How To Stage Your Montana Home Like A Pro For Short Term Rental Or Sale:
With spring around the corner, many of homeowners here in NW Montana and Glacier Country are starting to dust off the shelves of their vacation rentals or thinking about listing their homes for sale. Here’s a little guide to help get you thinking about how to stand out from the competition.
Why Does The Presentation Of A Home Matter?
Now days, with digital media, everyone looking to travel and stay in an Airbnb or buy a home is using the internet. The first thing they see are the photos. The second thing they do is look at the actual home information. First impressions always need to be spot on. If the photos aren’t good enough, people won’t look too much further. More than likely, they will skip onto the next house in their search results, meanwhile you’re left wondering if perhaps you set your price too high. In reality maybe it wasn’t the price that was the problem, but the images that are being used to justify the price.
There are a couple of circumstances where your images may not matter quite as much. One of them being, a family is looking for a last minute vacation rental to travel to the Flathead Valley to visit Glacier National Park. As many of you are aware, if a person is not already booked a year in advance, it can be difficult to find lodging in the area at the last minute. Those potential renters will not be shopping based on photo quality, but more on actual property availabilty.
Another circumstance where pictures are not going to carry as much weight is a period of time in real estate, where there are very few lower priced homes on the market and many people looking to buy. When there’s a housing shortage of lower price, entry level homes, they sell fast with or without perfectly staged homes and professional photos. Meanwhile the higher priced homes still benefit from having well staged, professional quality photos, as they don’t sell as quickly as the homes $350,000 and under.
What should you be doing to make sure you’re attracting a crowd of renters or buyers to your property? Here are some simple things you need to do to make those photos work for you:
Make It Light And Bright:
Make sure all of your lights are working inside, and also open your blinds and curtains to let the light in for the photo shoot. A great photographer will have no trouble balancing out the light and dark areas, and it’s better to show a little outside rather than to close all the blinds and make it look darker than it is.
Remove The Clutter:
I’ve looked at thousands of homes in my time, and there’s nothing more frustrating than seeing a great home that looks smaller than it really is because there is too much stuff in the kitchen and way too many things in the living room. Get rid of the things that don’t need to be there, leave the things that do, and make it immaculate.
As an example, one space that gets a lot of clutter is a bathroom, but it’s important to have your bathroom looking amazing. Buyers want to imagine their perfect vacation or home, and to have a bathroom that looks like a spa at a luxurious resort is a dream situation for most people.
Arrange The Furniture:
There’s a fine balance between having too little furniture, with bare open spaces that look decidedly uninviting, and having too much furniture. You may also need to arrange the furniture so that a living room, for example, looks conversational and the kind of place a person would want to sit with friends.
Clean The Home Well:
Seeing a home in a photo is different to having buyers walk through an open home or renters staying there, but it’s still important that you present a clean and tidy space.
For example, you would want to:
- Pick everything up off the floor that shouldn’t be there and clean all floors.
- Remove all signs of pets living or had lived in the home as some folks can be turned off by the site of a dog bed or a cat pole.
- Show that you have room in the kitchen by hiding away any small appliances on display.
- In your bathrooms make sure all items are in storage, and just leave out a small number of decorative pieces.
- Carefully clean all windows and mirrors, and make sure there aren’t any streaks because they will show up in the photos (especially in the bathroom).
Prepare The Outside:
Don’t neglect the exterior of your home, and be sure that all trees and brushes are neatly cut, the grass is short, and edges trimmed. If you have some patchy areas try and have those repaired by starting to work on them a month or two before the photos are taken, and if you aren’t successful bring in a professional to treat it. A great front lawn makes a strong first impression, so take the time to make it look amazing.
You will also want to remove anything stored around the yard such as garden tools, toys, empty plant pots and anything else that shouldn’t be there.
Don’t Show Seasonal Items:
If approaching a holiday season, it doesn’t mean you want to show that in your photos. When I’m photographing a home, I almost always request that any holiday décor be removed from a space before I shoot it, and the reason why is that we don’t want to have any images that date the photo.