What makes a home buyer click?

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Are you a Zillow junkie? If so, you are not alone! 98% of all home buyers used the internet to search for homes this year. The ability to get a potential home buyer to ‘click’ is often determined more by the quality of the online images than by the price or location of a property. Here in Miami, our potential buyers expect well-curated photographs of every room along with a variety of images of all outdoor living areas. Buyers are looking for a standard grouping of photos which must include a ‘curb appeal’ image, the entry and living areas, kitchen, bedrooms, bathrooms and pool area. If the photographs do not peak the shopper’s interest or worse, fail to meet basic expectations, the buyer will simply scroll to the next listing! 

Online images create the first impression for potential buyers. Beyond the obvious that all rooms must be tidy and free of clutter, the beds should be made, there should be minimal decorative items in the kitchen and the towels in all bathrooms should be uniform and neutral in color. If you are displaying 48 different gadgets in your kitchen from toaster ovens, smoothie blenders to various coffee machines, get them off of the counter and put them out of sight! Sellers should remove as many distractions as possible to ensure that attention is drawn to the best features of every room. It is also very important to open all blinds and window treatments and to clean all windows. This will allow the natural light of our glorious Florida sunshine to brighten up every space.  

The NAR (National Association of Realtors) is one of America’s largest trade associations representing more than 1.3 million members. Each year, the NAR delivers valuable information including local and nationwide statistics designed to assist realtors with continued development and fine-tuning of their business model. The research also serves to assist future sellers with an understanding of the ever-changing residential real estate market. A recent NAR study determined that currently, the largest segment of home buyers is represented by Millennials ranging in age from 21-38. Millennials make up 37% of all home buyers and they are avid online shoppers. While HGTV and YouTube have provided Millennials with countless tutorials on DIY projects, this demographic prefers move-in ready homes over fixer uppers. Millennial will relentlessly surf through Zillow, Trulia and Realtor.com looking for the most visually appealing properties with 87% stating that the quality of the web images weighs heavily on their decision to schedule a showing. In fact, nine out of ten home buyers under the age of 63 agreed that photographs are the most important online feature; they consider photos over the property description, facts and figures.

While having amazing online photos of your listed property is proven to have a major impact on home sales, it takes work to get a property photo ready. Whether you choose to prepare the home yourself or hire a professional stager, it is imperative to take the necessary steps to ensure you will have the best photographs. A thorough cleaning of the landscaping and entry will deliver the curb appeal that buyers seek. Remove or trim overgrown plantings, add mulch and take advantage of our tropical climate by installing some plants that are in bloom. Gutters should be cleaned of debris and any visible mold or mildew should be power-washed – paying special attention to the roof. The entry should entice potential buyers to want to see the rest of the house; it should also be in perfect photo-ready condition as long as the property is listed. The home’s interior should also be in tip-top condition. Before taking photos inside, special attention must be paid to every aspect of the interior. All walls should be neutral in color, pathways clear and well-defined, personal knick-knacks and family photos removed and large furniture either removed entirely or strategically placed so as to not impede either sightlines or walkways. The best photographs will show a well-designed space that is free of clutter, neutral in tone and has clean, modern lines. All of these tips will help to ensure that potential buyers will ‘click’ on your listing. Professionally staged homes photograph better, sell faster and close at higher prices. Stage to sell!

Elizabeth Stiff and Jacqueline Krueger are President and President Elect of the Miami Chapter of RESA, Real Estate Staging Association. They are also the founding partners of PeacefulNest Inc., a boutique home staging and design company servicing our local community. (www.peacefulnestinc.com) 305-800-NEST


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