9 Questions You’ll Want Answered Before Staging Your Home for a Virtual Tour
During these pandemic times, most house hunters won’t physically tour your home until just before they buy. They’ll do their initial research online, checking out dozens of options. If yours is fortunate enough to merit a virtual tour, you’ll want it to look terrific.
Now more than ever, REALTORS® are seeing an increase in demand for virtual showings.
Fortunately, your Orlando REALTOR® can take the helm in terms of setting up, offering and even guiding these virtual tours. But actually doing the work to make sure your home is ready for its closeup — that’s up to you.
Let us answer a few questions about how to make your home an Internet showplace and drive the sale.
There are a few options for cyber tours. Self-navigated 3D tours are fully interactive, allowing a buyer to view your home on their own for as long as they want, any time they want, stopping at different points along the way. A video walkthrough, which is pre-recorded, takes a predetermined path, and can be attached to the listing. In a showing by proxy, a REALTOR® presents your home live and is able to interact with buyers.
Discuss with your Orlando REALTOR® which options are best for you and your home.
Virtual tours have always been an option for people who may be out of town or busy. But now, they’ve become the norm for any buyer who wants to mitigate risk. The virtual tour lets them tour a new home from the comfort of their own home, giving them a safe first look at all areas of the home. If they like what they see, their REALTOR® can arrange for an in-person showing that follows the latest safety protocols.
The basics are the same. Give your home a thorough cleaning — don’t assume that a video will conceal a quick tidying up. Declutter every room, and depersonalize the space by removing family photos and the like. This helps potential buyers envision the place as their own. Keep in mind though: Just because a potential buyer is viewing a home virtually, don’t think they won’t look as thoroughly as if they were there in person. Make your home as clean and presentable as possible!
The front door. Home sellers tend to focus on interiors, but remember that a buyer’s first impression of your home is walking through the front door. Make sure it's clean — maybe even consider giving it a fresh coat of paint — and do the same for any nearby light fixtures and everything else that’s visible. You may want to place a colorful plant at the entrance.
How much your surfaces shine — or don’t — stands out in the video format. So you’ll want to make stainless steel look like new again. Buff kitchen countertops (using a 1:1 solution of water and isopropyl alcohol is recommended). Eliminate steaky windows by using a 1:1 vinegar and water solution. And that old trick of wiping them with a newspaper? It still works. (Use a circular motion.) Also, clean exterior window treatments to ready them for outdoor views.
Stow any countertop appliances in the kitchen; clear away empty containers and expired food in the fridge, and thin out silverware drawers. In the living room, remove memorabilia, knick-knacks, and family photos, and pare down packed bookshelves. Consider removing a few pieces of furniture for a sleeker, roomier look. In the bedroom, remove everything but the bed, rugs and seating. Clear off bureau tops and toiletries in the bathroom.
Be sure to turn off TVs and other LED screens in the home — they’ll be harsh and distracting in a video. If possible, hide the cords of your electronics by using a cable wrap or wall-mounted cable cover.
Your REALTOR® will certainly come in handy here. He or she will have experience in lighting virtual home tours. The general idea with indoor lighting is to make sure that bulbs are consistent in size and warmth in each room. Contrasting lights are particularly noticeable and can be disorienting on camera. Don’t forget natural light. In most cases, it’s your friend. Work with your REALTOR® to do test videos and adjust the lighting as needed. Do as many takes as necessary until it looks great!
How are things looking outside? Buyers will want to see outdoor spaces so they can imagine the good times they’ll have there. That’s especially true in a beautiful place like Orlando. You’ll want to stage your outdoor space, too. Like the interior, make sure everything is clean and shipshape. Highlight the best features. Do you keep your yard golf-course perfect? Do you have a lovely pool? An outdoor lounging or eating area? Keep any and all of them tidy, clean, and inviting.
Also, remember to show the views — from both inside and outside the home. Let the person taking the virtual tour imagine what it’s like sitting on your deck or looking out the kitchen window. Lighting is important here, too. Shoot the exterior when the light is most flattering, preferably in the morning or later in the afternoon. Full-on midday sunshine can be harsh and unappealing on camera.
Security. Keep safes, elaborate jewelry boxes, expensive electronics, and other valuable items off camera. Granted, it’s highly unlikely that a virtual tour or your home will be given the once-over by crooks. But common sense dictates that you play it safe anyway.
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