Reports of rising home prices as the housing recovery accelerates are prompting more owners to think about jumping into the real estate market. But before they take the leap, potential home sellers need to consider how technology has changed the way homes are sold in recent years.
“Increasing prices are encouraging more homeowners to put their properties on the market,” says Brian Balduf, Chairman, VHT Studios, a leader in photography and digital marketing for homes and businesses “But if you haven’t been in the real estate market for 5 or 10 years, you may be surprised how much the home-buying experience has changed, thanks to the Internet.”
A decade ago, selling your home meant pounding a sign in the yard and having your agent mail out postcards and place newspaper ads. But that approach is as obsolete as VCRs, pagers and cassette tapes.
Today’s buyers are focusing their searches on the web. They’re using iPads and tablets to shop and compare homes for sale, typically scanning hundreds of listings, looking for properties that catch the eye.
Grabbing the attention of these web-savvy buyers requires professional-quality photographs, publishing a video on YouTube.com and providing interactive floor plans, says VHT’s Balduf.
“Selling your home has become an online beauty contest,” Balduf says. ”Buyers are visually-oriented. So sellers need to provide the best possible pictures of their house on the Internet to grab buyers’ attention and motivate them to set up a showing.
Balduf offered these five tips for helping sellers maximize their sales price:
Spring and early summer are the best times to sell. There tend to be more buyers when the weather is nice. Lawns and other landscaping are at their peak so your home will look its best, helping you get a higher sale price compared with listing later in the year.
Use an agent who uses professional photographer. Sellers who provide flawless, high-resolution photos in their listings can expect a sale price closer to the listing price. Professional photos help listings get more Internet views, and they increase the perceived value of a home by nearly 13 percent. On a $250,000 home, this equates to an increase of $32,500, according to a consumer survey by VHT.
Ask your agent about posting a video of your home on YouTube. More than 80 percent of all buyers find their homes online, and 21 percent use of look for online videos.
Include floor plans in your listing. Interactive floor plans that show how rooms relate to each other are an increasingly popular marketing tool. Some brokerages have begun making them standard. The combination of floor plans and professionally-taken photos creates the ultimate shopping experience for buyers.
Clear out the clutter. Your house will show better if it’s clean and well-organized. Potential buyers are interested in buying your home, not your furnishings. So take a minimalist approach to personal items around the house, such as piles of paperwork, books, houseplants and photos.
“It’s obvious from even a cursory glance at many real estate listings that some real estate agents still tend to overlook the importance of good photographs and videos. But home buyers don’t,” Balduf says. “Using an agent who works with professional photographer is the surest way to provide stunning, striking pictures of your home and create a great perception of your home that draws more buyers to your listing.”