photography, Realtors

Virtual Staging is an innovative approach to impress buyers!

What’s all the hype about virtual staging and is it really worth it in comparison to traditional staging?

According to the National Association of Realtors®, over 75% of buyers’ agents said that their buyers were able to envision their future life in the home.  In addition, about 38% of sellers’ agents use traditional staging in all of their client’s listings.  This is due to the fact that staging can often have a direct impact on how quickly the home sells.  Virtual staging is a cost effective alternative to traditional staging.

Here are a few example of virtual staging that Pipas Imagery created so you can see what’s possible:

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Virtual staging is a great way to showcase a property without having to bring in real furniture.  All of the staging is done electronically which means you don’t have to carry in furniture, plants, or wall art.  This provides a way to enhance the empty room photos which will help buyers envision their own furniture in the room.

When using virtual staging photos be sure to include the original empty room photo in your listing too.  Buyers may be expecting the furniture if they only see the photo that is virtually staged.  So in order to give them a heads up its best to include both.

Most buyers are fairly understanding of virtual staging, so long as the actual features and presentation of the home they are thinking of purchasing isn’t altered. In other words, when it comes to changing images digitally for real estate marketing purposes placing a couch and love seat in a room that was empty when the photographer took the original photo is okay, but repairing a huge hole in a floor is not.

photography, Realtors

Preparing your home for real estate photography



There are a lot of pieces that go into selling a home.  One important piece is making sure it is visually pleasing to the prospective buyer.  Here is a video I recently came across from White Orchid, which is a home staging company, that has some great ideas:

In this video the home staging business owner John Matthews shares a lot of great information.  One thing he said that really stood out was:

Thankful quote (1)

This quote really encompasses what every home seller wants to hear.  If you’ve already scheduled a real estate photographer to come photograph your home then that’s awesome!  Having high quality photography will really make a difference when selling your home.

However, making sure the home is staged correctly is another important factor since a professional photographed home that is not presented well will not provide the same results.

To really emphasize this point John says:

“Other than pricing it right, home staging and professional photography are the most important factors in selling real estate today.”.png

Here is an example of this in action:

Let’s pretend there are two houses on the same street, one is owned by the Jones family and the other is owned by the Sullivan family.  These homes are the same square feet with three bedrooms and two bathrooms.

The Jones family is pretty neat, although they do have two young children and a little bit of clutter around the house.  The realtor they hired does their own photos so the images are slightly dark inside, the colors aren’t quite right, and they appear to have been done quickly.

The Sullivan family also has to children but their realtor encouraged them to hire a home staging company to prepare their home.  The staging company used a combination of the Sullivan’s furniture and some special pieces that they brought in.  The realtor then hired a professional photographer who created beautifully lit photos and even included a twilight photo to really showcase the home.

Now both of these homes are on the market which the same sale price.

Which one do you think is going to attract the most interest from potential buyers?  

Clearly the Sullivan home is going to sell faster and likely for more money.

Home staging tips for selling a home:

Of course the most ideal situation would be to hire a professional staging company but if that is not possible there are a lot of ideas of things you can do yourself.  Here are a few tips from professional home stager Tori Toth:

Tori made several suggestions including:

  1. Declutter
  2. Pack away items you don’t use regularly
  3. Clean up from top to bottom so it shines
  4. Take care of any small repair projects before listing your home
  5. Paint
  6. Rearrange some furniture to maximize your square footage
  7. Spruce up the front yard to give your home some more curb appeal

We have also put together a great property prep list that home owners can use to get their home ready for a photographer.  You can download this checklist here.Prep list


How to choose the right photographer

Are you one of the many people who know you need a photographer for your business but you’re just not sure which one will meet your needs.  I developed a 24 page report to help guide business owners through the process of figuring out which photographer is right for you.  This guide provides several details including:

  • Five steps to make the process as simple as possible so you can create a shortlist of ideal photographers for your business.
  • Five questions that you can use to guide the conversation with photographers to learn more about their processes.
  • Information about how to analyze the answers that each photographer provided to the questions to help you narrow down your shortlist of photographers and to easily identify the pros from the others.
  • Some great tips to help you know what you should be looking for in a high quality image.

I hope this report helps you to find that perfect photographer that will meet all of your needs.  Click on the link below to download the report:

How to choose the right photographer report

If you ever have any questions please feel free to reach out.  I am happy to help!

photography, Realtors

Twilight pictures give your listings an advantage over others!

Making sure you have the best marketing resources when listing a home is extremely important.  Getting the right photos can have a significant impact on how quickly a home sells and how much it sells for. Forbes Magazine said it best:


Now you may be thinking, what is the benefit of a twilight photo?  Let’s take a look at a couple photos for you to compare.  Of course, every home is different, but here is an example of a daytime photo:


and there here is the same photo that as a twilight:


These two photos really show that the daytime photo looks great, but the twilight photo has strong colors and beautiful lighting that really helps to stand out even more when you are competing against other homes in the same vicinity.

Most homes can really benefit from having a twilight photo in the mix to help people see how beautiful the home looks in the evening.  Lights glowing from inside, no sun shadows, and a stunning sunset create a visually appealing image to potential buyers.

For more examples check out this great video that shows several examples of day to dusk photos:


Unique Closing Gift Ideas

Most realtors offer a gift to their buyers or sellers when they close on a home with them. Giving away a bottle of wine or gift card to their favorite restaurant can get boring and not feel very personal.  Closing gifts are not only are a nice gesture but depending on the gift it can be a constant reminder of the agent so the home buyer or seller will think of you in the future when they buy or sell again.  Here is a list of some ideas I have gathered from agents that were interesting and creative.

  1. Custom print framed of their home – hire a real estate photographer to shoot their new home and then choose one of the nicest photos of the exterior (like a drone shot) and have this print framed.
  2. Monogrammed door mat – every time the owner walks into or out of their home they will think of you when they see this mat.
  3. DIY Gift Basket – this is a great gift for the first time home buyer.  Include some basic tools (screwdriver, hammer, etc) with a how to fix it book, and a gift card to Home Depot or Lowes (or any nearby home improvement store).
  4. Family photo shoot – what better way to recognize the importance of family in their new home then providing them with a gift certificate to get a family photo shoot done together.
  5. Picture frame with key inside – Find a small picture frame and put the key to their new home inside.  You can also add a piece of paper in the background with the closing date and address.
  6. Pizza Party – Moving day is always exhausting.  Find out when they are planning to be at their new house on moving day and surprise them with a pizza party or some other catering for everyone helping to move!
  7. Outdoor fire pit – When all of the moving has settled down what better way to relax than having an outdoor fire pit.
  8. Braided money tree – These trees represent luck which the new homeowner will likely appreciate.  And who doesn’t want a money tree?
  9. Massage gift certificate – Moving takes a toll on your body.  Provide the new home owners with a massage gift certificate to rejuvenate themselves once the moving process is over!
  10. Custom painting of their new home – What a great way to remember their new home than with a custom painting of it.  This is a long lasting picture they can take with them wherever they go.  This is especially nice for a first time home buyer.

Those are all of my closing gift ideas.  I have one other idea I came across that I really liked but isn’t a closing gift idea.  The day after Christmas when everything is on sale go and pick up some ornaments that look like houses.  Then next year visit all of the buyers that closed with you throughout the year and drop off an ornament with your name and number on the back of it.  That is a reminder forever of the closing with you and gives you a chance to reconnect with them.