How to Take Better Pictures of Your Home for Sale

iPhoneRealEstateWhen it comes to selling your home, it is really true that a picture is worth a 1,000 words. While the price and location matter most, the visual images of your house on the various online websites are essentially your calling card for buyers. In this post we’re going to offer five tips on how to take better pictures of your home for a faster sale.

It’s Not the Camera, It’s Your Settings

The first tip is not to worry too much about the camera you are using. If you have an iPhone, a point-and-shoot camera, or any kind of DSLR you are in good shape. If you have an Android, you will never sell your house because they take horrible pictures.

Just. Kidding! Mostly.

Whether you are using an iPhone or a regular camera, the first thing you want to do is use it at the right time of day. The golden hour, typically 6:00pm to 7:00pm here in Dallas – Fort Worth, produces a very appealing light that will showcase the exterior of your home. As a rider to this tip, the reason we are choosing this time is because we want to include people in the picture. Most homes for sale are just houses…but if you can strategically add a few smiling people to the picture, it now becomes a “home.” At the very least, your house will be memorable to the buyer as they search for 50 houses online. Be different.

Let’s recap what we have so far:
1. Do no obsess about your camera. Use what you have.
2. Shoot during the golden hour and include people. Be different.

Tip #3: Choose the Right Angle

Never shoot your exterior pictures into the sun. Instead, try and get the sun at your back or coming in from the side. This is the ideal light for the exterior of your home.

As for the inside, avoid shooting directly into any lighting that the room may have and, again, try and keep all lighting sources at your back.

Tip #4: White Balance

Most good cameras have options for adjusting white balance so your house doesn’t look a funny color. Look for a setting that specifies “sunny” or “beach” for outdoor pictures and “fluorescent” or similar for indoor. This will give your images a better color balance than trusting any kind of auto settings.

Final tip – Save for Web

The biggest mistake people make when uploading their images for displaying online is having the wrong resolution or an overly bloated file size that doesn’t work well with the site or takes forever and a day to display.

Simply head over to Yahoo’s Smush.it tool and crunch down those images and save everyone some headache.

If the above five tips are just a bit too much, or your just too busy with all that it takes to sell a house, there are all kinds of Dallas photographers that can take professional pictures of your home in Dallas.

Avoiding the Biggest Air Conditioner Mistake

surpriseIf you recently bought a home in Dallas that came with a home warranty, or recently bought a new central air system for your home, you might think you are 100% covered for anything that happens to your air conditioner. You’re probably wrong.

The Fine Print

As with most things in life, there is always a “catch.” In the case of home warranties, or manufacturer warranties for air conditioners, the catch is that the homeowner is responsible for maintenance and upkeep on their air conditioner.

Most homeowners are unaware that anything needs to be done to their system. Just like your car, regular maintenance needs to be performed on your system. For the specifics, you should consult the terms and conditions of your warranty.

Other Options

One of the easiest ways to ensure you are covered in the case of a disaster, or sustain an expensive air conditioning repair, is to lock down an HVAC maintenance agreement with a reputable company like Kozy Services.

What a maintenance agreement will do for you is to make sure you are performing the regular upkeep of your system that keeps your warranty valid.

Additionally, a maintenance agreement will also give you discounts on repairs should something not be covered under your warranty.

Shopping around, or visiting Kozy Services for a preventative maintenance agreement for your heating and cooling equipment could be the best decision you make this week.

Fire Extinguishers are Lifesaving Devices

A fire extinguisher can save your life. Every Dallas area home needs to have at least one. However, there is more to a fire extinguisher than just keeping one your home. You also need to know how to use one and practice upkeep on your device such as regular inspections so that it is ready to go in case of fire.

Other Fire Safety Devices

In addition to a fire extinguisher, every home should also have smoke detectors, carbon monoxide detectors and even emergency sprinklers. Having a fire evacuation plan for your family, in the event of an emergency, is also something that is extremely important.

Be Prepared

Step one of owning a fire extinguisher is asking yourself the question, “Does this fire extinguisher work?” If you are unsure, companies like Service Fire Equipment can perform a pressure test and thorough inspection. Keep in mind fire extinguishers are simply meant to put out the beginnings of a fire, and should never be used for a full blown raging fire. This means that it has adequate pressure; the correct extinguishing agent, and the operator knows how to use it.

Here is a quick chart that shows how to operate a fire extinguisher:
PASS

Taking the time to get your fire extinguisher inspected by fire protection experts is one of the best investments you can make.

DIY vs Hiring a Home Improvement Contractor

handyman

Who Should Do the Work on Your Home?

When it comes home improvement time, the big (first) question everyone needs to ask is if they should tackle the project themselves, or hire it out. There are obvious benefits to both hiring a professional, as well as clear benefits for doing it yourself. In this post we will look at the pros and cons to hiring out the work versus doing it yourself.

Benefits to Doing the Work Yourself

Do a home improvement project yourself can be extremely rewarding. There’s nothing like the feeling of satisfaction at the end a hard earned project. Not only have you saved yourself some money (in most cases), but you’ve also learned a tremendous amount about that project that you can apply the next time you need to do a similar project. Three other benefits to doing the work yourself include:

  • Timing – controlling what part of the day work is performed is very beneficial to busy families
  • Supplies – when you’re in charge of a project, you can pick the materials used and possibly use higher-quality. For example, if you are doing your own furnace repair, sourcing parts from Dallas HVAC Parts could save you money.
  • Bragging Rights – Let’s face it, you want to show off to your friends and family

The Pros to Hiring Professionals

While nobody will argue the merits of personal satisfaction from completing a worthy home improvement project yourself, in many instances, simply farming out the work is advantageous. For example, if your family has a serious plumbing problem and can’t shower or use the bathroom, time becomes the most important decision making factor in hiring a plumber versus fixing the disaster yourself. Additionally, if you have a multifaceted project, hiring out some of the more manual tasks is just good time savings so you can focus on the areas you are more adept at. Finally, if the final product is extremely important to you, hiring someone that does that project day in and day out might just be the best decision.

In the end, determining if you will take on the home improvement project or hire an expert will come down to time versus money. While we might all want to hire everything out, sometimes our funds simply don’t afford us that option. In this case, it is time to roll up your sleeves and dive deep into that interior paint job you have been putting off. Just remember, all projects can be broken down into easily digestible steps, so go get started already!