6 Tips to Get the Perfect Photos for Your Listing

When you put your house up for sale, a little planning and thought can go a long way in creating an attractive, professional looking listing for potential buyers to review. While the description, details on square footage, number of rooms etc. are important… one key area of focus should be photos of what your home has to offer. You know what they say… a picture is worth a thousand words, and a set a high quality photos can speak volumes about your house. Use these 6 tips to get the most out of your photos:

The More Pixels, the Better

The more pixels you can get in an image, the higher the resolution and the better the quality of the photo. Don’t skimp on the pixels by using that dusty digital camera in your office drawer or a less than impressive phone camera. Instead, consider borrowing a high quality camera or hiring a professional. The last thing you want is a buyer who’s squinting at your listing to form rooms out of gloomy blobs.

Light, Light, and more Light!

You wouldn’t believe how many people take photos after dark with a flash, or don’t even bother to turn the light on in the room where they’re taking the photo. The more natural light that you can get into a room, the more bright and inviting your house will appear. Wait until key times of day when natural light can show off the features of each room and avoid using a flash if at all possible. The best times are typically early morning and late afternoon when the sun is not quite overhead.

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Use Angles to Your Advantage

The best way to showcase a huge basement or a gargantuan yard is too take a photo from an angle that makes people say “Wow, that’s huge!”. To accomplish this, take into consideration the direction you are shooting from and use it to your advantage. Instead of standing in the middle of the room and taking several shots in front of and behind you, step back and include the whole area in one shot, especially if your have an open concept floor plan.

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Highlight the Pro’s, Downplay the Con’s

Allow people the opportunity to remember what’s great about your house, and give unique or interesting features first priority. Cutting off a classic clawfoot tub in the corner of a photo of your master bathroom doesn’t give anyone the opportunity to identify it as a major perk. Old-fashioned charm, special architectural touches or recently renovated areas are prime targets for focus in your listing. At the same time, if you have a couple dead patches of grass in your backyard or a cluttered play room, do your best to paint the most flattering portraits of those areas and if in doubt, upload them towards the end of your gallery.

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Remove Distractions

Sometimes the occasional leftover birthday balloon, unopened package or pile of shoes in the living room escapes our attention, but those instances create an immediate distraction for the viewer and draw attention away from the centerpiece: your house. Rather than having buyers debating what breed your dog is, remove anything from the photo that would not help a potential family to see themselves living there. Try to take an outside perspective… even things like a big, bright bean bag cushion in a family room can draw the eye away from what’s important.

Don’t Forget the Neighborhood

Remember, when someone chooses to buy they aren’t just choosing the house, they are also choosing a community. If your house boasts spectacular views, has a beautiful park right across the street, or is on a quiet cul de sac, consider taking a photo of those elements and anything that adds value to your property.

Overall, photos are what people remember most about a listing and they tell a story about your house. Give the buyer something that sticks with them, and they are that much more likely to setup a showing. Don’t forget, phenomenal photography doesn’t make up for a dirty or unkempt property in need of serious repairs… but it can give a great first impression.

View the beautiful listing featured above and more photos for ideas to showcase your home on my Pinterest page. When you’re ready to put your home on the market, give me a call and let me know what I can do to help.

5 Ways to Pin Your Garden Green this Summer

Social Media has changed a lot of things, including the way we purchase, update, and decorate our homes. Pinterest is one of the best ways to get inspiration and DIY tips and tricks for your home. This week I am going to walk you through how you can can get the most out of your garden (whether you have a green thumb or not) using Pinterest!

Set-Up Your Board:

If you do not have a Pinterest, sign-up now (and then start Pinning with me)! Pinterest is the easiest way to organize your projects, save creative ideas, and find DIY projects. Once you have your Pinterest setup, create a gardening board.

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Identify Your Space:

Once you have laid the groundwork for your Pinterest board, figure out where the ground is that you will be working with. Are you going to be building your own herb-rack, or do you want a spacious vegetable garden? Depending on where you plan to do your growing, you may choose to pin different types of garden inspiration.

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Select Your Plants:

What kind of plants are you looking to grow? From veggies to flowers, Pinterest is full of advice on how to select the best plants for you garden. If you are looking for more of a DIY experience, you may want to start with seeds. However, if you have no idea how to get a garden started, there are plenty of good starter plants to help you grow into gardening. No matter what you choose, Pinterest can help ensure that you have selected the right plants for your space.

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Pin Tricks + Tips:

Once you have selected the types of plants you would like to grow, get busy learning how to make them thrive. There are plenty of tutorials on how to help specific types of plants grow better. Take advantage of this collective wisdom, and save it on your gardening board!

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Set Reminders:

Now that you have everything you need to get your garden started, and all the tips and tricks to help yourself succeed, set reminders to make sure that you are following directions! If you need to water your plants every day, set up reminders on your phone for a time you know you will be home to water. If you need to fertilize once a week, pop that appointment in your calendar!

Thank you for taking the time to read my gardening blog! Want some more ideas? Check out my Pinterest page to get inspired.

9 Pin-teresting Ways to Up Your Curb Appeal

As we get closer and closer to warm weather and long days, it’s a great time to start thinking about ways to increase the appeal of your home… whether it’s going on the market or just needs some refreshing. Luckily, we have Pinterest at our fingertips for some great ideas. Here are 9 “Pin-teresting” Ways to Up Your Curb Appeal from our very own Pinterest page.

Paint Your Front Door

The focal point of any visit to a home is the initial destination: the front door. Whether you go for a fun, contrasting color or a neutral update, painting your front door is one of the easiest and most impactful ways to up your curb appeal.

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Replace Old Hardware

Nothing kills a great first impression faster than a rusty door handle or immovable door knocker. An easy way to fix this is to replace old hardware on any of your outdoor entrances, whether it’s a gate latch, door knob or new decorative wrought iron piece on the your garage door. In some cases painting a metallic finish can look just as good, so take a look at both options to see which one your prefer.

Create Symmetry on Your Porch

Symmetry is pleasing to the eye, and it helps to give some semblance of order and neatness to the outside of a house. Place two identical plants, sculptures or pieces of furniture next to your front door or find other ways to create symmetry on your porch for a soothing, neat look.

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Give Your Mailbox a Makeover

Most old-fashioned mailboxes tend to be an aging afterthought on the edge our lawns, but if you have a free-standing mailbox give it a makeover that makes it a decorative part of your front yard. A fresh coat of paint and an elegant font for your address show that you have put some thought into the little details of the home and tells a buyer that the property is well cared for.

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Spruce Up Your Landscaping

An unkempt yard is one of the main things that can distract from a beautiful house, no matter how pristine it is. Remove dead shrubs, trees or flower beds and cut back out of control landscaping to give the appearance of a meticulous outdoor exterior. Be sure not to overlook vines, edging, low hanging branches and other smaller parts of your yard.

Plant Some Flowers

After you’ve cut back all the dead and dried up vegetation, spruce up your yard by planting a welcoming bunch of flowers. Both potted and in-ground flowers make a cheery addition to any home. Another great idea is to add window or railing boxes with potted flowers to spread the colors and greenery of plants to other areas of the home.

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Wash Your Windows & Gutters

Washing your windows may not be the first thing that comes to mind as far as high-impact improvements, but it really does make a world of difference. Giving your windows and gutters a little TLC will pay huge dividends with buyers looking for a clean and new-looking exterior.

Upgrade Your Walkways

A simple, natural looking walkway of flagstone is an upscale addition that is well worth the investment. Concrete often crumbles, cracks and otherwise wears over time, so consider rebuilding your walkway with stone steps for a more finished look that is sure to be a crowd pleaser. You can also put this idea to work on back patios or side walkways.

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Add Some Furniture

Large, spacious porches can take on the appearance of being lonely and empty areas, so try adding some comfortable and stylish furniture to fill some space and up the coziness factor. Buyers want to visualize themselves enjoying the house, so thoughtful additions such as outdoor furniture can help them to see themselves as the future owners

These are just a few places to start, but to see these and many more fun ideas, check out my Pinterest page to get inspired. Remember that the first impression is so important to buyers and can mean the difference between a great showing and a mediocre one, so make your curb appeal a priority. If you have questions about listing your home or preparing it for sale, feel free to contact me today. Happy Pinning everyone!

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6 Valuable Upgrades that Buyers Love

Springtime will be here before we know it, and that means the real estate market will be picking up. If you are planning on putting your house up for sale, you may be wondering which areas of your house you can make improvements in and which improvements are the most valuable. The best upgrades for a home are elements that not only help to catch a buyer’s attention, but give give an added touch of character. Here are 6 great ideas that buyers love and will give you the best return on your investment.

1. Add a Little Space

No one wants to walk into a dark and cramped house. One way that you can liven up a house is to knock down a wall and create an open floor plan, which opens up opportunities to bring people to together. Whether it’s for entertaining or supervising the kids while cooking, open spaces invite people to connect and help buyers to see themselves in your home.

2. Curb Appeal

When you think back to the first time that you saw your house, what was your first impression? A well maintained yard, a fresh paint job and minor repairs will help to give a great first impression for buyers that visit your home and set the tone for the rest of the showing.

4. Give Your Kitchen a Makeover

The kitchen is the centerpiece of a living space, an area that everyone gravitates to. Upgrades in the kitchen, whether they are minor or major, usually have an excellent return for homeowners. Upgrade your kitchen by adding a new backsplash, countertop or cabinetry. Modern kitchens with updated appliances are a major wish list item for most buyers.

Give your kitchen a makeover.

Give your kitchen a makeover with some ideas from Pinterest.

5. Remodeling or Finishing Your Basement

Too often basements are used as a place to store junk or just wasted space. If your basement is under-utilized, consider a remodel to create a welcoming space that adds to the character and value of your home. Some popular ideas are to build a bar, entertainment area or “man cave”.

7. Energy Savers

These days, efficiency is becoming more and more important to the average buyer. In addition to the standard energy efficient features in your home, add something that will not only help the buyer save money in the long run, but reduce their carbon footprint. Replacing windows, adding dimmers to your lights, buying energy efficient appliances or installing insulation to your attic are just a few ways that you can accomplish this.

All in all, when you’re ready to put your house on the market, put yourself in the shoes of a prospective buyer. With these ideas you can make some major improvements in a short time, and soon enough you’ll have a beautiful home that gives you a great return on your investment and a happy buyer who’s excited to move in.

 

For more ideas on how to get your house ready to sell this Spring, give me a call or visit my Pinterest page for inspiration.

Making Your Pinterest “Dream Home” A Reality

Remember the days of cutting out photos from magazines trying to visualize your dream home? A time when “window shopping” meant walking to the store and swooning over furniture and decor for your living room? Well, odds are that at some point in the past couple of years you’ve stumbled upon a website called Pinterest… an amazing new way to combine creativity, inspiration and sharing all into one and visualize the home of your dreams.

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Simply stated, Pinterest is a way for you to organize your wants and get inspired by discovering things that other people like (if you’ve never heard of Pinterest, click here for the full explanation). There are thousands of categories, millions upon millions of ideas, and more DIY projects and recipes than you can try in a lifetime… but what does this mean for someone looking to purchase a home? Instead of looking through countless magazines and watching episode upon episode of HGTV, you can easily search for the things you want in the home of your dreams and organize them all in one place.

Here’s a good place to start… If you don’t have a Pinterest account, join here. If you do and you’re in the market for a house create a board called “Dream Home” or “New House Wishlist”. Search for a couple of high-priority features such as a fireplace or deck and start pinning! Once you start, you’ll find unique things that you may have never even thought of, such as a spiral staircase or clawfoot tub. Use this board to envision what you want your next house to look like and start prioritizing your wants and needs.

Sarah Bowles Pinterest Profile

Seek out realtors and real estate Pinterest pages to get an inside perspective and see actual listings in your area. This is a great place to get ideas and tips, plus find things to do in the neighborhood you’re looking to relocate in. If you’re selling, you can also use Pinterest to find staging ideas that will blow buyers away. Try some DIY upgrades or find new decor and furniture to add to your living spaces (for ideas on how to sell your house during winter, click here).

Bottom line, Pinterest is an amazing resource for anyone in the real estate market, whether you’re looking to purchase your first home or that one of a kind property you can spend the rest of your life in. Even though you may not hit everything on your “Dream Home” board, it’s a great way to kick-start your imagination and challenge you to think about what is important to you and your family.

Visit my Pinterest page to get started and see what I’m pinning!