The First Showing of Your Home Happens Before Anyone Steps Through the Door

The First Showing of Your Home Happens Before Anyone Steps Through the Door

When it comes to real estate showings, most people know that they need to have their home ready from the moment a potential buyer walks through the front door. However, have you considered the idea that the first showing happens before a potential buyer even comes to your home? Your real estate listing photos set the tone to create the first impression for buyers who might be interested in your property.

Quality of Your Real Estate Pictures

It has been said that a picture is worth a thousand words. In the real estate industry, a picture could be worth thousands of dollars in home equity. By setting the right impression for people who may be interested in your home, you can increase the likelihood that you will settle on a more favorable price.

The internet makes it possible for people to browse real estate properties online. Web appeal is the new curb appeal, which means that your listing photos could make-or-break your opportunity to sell your home for a fair price.

Photos that excite buyers will increase the likelihood that they will schedule a time to walk through the home. Additionally, these photos will help to spark the right emotions so that they are motivated to purchase the property. As a result, you will receive higher offers, and you will have more leverage during negotiations.

Hire a Professional Photographer

A few smartphone snapshots won’t be sufficient to create a listing that will capture the attention of potential buyers. Instead, it is important that you bring in a professional real estate photographer. Hire someone who knows the real estate market, because they will have the experience needed to showcase your home in a way that will attract buyers.

Before the photo shoot, you should prepare your home as if you had an open house or private showing scheduled. Talk to your real estate agent for staging tips and advice about how you can improve the appearance of each room.

Biggest Mistake: Real Estate Listing without Photos

One of the biggest mistakes that you can make is listing a home without photos. If you don’t have professional photos yet, then don’t list your home until you are ready.

When your listing goes live, potential buyers will get text messages and email alerts if your home matches the specifications they desire. When your address comes up as an alert, they will be disappointed if there aren’t any pictures to see on the listing.

Jumping the gun means that the buyer will quickly move on to look at other listings, and you will have lost your opportunity!

Our team at DUFFY Realty has many years of experience creating home listings that will capture the attention of potential buyers. When you are getting ready to sell your home, it is a good idea to work with a real estate group that knows how to create and optimize a home listing that stands out from the competition. Call us to learn more about our services: (678) 318-1700

Buying a Fixer-Upper? Prepare Yourself!


Buying a fixer-upper can be daunting, but it can also be the exact right thing to do when considering the area that it’s in. If you happen to find an older home with some need of TLC in your dream neighborhood, buying a fixer-upper can give you the chance to renovate and decorate to your exact specifications to create your dream home. Plus, you have the added benefit of a somewhat discounted home so that you can put the money you saved from buying an outdated home towards your desired renovations. Before doing this, though, you need to consider all of the angles.

Get ready for an ongoing project.

Updating and renovating a fixer-upper will force you to take on a myriad of projects to achieve the exact look and feel you imagined. This can take a lot of time and money. Even if you are an avid DIY-er, you will have to prepare yourself for some grueling projects that will require much of your time. Life can get in the way sometimes, too, so be sure that you are ready for your home to be in all kinds of disrepair while you are in the process of working through your new home. The most efficient way to work through the projects on your home is to focus on one to two projects at a time. Finish those before moving on to the next task. The worst thing you can do is start a bunch of projects at once and then never finish them, since this might leave your home worse off than when you found it.

You will have to pay a pretty penny.

Before budgeting for what projects you know you want to accomplish in your new home, put aside some money first for one big unforeseen project. With older homes, sometimes something will end up breaking down in the first year of owning the home, and you should be prepared to fix it in a pinch. So, it is important to keep in mind that while your fixer-upper may have passed inspection, it is not a guarantee of complete working order. If, after the first year of living in the home, nothing needs repair, then you have extra money to put towards more of your cosmetic projects. Once you have budgeted for this possible unforeseen project, then you can consider how much money you have to put towards the rest of your planned renovations. If you aren’t the DIY-er you wish you were, you will have to hire some contractors, which means shopping around for the best deal for the best job done. Add some wiggle room in this budget since most contractors will come in for a job you want done, but will then suggest a mini side project that they can do while completing the task you hired them for. For example, a contractor updating the floors in your bathroom might also suggest updating the vanity while they’re at it.

Remodeling: Should You Embark On This Endeavor Prior to Selling?


Many sellers think that they must make all sorts of repairs and renovations to their homes before even listing. This endeavor can be a daunting one, but sometimes it can give sellers just the edge they need. Before taking on this task, consider all of the angles.

What are the benefits of renovating and what updates should be made?

If you feel like your home won’t be up to the task of competing with newer, more recently updated homes, then renovations can definitely help sell your home faster than it would if you tried to sell it as-is. This is especially true with older homes with out-of-style interiors. One way to bring your home up to scratch is to update counters and flooring in the kitchen and bathrooms, update the cabinetry, and install new appliances. Take a look online to see current trends or visit homes in your area in the same price range to see what kind of updates others have made or to see what renovations are necessary for your home to be competitive in the market. Don’t feel pressured to rip out your entire kitchen or bathroom to renovate, though. Small improvements can be made that will make a big impact. Be mindful to update within your time constraints as well. For example, don’t start multiple projects all at once. Get one project done first before beginning another, in case you decide to go ahead and list after completing one project. Sometimes you’ll find that only having to do one big update is all you need to do to vastly improve your home’s appeal in the competitive market.

What might be the downsides of updating and renovating?

These kinds of renovations can cost a lot of money and time. Depending on the project, you might have to spend a pretty penny and postpone putting your home on the market for a while during the renovations. Remodeling any part of your home can be stressful on top of everything else you are doing to prepare for selling your home and buying and moving into a new home. Sometimes it is best to simply sell your home as-is to get the home off of your hands and put your money towards your new home. Plus, selling your home as-is will give buyers a chance to remodel the home on their own to their tastes. It isn’t necessary for you to go overboard with a ton of different remodeling projects that might not even be right for some of your buyers’ own personal styles. So the best way to get by without renovating is to clean, depersonalize, and simply fix things that are no longer functioning or need repairs.

If you aren’t sure about whether or not to remodel features of your home, discuss it with your agent. They will have sage advice for you during the process of listing and selling your home.

Erase the Evidence of Pets


Having pets can be one of the great joys of life, but not for everyone. When selling your home, having pets can actually be a hindrance. It is important to erase all evidence of pet inhabitants as much as possible so that any foul odors or stains won’t distract your buyers. Here are some tips to help!

Keep your pets out of sight.

First and foremost, if you are still living in the house you are selling, you need to make it known that pets live in the house as well. In any private remarks or showing instructions on your listing, you should require appointments or a courtesy call so that you can put your pets in the backyard, in a crate, or in a room with the door shut. It shouldn’t matter whether or not your pet is the friendliest or quietest pet in the world. Not all buyers are going to be animal lovers. Some buyers might even be scared of your big dog or slinking cat. Or, even worse, some buyers might be allergic to your pet and will be too busy sneezing and rubbing their watery eyes to really get a look at your home. So, as much as you love your pets, they should be out of sight whenever buyers come to visit.

Eliminate odors.

One of the best ways to keep odors to a minimum is to use baking soda, a natural odor absorber. Keep an open box out on the counter. You can even sprinkle some baking soda on fabrics and carpet or rugs. Sprinkle a little bit on any foul-smelling fabrics and then wipe clean or vacuum up. Another great way to eliminate odors is to change and clean your home’s HVAC filters regularly, since odors can get trapped in those filters and then circulate through your home. In general, try not to focus on covering up odors with air fresheners or candles. The trick here is to eliminate and neutralize. Other scents that you introduce in your home may be equally offensive to buyers or those scents will just mix with the pet odors that already exist. Avoid this at all costs.

Remove stains and pet hair.

Pets shed a lot, can be dirty, and are prone to accidents. Your carpet may show the history of your pets’ house-training days or rainy day adventures. Wipe down walls that your pets frequently rub up against, use stain removers on carpets and rugs, and vacuum frequently to remove pet hair. Consider using a wet vac to really give your carpets a good cleaning after vacuuming. If carpets are too far-gone, replace them. By cleaning or updating your carpets, you might even help with eliminating a lot of the odor. Also, if your walls are especially bad, painting can help with this issue as well.

Overall, you want to give buyers the impression of a pristine home.

Keep Your Listing Fresh and Up-To-Date This Spring


The number one reason homes don’t sell is an out-of-date or mismanaged listing. It is important to keep an eye on the information your listing has as well as keep it fresh and up-to-date in order to assure buyers that what they see is what they’ll get. Here are some ways to make sure your listing sells your home.

Make sure everything is correct.

One of the easiest ways to manage your listing is to make sure that all of the information is correct. You’d be surprised at all of the ways a listing can have incorrect information. The number of bedrooms and bathrooms might be wrong or the listing might report the wrong school district. There are about a hundred ways your listing could have incorrect information, and buyers will be more than a little disappointed if they arrive at your property thinking you have five bedrooms, when you actually have three bedrooms. To manage the information on your listing, simply check your listing at the beginning of your listing period. Comb through all of the information and confirm that everything is accurate. Then, occasionally check your listing online to make sure it is uniform and accurate. This aspect of managing your listing will be the simplest way to keep your listing up to date.

Change the verbiage from time to time.

Your listing description can really be enticing to buyers, depending on how you and your agent word it. If it’s bland and too factual, then you aren’t tugging at the buyers’ heartstrings to reel them in to your home. Think of reasons that you have loved living in your home and area. Is your home especially vibrant and homey during the spring season? Add that to the description! You can even change the verbiage of your listing description from time to time to update and refresh your listing once a month or every couple of weeks. Use impressive buzzwords and phrases like “spacious,” “open,” “natural light,” “luxurious,” or “cozy.” Highlight recent updates or impressive features of your home, such as bathroom renovations or a master bedroom fireplace. This is the chance to talk to your buyers, so take advantage of it, and update it when necessary.

Keep your photos updated.

Be mindful of your pictures at all times. Your pictures should feature your home in its best light. Change the exterior photos to match what it looks like from season to season, as the color of the grass changes or as plants and flowers begin to bloom. If you paint a room a different color, be sure to change the photos to reflect that. If a buyer sees your photos online first and then goes to your home expecting the photos, only to find you’ve made several changes, they might be disappointed. If you stay vigilant about your listing, and the way that your listing reflects your home, you are sure to impress and please buyers.

Selling 101: Some Basics You Need to Know When Selling Your Home


If you are selling a home for the first time, chances are you are feeling pretty overwhelmed by the journey ahead. Selling your home can be an incredibly stressful task, but there are some basic steps you can take to make this process as easy as possible. Whether you sell your home with Duffy Realty of Atlanta or with another agent, this process will be the same. Follow these steps to get your house sold asquickly and painlessly as you can.

Check your emotions at the door and make your home a product.

If this is your first home, chances are you have many memories attached to living in it. But you’ll need to distance yourself from this home because it won’t be yours for much longer. A good way to detach is by depersonalizing, cleaning, and making small updates to really make it a product. Make your home marketable so that all buyers can picture themselves in the home. Don’t waste time feeling nostalgic and emotional because this will only make it harder for you to sell. After you have gotten your home move-in-ready, take breathtaking photos to add to your listing to really  sell it. Your listing should be accessible in as many ways as possible, including real estate websites, the multiple listing services, and signs throughout your community.

Marketing is key.

Be forthcoming with information about the property. One of the easiest ways to expedite the selling process is by being available to answer buyers’ questions about the property, or by providing buyers with a Seller’s Disclosure Statement. You should be able to answer any questions about the property’s history that you know. Keep in mind that a Seller’s Disclosure is not an inspection, and that the inspection will confirm information on the property you have already given or expand on any information you cannot provide. Be willing togive your contact information out on your listing or in any advertising you do so that buyers or buyer’s agents can contact you if they have specific questions.

Review and revise all offers and attend closing.

This seems like a no-brainer, but sometimes the process of reviewing offers can be daunting. If you sit down and read through all of the terms yourself, then you will begin to make sense of everything. Don’t psych yourself out. Review all of the terms in the offer, and if they are not acceptable to you, simply revise them and send them back to the buyer to agree upon. Once all parties have agreed to all of the terms, the final step is to attend closing directed by a closing attorney. Once you outline exactly how this process works, it seems a lot less complicated, which is exactly how we want it to feel!

Is Staging Worth the Hassle?


According to Tasha Moody, the president of Simply Staged, staging is the art ofpreparing a home for sale so it’s as appealing as possible to every potential buyer inthe market. If you are struggling with finding clean and stylish ways to present your home so that it appeals to every potential buyer in the market, then you should consider staging your home to really give your home the edge it needs to sell quickly.

What are the benefits of staging my home?

There are a lot of benefits for staging your home. First, staging a home allows buyers to really imagine what it would be like to live in the home. Since one of the main tasks of staging a home includes depersonalizing, the buyers won’t be seeing themselves as buying your home but will instead see it as buying a property that they can make their own. Furthermore, buyers might even be willing to overlook property faults or features of the home that they hadn’t intended on purchasing for their next home. And, most importantly, staged homes encourage buyers to offer more than non-staged homes. Staged homes create a cozy atmosphere that homes that aren’t staged just can’t compete with.


Should I stage my entire house?

The most important rooms that should be staged include the kitchen, family room, and master bedroom. Since the kitchen is probably where the family is together most often, the kitchen will most likely sell the house. A fresh coat of paint and either re-finishing or re-painting your kitchen cupboards will make your kitchen look like new. In the family or living room, again, a fresh coat of paint can really make a difference. Bring some light into the room by opening the blinds and drawing the curtains before showings or open houses, and turn on any ceiling light fixtures or add lamps to light it all up. Then, the master bedroom should feel like an inviting and relaxing escape from the rest of the house. Purchase a bed-in-a-bag with colors or a pattern that matches the color scheme in the rest of the room. Or, buy a duvet in a neutral color and add pillows with splashes of color to brighten up the room. You could use this technique in every bedroom in your home to give buyers the chance to imagine themselves and their family retreating to their bedrooms to unwind. If you want to go even further, you should consider staging your bathrooms as well. Make the bathroom feel like the buyer is walking into a spa. Arrange fluffy towels near the tub, soaps near the sink, and hang a framed mirror. You’d be surprised just how immaculate your home will look after it’s staged.

Consider staging your home or hire a professional home stager today!

Quick Tips: What to Look for in a Home’s HVAC System


With so many depreciable items in your home, the HVAC system rises to the top of the list as one of the most important items to maintain.  Whether you are buying or selling your home, there are certain things you need to ask to make sure that you are getting the best bang for your buck.


As a Buyer, you need to ask the seller:

-What is the age of the HVAC system?

-Has it been upgraded recently, if ever?

-Is it in good working condition?


As a Seller, here is some advice:

-First and foremost,  change your filters.  Many sellers on the market overlook this maintenance, miss changing the filters, and then this oversight shows up on home inspection as dirty.  This immediately makes the buyer of the property suspicious, asking themselves, “Has this property been properly maintained?”.


-Second, make sure your marketing table is displayed properly with your utility bills if the HVAC system, or any system in the home, has been updated.  This shows the prospective buyers that you have really kept the home in good working order.  You should be proud of your upgrade, whether it be new filters, a new Hepa system, or anything along these lines.  These details are extremely important to your buyer and your maintenance records for the home.

For more tips for buying and selling your home, visit our other blog posts and our YouTube Channel!


Open Up for an Open House


Hosting an open house is an excellent way to boost traffic on your home and to give buyers a chance to experience the atmosphere of your home. Before hosting an open house, you should be sure that your home is ready to be put on display for a large group to walk through. Here are some tips for hosting the perfect open house.

Keep everything squeaky-clean.

Your home should be immaculate for an open house. Every room that buyers enter should be clutter-free and should have a thorough cleaning before the open house starts. This should include freshly laundered beds, bathrooms that have been wiped down and scrubbed to perfection, and kitchens that are virtually smudge-free. Dust every surface and vacuum all carpets or sweep up debris from the floors. A dirty house could contribute to strange smells that put buyers off. So to top it all off, try to get rid of odors with candles or gentle air fresheners. Outside of the house, rake up leaves, mow the lawn, and weed out flowerbeds. Your home should be groomed to perfection from the inside out.

Spread the word!

Inform friends and family of your open house so that they might spread the word. Buy plenty of signs, including directional signs, to lead potential buyers to your home. You can even purchase an online advertisement and include the date and time that you will be conducting your open house.

Presentation is everything.

marketing table

Your open house should be an experience for the buyer. To guarantee the best possible experience for all buyers who attend your open house, offer light refreshments, such as bottled water or soda, or perhaps some freshly baked cookies (which will give your home a delicious scent!). Another way to stand out to buyers is by writing them a letter. Sit down with your family and come up with all of the reasons you have loved living in your home and community. You could even address certain questions in this letter about the homeowners’ association or local schools. Any information that will attract a buyer’s attention should be included in this letter, but keep it as short and sweet as possible. Make enough copies for all buyers to take with them. In addition to the letter, you could also include a list of local business or restaurants that you have enjoyed being a patron of while living at the home. You should also include a sign-in sheet for buyers to leave their contact information should you forget to mention something during the open house. All of these things will stick in the mind of the buyer, and may even draw them back for a private showing.

Don’t be discouraged if you get no traffic on the day of your open house. This can happen, but the trick is to open your home for potential buyers to walk through as often as possible, and to stand out.

Re-Listing Your Home for the Spring Season


Spring is on its way to Atlanta. We can already feel hints of it here and there, even though it’s only January. So if you took your home off the market during the cold winter months and busy holiday season, then right now is the perfect time to get back into seller’s mode! Here are some ways to return to the market in full force to sell in the spring.

Spruce up your home

The holidays are over, so take down any decorations or lights you may have had up in your home or yard. Chances are, they won’t be needed until you move into your new home, so put them in storage. Likewise, go through every room with a box to put away anything that you know you won’t need again until you are in your new home. This includes personal items, clothes that you won’t need until next season, or toys or other items that clutter up rooms in your home. Repair or replace any seriously damaged appliances in your home, but remember that now is not the time to update or renovate. Simply do a thorough spring-cleaning of your home and yard to transition it back to its ready-to-sell glory. Add some color in your home or yard by adding potted plants or bouquets of flowers to make your home even more inviting.

Freshen up your photos and listing

It is pretty likely that features of your home might look different now than when they did when you had your first pictures taken. So now is the time to review your old photos and take new ones of rooms or features of your home that have been repaired, rearranged, or that might just look different today. There is no need to replace every single one of your photos with a new one, but maybe you should take a photo of the outside of your home as it looks today, or take a photo of the master bedroom with different lighting. Try rearranging a certain room to show it off in a new way. Another good thing to do is re-word your listing description. Talk about the different features of your home that can really be appreciated and use refreshing verbiage to entice buyers to see your home for themselves.

Get everything in order

During the holiday season, you probably took your home off the market because you knew there would be so many other things going on that you wouldn’t be able to keep up with the process of selling your home. Well, now there are no distractions. It’s time to make sure everything is in order. Get all of your paperwork together and organized and confirm that everything is ready to go to be re-listed. Remember, it doesn’t cost anything to re-list with Duffy Realty of Atlanta, no matter how long you’ve been off the market. Now is the time to re-list! Re-list with us today!