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In the past, it was necessary for agents to have a really nice camera in order to get great photos for real estate listings. Nevertheless, these days modern smartphones have some pretty advanced cameras and it’s totally possible to get great photos just with a cell phone. That is if you know some of these cell phone cameras hacks to make sure that you’re getting the best possible photos:

Get The Lighting Right

You should never use the flash on your cell phone camera. It will make pictures look grainy and overexposed. The best way to get great photos indoors with your cell phone camera is to make sure that you get the indoor lighting perfect. Natural light is best, so open all the shades and drapes to illuminate the room. But if the day is cloudy or you’re taking photos at night you need to have professional studio lights. The good news is that these days portable photography lights can be purchased for very cheap on Amazon and other sites. For around $20 you can get professional quality lights that you can easily transport to houses. It’s a great investment that is well worth the cost.

Don’t Use Filters

You may be tempted to use filters on your photos in order to correct the lighting or make the photos look more appealing. Don’t. It’s easy to see when filters are being used and if you use them the potential buyers will wonder what you’re trying to hide by using filters. Don’t get too artsy with these photos. You’re trying to sell a home not make an Instagram art installation.

Use A Mount Or A Stand

If you’re taking photos in a low light environment, like indoors, the camera shutter will slow down to let more light in to get a better photo. That means there is plenty of time for your hands to shake, or jerk, or move and ruin the photos. The best way to get great photos of a home’s interior is to use a stand, a tripod, or some kind of mount so that you will be sure that the camera stays steady. You can use the auto self-timer on the phone camera to make sure that you have time to line up the photo and put the camera on the stand or mount before the phone takes the camera.

Don’t Use Fish Eye Lens

You might be tempted to use a fisheye lens to try and get more of the room in the photo. But a fisheye lens distorts the photo and makes it harder for people to gauge the size of the room. Take simple photos without any special lenses to get photos that accurately represent the room. 

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Potential home buyers do notice the small stuff, even the stuff that homeowners might think won’t get noticed. Things like clutter and personalized photos can make buyers lose interest in a home. But so can many other small details. So when you’re working a homeowner to get a home ready to sell make sure that they don’t forget about those five small details that potential buyer is going to notice:

The Front Door

The front of the house needs to make a great first impression or buyers will lose interest immediately. But there’s more to the front of the house than just the paint color or windows. The front door can either welcome potential buyers into the home or make them want to walk away without even going inside. The front door should always be power washed at the very least. But if possible it’s better to give it a fresh coat of paint and make it look bright and new.

The Driveway

The driveway is the first thing buyers will see when they pull up to the house. The driveway should be swept and look clean if it’s in the spring, summer or fall. In the winter it needs to be plowed or shoveled and should be free of ice. If there are cracks or defects in the driveway those should be fixed before the homeowner starts showing the house. The path to the house should also be clean or shoveled and any broken concrete or paving stones should be fixed.

Bathroom Grout

Dirty grout makes bathrooms look old and dirty even if they have been professionally cleaned. A quick and cheap fix is to through and regrouts the shower, tub, and other areas so that the grout looks fresh and clean when potential buyers are going to come to the house. Paying attention to small details like the grout can make even older bathrooms and kitchens appeal to buyers.


Don’t bother trying to disguise a bad odor in a home. The potential buyers will notice immediately. Avoid using wall plugins and other home fragrances. They can smell cheap and can trigger allergies in those that are sensitive to scents. Instead, make sure that you eliminate the source of any smells. Get carpets professionally cleaned, especially if pets were living in the home. Use a fabric refresher on upholstered furniture. If you want to make the house smell great bake something like cookies or pie.

Cracks And Blemishes

Homeowners might have lived with small cracks in the walls, paint blemishes and other defects for so long that they don’t even really see them anymore. But potential buyers will definitely notice them. Spackle any nail holes or cracks in the walls and make sure the rooms and the trim in the rooms get fresh coats of paint before showing the house. 

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The winter months are usually a slow time when it comes to selling real estate. But if you stage homes that are for sale properly that will boost potential buyer interest in the home quite a bit. The key to getting homes to sell during this slower period of the year is to make sure that your staging is beautiful and will make potential buyers want to have their own holidays in the home. Decorate with heavy throws, pretty window treatments, and seasonal décor to play up the potential of the home to be a great family gathering place. Here are some winter staging tips from expert home stagers to inspire your own winter staging strategies:

Keep Snow Where It Belongs

A cozy home with a beautiful snowy landscape will impress buyers, but you should make sure that the snow stays in the yard where it is supposed to be. Make sure that all walkways and the driveway are cleared of snow and salted. You need to be sure that buyers can get safely to the door and move safely around the property. Make sure there are no large snowdrifts on the edges of the driveway or on the patio or deck.

Turn Up the Heat

You are selling the idea that the home is warm and cozy in the winter cold. You can’t do that if it’s freezing inside. Make sure the heat is set at leave 70 degrees and give the house time to warm up before you have potential buyers in the home. That way when people come in from outside they will subconsciously think the house is warm and cozy.

Bake Something Seasonal

The smell of baking cookies, pies, or other sweets will enhance that cozy sensation for buyers. The home will seem like a perfect home for the holidays when they walk into the sweet smell of holiday goodies. It’s also a good idea to set up a coffee and tea station with seasonally flavored drinks so that they can help themselves to a hot beverage.

Organize the Front Hall or Foyer

When people come in, they are going to be wearing coats, snowy boots, hats and other winter gear. Set up a hanging rack or a pretty entry way storage bench with a floor mat so that people can wipe their feet or remove their boots, hang up their coats, and keep all their hats and mittens and other items organized. This will not only protect the home’s interior from wet or muddy shoes it will also show potential buyers that the house is functional in the winter and there is plenty of room to take off winter gear when people come in the house. If the home has a mud room come in that way instead of through the front door. 

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While it is a little tougher to sell houses during the winter, it is not impossible. The key to selling homes during the winter is to make sure that the house is inviting to buyers and looks appropriate for the season. Here are some tips from veteran real estate agents to make your winter open house more successful:

Make the House Look Welcoming

Pull out all the stops to make the house look welcoming to potential buyers. Make sure that all the paths and the driveway are clear of snow and well salted so that they are not slippery. Add a festive wreath or other decorations to the front of the house. Put some solar lights on the path to the door so that the path is easy to see. Holiday decorations and lights are a nice festive touch.

Make Sure the House Is Warm Enough

winter open houseIt is cold outside to make sure that it’s cozy and warm inside. Set the heat to at least 70 degrees so that people will want to take off their coats and spend some time in the house. If it’s a particularly cold day or if the house has drafts you might want to turn the heat up to about 72 degrees so that the entire house will be warm when the buyers are walking around the house.

If the home has a fireplace make sure that there is a roaring fire. That will add to the warmth of the home and show buyers that the fireplace is fully functional.

Decorate For the Holidays

Potential buyers will be thinking about how the house will be for entertaining and having family holidays. So play up the holiday theme. Add a decorated Christmas tree in the living room with lots of lights. Set up a dining table and chairs in the dining room and set the table for a holiday dinner. Add holiday themed throws and pillows around the house. And use holiday-themed mugs for offering coffee and tea and hot chocolate.

Get the Oven Going

Nothing says holidays like the smell of holiday cookies or pies baking. Bake a batch of sugar cookies or heat up a pumpkin or apple pie in the oven so that potential buyers are greeted with warm and familiar holiday scents like cinnamon and vanilla when they walk in the door. That will make the house instantly feel like home and make buyers visualize what it would be like to host their own holiday gatherings in the home.

Play Festive Music

Background music should be kept low, but it can definitely help the mood in the home. Play seasonal carols or light classical music to welcome buyers and encourage them to stay and look through the house. 

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Homebuyers are getting tired of cookie cutter granite counters and cutesy accents. Today’s buyers are looking for modern design elements and avoiding outdated trends like kitchen desks. Get a jump on selling in 2018 by learning more about the design trends that experts are predicting home buyers will be flocking to in the coming year like:

Quartz Countertops

Home Buyers EdmontonGranite has had its day. Now granite is played out and home buyers are looking for kitchen counters that are more durable and less hard work to take care of. Quartz countertops are inexpensive, durable, and look great in any kitchen. Expect buyers to be looking for homes that have updated kitchens that include quartz countertops in the coming year.

Colorful Kitchens and Bathrooms

Neutrals are out, especially in kitchens and bathrooms. Buyers want a retro looking colorful kitchens and bathrooms now. Remember those 70s kitchens with Avocado Green and Harvest Gold appliances? They’re back in a modern and updated way. Design experts also predict even more retro kitchen styles like the 20s and 30s era red, blue and even pink kitchen colors will be in high demand. Since the kitchen really is the heart of the home these days buyers want fun family friendly colors in the kitchen and not glaring white walls and stainless appliances. Black appliances will be more in demand than stainless. In addition, in the bathrooms fun colors are popping up on all the high-end designers must have listed.

Black Accents Everywhere

Buyers have had enough of generic brushed nickel accents. Black is the in color this year for everything from lighting fixtures to floor tiles to shower molding. An unexpected pop of black is a lot more appealing to modern buyers than brushed nickel or silver hardware. Changing out light fixtures and hardware is an easy an inexpensive way to get buyers more interested in a new home.

Painted Brick

Exposed brick is lovely, but buyers have had enough. Painted brick is the next big trend in homes that have exposed brick. Whitewashed brick or brick that has been painted a bright cheerful color is going to be a lot more appealing to buyers than a plain exposed brick in the coming year.

Geometric Patterns

Now that replaceable wallpaper has become cheap and easy to find geometric patterns are going to be everywhere in 2018. Buyers will be looking for fun geometric backsplashes in kitchens and bathrooms as well as geometric tiles on the floors in those rooms. Adding a few bright colored geometric tiles is easy to do and will make even an outdated kitchen look more appealing to modern buyers. Accent walls with geometric wallpaper sheets or walls that have painted geometric borders are what will be bringing in the buyers in the next year. An easy way to get this designer look is to use a patterned paint roller and a bright accent color paint.

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Data is deemed reliable but is not guaranteed accurate by the REALTORS® Association of Edmonton.