How do Realtors and Sellers Prepare a Home for Real Estate Photography?

When preparing to market a listing, real estate photography is a crucial step in communicating the value. Ensuring that you properly prepare a home for photography should be easier than you might think! So, how do you prepare for a successful photoshoot? Here is a breakdown of the best ways to prepare for real estate photography as the listing agent and as the homeowner.

How to prepare your real estate listing for professional photography with TruPlace, premium exterior photography

Prepping as the Listing Agent:

As the real estate agent behind the listing, the success of the photoshoot is in your hands. Here are a few easy steps to ensure that it runs smoothly every time:

Step one: Evaluate any updates needed.

Does the living room need a fresh coat of paint? Could landscaping use a refresh to increase curb appeal? No matter the update or size of renovation, this should be the first thing covered before photography. Not only will this prevent any landscapers who ran late from appearing in the photos, it will also ensure that the listing looks its absolute best before the photography that will showcase it.

Step two: Schedule the appointment a few days in advance.

While professional photographers like TruPlace might be able to accommodate next-day or even same-day appointments, it is best to get ahead of the game. Set up your appointment with enough notice to give the homeowners time to tidy up and prepare the home. Real estate photography appointments can be scheduled online or over the phone for added flexibility, so no need to wait until business hours and let it slip your mind.

Photo Preparation Checklist

Step three: Review and share the photo ready checklist.

This is a free preparation guide available to give to your homeowners as a detailed list of to-dos. While it may seem obvious that clutter should be put away before photography, most people do not consider that kitchen towels may look disorganized in photos or pet beds can tone down the perceived value of a listing.

Step four: Follow up!

Make sure you stop by the listing prior to photoshoot or at the appointment so that there are no surprises when you receive the end results. The last thing you want is beautiful photography with last minute “creative” staging by the homeowners.

Prepping as the Homeowner:

As the homeowner, you want to make sure your home looks the best possible to bring in the maximum offer price. These few steps can help:

Step 1: De-clutter and de-personalize.

Too many items can make the room look smaller in photos. Put non-decorative items away so that everything looks neat and orderly. While personalized items have sentimental value to you, it does not make it easier for the potential buyers to envision their lives in the house. Any personalized items with children’s names or photos should also be removed for privacy since these photos will be posted online along with your address.

TruPlace real estate photography

Step 2: Follow the checklist.

The photo-ready checklist supplied by your real estate agent will provide a room-by-room breakdown on the best ways to prepare your listing. Follow this proven recipe for success is the easiest way to ensure that you have everything covered before your real estate photography appointment.

Preparing to sell a listing can be a stressful process, but real estate photography does not have to be. Tag TruPlace on social media and let us know how these tips worked for you!


Here’s How to Pick Art for Your Home When Staging, According to the Pros

Deciding to finally put your home on the market can be both an exciting and daunting experience. And, with an increasingly competitive housing market, a well-staged home can make all the difference in placing your home on a buyer’s “must-have” list. Artwork plays a critical role in adding the finishing touches when prepping your home for sale, and you’ll want to make sure you’re picking the right kind to create a polished look. To help present your home in the best light possible, we reached out to design experts from Seattle, WA, all the way to Cambridge, ON for their top tips for choosing wall art when staging a home.

Make sure you’re choosing the right scale, style, and color palette

Bigger, more abstract pieces show better while smaller artwork makes a space look cluttered and busy in pictures. Less is always more in staging, meaning don’t forget to leave plenty of negative space in order to give the eye a place to rest. There is no need to fill every wall; it’s good to give potential buyers plenty of room to envision their own pieces in a space. -Decorate to Show

Make sure you scale the size of the pieces to the individual spaces. Including neutral, monochromatic pieces usually work best. And popping in metal colors can really help draw the eye to optimally focus on architecturally appealing features of the home. Lastly, be careful not to overdo it with too many pieces or very personalized art, as this ultimate goal is for your buyer to picture themselves living in the home. -Elm Tree Design & Home Styling

When choosing artwork to hang above a sofa, be sure to select the right size. If a piece of artwork is too big or too small, buyers may get a sense that something just feels off in the room (and the home), even if they can’t put their finger on it. Follow the 75% rule: the length of artwork should be at least 75% of the length of the sofa. Try coordinating the artwork with the throw pillows on the sofa to create a cohesive and pleasing look. -BA Staging & Interiors

If you’re stuck on how to pick art for your home when staging, look to the house as a guide

Look at the era of the home, the furnishings, and decor as a guide when picking artwork. From there no matter what style, keep it simple. Remember that less is more, and it can also make a statement. I also like using color theory in my art selections, so if my furnishings are very colorful I typically choose a monochromatic piece to balance the room. -Aisling Designs

Choose artwork based on the décor of the entire room as it will be seen in a photo, not as a “stand-out” piece on its own. Remember that 97% of homebuyers start their home search online, so the artwork they see is part of a photograph and not viewed in person at first. Also, be aware that viewers form an opinion of what they see in the first 90 seconds, multiple studies show that between 62% and 90% of the opinion is based solely on color. Our recommendation is that artwork supports the look and feel of a room, blending in but also completing it, rather than making it a focal point. –TruPlace

Artwork should be in keeping with the style of the room. In other words, don’t use coastal art in a rustic or sophisticated room. Instead, bring interest and variety into the space with art while also being careful that there’s a common theme throughout the pieces being used. Color, style, and size all play into creating a cohesive look. -Bobbett & Associates

Be selective with your artwork choices

Stay away from artwork that might be considered controversial. One man’s fine art might not suit other people’s tastes. Also, stay away from visually busy pieces that draw the eye away from the viewer. -Andrew McGibbon Photography

Having an idea of the demographic is the first step when selecting artwork for your home staging. Ask yourself, “what kind of person is most likely to purchase your home?” Is it a city lights lover? Perhaps a mountain range hiker? Or maybe a rancher in the midwest? Put yourself in the shoes of the buyer and envision what they would like to see. -Brent Loe Photography

When deciding how to pick art for your home when staging for sale, ensure that it fits the feel of the room and isn’t too personalized (like a family photo). For example, if it’s a traditionally furnished living room, choose traditional artwork vs. something overly modern. Or, if you are hanging pieces in a child’s bedroom, choose something that’s more fun, artsy, and colorful. -Iconic Real Photography

The most important thing to remember when selecting art for staging, is that it needs to be appealing to the masses. Not everyone has the same taste when it comes to art, so select a piece that is simple and neutral, such as an abstract or landscape. Try to avoid anything that may be considered controversial, quotes, or pieces that are overly traditional, which may turn buyers away. -Designs by Bishop

Use art to help you sell the home, remove art that sells you or your story, and instead hang only the art pieces that create feelings of happiness to people outside of your family. Art evokes emotion, and so when staging a home, use art to evoke emotions of happiness, welcome, peace, light, and “upscale style.” For example, remove wedding pictures and personal photos from a bedroom, and hang art with subtle colors and shapes. Softly colored landscapes or abstracts create feelings of peace and light that are very calming and are not too personal. In a living area, use more lively colors and larger pieces, and place them strategically within the room to bring the buyers’ eye to the selling features of the home, such as a fireplace, a wonderful view out a window, or some wonderful built-in shelving. -Home by Hattan

Use artwork as an accent

Use art to speak to buyers without shouting. The art chosen for your space should enhance and showcase the architectural features and decor style of the home. An original abstract art piece can glam up a transitional or modern neutral space, plus add inspiration and color. Having the right style, scale, and color in your art will also trigger a positive psychological response. Medium blue tones are attractive and attracting, plus it’s a calming shade that offers stability and security. Medium blue is a great accent color choice to keep your buyers in the right mindset to determine their purchase offer and get your home sold faster. -Domaine Luxe

Choose art that accents, not interrupt, your space. When selling your home, art should be the accent, not the main focus. Buyers want to feel and appreciate the main features of your home when it’s for sale. To support this desire, choose art that’s in the right scale/size for a wall or room. Also, make sure the art has mainly neutral colors (beige, grey, black and brown tones) with one or two color elements that complement a color in the room. That way, the buyer can focus on the gorgeous wood floors and the airy high ceilings versus the bright orange painting that you would hang on the wall if you weren’t selling your home. -Hart of the Sell

Use artwork to accentuate a home’s architectural features. Artwork has the power to guide viewers through the tour and call attention to a home’s best features. Choose vertical art pieces to draw eyes upward towards high ceilings and unique moldings. Style a decorative fireplace mantle with a few pieces of art in varying styles and sizes to show the potential of blending historic features and modern styles. -A&S Realty

You can add personality with some drama and color, but do so thoughtfully

Keep it simple, but make it grand. Strategically place large-scale and simple abstract art to create interesting focal points and give buyers a sense of grandeur. Go as big as you can as long as it doesn’t distract buyers from a feature. Try to steer away from pieces that are busy with lots of contrasting colors, because that can also distract buyers. -Ball & Jacks Designs

Use abstract art featuring bright and bold pops of color such as teal, mustard, cobalt, or fuschia. These colors catch the buyer’s eye as they search pictures online, while the abstract style lacks distracting or taste-specific details that could potentially turn off a buyer. Also, keep in mind that heavy or dark frames tend to age a home and drag down the overall look of the room, so we usually choose unframed canvas art. This streamlines and unifies the look while remaining fresh and light. -Texas Best Stagers

Go big and bold. Large canvas artwork with a modern element tends to look better on camera than multiple small photos displayed behind reflective glass. More important though is not hanging your artwork too high. Artwork should be hung around eye level with the midpoint of the piece about 57”-60″ from the floor. -J.L. Jordan Photography

Don’t be afraid to go the DIY-route

If you’re finding it difficult to locate artwork in the style, size, or color scheme that you need for your space, consider making your own. You can purchase a large, inexpensive canvas, or several canvases in order to make a collage effect at your local craft store. Plus, you can use any leftover wall or craft paint to create an abstract design in exactly the color, size, and style that you need. -Gate City Design

Keep other decor elements in mind when hanging your own artwork. When hanging artwork on your own, it should be 2/3 the width of the furniture it’s hanging above so that it connects with other decor elements in the space. Also, the center of your artwork should be 57-60 inches from the ground. This is the average eye level (and the height art galleries use). Artwork 4-6 inches above your furniture otherwise it will look as though your art is floating. -Delta Home Staging & Redesign

Originally published by Redfin


Benefits of Aerial Drone Images in Your Real Estate Listing

Real Estate is a super competitive industry, we all know this. How do you stay above the competition, stand out, and dangle your listing in front of the most interested buyers? There are lots of tools you can use from professional floor plans to walkthru video tours. Great images are among the highest necessity for a real estate listing. However, one tool that is sometimes underutilized by agents is the stunning and captivating, aerial shot.

Aerial drone photography is the capture of still images and video by a remotely-operated or autonomous unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV), also known as an unmanned aircraft system (UAS) or, more commonly, as a drone. Drone photography often allows a first-person view that would normally be cost-prohibitive.

Real Estate Aerial Drone Photography

Aerial images taken with professional drone pilots can be extraordinary. Images showcase the entire property and surrounding area, but they can also capture more than you imagined, like a neighborhood vibe. Drone images create a unique view of the home while helping the buyer get a complete lay of the land.

While drones may be a must-have for luxury listings, grand homes and estates are not the only property types that can benefit from aerial photography. All listings have proven to sell faster with more offerings of images; therefore, consideration of aerial shots should not be taken lightly. In fact, MLS says that homes with aerial images sell 68% faster than homes with only standard images. A multi-acre ranch in Dallas, Texas might require a drone video to give a full sense of the property. However, drone photography for an Atlanta, Georgia listing showing the beautiful back yard can be just as valuable for the real estate agent.

TruPlace Elevated Photography

Of course, one caveat to drone and aerial photography is that there are some places that do not allow drone fly-overs, like Washington, DC. However, there is a way to still get the variety needed by capturing Elevated Images. TruPlace is able to capture elevated photography using an extended reach camera. This can photograph impressive images for your listing above two-story living rooms and sweeping views from the house without disrupting any laws or rules.

Not everyone has the capability to capture aerial images. If you own a drone it is not enough to get out there as a hobbyist or let your nephew who is ‘good with technology’ capture your shots. Not only is there an issue of clear, quality images with a DIY approach, but potential liability for flying without a license. TruPlace offers dynamic aerial products with professional editing and is compliant with FAA Section 333 and fully insured.

Impress your buyers by letting them know you are willing to keep up with trends to make their property listings among the most competitive. Show off as much of the listing as possible including the roofing, pool, or land to highlight all the potential benefits. Aerial shots make all these things easy to see and appealing to prospective buyers. Showing versatility in your listing goes a long way so don’t overlook the use of aerial photography.


Real Estate Marketing Tips

Your marketing efforts are essential to the success of your property listings.  Here are a few marketing tips that will help you maximize your investment in your property visuals.

Make the most of your real estate photography, tours, and floor plans.  These are the foundational building blocks of your listing, but also your portfolio of experience. Capture images of the nearby park and town, or city, because you’re not just selling a house, you’re selling a neighborhood. Show local attractions as well as the necessary photos of the listing itself. Buyers are counting on real estate photography and videos more than ever. In fact, 87% of home buyers relied on photos to help make their decision, according to The National Association Realtors. TruPlace offers a curated selection of complimentary community amenity photos with any photoshoot for this exact reason. Be sure you show all the potential benefits of the home, inside and out.

TruPlace HDR Real Estate Photography

87% of home buyers relied on photos to help make their decision

National Association of Realtors

Make sure it is insanely easy for potential buyers to contact you directly.  This one may seem like the back of a shampoo bottle and over-explained but realtors often miss opportunities to put their contact information in front of the buyer.  Check your social media handles, your phone number should be prominent.  Same with your business card itself.  Yes, you want to drive traffic to your listing or website but most importantly, you want to be sure they can pick up the phone and call you. Your virtual tours should include your contact information and a lead capture form. Don’t overlook opportunities to present your name and number everywhere possible.

Create killer content.  Create content for your listings that will capture the right buyer. Highlight key aspects of the listing but also try to tell a story with images that invite the prospective buyer to envision themselves in the home or neighborhood.  Is there a special café that has the right aesthetic within walking distance?  A newly renovated state-of-the-art playground?  Keep the copy minimum (but don’t leave off the pertinent details of the listing) and lock into the buyer’s imagination.

Complimentary HDR Neighborhood Amenity photos

Lock into your competition.  You should always be monitoring what your competitors are doing and see where they are successful, as well as where they are not. The internet and social media may seem cluttered with everyone using similar tactics but what works, works. You can take ideas as a starting point and make them your own, tailored for your specific audience and your buyers. Do not be afraid to try out a new trend if it seems in line with your personal brand. Perhaps most importantly, when a competitor makes a misstep, you will notice right away.  Add it to your ‘Don’t do that’ list and learn from their mistakes.


New Time-Saving Solutions for Overwhelmed Reservation Agents

If you are an overwhelmed reservation agent, we understand your life! Right now, it is all about solutions that will make your job and your life easier. These three solutions not only save you time and increase your productivity but are welcome upgrades that your clients will appreciate.

1. Printable Floor Plans from TruPlace

Having floor plans on hand for each unit saves time in a big way. Not only can you easily share these with guests, but also with maintenance crews and cleaning teams. The biggest time saver here is that reservation agents have reported a 33% reduction in guest questions with the use of TruPlace’s Interactive Floor Plan Tours. TruPlace’s Interactive Floor Plan Tour now includes a downloadable high resolution floor plan that can be printed and laminated for emergency directions and instructions throughout the property. Because all the information for the property is provided upfront, potential guests can eliminate properties that will not meet their goals.

Imagine a world where there are even a few less questions from the guests for you to answer. Reduced questions mean way more productive time for you to get other work done. This also means a win-win with less time wasted for you as well as guests with the use of Interactive Floor Plans. Guests are easily able to find out important details on their own, rather than calling reservation agents for questions such as “Which bedrooms have a shared bathroom?” or “Which levels provide balcony access?”. Maintenance and cleaning staff can save time in finding the proper rooms in need of service and avoid the extra call to office staff.

2. Property Voice Assistant from Xplorie

Another new and exciting tool to use is the Xplorie Enabled Voice Assistant. Client questions, while sometimes necessary, do require a large portion of time and effort on the reservation agent’s end. Common questions like, “What is the Wifi password?”, or “Where is the best family restaurant around?”, “Where can I get a spa treatment?” even, “Do I need a fishing permit to go fishing here?”. These questions and so much more can be used through the voice assistant with Xplorie.

Modern technology is about keeping it modern and now 1 in 4 adults own and use a voice-enabled device. Voice assistance is so easy to use that it is appropriate and helpful to all age demographics of vacationers. Being able to completely customize the experience will show you are current and continue to build trust in your knowledge of your property and surrounding area. Providing this contact-less concierge service will wow your guests while giving you hours back in your day to be productive in other areas.

3. Guest-facing App from Wishbox or Touch Stay

If you were able to lessen the questions you are normally barraged with using the previous tip, you might also be interested in a web-based guest app, like Wishbox or Touch Stay.

Imagine a guest being able to check in online and have access to a wide variety of information at their fingertips. You could customize your guests’ experience with guidebooks, local maps, upload videos, images and tours. Not only that, but you could provide access to in-house services and destination services working with your local partners.

Wishbox’s features will make your communication more efficient and save time and effort through their Communication Hub. It’s easy to manage your communications through their hub so you don’t miss a message and know where your guest is in the journey of their stay. Their Upsells feature allows guest to take charge of upgrades and automates offers to them, relieving you of some of the upselling that lands on you to push.

The takeaway is… hang in there! There are solutions that can help you during your busiest seasons and maintain your sanity throughout the year.


The Best Products to Market your Multi-Million Dollar Real Estate Listing

When it comes to marketing a luxury listing, a standard photography package is not going to cut it. Sellers expect their property to stand out and the quality of the visuals should match the quality of the listing. Here are our picks for the best products to market your multi-million dollar listing:

TruPlace's best products to market your multi-million dollar real estate listing

 

 

WalkThru Video

Provide an in-person sense of the listing by being escorted around the home with a smooth WalkThru Video. This high-quality video provides a look at some of the best features of the house in an attention-grabbing format. Listings with video receive 403% more inquiries than those without. Make sure the quality of your video matches the luxury listing. Set to tastefully selected music, TruPlace’s WalkThru video uses DSLR technology that delivers superior sharpness and clarity that emulate the quality of the listing.

Interactive Floor Plan Tour + 360 Views

A user-driven, user-friendly experience of a property that shows a layout of the floor plan with embedded photos and 360 Views. This tour provides the most flexibility for viewers to browse at their own pace. Detailed floor plans provide a sense of the space while the photos show the exact view from that place on the floor plan. 360 Views take this one step further by allowing the potential buyer to zoom in to see details such as a kitchen backsplash then out to rotate the view of the room.

Virtual Staging

Staged listings sell 88% faster and for 20% more. While it might not always be a possibility to totally redecorate your multi-million dollar listing physically, virtual staging is a great alternative. Choose your furniture style and let TruPlace take care of the rest, with realistic fine details that make a huge difference.

Details matter, especially when it comes to luxury real estate. Make sure you give the right impression to sellers and buyers through your visual marketing.