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Staging photography: Take a picture it lasts longer

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Take a picture, it lasts longer. Remember that phrase from high school? Who knew it would take on such a powerful meaning when it comes to selling your home? If your house is about to go on the market, it had better be picture perfect.

Take a stroll through any major real estate website. Look at the photos. Would you really want to buy those houses? The last time a couple called wondering why their fabulous home was not selling, I looked it up online. Guess what I found? Photographs that included a dining room converted into an office with paper work covering the desk, an overflowing trash can, cords strung halfway across the room, glaring lights, bare windows and empty walls. The kitchen photo featured a blue mop bucket sitting on the counter, packing boxes on the floor and a sink full of dishes. Yes, this says, “move in ready”! The real tragedy is that the agent took the photo with his iphone. Never, ever let an agent take your photographs. They are professional agents. They sell houses. They are not professional photographers and you should not expect them to be. You should also not expect them to pay for your photographer.

The old thought process has always been that three things sell a house: location, price and condition. Reality check, there’s one more crucial element involved in getting a home sold, photography. The photos you put out there had better look just like Architectural Digest.

According to the National Association of Realtors, 88% of homes are viewed online, first. Of those, 63 % got in their cars and drove over to look at the house because of what they saw online. What does that mean to a seller? Buyers are shopping in the comfort of their own home. To get them out of the chair, into the car, and over to your “for sale” house is going to take some motivation. Think about it. You buy things online all the time. What gets you to the store? You really need to feel that cashmere sweater and try on those Manolos! The photograph has to be so inviting that it makes you race over to the mall and get some instant gratification. What makes you think selling a house is any different?

Wait, there’s more. Your house had better be professionally staged before the photographer steps inside. If you want to move it you need every advantage. A stager will know exactly what to remove, what to hide and how to angle every piece of furniture to your best advantage. Staging provides the second best return on investment of anything you can do to sell your home. Don’t worry, its not like HGTV. Stagers don’t come to your house and kick your furniture to the curb. They really work hard to make the most of what you’ve got.

Rates have never been lower. Qualified buyers are few and far between. Your home is generally the largest asset you have. Isn’t a smarter to hire a stager and put great photographs online? Do the math. It will generally cost well under a grand and often only a few hundred dollars to hire a stager and a professional photographer for an occupied property. Contrast that to the typical first price reduction of a home. It’s ten grand. Can we say “no brainer”?

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