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March 9, 2011

Make Sure Your Home Looks Good Online


Of all the decisions sellers need to make when they are getting ready to put their home on the market, property presentation is one of the most important. Yes, this is Real Estate 101, but based on the showing condition and photos of some homes I’ve recently seen, I believe it’s time for a refresher on this topic.

Take the photo above, for example. It’s one in a series of dismal and somewhat threatening photos of a property currently on the market. That’s the yard, which smacks of child abduction more than children playing.

If you’re selling your house in today’s market, it’s critical to give it your best shot. You are competing for a narrower pool of buyers who are the only ones left able to get loans or pay in cash. If you skimp on property prep, staging and professional photography costs, a couple things will happen.

One result is that buyers won’t even visit your property. They’ll look at unfavorable photos online and move on to the next place. I know from my own buyer base that people are busy, have limited time to see homes, and only go to the ones that look good. Another result of poor presentation is that buyers will feel that if you’re skimping on presentation, they, too, can skimp on an offer price.

So do yourself a favor if you’re planning to put your home on the market this year: Do the best you can within your budget, and make sure you don’t have any Mystic River-esque photos in the MLS. Hire a Realtor who will put a bit of thought into how you can best position your home to attract the most qualified buyers possible. Combine those efforts with a reasonable price, and you’ll have the best possible chance of completing your sale.

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