The Golden Ticket of Selling Your Home

Have you ever sat on the Pearl Street mall and people watched? Besides the entertaining Boulder characters you observe there is something else that is overwhelmingly prevelant. Almost every individual is looking down. No the Pearl Street mall doesn't have some spectacular pavement, in fact this is the same observation you will get in any large social setting.

These individuals are staring at that small computer in their hand, their smartphone. I guarantee most of these individuals are either on social media, the internet or texting. Nowadays we rely on the internet for EVERYTHING. At all times we have Google in our pocket ready to answer any question we have. This greatly effects the business of buying and selling real estate.

In fact, according to a 2014 report by the National Association of Realtors 92% of buyers use the internet in some way in their home search process and 42% start the home buying process by looking online. Meaning when selling your home the golden ticket is your home's online presence.

First impression is everything. You only get one chance to market your home right. Ever heard that once you put something on the internet it doesn't just go away? Well, it's true. There's no version of the paper shredder for the internet. Once it's there, it's there.

Making sure you market your home right the first time takes time and preparation. The three most important tips to maximize a homes internet presence are:

1. Cleaning and Decluttering

 This is the most important step of them all. A dirty, crowded home does not sell. Buyer's don't want to see your stuff, they want to see your home. They need to be able to visualize themselves living there, which is hard to do when their vision is overcrowded with clutter and mess.

Internet pictures will highlight that clutter instead of your beautiful home. It's important you clean the whole home -- including the toilettes and those dust bunnies under the bed. We recommend using a professional cleaner. One that won't miss any detail and will take the stress off of you. 

Cleaning and decluttering will also make it easier for you when it comes time to move. Moving is a long stressful process and you don't want to make it harder by bringing along things you don't need. Decluttering early on allows you to get rid of the belongings you have outgrown and organize the one's you still need. This way you are organized and ready for moving day. Also, by hiring a professional cleaner you will already have the house in wonderful condition to hand over to it's new loving buyer. 

Make sure to organize closets and garages. These are areas many sellers forget about. Buyer's like to visualize their potential storage space. 

2. Staging 

We are currently in a seller's market. You have probably heard this over and over again, but what does it really mean? It means listing prices are high, and everyone wants a piece of the pie. This is great for sellers but to get buyers to bite on these high prices you need something to set your listing apart from the competition.

Buyers need a tangible aspect that they can wrap their head around in order to justify the higher price. To help buyers with this is staging. The fact is it's hard for most individuals to picture themselves in an empty home.

When a home has furniture it creates a personal feel. The details of staging allow buyers to picture themselves relaxing on the couch with company, making coffee in their kitchen or even having a drink on the front porch. Staging helps lock in buyers with an emotional aspect.

Online pictures of a staged home allow buyers to imagine themselves living there before they even step foot in the home. According to the National Association of Realtors 2015 Home Staging Statistics Report over 81% of buyers find it 'easier to visualize the property as their future home' when it's staged. According to the 2014-2015 Home Staging Statistics Report homes that were professionally staged sold on average for over 10% more than the comparable, unstaged homes in the neighborhood.

On a $400,000 home that means an increase in price of $40,000. Sounds like a no brainer to me! 

If you know us or have read our about us page you know Heidi Garthwaite, Peter's wife and Kayla's mom, owns Property Staging and Design. A property staging business going on it's 10th year of business staging thousands of homes all over Boulder County.

I am biased since Heidi is my mom, but you can ask any agent that has used Property Staging and Design and I guarantee they will tell you that Heidi is a true artist. In fact some agents Heidi works with use her on every single one of their listings.

Personally she makes me want to live in every single home I help her stage, regardless of it's condition prior. I have seen her take homes that have been on the market for years and sell them in days. It truly is magic. In regards to our father-daughter real estate services when we list your home we include staging. Meaning you have complete access to Heidi and her ability to help you sell your home faster and at a higher price.

Buying a home is arguably the biggest investment in one's life and a very emotional investment. When someone steps into your listed home you want nothing but positive emotion. Staging will elicit that.  

For more information check out this great visual infographic on the benefits of a staged home.

To talk to Heidi and get a quote on staging call her at (303) 931-6168.

Before staging I imagine myself sweeping the porch. After staging I imagine myself enjoying a morning coffee on the porch. The emotional aspect makes all the difference. 

3. Professional Photographer

This is key. This is also the one step that is the full responsibility of the listing agent. It's our responsibility to market your listing the right way, meaning no more throwing some iPhone photos online and calling it good. Remember you only get one shot at your internet presence.

With 92% of buyers using the internet you better make the shot count. Professor Seiler, founder and director of the Institute for Behavioral and Experimental Real Estate, conducted a study that tracked eye movements of 45 people who each viewed 10 listings with 6 photos. He looked at the time spent viewing each online feature and the number of times their eyes stopped at a certain element.

The report found that home buyers spend about 60% of their time on photos. Their eye movements showed that buyers eyes start at the first listing photo, where they spend the majority of their time (20 seconds) and then jump around from there. That first listing photo is the epitome of your online presence. You need that picture to jump off the page and catch the buyers attention. This is your first impression and the moment that will decide if that buyer will stay on the page and search for more information about your listing.

Many agents tend to make this photo a picture of the exterior. If the exterior is the selling feature of the home, then great! If not, switch it up. Take the best picture and put it first.  

We have a photographer we have been using the past few months that we fell in love with. If you look on our website and compare our older listings to our newer listings you will see what I am talking about. Not only is he is amazing with the camera but the turn around time for getting our listing photos is never longer than a day. He is fast, professional and easy to work with. I highly recommend checking out his work here(Disclosure: we receive no commission from this plug, we just really like and respect his work.)

For more on the benefits of professional photography in real estate check out this blog "8 Killer Posts About Real Estate Photography." 

Check out this hilarious article by Buzz Feed "These Photos Prove Exactly How Much Real Estate Photos Matter.

When you have a professional who knows what they are doing in terms of light and angles it makes all the difference. A pictures worth 1,000 words (and $1,000 bucks). 

Selling your home takes an emotional and physical toll.  Before you list make sure you are prepared. These top 3 recommendations will give you a ROI worth the effort. Remember, online you only get one shot at the first impression. Make that shot count.