Selling? Here's how to stage your home for photos

Private Property South Africa
Betterlife

First impressions count a lot and with online searches having become the most popular way to start looking for a new home, good photographs in a listing are extremely important.

So when you decide to sell, your agent will usually set up a time to take special photos – and this is a great opportunity before you have lots of strangers wandering through your home, to showcase it to the world.

“Staging your home for photographs doesn’t have to be stressful either,” says Shaun Rademeyer, CEO of BetterLife Home Loans, SA’s biggest mortgage originator. “There are certain simple steps you can take to help it really stand out from the rest.

“Many buyers are looking for specific features but most are also looking for the home that promises them a certain lifestyle. So showcasing your home in a way that tells a story with ambience and appeal is the best way to attract buyers.”

He says that knowing what kind of buyer your home will appeal to is important. Are you aiming at large families, perhaps, or couples, retirees or young professionals? Ask your agent for advice and once you’ve decided this, you’ll be able to determine what each room should display.

The very first step to take in making a really significant impression, however, is to declutter and clean every space. Grab a box and walk through each room. Pick up the kids' toys and games. Make sure the pictures all hang straight and there are no old or dead flowers anywhere. Take your old magazines and papers to the recycling bin.

The next thing to do is make sure everything is really clean. Buyers will notice if there are marks on the wall, dirty floors or dirty dishes. So make sure you sweep, vacuum or mop floors, wipe down counters, mirrors and light switches, replace burnt-out light bulbs and do the washing up.

“Tidying up the garden is important too,” notes Rademeyer. “If there is a built in braai, clean it. Pick up dead leaves, mow the lawn and clean the pool. None of these are large tasks but they are effective.”

Third, you should look out for anything in your home that is an obvious eye-sore. “Buyers will definitely pick up on these whether they view your home in photographs or in person, so check for missing handles on cupboards or drawers, cracks in tiles or the walls and skirtings that have come loose. Over time, you may have got used to these imperfections and stopped actually “seeing” them, but putting them right now before your photos are taken could increase the number of buyers who request a showing.”

Once your home is tidy, clean and in good shape, it’s time to stage it for photos, he says. “Set up your entertainment area, for example, as if you have guests arriving shortly. Dress up your dining table with your best linen and china. Light some candles for ambience and place some fresh flowers in the sitting room. In your kitchen add a beautiful bowl of fresh and colourful fruit to a bare counter.

“And use the natural light to your advantage,” he adds. “Make sure that the curtains or blinds are open in your home to let in light during the day. Not only do buyers look for homes that are light and bright, but natural light also has a way of opening up spaces.”

Lastly, you should know that most listing sites will now allow your agent to list over 20 pictures of a home. So make sure you choose as many different photos as possible, in order to give buyers the clearest vision of your home and its floorplan. Also make sure the photographer takes plenty of shots of each room and from various angles so you can choose the ones that really show off your home to best advantage.

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