You’ve probably experienced this at one time or another when you were in the market for a new home — your agent hands you a printout of a listing, and it has everything you’re looking for. But once you see the property online or in person, there’s just something missing even though the four-car garage and chef’s kitchen are just as promised. And what’s missing is one of the most crucial component to saying “I do” to a new home — an emotional connection – that visceral feeling that makes you fall in love.
If you are about to list your property for sale now or in the future, know that one of the most overlooked details in selling homes that buyers (and even their agents) gloss over is the power of evoking emotions. Primarily responsible for most of life’s major decisions, from marriage to parenthood — emotion is also critical in home buying. And while many home sellers and their agents know the importance of communicating all the data of the property — in-ground pool, wet bar, Japanese soaking tub — in other words all those things you see line-listed on an MLS print-out — nothing is going to get buyers closer to “I do” than getting them to fall in love. And yes, you can create a love connection.
Love at First Sight
First impressions are everything. They set an often unwavering and permanent perception of reality. Most of you have experienced the power of first impressions personally, whether in your career search or when meeting the love of your life. Homebuyers’ first impressions of properties are no different.
And since the recession recovery, buyers’ first impressions come from online listings instead of MLS printouts from agents and brokers. Now more than ever, it is critical that what buyers see online is brilliant and irresistible. That means that photography needs to be crisp, vibrant, sharp, and not poorly lit, grainy, dull and inaccurate. Hiring a professional photographer ensures your listing will stand out, whether in print, online or on social sharing websites such as Houzz or Pinterest. When selecting a real estate broker, be certain she or he partners with a professional photographer and an image studio that can easily upload and distribute photographs to all of the print and digital platforms buyers explore. In fact, to understand just how important stunning imagery is, 98% of buyers say that photographs are among the most useful features on real estate websites.*
Hit Them with Your Best Shots
When you make the decision to list your property, work with your agent to tell the story of your home that you want to tell. Upon your first night out, did your date tell you “I’m a great, normal guy, but I dress up like a Wookie a few times a year”? Probably not. Nor should you post a photo of a half-gutted basement bathroom as your first photo stream image (yes, we’ve seen that happen). At VHT Studios, we advise Realtors® and homeowners to start their marketing story with an impactful first chapter by communicating a property’s best assets to your agent and/or professional photographer. Be sure to tell them:
– What made you fall in love with the home when you first saw it
– How the home makes you feel
– Where you spend most of your time
– What rooms your guests comment on the most
– What your favorite room is and why
Your professional photographer will then be able to illustrate your home’s story, and your agent will list these images first in the listing photo gallery.
Having a 360-degree marketing program that encompasses new and traditional media allows for greater entree for potential buyers. Make sure that while interviewing agents, they embrace a fully integrated marketing approach that reaches target homebuyers across multiple platforms, including digital galleries, video, social media channels and print. Once you have all those amazing photographs, you’ll need to make sure they are easy to find so they can make buyers’ hearts skip a beat.
*2012 NAR Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers
Image Credits: Photo courtesy of VHT Studios.