5 Tips to Increase Your Home's "Screen Appeal"
Our online presence is more relevant now than ever before. It's only going to keep gaining importance, but Ms. Rona spiked the curve. The real estate industry is no exception.
With tours and open houses nearly disappearing for a time, homes have to pass the initial test: online screening. This was critical before, but now it's vital. We can confirm from our own brokerage's experience that people are even renting without ever touring the space in person, but only through photos, virtual tours, and FaceTimes.
How then, do we make a home stand out amongst the others without getting people in the home with an agent to walk them through?
Make It Look Good
[TL; DR: Clean up, and make sure potential buyers can see themselves living there.]
This part covers a lot, so we'll summarize. You're going to want to make that S.O.A.B. spotless. Clean everything, get rid of everything you can, and, if possible, stage the space.
Staging isn't just reserved for professionals. If you remove enough stuff, readjust layouts, maybe do some light designing, you can transform a space entirely. Pro-staging is expensive, and is becoming less relevant with the digital options available, but it's still a good idea in some cases. We'll touch on those digital options shortly.
You want it to have some kind of minimalist aesthetic so people can interpret the space how they want. Remember, it's not yours anymore. You're getting rid of it, and someone else has to visualize themselves living there in order to pull trigger on buying the place.
The less it's defined, like art, the better they can find their own definition!
(Virtually) Stage It
[TL; DR: Hire a talented artist to render an architectural scene for you and redesign the interior.]
If house is empty, that's potentially even better. You could fill it with temp furniture, but, again, that might run you up a check. You could leave it empty, but then it lacks personality.
We suggest virtual staging. This is when you have a 3D artist edit photos/virtual tours of the place to add furniture and such. You can find good artists on Fiverr who will do an entire home for under $100, but it's worth it to shell out a bit more for quality.
It's such a cheap and effective alternative, it's worth it to splurge on a great artist. "Splurging" on this probably won't even cost more than a couple hundred dollars, compared to thousands for actual, physical staging.
Get Good Photos
[TL; DR: Hire a professional. We beg of you.]
Please, for everyone's sake, have good photos taken. If nobody has ever told you "wow, you should get into photography-- immediately, as in right now, as in go buy a professional camera and quit your day job," you are incapable of what we are talking about.
Hire a photographer, have them take phenomenal photos of your place because even that isn't good enough. Have them edit the photos professionally because even that isn't good enough, but it'll have to do. Bad photos will turn off buyers, and agents will have to preface the place by saying "I didn't take these photos" so as to not lose credibility with their clients.
Please get good photos taken. They are everyone's first impression, and if the cover photo doesn't sell them, they might not even consider looking at the others-- regardless of how perfect the property is for them.
Write a Great Description
[TL; DR: You're capable of writing a good listing description with some light research, but we recommend letting your agent write it since it's something they practice for years as a part of their profession.]
This part you can definitely do on your own, but we recommend letting your agent write it for a list of reasons. It's a critical part of their job, and it's one they practice for years as part of their profession.
In fact, looking at their previous listing descriptions can even give you a good idea of their competence in the field. That's worth keeping in mind when you're digital-screening a seller's agent.
How much attention do they pay to the details? Did they say "hardwood floors," or did they say "Herringbone, semi-gloss oak floors throughout"? See. It's like that second one was written in a cursive accent, whatever that means.
If you take some time to read through listings of some top agents in your area, you can get a good idea of what makes for the ideal description.
Get Good Photos
Did we mention this one yet?