Don't Miss out on the Internet Age's Curb Appeal
Photos are the Internet Age's Curb Appeal
Every so often, when I ponder where the Air Force gods may send us next, I skim through listings on MilitaryByOwner, picturing myself in a house by the beach in Hawaii, in a spacious adobe-style home near Tucson, or spending less on a 3,000 square-foot home near the Texas Hill Country than we do on our itty bitty townhouse-condo near the Pentagon.
When I click through to inspect the photos, though, I find that I’m regularly disappointed. A photo of your dining table and a fuzzy picture of your bed—both items of furniture that are not included in the sale of most homes outside of the beach condo market—do not help me fully capture the vision of greener pastures that I sought in your home.
Now, while I appreciate you considering my wishful thinking needs, know that I am not actually interested in buying or renting your home this PCS season.
However, you are interested in selling or renting your home; otherwise, you wouldn’t have listed it online, right? Given that you only have so many photos in which to showcase your home and motivate prospects to contact you, why are you wasting your photos on furniture?
If you could post unlimited photos, you would still lose the interest of a large group of prospects if you didn’t use your best shots first. Similarly, you may have an excellent quality walk-through virtual home tour, but your photos need to present an attractive enough quality to motivate prospects to click through to watch your video tour in the first place.
To better understand, consider the photos on your home ad the internet age’s version of curb appeal. Many military families won’t even see your home in person before the rent it from you; increasingly more families are skipping the expensive option of a house hunting tour by taking advantage of the virtual tools at their disposal—photos, virtual home tours, and Google Earth, which allows your prospects the option of virtually “walking” the streets of your neighborhood.
If your neighbor down the street parked his car on the lawn again on the day the Google car photographer came by, then that’s what your prospects will see! But before they consider whether they can live with your unruly neighbors, they first need to see what makes your house special.
According to the NAR’s 2014 Home Buyer and Seller Generational Trends Report, 83% of buyers placed their highest value of online home shopping on photos. Knowing this, your highest priority must also be placed on ensuring that you’re a highlighting your homes best features.
To do this, consider the following:
- De-clutter and clean your home! You have to eventually do this anyway if you do move, so the perfect time to get started is before you take the photos!
- Use a wide angle lens to help capture the spaciousness of your rooms.
- Use a tripod or a similar surface to help steady your shaky camera hand. Fuzzy photos do not do your home justice.
- Showcase your fabulous views. Does your home overlook a peaceful wooded retreat or a lake with spectacular sunsets? If so, then take a picture of the sunset.
- Don’t shoot your photos during the height of the day; the sunlight will send light glares skipping across your carefully angled pictures, making your home’s features look washed out. Instead, take photos in the morning and in the early evening to take advantage of the natural light from outside, and select the best photos from your options.
- When photographing the front exterior of your home, consider the direction your home faces (buy a compass, look at a Google map, or check out the compass in your car for help figuring this out!), as this will determine the best time of day to photograph your home and avoid dark shadows. If your home faces south, then wait until the sun has started to dip; if you have a dark, north-facing home, then wait until the sunlight shines on your home. For east-facing homes, photograph your home first thing in the morning; whereas, for west-facing homes, wait until just before sunset.