By David Oliphant
Attention all Sellers!! In the days of COVID-19, the home buying experience has changed. Pre-virus buyers would shop using one of their favorite online home-selling retail sites such as Zillow, pick the open houses they wanted to attend that weekend and then head out for a day on the coast. Online marketing use to account for about 60 percent of what influenced a buyer’s first impression when shopping for a home.
In fact, studies show that sellers and their agents have seven to 10 seconds to capture a buyer’s attention online and if not, they swipe left, pass on the home and move on to the next one.
As open houses are not currently allowed due to COVID-19, it’s no surprise that 60 percent has skyrocketed up to 100 percent! In very short order the home-buying experience has changed. That means, if you are a seller you need to instantly engage buyers and grab their attention before they swipe and move on to the next home, soon forgetting about yours.
Now, never fear, it can be done and here’s how.
If you’re preparing your home for sale, here are the top 10 digital turnoffs to be aware of:
1) Awful Pictures. Please don’t use your own pictures unless you are a professional photographer. In fact, every agent should be hiring a professional photographer to shoot your home. Remember first impressions? Think of it as a dating site. I always park my 1968 VW Bus in front of the house when my photographer is shooting film. It always grabs a buyer’s attention and they want a closer look. Your agent does not have to have a VW bus, but you want to ensure the photos are attention grabbing!
2) Clutter. Think of it this way, you are moving so get started packing! You may love your “stuff” but some buyers can’t see past it. I’ve had buyers walk in and straight out of a home due to clutter. Start packing now and put away grandma’s china, personal photographs and minimize the “stuff” in your house before pictures are taken.
3) Staging. Not every seller can move out and have the listing agent stage their home, but if you can – do it! Studies show that vacant and professionally staged homes sell faster and for more money, plus the home will photograph much better too. Remember, you have less than 10 seconds (and no, your leftover furniture does not count as staging).
4) Lighting. To my eye, lighting is not only about being able to see better, it’s about bringing balance into a space. Well placed lamps, soft overhead lighting and open window coverings all play a part in bringing light, warmth and balance into a room and into your pictures.
5) Clean. Clean your home, even if you think it’s clean already. It’s impossible to show a home that’s “too clean,” have you ever heard anyone say, “Look at this house, honey, it’s too clean…”
6) Religious Items. Your higher power may be very different than the buyer’s and now’s not the time to consider converting someone. You are trying to sell your home. (See No. 2).
7) Paint and wall coverings. Bright colors, busy wallpaper and stark whites do not photograph well and they are not currently on trend. Pick something warm, soft and neutral. You are trying to show of your home, not your personal design aesthetic. Remember, you are moving out, not moving in.
8) Easy updates. (See No. 7) consider doing some easy updates. Paint, change out old counter tops, replace worn carpet, buy a new shower curtain. CLEAN.
9) Themed rooms. You may love it, but not every buyer will. Change your “sports or Disney room” into a cozy den or office. If you use a room for “storage”, see No. 2 and get to packing.
10) Curb appeal. Finally, pay attention to the outside of your home. Clean it up, put away kid’s toys and yard tools, plant flowers with blooms, lay bark and for sure, clean up after Fido.