If you’ve ever put your home up for sale, you know how important it is to attract the right buyer quickly. If your house doesn’t have that certain something when they pull up, they might not even get in. And today, as more people find their homes online long before they show up in the driveway, something else is becoming increasingly important: the appeal of digital curbs. Here are a few ways to make sure your home has it on the market.
What is Digital Curb Appeal?
Digital curb appeal is a new variable in the curb appeal equation for home sellers and home buyers. Not only does your home need to shine like a diamond when potential buyers show up, it should also look amazing online.
“Every listing starts online, even if a realtor just puts it in the MLS, since 80% of homebuyers start their journey online,” said Maureen McDermut, realtor at Sotheby’s International in Montecito, California. “I make sure every home I list is professionally staged and architecturally photographed. When it comes to the exterior of the home, I often hire landscapers, roofers, and other miscellaneous services for my clients to ensure the home photos are good. One of the most common things I ask sellers to do is change their front door. Front doors are the best return on investment improvement you can make to your home. An investment in a $300 door can add $7,000 to $10,000 to the selling price of the home.”
Unlike physical attraction, digital attraction is about more than just the outside of the home. Buyers have the ability to virtually search your entire home. Therefore, it’s important to extend the digital curb appeal to every part of your real estate offering, creating a great subject for solid photography.
“Before physical curb appeal is perceived, buyers see digital curb appeal through online media,” said Abdul Hasib Azizi, broker and global advisor at Premier Sotheby’s International Realty in St. Petersburg, Florida. “For example, when we see a picture of a room that is clean and nicely decorated, with furniture in good colors and so on, we are automatically drawn to learn more about it. Eventually it will make us want to see and buy it in person. So digital appeal is really an important part of a listing that can give a good or bad impression of a property.”
Put your best digital foot forward
If you’re considering listing your home this year, there’s a lot to consider before you do so. Even before you choose your agent, it’s a good idea to see how they handle their customers’ digital attractiveness.
“Buyers lose interest after 5-6 photos; So it’s important to have your best photos on the starting line,” says Lindsay Neuren, principal representative for Speed & Neuren Group at Compass in Austin, Texas. “Buyers want to see the gorgeous kitchen and bathrooms and the incredible backyard and living room. Those first five photos should be absolute eye-catchers to keep the buyer engaged and clicking through to the rest of the photos.”
Of course, you’re expected to help make your home shine online. When your home looks perfect, the pictures can’t help but be enticing.
“Real estate agents can’t do everything with one camera,” Neuren said. “Clean up, clean up, clean up. Many of my clients love the process of staging their home to put on the market because it forces them to get rid of things they no longer want or need. We also recommend greening the whole house. Bright color and updated lights are the cheapest way to make a home feel modern and fresh. We also always recommend fresh landscaping and dark mulch before going to market.”
Most agents will agree that tidying up makes a big difference; Other changes can also help potential buyers see your home as their own. After all, that is the ultimate goal. No matter how cool your stuff is, if your potential buyers can’t see past it, they will walk past you every time.
“Follow the three D’s: depersonalize, declutter, and decolorize,” says Frederick Warburg Peters, president of Coldwell Banker Warburg in New York City, New York. “Get rid of all exteriors in the property so that the basic architecture is visible. Take very personal items with you. And paint it in a light color. Remember, the goal of preparing a home for sale is to make it a product with broad appeal.”
Even if you’re on a budget, with just one simple task, you can have a huge impact on your pool of potential buyers while spending next to no money.
“Clearing the home of excess and overly personalized items can make a world of difference, even when there’s no money to be spent,” says Peters. “A sparsely furnished property always has a wider audience. A virtual staging can also be worth considering, which involves a significantly lower investment than renting furniture.”
What you should know when preparing your entry
Depending on where you live and what time of year you list your home, you should be ready to start receiving offers as soon as the listing goes online if your digital curb appeal is high. Some buyers may only visit your property after you have accepted an offer from them.
“Shoppers today are impatient,” says McDermut. “If you search for a house in a zip code, you will be shown several houses at once. This first impression they get from the photos they see will determine whether or not they even decide to see the house physically. I received offers for homes that I didn’t see due to a listing’s digital appeal.”
On the other hand, if your buyers are more traditional and want to see your home in person, preparing your home for both physical and digital appeal can feel like a tall order. Making lists of things that need to be done is important, doubly so, when hiring service professionals to check things off your to-do list. But it’s also important to start simple and review your choices as you go through the process of preparing your home to make it digitally optimal. Sometimes it really is as simple as it sounds.
“I recommend and strongly encourage homeowners to start decluttering so they can get more space,” says Azizi. “Next comes the cleaning, which is a simple matter, and then you see if the property needs a coat of paint. This process really helps with both digital and face-to-face impressions of the attractiveness of the property.”