Preparing Your Home for a Successful Virtual Tour

Preparing Your Home for the Virtual Tour Producers

There are many information resources available regarding staging your home for sale. This article will reinforce the most important of those guidelines, and hopefully add a few new items to your “to-do” list that are specifically designed to help you have a beautiful and successful Virtual Tour!

Preparing for your Virtual Tour“According to a national 2011 survey done by Home Gain, a $290 cleaning investment gives a $1,990 price increase, or a 586 percent return!”

(From the Reinventing Space blog article by Julea Joseph:

So if you’re wondering if anyone will notice that you cleaned (or had someone clean) the domes on your closet light fixtures, or dusted the window sills even if you never open the blinds, the answer is YES.

Will those minute details show up in a Virtual Tour? Perhaps not. The point is that your attention to detail will go a long way toward making a great first impression, whether it’s on-line or at an Open House or showing.

Everyone will tell you to eliminate “clutter”, like a heap of children’s toys in the corner of their room, or that stack of video games on your TV stand. Here’s a further tip: Wall shelves and tables that contain knick-knacks more than one row deep are no longer “decor” – they are now “storage units”. And that’s just what they look like. If you can’t pass your cell phone (the width, not the thickness) between the items, move some of them to storage. I don’t hate “Precious Moments” figurines or bowling trophies…but the Virtual Tour is not the place to show off your collection.

Regarding personal photographs, I am not opposed to showing children or family photos, as long as they’re no bigger than 8 x 10.

Remove ALL personal items from your refrigerator doors. Appliances that are completely clean and free of clutter give the appearance of “new”.

My advice is that you also pay particular attention to getting the large bathroom and dressing room mirrors *spotless*. The smudges and smears tend to become more obvious when photographed.

While we’re on the topic of bathrooms, please clear the bathroom counters of ALL personal hygiene items. The same advice applies to your showers and bathtubs.

Light bulbs. This is so easy to do, and so often neglected: make sure all the lamps and light fixtures have working light bulbs. All of them. Check again.

Move pet feeding and watering dishes to the garage. And here’s a tip from a near-disaster: Clean up as much of the pet poop from the yard as possible! It won’t show in any of the photographs (t least I hope it’s not that big). However, if a photographer is shooting the outside of the home first, they could accidentally track dog doodoo into your home, and spoil your newly cleaned carpets.

Bold colors are currently in style. Use them for accenting a wall, a door, or other feature, but not for an entire room. I’ll never forget walking into a teenage boy’s BLOOD RED room, and wondering, “What am I supposed to do with this?” Potential buyers will think exactly the same thing.

Furniture: If you look into a room, and you can’t see the floor, consider removing a piece (or several) of your furniture. Seeing lots of carpet, wood, or tile between your furniture items helps even a small area look larger.

Cut and trim your lawn. Remove all debris or scrap lumber from the garage or shed areas. Even if you plan to keep those boards, get them out of sight!

Remove all children’s toys from the lawn. A sandbox is OK…a tricycle or kick-ball is not.

Park your vehicles inside the garage. If you have numerous vehicles, ask a neighbor down the street to let you park one or two of them in their driveway for the day. You want to show that you have an adequate driveway in good condition, not that you have more vehicles than you know what to do with. Your Virtual Tour is about showing the selling features of your home, and your vehicles are merely distractions.

Will a Virtual Tour photographer shoot your closets? Only if they are spectacularly clean, orderly and very large – a selling point of the home. Will I shoot your garage? Same rule. I have produced hundreds of Virtual Tours over the last nine years, and I have only photographed three closets and four garages…

In my mind, closets and garages are storage areas. If you’ve moved a lot of stuff to your garage to prepare for the Virtual Tour, don’t sweat it! However, you may soon be hosting showings in your home, and ALL the items that don’t fit within your living spaces should be donated to charity, sold, or relegated to a storage facility until you move.

You might be thinking, “Wow, that sounds like a lot of work and expense!” Please remember, though, that your home is in a competition with all the other homes currently for sale. If most homes are appropriately priced in your area, then the folks that are willing to put in the extra effort to make their home and property look their very best will win.

I encourage you to do as much as you feel is appropriate and within your reach. I’m looking forward to your comments.

For a bonus tip that will dramatically increase your “curb appeal”, please go to the “Contact or Subscribe” page and fill out the contact form.

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