Guest Article by Rachel Borrelli, CCSP, RTS, RESAPRO
For years we have understood the importance of a listing’s marketing photos and how they need to resonate with potential buyers. As a Realtor or seller, you may have felt bombarded with this information of late.
During the COVID 19 Stay home, Stay Safe period, online photos have been the main way to see a property. COVID 19 was not the start of online shopping; rather, it was the time when, regardless of age, we all embraced the culture of shopping online. We trusted companies to shop for apparel, groceries, furniture, home finishing selections for our renos, Teslas and properties.
There has never been a time when those photos have been more important.
Virtual presence is now the real first impression.
This is our first impression of the property and the Realtor’s brand.
While real estate transactions have temporarily slowed, they have still been taking place. And photos facilitated this.
Sellers have the knowledge that good photos mean reduced time on the market, less traffic and inconvenience in their house and buyers also want the same thing. Buyers want to see fewer properties and do not want to spend months finding that perfect home. To do this, they will spend more time online.
Not convinced you need professional assistance with those photos. Consider the biggest online platform today: Instagram with 40 million users. Why? The largest purchasing group, millennials, want to make fast decisions based on a photo. They know what they want when they see it. And after they acquire the property, they want to have their friends over within days and then show off their newly purchased home (online) with them enjoying it.
It’s about stories, connections and emotions. That is what photos do for us. Before reading the description, we look at the photos and if the photos do not match the description, the agent’s credibility may also be lost. Swipe left. Next.
A professional real estate stager understands how to create the WOW factor in pictures thereby increasing the perceived value to the buyer.
We do this by showing off the space and size of the property and highlighting the strongest points of the property inside and out. This is not decorating, it’s merchandizing.
Research shows that potential buyers perceive a staged property as well-maintained & turnkey. By having amazing photos, listings receive higher online traffic and that equates to higher or faster in-person viewings.
Together with a good photographer, we ensure properties show their absolute best the first time. During the Stay Home, Stay Safe movement, it was time to get innovative! So, we took our home staging consultations to an online service, where our expertise and experience has been helping property sellers turn their lived-in homes into a stunning model space within hours.
With technology today (e.g., Skype, Zoom, Google Hangout, FaceTime) we are able to “walk” with your client through the property, providing real-time feedback and recommendations specific to each room.
Our Online Staging Consultations include:
• A detailed walk thru of the property room by room, inside and out.
• Recommendations about what to pack and remove, what to replace and repair. Also, furniture placement, art and even paint color.
• A customized priority staging checklist with guides, pictures or videos sent by e-mail.
• Ongoing support as the client continues to work thru the checklist.
April 2020 via Online Home Staging Consultation
“Hi Rachel, hope you liked the MLS marketing photos. We got an offer from first person out of the 3 showings on the first weekend. Conditional sale after a little negotiation …and 1003 emails sent between people since Friday, so generated lots of interest. Thanks again for all your home staging recommendations! It sure had an impact! “
Allison, Calgary Homeowner
Now that we are re-opening in Alberta, why would we need online staging consultations?
Online virtual home staging consultations are here to stay. There will always be reasons or a client that can benefit from this service. For example, if you have clients that are in a rural area or sick and cannot have anyone in the home. We also do design consultations online for rural areas where home buyers want recommendations on their redesign or renovation projects.
The goal of home staging is to always have the property show its absolute best online and in person, as well as have the seller appreciate and benefit from the process of preparing their property for sale.
‘It was reported in Canada that “overall internet traffic grew by more than 40% between Feb. 1 and April 19, 2020 with almost all of that increase occurring in March and April.”*
This trend of working at home or the increased online traffic may slow as we begin to open our neighbourhoods. However, what will not change is the fact that the first impression is the most important impression. What a good photo does change, is when that impression occurs.
About Rachel Borrelli
Rachel Borrelli is the owner and lead Property Stylist of Diversa Designs Home Staging and Redesign. As a member of the Canadian Certified Staging Association and a Master Residential Expert, she has a passion for Real Estate Staging and brings a collaborative approach to benefit clients, colleagues, and the industry. As a graduate from the University of Calgary Visual Design program, specializing in Interior Design, Rachel creates safe, functional, and beautiful spaces for people to call home. Rachel is the recipient of a RESA 2019 Top 10 Canadian Home staging award and the current Alberta Provincial President, Real Estate Staging Association (RESA)
* Flanagan, R. (2020, May 7). We’re watching so many videos that internet traffic is at unprecedented highs. CTV News. https://www.ctvnews.ca/