Smart Sellers Series: Pictures are Important!

Gone are the days of looking through the newspaper or real estate books and driving around neighborhoods to get a first impression of a house.  Instead, the first glimpse buyers get of a home is online through the pictures uploaded to the MLS.

Buyers are busy and have limited time to search through hundreds of listings, and they will quickly move on or skip listings if there is only one photo (or no photos) or if the photos are of poor quality.

If you’re thinking of selling, look through some listings online and ask yourself:

Do the photos make you want to visit the home? Do they look like they are pulled from a home design magazine? These are the kinds of pictures that will appeal to prospective buyers. Buyers want to be impressed.

Too few pictures, low quality pictures, or homes that do not have pictures of the important rooms lead buyers to question what is wrong with the property.  Buyers will move on and most likely not come back to view these listings.  The first several pictures in the listing are the most important, and should feature an eye-catching exterior front photo, and photos of the main living area, kitchen, owner’s bedroom and bathroom, as well as other attractive features (e.g., deck, patio).

Don’t have photos of the property yet? Don’t list the home until you do. The best photos are those with natural light, so make sure the photographer takes the photos during those times of the day.  Properly lit, high resolution photos are a must!  In addition, maximize the number of photos uploaded to the various websites.  Make sure there are no people (or parts of people) in the photos.  Avoid reflections in mirrors or flash feedback in windows or mirrors.

The Wendy Slaughter Team uses a professional photographer to photograph all of our listings because we understand how important this step of the marketing process is to selling your home.  Call us to learn more about our awesome marketing services can help you sell your home. (PS: Did you know in 2013, the county average “days on market” was 54 and The Wendy Slaughter Team’s “days on market” was just 16 days! Our sellers hug us a lot.)

- Debbie Gottwals

10 Home Improvements Sellers Can Skip

When appraisers determine your home's value, they compare your home to surrounding comparable homes. Although it doesn't happen too often, there is a chance that you can over improve your home for your market area.

We've seen sellers put thousands of dollars into gourmet chef kitchens, owner's baths with champagne tubs and imported tile from Italy only to learn later that they are unable to recoup the costs of when they go to sell. Check out this slideshow for additional examples of some improvements that you may not have to do to your home. Wendy was asked to contribute to this slideshow and she happily agreed!

Wine Cellar

Yes, you should be keeping up with the Joneses...and here's why

The most frequent questions we hear from homeowners relate to maintaining or improving the value in their homes. Being active in the local real estate market means we know the trends. Some you may already know. Others may really surprise you.


Yes, this is a totally boring topic but it is super important! We cannot stress this enough: maintain, maintain, maintain! A stitch in time really does save nine. When something isn’t working, repair it right away. It’s the right thing to do and you’ll thank us later.


Everyone knows that kitchens and baths sell homes. Flooring is a close second. But even small changes can have a huge impact. Those old brass light and bathroom fixtures will age your home and make it seem dated. The good news: fixing this is affordable. Both Lowes and Home Depot now have great lighting options. We recently updated every light fixture in a townhouse for less than $400. It had a huge impact and the house sold quickly. Small investment for a huge impression!


It’s important to choose flooring and paint colors that are current. You don’t have to follow every fad but keeping up with trends while making your house still feel like your own will help to maintain or increase the value. Many designers offer color consultations at reasonable fees.  Again, investing a small amount for a fresh updated palette will make a huge impact in your home!


Maintaining and upgrading your home allows YOU to enjoy the house. Yes, you’ll recoup some of your investment but you’ll also fall in love with your home again. Should you sell down the road, your home will show like a model and you’ll sell faster and for more money than your neighbor.

Want some more free advice? Like us on facebook, follow us on twitter or contact us for more info about improvements and referrals to high quality service providers.

Wishing you all the best!

Wendy Slaughter

This article was originally published in Her Mind Magazine.

Smart Sellers Series: Top 4 things to do to prepare to sell your home!

Really? Just 4 things? Come on! We all know it takes more than this to get your house ready to sell, right?

Actually, when you boil it down, these really are the steps. But don’t be fooled. It is only 4 steps but you’ll need to invest some time and money into getting your house ready for today’s market.

1)      de-clutter

Do you watch HGTV? If so, you’ve probably seen their methods for cleaning and organizing. Create 3 boxes (they might turn into big piles but that’s a ok!): trash, donate, keep. Go through every closet, every cabinet, the garage and basement. The goal: to create open spaces within your home. While you are de-cluttering, keep an eye out for receipts for any work you have completed including maintenance and remodeling.

2)      clean

Clean everything literally from top to bottom inside the house. This includes cobwebs in corners, window treatments, moldings, the tops of cabinets, etc. Don’t forget about the outside of the house too: roof stains, siding, windows, sheds and flower beds are all important as well. Don’t have the time? Call us for a referral to a high quality cleaning company.

3)      maintain

Repair everything. Make sure you don’t have dripping faucets, loose doorknobs or sticking doors. Clean carpets or replace them. Make sure paint looks fresh and crisp. Everything should work well and look good.

4)      stage

Hire a realtor who provides professional staging. Ask for the stager’s credentials. It’s important to work with someone who is experienced and has a degree in design.

Call us if you’re thinking of selling. We’d be happy to come in for a preliminary meeting and help you get started.

- Wendy 

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