Pinterest, the third largest referrer of traffic to Homes.com, is rapidly growing in popularity. Accordingly, Homes.com has positioned itself to be at the forefront of this social media movement by sharing consumer and business trends on the virtual pin board. As such, we are proud to announce that our efforts to engage homebuyers and sellers has paid off and we were recently recognized as a finalist (alongside Elizabeth Arden and Constant Contact) in the Pinterest category for our “Pin it it You Love it” contest in the 2013 PR News Social Media Icon Awards!
The buying market is competitive and with that comes first impressions. Real estate pros can make a solid first impression with fresh staging techniques for open houses, showings and those ever important property photos and videos (i.e. a picture says a thousand words).
Successful staging can make the difference between a property that moves off the market quickly or one that extends past your listing agreement and gets in another agent’s hands. Homes.com also knows that while staging isn’t the only factor that sells a home, these staging “Do’s and Don’ts” could help or harm the sale of the home.
Spring Staging DO’s and DON’Ts:
1. DO NOT cover up any structural problems or areas that need repair.
DO encourage the seller to take care of these items as soon as possible. If these issues remain “as is” for the sale, be open about it and don’t brush it under a colorful rug (pun intended). This is misleading and in many states this could be seen as fraud and misrepresentation.
2. DO NOT decorate to your own personal style.
DO stick with simple ideas. Look at magazines and use Pinterest as a guide even, because you want each buyer to see that living room or kitchen with their personality. If they are overwhelmed with the seller’s style, imagining themselves in the home will be a struggle. Stay simple, avoid eclectic furniture, faux finishes and minimize personal photos as well.
3. DO NOT forget about the unseen areas.
DO remember to stage closets, kitchen storage, pantries, even the garage if you can. Buyers want to see these areas to evaluate how they will put them to use and that cannot be done when they are stuffed with clutter. Some of these areas can be difficult to de-clutter especially when you have a family living on site, so discuss the reasons behind this and offer your help. A referred agent is one that goes above and beyond – be the agent that helped your clients stage their closets and other storage areas.
4. DO NOT give the impression that some of the staging items convey with the property. For instance, you change the porch light to something more savvy or placed bamboo shades in a home that will be sold with bare windows.
DO tell the buyers what items do and do not convey with the home. This will avoid confusion at closing and serve as great conversation pieces as you interact with buyers during the property tour.
5. DO NOT let driveway cracks and oil spots remain.
DO attempt to fix these areas as they make the property look unpolished and could potentially be a safety hazard. An oil mark can really hold your attention regardless of the beauty of the home so be sure not to track dirt or oil through the home as it could also appear in property photos.
Share your successful staging tips and experiences on our Facebook page! We hope these tips guide your spring staging objectives and support your potential buyers in imagining themselves in your listings this spring!
Our second Real Estativity has been posted on Facebook and Pinterest and your chance to enter to win cash is still all month long! Stay tuned to our Facebook Page and Pinterest Board every Wednesday and comment, share, like and/or re-pin our Real Estativity post for a chance at $25 each week and $50 at the end of the month.
Hurry and engage now, because you only have until 11:59 pm EDT tonight! We will contact the randomly selected winner on Thursday, August 16th (see all rules here). Remember, the more entries you have in the weekly and final drawings, the more opportunity you have to win!
Find the 2nd Real Estativity image on Pinterest and Facebook and follow the instructions under this photo! We are excited to provide this interactive way to learn more about real estate professionals this month! Homes.com will use this info to post better content that interest YOU, and is relevant to branding your business and growing your online presence. See you online! Good Luck today, we can’t wait to see you back this week.
These are the ways you are entered into the drawing, by engaging: Continue reading
Real estate professionals know how important video has become to the industry.There are millions of video tours on Youtube today and video blogs have become all the rage for top real estate pros. The problem with many real estate videos is that the quality can be poor. Just because you are taking an amateur video doesn’t mean it has to look like an amateur video.
Here are five simple steps to making great real estate videos with your smartphone:
- Step 1: Record Horizontally - Recording horizontally gives you a wider view. Conversely, when recording in a vertical position, you’re only recording part of the image. This looks okay if the video is viewed from a smartphone, but since most real estate videos also make it to YouTube and other websites, vertically recorded videos do not present as well as horizontal views.
- Step 2: Tripod and Tripod Attachments - There’s nothing worse than seeing a real estate video that is shaky or that moves around a lot. This can make people dizzy and it’s a huge turn-off for viewers. There’s a simple fix for this: use a tripod. Tripods are built for regular cameras, but there are low-cost adaptors available.
Joby sells a great all-in-one tripod for smartphones called Gorillamobile for $40. There are other options for tripods as well. For adaptor and brackets, photo retailer Adorama has a $10 product called the Heavy Duty L-Bracket, that attaches to your tripod and holds your phone in place. Studio Neat Glif is available for $20, and does the same thing as Adorama’s product. These sites also have iPad options. Other websites to check out are Amazon.com and HDhat.com.
- Step 3: Sound - The microphones that are built into smartphones aren’t usually studio quality. The easiest way to fix this is to get a microphone that plugs directly into your smartphone. There are many options, ranging from very reasonable to quite expensive. One of best entry-level options is a lavalier mic from RadioShack that plugs directly into your phone. You simply clip the mic onto your shirt or lapel and you now have a much better sound to your program. Other options are audio recorders and mic cables. You can compare products and pricing at Amazon.com. Whatever you decide on, a microphone is a must for good video quality.
- Step 4: Apps - Recording the video is one thing, but developing it into a nice production is another thing. There are many apps out there for Apple and Android devices, but here are my favorites:
iMovie (iPhone) and Clesh Video (Android): These apps are great for piecing together movie clips, editing, and importing music from your library to create great video. You can also easily post your video to Facebook and YouTube from these apps. Both are $4.99.
Filmic pro: This app enables you to tweak exposure while shooting video. It’s $3.99 and available on both iPhones and Androids.
- Step 5: Accessories - You’ve bought the apps, the tripod, and the microphones, and now you’re ready to create great video. Is there anything else that you might need? Accessories can help a lot! This includes everything from specialty lenses to professional production equipment. Here are some of my favorites:
- Lenses: The Olloclip lens add-on is the most popular. It slips right over your iPhone and gives you fish-eye, wide-angle, and macro views. It costs about $70 for all three. Check Amazon for pricing and other lens options. Another great site that specializes in real estate video equipment is hdhat.com.
- Hollywood zip lines: These devices are used by Hollywood studios, but now there’s one available for iPhone. This is a zip line that attaches to your phone and allows you to walk with your camera seamlessly without shaking extra movement. It stays in a straight line. Tiffen makes one for regular cameras for $700, but has also developed one for iPhone for $149. Great for video tours!
Creating great quality video tours and video blogs doesn’t have to be expensive. You don’t have to hire a professional crew to do this work for you. All you need is the right equipment. These five simple steps should enable you to record high quality video for a very reasonable price.
As a real estate professional, you have many items to check off your list when showing a property, staging a home, and throughout the selling process. The details are endless and many of them can be judged as a personal preference, but we have provided two HOT checklists, one for buyer agents and one for seller agents.
The summer months can be very busy with school closings, allowing for increased availability for consumers to move, and with increased business, we hope these HOT tips can help you stay on top of each property. Remember, these are only a few favorites, and you can share more below or on our Facebook page, www.facebook.com/homesconnect. Best of luck this summer from Homes.com!
Seller Agent HOT Tips
- Sweep porches, decks and any other walkways
- Clean the gutters
- Clear lawn of any trash or debris
- Repaint doors, if they are starting to peel, and oil hinges
- Remove debris from roof
- Each room should be clutter free.
- During showings, always turn lights on.
- If carpet looks like it needs to be replaced, discuss with clients and explain how replacing it could change the entire look and value of the home. This change could also make a lasting impression on a buyer.
- Keep floor clear of items that do not belong there.
- If possible, keep pets outside during a showing.
- Remind the sellers that it’s best they not be present during the showing; it can make the buyer feel uncomfortable.
- Replace old doormats with new ones.
- Organize kitchen cabinets and the pantry.
- Suggest any excess items be removed or stored out of sight.
- A new buyer wants to imagine them self in the house, so removing family photos while your home is on the market can allow the buyer to picture themselves in your home.
- Replace broken windows and screens.
Buyer Agent HOT Tips
- Remind your clients of the important geographical variables (school, work, etc.).
- Ask if the house meets the buyer’s budget.
- Determine whether the buyers have been pre-approved for a mortgage.
- Check the age of the roof and look for any water damage in the ceilings.
- Determine whether the home needs upgrades and if the buyers are prepared to make necessary renovations.
- Discuss how long your buyers want to stay in the property, should they end up purchasing.
- Check age on all major appliances (including furnace, refrigerator, AC unit, etc.).
- Confirm the house does not have lead paint, Chinese dry wall, or any other unsafe material.
- Ask the listing agent all your important questions and stay in touch!
- Find out why the sellers are moving.
- Always prepare a comparative market analysis for your client.
A first impression can be the reason you sell a property fast! There are many ways to improve your listing, but if you use our HOT tips to get started, you and your clients may see your property off the market quicker than you thought. A lot of these suggested tips will ultimately be your clients’ responsibility, but as their real estate agent, your influence definitely makes a difference. Is it common for clients to agree to these suggestions? What have you done to make a property look better? Share with us below.
Also, if you have a process you follow during a certain stage of your listing, showing, or staging process, comment below and we can add it to the list!