Create Better Real Estate Photos

Interior designer sitting at desk and looking at printed photos of clients rooms after renovation

Interior designer sitting at desk and looking at printed photos of clients rooms after renovationIn today’s competitive homebuying market, around 80 percent of homebuyers go online to begin their home search, with many buyers ranking photos of homes as the most used feature in their home search. A listing with poor photos or, even worse, no photos at all, can cause buyers to disregard the listing from the start. With all of this in mind, it’s no surprise that having quality photos in a home listing is crucial to that listing’s success.

When photographing a home for a listing, make the most of what you have by staging, utilizing natural light, and working angles to your advantage. Try not to use tools that will deceive buyers on the layout or size of the home, resulting in buyer disappointment. Once you’ve chosen your photos, don’t forget about editing. A simple light and color tweak can make a world of difference in the quality of your photos.

Here are some free technologies that you can utilize to edit photos:

Adobe Photoshop Express – A condensed and more user-friendly version of Photoshop, this software is available for desktop or mobile devices and is great for those who want a more in-depth take on photo editing.

Snapseed – A free app available from iTunes and Google Play that is easy to use and will allow you to edit photos quickly from a mobile device.

VSCO – This is another free app available for mobile devices on iTunes and Google Play. In addition to photo editing capabilities, preset filters are available to achieve a consistent aesthetic effect across all photos.

Want more editing apps for mobile photos? Click here. For tips on preparing homes to be photographed, click here.

Home Staging Design Trends

Beautiful Furnished Living Room Interior in New Home with Furnit

Beautiful Furnished Living Room Interior in New Home with FurnitSeventy-seven percent of buyers’ agents say staging makes it easier for buyers to visualize a property as their future home. While staging a home is never guaranteed to make it sell faster, this process certainly presents the home in a more flattering light and can pique the interest of potential buyers.

To be appealing, an entire home does not always need to be staged. Focusing on the living room, master bedroom, and kitchen is a great place to start, as those are the areas that tend to be most heavily trafficked by homeowners. Additionally, it is a good idea to stage a home office as it has become increasingly common for homeowners to need such a space.

As you prepare a home for the market, follow these staging trends to ensure your listing is trendy and inviting to buyers:

Eco-inspiration – Natural textures, as well as leafy green plants, are “in” for home design. Attract potential buyers by using eye-catching eco-friendly pieces such as those made of neutral colors and reclaimed wood.

Unique light fixtures – Artful light fixtures that make a statement can transform a room. Mix shiny metal accents with natural fibers to add texture and sophistication and liven up a drab space.

Outdoor living spaces – If your home has any outdoor living spaces, be sure to stage them with outdoor furniture and cozy pillows and blankets. Incorporating a fire pit can even show that the space can be used in multiple seasons.

Highlight comfort – As Americans have spent more time at home, comfort has become increasingly important as buyers seek a sanctuary away from chaos. Cozy up any living spaces with throw pillows, blankets and staged coffee, tea, and refreshment areas.

Before you list a home, don’t forget about landscaping. While not technically considered part of home staging, the landscaping will be potential buyers’ first impression of the property. Make sure to lay fresh mulch, trim and tidy up lawns, and power wash home siding and sidewalks.

Spooky Sales Tips to Market Homes at Halloween

trick-or-treaters

trick-or-treatersHalloween season is here, and homes everywhere are adorned with pumpkins and festive décor! If your home is listed for sale, take advantage of trick-or-treating, and attract potential buyers by capitalizing on increased holiday foot traffic. It is also an excellent opportunity to catch up with your neighbors about friends who are interested in moving into your neighborhood.

Be generous with the treats and candy and use the following techniques to market:

  1. Distribute treats and info – Children love the treats that Halloween brings. Put together some candy bags and place them on a decorated table at the end of your driveway for trick-or-treaters to pick up as well as fliers about the house including information on any “open house” events you plan to host. Include a QR code on your flier that links to the home listing.
  2. Be ready to show visitors your house – If you feel comfortable, invite interested folks into your home to look around. Have some kid-friendly activities on hand to keep trick-or-treaters busy while parents take a look around your home. They may not stay long, but they may have time to ask some questions and get a quick overview.
  3. Be conservative with décor – Don’t go overboard when it comes to Halloween decorations. A few festive touches are fine but leave the inflatables and over-the-top décor for another time. A Halloween wreath, mums, and pumpkins on the porch are some great ideas.
  4. Remove decorations in a timely manner – Once Halloween is over, make sure to promptly take down your decorations. Leaving decorations up for weeks after Halloween could devalue your home and make it look unkept.

Ask your Realtor for more marketing tips! They will be more than happy to offer advice on staging your home to make the most of the Halloween season. If you are interested in purchasing a home or refinancing, call me to discuss your financing options.

 

Marketing Tips for Open Houses

open house

open houseThe housing market is hot, making now the perfect time to ramp up marketing techniques and drive traffic to your open houses if you are a real estate agent. With mortgage marketing in its current competitive state, it’s important to make sure you are differentiating yourself from other agents. Follow these tips to market your open house for successful home sales. 

Go live on social media – Facebook and Instagram both have a “go live” feature that enables you to show followers what is happening in real-time. When your open house is full of people, walk around and record a video. It can pique interests and show potential buyers that you have a hot listing.

Use a tablet for sign-ins – Rather than trying to read sloppy handwriting from a paper sign-in sheet, utilize a tablet to take information as people enter the open house. Apps such as Open Home Pro and Spacio were created specifically for signing in digitally at open houses. 

Utilize social advertising – Create a Facebook event and promote it using Facebook advertising. Learn more here. 

Collaborate with business partners – Lenders, closing attorneys, insurance agents and other business partners can all help you market. Ask your business partners to share your open house on their social media channels to increase visibility for your event. Additionally, you could even have some of these people on hand at the open house to answer buyers’ questions.

Add QR codes to your signs – having a QR code printed on your sign with your virtual business card is a great way for prospective buyers to have your contact information downloaded right to their phones. Click here for a service that allows you to create virtual business cards and QR codes.

If you have buyers who are ready to purchase a home this season, I would love to help them secure a mortgage loan. Call me today.

Take These Extra Steps Before Listing Your Home

Home SoldPreparing your home before it goes on the market is key to a quick sale. Your listing agent will be a great guide when it comes to prepping your home, and you likely already know that it’s wise to declutter, thoroughly clean, and remove your personal photos or mementos. However, it is also important to keep in mind that buyers may notice some things that you could easily overlook.

Following are five ways to give your home every advantage in the marketplace.

  1. Apply fresh paint. The exterior of your home is the first thing that potential homebuyers see, so it’s important to make sure that your home’s curb appeal is in tip-top shape. If you have any spots that need touching up, now is a great time to do that. Applying a fresh coat of neutral paint to interior rooms where there is a bold color palette is always a good decision. While this may seem like a lot of work, it could make all the difference to a potential buyer, since they may not have the same tastes as you.
  2. Clean screens, windows, and air vents. We sometimes overlook the dirt, lint, and dust that can accumulate in window screens and air vents. Vents can be cleared of dust by using a vacuum, and screens can be removed and sprayed with a hose to remove dirt. Cleaning windows both inside and out can have a big impact, as buyers will want to see the view outside from every room.
  3. Replace light bulbs. Few things are as prone as dim lighting to make a living space look smaller, so it’s always best to spruce up with new bulbs. Be certain to replace any bulbs that are burned out in chandeliers and double-check all bulbs on the exterior as well.
  4. Fill in the cracks. Wood expands and contracts, which can cause cracks in painted doors and moldings. Filling the cracks with caulking material and repainting will make them disappear and rejuvenate the detailing of your home.
  5. Pressure wash. Sidewalks, home siding, and porches covered in mold, dirt, and mildew can be a serious eyesore for potential buyers. Take a trip to your local hardware store and rent a pressure washer to boost curb appeal.

Buyers are looking for homes that have been well-kept and are in good condition. When your house is listed for sale, it will be to your advantage to do everything possible to make it stand out from the competition. Hopefully, these tips will give you an edge and ensure a fast sale of your house.

I would love to refer you to a real estate professional who can help you sell your home. I would also enjoy having the opportunity to talk with you about your options for buying a new home. Call me today to set up an appointment, and we will start you on your way to living in your new place.

4 Great Tips for Selling Your Home

Couple selling home

Couple selling homeIf you are a homeowner ready to sell your house and move into a new one, let’s start with a conversation about your financial goals and which loan program will be right for you. Once you are pre-approved*, it will be time to sell and look for another home that is perfect for you.

Finding a skilled real estate agent will be next on your list. You and your agent can discuss what you want in a new home, and the agent can answer your questions, such as:

  • Why do some houses sell quickly while others linger on the market?
  • What changes should I make to sell my home faster?
  • What new neighborhoods are right for me?

Here are four things to consider when selling your home:

  1. Pricing your home slightly below market value gives you a better chance of selling quickly.
  2. Selling your current home might be a lengthy process. While the housing market is hot in most areas of the country, it is still important to be realistic about how long this process can take. When you underestimate the actual time frame and build a schedule around those expectations, you may be welcoming added stress and disappointment. Even with low inventory, a smart seller will allow at least 2-4 months to sell their home.

Here’s a realistic potential schedule breakdown:

  • Prepare your home for sale: 2 weeks
  • Average time on the market: Varies depending on your price point and the current state of the market
  • Negotiate an offer: 1 week
  • Close with a traditional transaction: 30-45 days

3. The senses make the sale. Buyers want to walk into a house that looks good, feels comfortable, and smells neutral. Be        sure to clean well, leave lights on, and perhaps leave out drinks and snacks to make buyers feel like guests. When you are            touring potential new homes, make mental notes about the things you notice!

4. Real estate agents are essential. They know all the information you need to make the best decisions when it comes to       buying and selling a home. I can recommend a trusted agent if you would like, since I work with incredible real estate agents       every day.

Call me today to discuss your pre-approval, and we will start you on the path to your new home.

*May not be applicable in the state of Texas. Please check with your mortgage planner for more details about programs that are available for homebuyers.

Interior Colors to Help Your Home Sell Quickly

Interior Colors to Help Your Home Sell Quickly2

Interior Colors to Help Your Home Sell Quickly2When listing your home for sale, it is recommended to give all the rooms a fresh coat of paint to make them appear fresh and new. But what color do you choose? Professionals advise walking the line between a blank slate and subtle shades to create an inviting home where potential buyers can envision themselves living. Here are some tips from experts on the top colors to help sell your home quickly:

  • Versatile Neutrals – Home staging professionals like neutrals because they are flexible and universal. Grays and greiges are some of the top neutral picks because they provide a minimal and clean look. For some great neutral examples, try Pale Oak, Agreeable Gray and Classic Gray.
  • Warm Whites – Using white provides a clean feeling that allows potential homebuyers to envision their own color palette. Because white takes on all surrounding color and light in a room, it is smart to sample a couple of different colors to make sure they will work in your space. A white that looked very bright on a paint chip could appear yellow once on the wall in a room. Here are some good warm white colors to try: Pure White, White Dove and Simply White.
  • Cool Whites – Cool whites often feel a little more modern than warm whites and are ideal for urban environments. Similar to warm whites, cool whites provide a clean slate and allow buyers to envision their own items in the home. Some cool white colors to try are: Chantilly Lace, Calm and Extra White.

For more information on paint colors that appeal to homebuyers, click here.

Have you been thinking about listing your current home and purchasing a new home? I would love to help you with the financing! Call me today to set up a time when we can discuss your goals.

Listing Your Home

Rear View Of Loving Couple Walking Towards House

Rear View Of Loving Couple Walking Towards House

Listing Your Home? Don’t Stress Out!

Ask just about anyone to think about selling their home and watch their reaction. Chances are that they will begin the mental checklist of all things they would need to do before their home would be ready to list.

But in today’s hot seller’s market buyers are willing to overlook cosmetic issues and smaller details that a homeowner might see. The best bet, if you are even considering a move, is to talk with a real estate agent who will come to your home and review what will give you the most return on investment.

A real estate agent is going to let you know how long homes in your price range and neighborhood are on the market, how much you should expect to sell for, create a plan for offers over asking, negotiate with the buyers’ agents to maximize your profit, and guide you throughout the process.

Depending on what area you live, homes are receiving multiple offers in the first 24 hours on the market. If you have been considering a move, there has not been a better time to sell than right now.

And, if you need a great real estate agent, I have the perfect one for you. Text or call me for details.

4 Great Tips for Selling Your Home

a couple high-fives while holding a "sold" sign

Couple high fives while buying a houseIf you are a homeowner ready to sell your house and move into a larger one, let’s start with a conversation about your financial goals and which loan payment and program will be right for you. Once you are pre-approved*, it will be time to sell and look for another home that is perfect for you.

Finding a skilled real estate agent will be next on your list. You and your agent can discuss what you want in a new home, and the agent can answer your questions such as:

  • Why do some houses sell while others linger on the market?
  • What changes should I make to sell my home faster?
  • What new neighborhoods are right for me?

Here are four things to consider when selling your home:

  1. Pricing your home slightly below market value gives you a better chance of selling quickly. 
  2. Selling your current home might be a lengthy process. It is important to be realistic about how long this process can take. When you underestimate the actual timeframe and build a schedule around those expectations, you are welcoming added stress and disappointment. While the market is hot right now, a smart seller will allow at least 2-4 months to sell their home.

Here’s a realistic potential schedule breakdown:

  • Preparing your home for sale: 2 weeks
  • Average time on the market: Varies depending on your price point and the current state of the market
  • Negotiating an offer: 1 week
  • Closing with a traditional transaction: 30-45 days
  1. The senses make the sale. Buyers want to walk into a house that looks good, feels comfortable and smells neutral. Be sure to clean well, leave lights on and perhaps leave out drinks and snacks to make buyers feel like guests. When you are touring potential new homes, make mental notes about the things you notice!
  2. Real estate agents are essential. They know all of the information you need to make the best decisions when it comes to buying and selling a home. I can recommend a trusted agent if you would like, since I work with incredible real estate agents every day.

Call me today to discuss your pre-approval, and we will start you on the path to your new home.

*May not be applicable in the state of Texas. Please check with your mortgage planner for more details about programs that are available for homebuyers.

Working with a Home Stager

A gray living room and kitchen with glam home decor

A gray living room and kitchen with glam home decorHome staging is the process of transforming a home to maximize its appeal to potential buyers and ultimately generate a faster sale. Even the most beautifully decorated homes can benefit from the expertise of a home stager, who will assist with — among other things — depersonalizing the home. Removing any family photos and décor that is specific to personal taste will help potential buyers see themselves living in your home.

The first step of home staging is typically the initial consultation. The home stager visits the home and gives the owner ideas on how to make the home more appealing to a variety of buyers. Suggestions may include paint colors, furniture placement and repairs. Many home stagers even have furniture, artwork, rugs and other décor to outfit your home so that it will appeal to a wide array of buyers.

While paying a home stager may seem like an unnecessary expense, it is an investment.

If you would like to find a home stager in your area, the International Association of Home Staging Professionals provides a database of its members nationwide. To search, click here. Your Realtor likely has a few trusted home stagers who they can recommend to you as well.

When you are ready to purchase a new home, I would love to meet with you and discuss your homebuying options. Call me today to set up an appointment!