According to the National Association of REALTORS® Home Buyers and Sellers Profile, the share of home buyers who have used the Internet to search for a home has increased to an all-time high of 97% in 2020.
The report also found that when asked what the most useful features of an online ad are, buyers ranked photos, floor plans and walkthroughs at the top of the list. And this is no surprise. The past year has radically changed the real estate industry and technology has become more important than ever. Advances in photography and videography have allowed house hunters to gain an intimate glimpse of available properties without ever leaving their couch.
But all of this technology has a downside, and many vendors may wonder if these high-tech features pose a security risk. Let’s take a look at some ways that sellers can protect themselves in this new virtual environment.
Depersonalize the house
Brad Ziemer, real estate photographer at WindowStill, suggests that sellers de-personalize their home before taking photos or videos of advertisements. He says personal items can not only be an annoyance for buyers, but they can also pose a security risk.
“Once a real estate ad hits the internet, it’s available to everyone,” he said. “The last thing you want is to have photos of your family or any identifying information visible on the photos of your property. For example, if your child’s name is on a bedroom wall, I suggest removing it before the photoshoot or at least asking the photographer to digitally remove it from the image.
Other identifying information can include calendars, invitations, mail, financial documents, etc. It is not uncommon for families to have “command centers” where they post daily responsibilities, extracurricular or work activities, and weekly or monthly schedules. While most people will miss this in photos, you don’t want to risk someone zooming in and noticing that you have to be away for the weekend.
Regarding safety at exhibitions, REALTORS® advise sellers to lock up all valuables, including jewelry, money, heirlooms, antiques, expensive works of art, high-priced electronics, guns, etc.
“All of this should be hidden in the list of photos as well,” Ziemer said. “And if you have a safe where you store your valuables, we don’t want to show that either. If it’s too big to move, we can at least try to remove it through our photo editing software.
Choose features you are comfortable with
In 2019, Matterport, a leading provider of 3D tour technology, found that properties marketed with virtual tours generated 40% more clicks, 95% more phone requests, 65% more email requests. -mail more and 49% more qualified prospects.
While this technology can help elevate your listing, some industry experts have expressed concern about the security risk as these interactive tours provide the exact layout of a home as well as all entry points.
Ask your real estate agent and photographer about these features, and be sure to discuss the pros and cons before going ahead.
Take steps to protect your home
Security should always be a topic of discussion when listing your home, and if you’re working with a professional real estate agent and real estate photographer, they’ll make sure it’s always a priority.
Ziemer has a checklist available on their website that helps sellers prepare for the photo announcement. These tips will not only improve your photos, but they will also help with safety.
“I think the most important thing salespeople can do is focus on this element of depersonalization,” he said. “Removing items such as toys, pet items, family photos and children’s artwork not only helps shoppers imagine themselves in the space, but it also helps protect you. as current owner. ”
If you want to take extra precautions during this time, consider installing home security cameras around your property. There are some great options that you can add inexpensively. And remember, you can take them with you to your next home, so it’s not a bad investment.
Your REAL ESTATE AGENT will also give you advice on how to protect your home during the selling process. Be sure to discuss the presentation procedures with your agent and ask important questions such as: Will a lock box be placed on the house? Who is responsible for securing the home after a visit? Who will watch potential buyers when they see the house? How will the projections be monitored?
For a list of local real estate agents and real estate photographers, visit the Greater Lansing Association of REALTORS® website at www.lansing-realestate.com.