What Makes the Perfect Listing?

What Does a Perfect Listing Look Like?

We've already told you that first impressions are everything when it comes to listings. Keep your place neutral (put those family photos away!) so that it will appeal to everyone who walks through, yada,yada,yada. But even that isn't always enough. So what makes for the perfect listing? You'll never guess what house hunters are looking for the most.

Homeowners and Realtors spend a lot of time beautifying the inside of their homes: the sleekly designed living room awash in natural light from tall windows, a gleaming granite countertop in the kitchen, the perfect luxurious master suite. But the majority of people perusing online listings aren't staring at photos of all these gorgeous features (though they are beautiful, we're sure). The Wall Street Journal reports a new study as saying that 95 percent of viewers of online listings spend the most time looking at what you generally see first: the exterior shot. What do they spend the least amount of time looking at? The lair many of us hold so dear to our hearts: the master bathroom.

But please don't spend a lot of time talking up the features of the home you want buyers to see. Most of them aren't really paying attention. Viewers may spend only about 20 percent of their time actually reading the descriptions and another 20 percent on Realtor comments, according to a study by Michael Seiler, founder and director of the Institute for Behavioral and Experimental Real Estate at Old Dominion University. The photos, naturally, are the most important feature: 60 percent of viewers' time is usually spent looking at those. Find out more about what the perfect listing looks like in the video above.

See more:
Ugly Real Estate Listing Photos: How to Avoid Them
Home Listing Photos: What You Can't Get Away With
Worst Listing Photos of 2012

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What Makes the Perfect Listing?

Home staging techniques can transform a ho-hum house into a buyer's dream, getting your property the attention and purchase price it deserves. Dress your home for real estate success with easy, low-cost projects you can accomplish in a few pre-sale weekends.

Grab a pad and pen--along with your digital camera or smartphone--and get outside for a buyer’s perspective of your home. The view from the curb often determines whether or not a shopper will even consider giving your home a closer look and any signs of neglect or clutter can instantly turn them away. Start your to-do list here, noting what needs to be cleaned up, repaired and repainted.

Next, head inside for a preview of what buyers will see during an agent’s open house. As you travel from room to room, try to step out of your usual traffic patterns and take note of the dominant features in each room. Plan touch-ups that will showcase your home in the best light.

A truly lived-in look is not a plus when it comes to selling a home, so clear away everyday clutter including paperwork, collections and personal photos. The buyer needs to be able to visualize themselves in the space, and they won’t be able to do that with constant reminders that you’re still very much in residence.

Rearrange furnishing schemes in every room by getting rid of worn pieces and items that make a space seem overstuffed. There should be enough furniture in place to suggest proper scale and capacity, but not so much that traffic flow is hindered and architectural features are obscured.

Every inch of your home should sparkle with the kind of clean that tells buyers the property is cared for and in tip-top shape. Remove corner cobwebs, keep windows squeaky clean and banish any odors resulting from pets, cooking, smoking and the like.

A bright-red living room may fire up your imagination, but soft, neutral paint colors will better serve the buyer. Replace patterned and boldly colored wall coverings with off-white paint, and install low-grade tan wall-to-wall carpet.

After you’ve cleaned, painted and repositioned furniture, carefully select the art and accessories you choose to replace in every room of the home. Remember the rule of threes to create pleasing, uncluttered groupings of items, and add welcoming vitality with a few thoughtfully placed plants. Stow away all personal items and limit wall decorations to fewer and larger pieces, including strategically placed mirrors that expand spaces and reflect your best assets.

Home shoppers consider the garage to be a major bonus space, so help yours live up to their expectations with a thorough cleaning and uncluttered view of work and storage areas.

Give your home’s interior and exterior details some TLC. Touch up trim, polish cabinetry, repair or replace inoperable hardware and secure handrails. Also add shine to light fixtures with a thorough cleaning and installation of brand new bulbs.

Get potential buyers in the door by creating a grand entry. A front door that’s energy efficient as well as beautiful makes a great impression, and polished hardware, a tidy new doormat and planters overflowing with colorful blooms complete the look. And don’t forget to trim the lawn and tend to landscape plantings, because these chores can bring you a different kind of green: according to the Professional Landcare Network, lush landscaping adds as much as 15 percent to the property value of a home.

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