Tech-Savvy Tips for Getting Top Dollar on a Home Sale

home stagingBy Juliette Fairley

NEW YORK -- When a house is up for sale, professional photos of the property can increase its perceived value by 13 percent, according to a new study by VHT Studios. On a $250,000 home, 13 percent equates to a rise of $32,500.

A decade ago, real estate sales involved pounding a sign in the yard and securing an agent to mail out postcards and place newspaper ads. Today it requires a considerable amount of Internet and image savoir faire. "If you haven't been in the real estate market for five or 10 years, you may be surprised how much the homebuying experience has changed thanks to the Internet," said Brian Balduf, Chairman, VHT Studios, a firm that provides photography and digital marketing for homes and businesses.

The housing recovery is well under way prompting many to dream of pocketing a profit from selling their homes. Technology, however, has forever changed the way homes are sold post 2008. VHT's consumer survey reported that 80 percent of buyers find their homes online. "Buyers use iPads and tablets to shop online and compare homes for sale," Balduf said. "They scan hundreds of listings, looking for properties that catch the eye."

To maximize the sales price of your home, consider the tips below:

1. Use a professional photographer. The cost of hiring a professional photographer could be well worth the investment. "Selling your home has become an online beauty contest," Balduf said. "Buyers are visually-oriented. So sellers need to provide the best possible pictures of their house on the Internet to grab buyers' attention and motivate them to set up a showing."

2. Post a video of your home on YouTube. About 21 percent of buyers look for videos online. "Grabbing the attention of Web-savvy buyers requires professional-quality photographs, publishing a video on and providing interactive floor plans," Balduf said.

3. Include floor plans in your listing. Interactive floor plans that show how rooms relate to each other are an increasingly popular marketing tool. "Some brokerages have begun making interactive floor plans standard," Balduf said. "The combination of floor plans and professionally taken photos creates the ultimate shopping experience for buyers."

4. Clear out clutter. Your house will show better if it's clean and well-organized. Potential buyers are interested in buying a home not furnishings. "Take a minimalist approach and clear out personal items around the house, such as piles of paperwork, books, houseplants and photos," said Balduf.

5. Select an agent who knows how to create a perception that draws more buyers to a listing. "It's obvious from even a cursory glance at real estate listings that some agents overlook the importance of good quality photographs and videos but homebuyers don't," Balduf said.

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