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Staging Photos: In Three Simple Steps

Staging Photos: In Three Simple Steps

Staging Photos: In Three Simple Steps
Staging Photos: In Three Simple Steps

Staging photos for a client who is selling a property is one of the easiest things you can do to help a home sell faster and for a better price; a double win. Staging a home helps potential buyers visualize what their life would be like in the home and even may help the home seem more move-in ready. Photos are a potential buyer’s first impression of a home and you want that first impression to be good. Staging a home can help with the photography of the property by providing various focal points and even a theme, if needed. In addition, the pictures of the home will be posted to your real estate social media pages, your real estate website, MLS, and used in your marketing for the home through traditional (i.e. mailers and flyers) and non-traditional (i.e. text messaging for real estate agents and auto-leading text magnets) outlets, so you might as well have the best photos you can. This can only happen if you have staged a home well.

Speaking of which, no one wants a home that’s dim and cluttered. Making a home feel open and bright in photographs can get potential buyers to dream about what it would be like to live in the home. Hopefully so much so that they schedule a showing. But before you start dreaming about an easy close, you need to think about three simple things you can do to improve your photos when you are staging a home. But before we go too far, clients can still be living in a property when it comes time for staging to take place. However, you don’t need to worry if this is the case. You will just have to use the following steps one at a time, room by room, rather than all at once.

The first step to helping a home look great in photos is to declutter, declutter, and declutter some more. If your client is still living there, you will need to do this one room at a time. Get all the unnecessary items cleared from each room in the property. If it doesn’t have a purpose, then it doesn’t belong. Ask yourself what you can live without. Most of us have far too many things in our homes as it is. So, if you think you’ve taken out enough, take out some more. The less things, the better.

There should only be one focal point in each room. Clutter distracts from main focal point you want potential buyers to linger on. If you have a fireplace, for example, in the living room, you don’t also want a TV there. Having two focal points confuses the potential buyers. They won’t be able to “see” the home as clearly. And that is extremely important when you are using text messaging for real estate agents as a way to show off the home. You want your staged photos to help the buyer see exactly what you want them to see, no matter the platform.

Decluttering not only makes a home easier for potential buyers to look at, but it makes a home look bigger. And bigger, with houses, is always better. Even if you are working with a small home, less than 1500 square feet, you want the home to feel open. A buyer should never feel that they won’t have enough space to move around.

Second, light the place up. Photographs look the best when they are taken with a lot of light. Natural lighting is always best. However, in some rooms, like the bathroom or basement, you may need to improvise. You can find different ways to light up a room by using lamps seen and unseen when you take photos. Also, avoid using the flash. Even in dim spaces, using the flash will hinder, not help, your situation. Try changing the position of various lighting sources to make a room look well-lit. And remember to use wide angles which will enhance your lighting techniques.

Some realtors feel at a loss when it comes to lighting a home. If this describes you, you can always go to an expert for advice. Check the local university’s catalog and take a class or two on photography. You can always use your text messaging for real estate agents to find a class near you where you can learn how to light a home from others realtors. Or find someone who does lighting professionally. Talk to them; pick their brain. It may even be worth it to hire them to light the home for you, so the staging and photos are worth your time and the clients money.

Finally, be neutral. I don’t mean in a blase sort of way, but the colors, wall decor, and furniture choices should have broad appeal. You want to cast the widest net possible and part of that is piquing the interest of many potential buyers. Since you are trying to please so many people it’s important to stage and photograph it in a way that most people will like.

Find colors that are neutral. Usually shades of white, beige, and brown work best. The same can be said of furniture. You don’t want a couch to stand out unless it’s purposeful. Decor and furniture are only allowed to stand out if it is purposeful. Such a case would be if the couch were being used as the focal point of the room.

Additionally, wall decor should be treated the same way. Find something that’s neutral and appeals to many different tastes. If you’re not sure what this should look like, visit a furniture store in your area and look at the section where they put together “rooms.” This will give you a good idea of what you should be staging the rooms like. In the end, staging a  home and photographing it takes time and effort. However, when you post the photos on your real estate platforms and your text messaging for real estate agents, the payoff will earn you and your client dividends.

Trent Lee

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