Curb appeal goes digital

Curb appeal goes digital

Private Property South Africa

When selling your home, first impressions count and now they're online.

When it comes to selling your home, first impressions count for a lot, just as they do when you’re starting a new job or going on a first date. What buyers see first is going to be what they remember about your house most.

In real estate, the term for this first impression is “curb appeal” – first coined when prospective buyers would drive past show houses or sit in their cars outside for a few moments to get a feel for whether they want to buy the property or not.

“Following the for-sale boards on a Sunday afternoon or responding to print ads placed by local agents used to be the only way to view a property, and the initial drive-past would often determine whether or not you would go to an actual showing,” states Shaun Rademeyer, CEO of BetterLife Home Loans, SA’s biggest mortgage originator.

“Consequently, sellers would spend hours preparing the only visible part of the house by seeding new grass and planting flowers in the front garden, painting and even replacing their front and garage doors. They knew that if their home didn’t appeal from the street, buyers would just move on to the next house.”

Marketing your home online

A great curb appeal is still a vital part of the home marketing mix – although now it has gone digital.

“The rise of smart devices means that because many people have the internet in the palm of their hand, almost every buyer will now get their first impression of a newly listed property from its online photos.

“Instead of driving past your house, prospective buyers will now scroll through pictures of both the outside and the inside of your home before deciding to physically see it. The reality is that if they don’t like what they see online, they will probably never bother to contact the agent about a viewing.

“In addition, home listings without photos are likely to get skipped altogether. Prospective buyers probably won’t even read the description of your property if it has no ‘visuals’ and will never know that it perfectly matches their requirements and is right within in their price range.”

Rademeyer’s point is that while the outside of your home should still be a high priority, it may only get to make a big impression when the buyer gets there, especially if you have a high security wall. Your focus needs to be on the interior of your home as well, to ensure that it photographs well and attracts the attention of buyers within the first few critical weeks after being listed.

How to ensure your home attracts potential buyers online:

  • Ideally, your home should be professionally photographed
  • Declutter, clean, paint and polish your home beforehand
  • Check the photos before they are uploaded
  • Be sure to check that toys and pet gear is neatly stored away.

The next step is placing the online listing.

“Once again, you need to work with a professional and reputable agent who can help you post a great listing. These days, buyers receive instant notifications of new listings that match their home search criteria, so you need to make sure your listing is complete. Being too eager and posting an unfinished listing could hinder your sale in the long-term.”

And lastly, he says, you need to know that the more beautiful photos you can post, the better, as this makes it easier for buyers to get comfortable with the atmosphere and layout of your home and envisage themselves living there.


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