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In today's highly visual world, great photos have the power to make or break your real estate marketing. With so many properties on the market, grabbing potential buyers' attention quickly is key. This is where stellar photography comes in.
Eye-catching photos pique interest and entice buyers to take a closer look at your listing. Blurry, poorly lit shots of cluttered rooms, on the other hand, are an instant turn-off. So if you want your home to stand out, investing in professional photography is a must.
Real estate agent Jen Lewis understands this well. She says, "I can't emphasize enough the importance of great photos. Nine times out of ten, it's the pictures that initially draw buyers in."
Jen always advises her clients to hire a pro photographer, even if it means spending a little extra money upfront. "It's worth it. With the right lighting and angles, photos make rooms look brighter, bigger and more appealing," she explains. "Plus, professional cameras capture crisp, high-res images."
Kate stages homes prior to shoots, removing personal items and style clutter. "You want the rooms to look clean, bright and open," she says. "Imagery should showcase the home's best assets."
For one recent listing, Kate brought in lamps to add lighting and positioned furniture to highlight the fireplace. She also purchased vibrant pillows and a cozy throw to make the living room more inviting.
Mark Thompson, a real estate investor, has seen this power firsthand. He tried selling a flip project himself using iPhone photos. After two months with no bites, he hired a photographer.
"The pro photos made it look like a completely different house," Mark admits. "Suddenly I had buyer interest and offers. Next time I'll skip taking pictures myself and go straight to the photographer."
Decluttering and depersonalizing a home before listing it for sale is one of the most impactful things sellers can do. When rooms are free of clutter and reflect a clean, neutral style, buyers can better envision themselves living in the space.
"You want to declutter as much as possible so buyers focus on the home's features rather than your stuff. Pack up family photos, kids' artwork, piles of magazines - anything that distracts," Amy explains.
She also recommends editing down furniture and decor. "Have a critical eye. If a room feels crowded or dated due to your furnishings, consider placing items in storage or donating them."
"Blank slate spaces allow potential buyers to see past your style and imagine the home as their own," he says. Dave will even paint walls neutral hues if the current colors are loud or distracting.
For one recent listing, the teenage daughter's bold purple bedroom was repainted a soft gray. In the living room, a large sectional and dark wood shelving unit were removed, opening up the space.
Michelle Delgado hired Simply Staged before listing her home. "They came in, packed up family photos and personal items, took away extra furniture, then brought in neutral bedding, art and accessories," she says.
Anne always evaluates the lighting in a space before determining which enhancements to make. She starts by opening all window coverings to maximize natural light. If the home feels dark even during the day, increasing wattage in existing fixtures can help.
In addition to increasing wattage, she supplements lighting by layering in table and floor lamps. "I'm strategic about placement, positioning lamps to highlight architectural details or light darker corners," she says.
Real estate agent Brian Clark agrees proper lighting is a must when preparing a home for market. One listing he represented had virtually no overhead lighting on the first floor.
Creating an open, flowing layout showcases a home"s square footage and flexibility. When rooms feel closed off or choppy, it"s hard for buyers to visualize changes. Focusing on flow involves strategically opening up spaces and improving transitions.
Real estate stager Amy Chen always analyzes room connections when preparing a property for market. "I look for opportunities to create cleaner sightlines between spaces, thinking about how to draw the eye through the home," she explains. This may involve something as simple as removing a furniture piece obstructing a doorway.
Other times, entire walls come down. Kate Simpson recently staged a dated split level home. The closed off kitchen and living room made the space feel small and cramped. Taking out the wall dividing them instantly opened up the first floor. "Buyers could now see how spacious the home truly was," Kate says.
In homes with tiny, narrow galley kitchens, Penelope suggests partial wall removal to create bar-height counter pass-throughs. "Even a small opening makes a difference, lending an airy, open feel," she explains. Widening existing doorways can also improve flow between rooms.
Dave Cheney, an investor who flips homes, always looks for opportunities to open up floorplans. In one flip project with a closed off kitchen, he removed walls on either side to connect it to the dining and living rooms. "It changed the entire feel of the first floor," he explains. Dave also took out the door separating the living and dining rooms. "Opening sightlines creates a sweeping, spacious look buyers love," he says.
Real estate agent Anne Clifton also sees the value of showcasing flow. She"ll even stage furniture to draw eyes through a space. "I"ll angle a sofa or position a console table to lead your view from one room right into the next," she explains. Staging vignettes in connecting spaces also creates visual flow.
When showings begin, Anne makes sure interior doors are propped open. "An open floorplan always feels more welcoming than a home with closed-off rooms," she says. Removing bulky furniture like entertainment centers that block views between rooms also opens up sightlines.
Painting a home before listing it for sale can make a tremendous difference to potential buyers. Fresh wall colors create a clean, welcoming backdrop that allows buyers to envision the space as their own.
Real estate agent Amy Chen says a fresh coat of neutral paint works wonders. "Wall color has a huge psychological impact. Loud, distracting colors close a room in. But soft, neutral hues make rooms feel bright, airy and spacious," she explains.
For one recent listing, Amy had the teenage daughter"s bold purple bedroom painted a light gray. "It opened up the entire feel of the room," she says. In the living room, vibrant red accent walls were also switched out for a neutral beige. "The new palette gave the home a beautiful, cohesive look buyers loved."
Tom Davis, who flips houses, has painted hundreds of interiors to get properties market-ready. "New paint makes a home look clean and updated. It"s one of the most affordable ways to elevate a space," he says.
Tom chooses versatile hues like gray, beige and white for most rooms. Kitchens and baths may incorporate subtle blue or green tones. "I stick to lighter neutrals that appeal to the masses," he says.
While some sellers recoil at the thought of painting over bold colors or statement walls, Joanna urges them to see the bigger picture. "Personal style walls may turn you off potential buyers entirely," the realtor explains.
She reminds hesitant sellers that paint is easily changed. "Though you may have loved that bright orange wall, ask yourself what matters more " keeping your custom colors or selling your home quickly and for top dollar."
Many sellers take Joanna"s advice. Michelle Delgado was attached to the mustard yellow walls in her living room. "But Joanna explained how neutral tones make rooms feel larger and give buyers a blank canvas," she says. Though sad to see it go, Michelle repainted it a light gray. Within a week of listing, she had multiple offers in hand.
Outdoor living spaces have become increasingly popular in recent years. Buyers want to enjoy fresh air and extended living areas that flow seamlessly to the outdoors. Spotlighting patios, decks, yards and landscaping in your real estate listing photos can be a major selling point.
Real estate agent Mark Davis explains that showcasing outdoor amenities has become essential. "Buyers are looking for homes where they can relax and entertain outdoors. Great shots of patio furniture, outdoor kitchens, fire pits and pools get buyers excited to imagine the possibilities," he says.
Mark makes sure to capture multiple angles of outdoor spaces, shooting wide landscape perspectives as well as closer details. "Varying distances provides a full picture of what the home offers," he explains.
To make patios pop, Mark adds coordinating cushions and throws to furniture. He"ll display outdoor serving pieces like pitchers and glasses on dining sets too. "Styling with decor makes the spaces feel welcoming and livable," he says.
For one recent listing, the homeowners had a beautiful pool but the surrounding patio felt sparse. Mark brought in rattan lounge chairs with bright cushions and added a glass-topped table with an umbrella. "It created an inviting lounge area for buyers to envision," he explains.
In addition to adding dÃ©cor, she"s strategic about timing. "I stage outdoor spaces at "golden hour" just before sunset when rich, warm light showcases the home"s best angles," Kate explains.
When highlighting landscaping, she mows lawns, trims bushes and adds blooming potted plants to add color. "Crisp edges and pops of color make yards look lush and welcoming," says Kate.
Michelle Delgado had a pool but her backyard felt bare. "Kate brought in beautiful furniture, candles, lanterns and greenery to make it an inviting oasis," she says. The transformed space helped sell Michelle"s home quickly.
Real estate investor Tyler Cheney makes sure every outdoor living area is photo-ready before listing. "Outdoors is an extension of the home"s livable space, so it should be just as appealing," he says.
For a recent flip project, Tyler built a composite deck and added custom railings, then styled it with wicker seating and potted trees. "The finished space was a real focal point for buyers," he explains.
Home staging is one of the most valuable investments sellers can make when preparing a property to list. Professionally staged homes sell faster and for more money. The reason is simple - good staging makes a home feel welcoming and move-in ready.
When homes are filled with sellers" furniture and belongings, buyers can"t see past the clutter to envision the space as their own. Staging opens up rooms, creating a clean, uncluttered canvas for buyers to project their lifestyle onto.
Professional stager Anne Chen explains, "We declutter and remove personal items so the home becomes a blank slate. Then we layer in thoughtful, on-trend furnishings and dÃ©cor." The goal is styling each room to have timeless, mass appeal.
Sellers are often amazed at the transformation. As homeowner Tyler Davis says, "When the stagers arrived, I thought our home looked pretty good. But once they worked their magic, the difference was night and day."
Tyler was reluctant to pay several thousand dollars for staging. But his agent convinced him it was a smart investment. "She explained that homes sell faster and for higher prices when staged," Tyler says. "I'm so glad I listened."
Within two weeks of listing, Tyler"s staged home had a full price offer. He ended up netting $30,000 over his initial listing price. "Staging was one of the best investments I made. It more than paid for itself," Tyler explains.
Staging opened up floorplans, highlighted architectural details and made the home feel bright and spacious. "My agent was blown away by how great it looked," Michelle says. Her staged home sold for $20,000 above asking price within a week.
For one recent listing, the family room felt dated and cluttered, which closed off the space. Removing bulky furniture and adding updated, neutral furnishings completely transformed the look and feel.
Hiring professionals to stage and photograph your home before listing it for sale is one of the smartest investments you can make. Though it requires an upfront cost, professional staging and photography pays for itself by securing higher offers and faster sales.
As real estate agent Amy Chen explains, "An investment in professional staging and photography gives your listing a competitive edge. It makes buyers take notice and envision your home as their own."
Stagers declutter spaces, accentuate selling points and layer in neutral, tasteful furnishings with mass appeal. Photographers use high-quality equipment and lighting to show off a home's best features. The resulting photos grab attention on real estate sites instead of being passed over.
"We brought in a team to work their magic. They styled each room to perfection and the photographer captured it flawlessly," Chen says. The listing immediately attracted multiple offers once it hit the market. It sold for $115,000 over asking price within two weeks.
Mark Davis, a real estate investor who flips homes, considers professional staging services mandatory before listing. "Any money spent on staging comes back tenfold when the home sells quickly and for top dollar," he says.
For one recent flip project, Davis spent $5,000 to have the home staged. It secured three all-cash offers within a week, selling for $35,000 over asking. Even with the staging fee, his profit margins exceeded expectations.
Homeowner Kate Simpson was initially hesitant to spend money upfront. But her agent showed listings that looked beautiful thanks to staging and professional photography. Convinced it would maximize her sales price, Kate hired a team to style and photograph her home before listing.
"They worked wonders making my home look bright, modern and spacious," she says. Kate's staged and professionally photographed listing attracted multiple offers immediately. It sold in just four days for $50,000 over her asking price.