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How to Make Your Home Shine in Real Estate Listings and Virtual Tours

Preparing your home for the market is no small feat. To entice potential buyers, you'll need a captivating real estate listing that showcases your property in the best light. While photos and videos are crucial...

Sunlight streaming through window in living room at home

Preparing your home for the market is no small feat. To entice potential buyers, you'll need a captivating real estate listing that showcases your property in the best light. While photos and videos are crucial for virtual tours, creating standout visuals requires more than just a point-and-shoot mentality.

In this guide, we'll walk you through essential steps to ensure your home stands out in real estate listing photos and virtual tours. From cleaning and organizing to strategic staging, these expert strategies will help you capture the attention of prospective buyers.

Prep Your Home for Listing Photos and Videos

Before you start clicking away or rolling the camera, it's important to ensure your home looks its absolute best. Here's what you need to do:

1. Focus on Curb Appeal

Enhancing the exterior of your home creates a great first impression in real estate listings. Pay attention to details such as:

  • Sprucing up worn or broken exterior features, like paint, windows, doors, and mailboxes
  • Mowing the lawn and filling in bare patches
  • Tending to your garden and flower beds
  • Removing dead elements such as tree branches, flowers, and shrubs
  • Decluttering your yard
  • Adding finishing touches like potted plants, a welcome mat, and new house numbers

2. Make Necessary Home Repairs

Visible damage is a major red flag for virtual viewers. Take care of any noticeable issues before taking photos or videos. If your home requires significant repairs, consult your agent for advice on whether or not to address these concerns before listing.

3. Clean Every Surface

Deep cleaning is crucial to demonstrate that you have taken excellent care of your home. Pay attention to every surface, working from top to bottom. Don't forget to:

  • Dust ceiling fans and get rid of cobwebs in the corners
  • Wipe down crown molding
  • Wash windows
  • Dust cabinets and shelving
  • Clean countertops and appliances
  • Ensure your tile, carpet, and hardwood floors are spotless

4. Declutter Your Home

Clutter can be just as distracting as dirt and grime. Declutter and organize every room as much as possible. If you still find yourself drowning in belongings, consider moving items to a storage unit, donating, or recycling them.

5. Depersonalize Each Room

Removing personal items helps potential buyers envision their own lives in your home. Even if you're still living in it, eliminate:

  • Family photos
  • Children's artwork
  • Diplomas
  • Trophies
  • Controversial or kitschy decor
  • Hobby-related items

6. Stage Your Home

Cleaning, decluttering, and depersonalizing lay the foundation for staging your home to sell. To maximize impact, evaluate the layout of your furniture and decor. Create an open and inviting atmosphere by arranging your furniture to create an open flow. Inject pops of color with plants, fruit, and neutral decor.

Staging also helps create natural focal points for your photos and videos. For example, placing a coffee table in the center of your living room between the sofa and TV can create a beautifully balanced image.

7. Keep Pets Out

During virtual home tours, pets and their belongings can raise concerns for potential buyers. Freely wandering dogs, cats, and other critters may indicate hidden damages and odors. Animals in cages or tanks can be equally distracting. Whenever possible, find alternative accommodations for your pets during photo and video sessions.

Capture Eye-Catching Photos and Videos

Once your space is fully prepared, it's time to take photos and shoot videos that transport viewers into your home.

8. Use Reliable Equipment

To ensure high-quality still images and videos, professional cameras are best. If possible, work with a professional photographer and videographer. They have the expertise and tools to make your home shine. If you decide to DIY, ensure your camera and equipment are in optimal working condition. Conduct a test run before each session to ensure clear, uninterrupted visuals.

9. Showcase the Natural Flow of Your Home

Even with still images, it's important to offer a guided tour that mimics walking through your home. Start from the outside and move inward, showcasing the natural flow of your dwelling. Capture your photos and videos from natural viewpoints, holding the camera at eye level. This allows potential buyers to get an accurate perspective of each room.

Additionally, include floorplan images that help buyers visualize your home's layout.

10. Shoot During the Day

Take advantage of natural daylight when shooting interior photos and videos. Open curtains and shades to let in as much sunshine as possible. In spaces with limited natural light, turn on all overhead bulbs and consider adding floor or table lamps to brighten the space. Be mindful of potential glare or reflections in mirrors and adjust your camera angles accordingly.

11. Check Your Video Footage

Before posting a video to your real estate listing, review it with a critical eye. Put yourself in the shoes of a potential buyer and ensure:

  • The video is smooth and in focus throughout
  • The home's flow is evident and easy to follow
  • Each room is given ample time for full viewing

12. Choose Music Carefully

Background music can enhance the viewing experience of home tour videos. Select upbeat yet soothing tunes that create a calming and uplifting ambiance. Look for royalty-free music to avoid legal issues.

13. Plan for Live Tours

While most online home tours consist of photos or video slideshows, some buyers may request a live walk-through. If you choose to offer live virtual tours, treat your viewers as if they were physically present using these tips:

  • Be prepared to pause and spend more time in specific areas if requested
  • Be willing to revisit rooms you've already shown and explore areas not originally planned
  • Familiarize yourself with common buyer questions, such as room sizes or square footage

We hope these tips help you prepare and present your home in the best possible light. Share your staging and photography experiences in the comments below!

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