-Lisa & Leslie
Interested in more info on the foolproof combo of staging and photography? Visit Lisa at www.homestagingbylisa.com or Leslie at www.leslielemonsphotography.com.