How to Boost Your Home’s Screen Appeal (2023)

Once, staging your home for its in-person appearance at showings and open houses was everything. But COVID pushed us online and made a lot more people comfortable with buying homes after seeing them online — without ever setting foot in the house in real life. Now, how your house looks in still photos and virtual tours on a screen is everything.

In short, screen appeal is the new curb appeal.

The numbers tell the story. Open houses and in-person showings alone are so 2019. Nearly 60% of millennials said in a Zillow survey released last year that they would be at least somewhat confident making an offer on a home after doing just a 3D-virtual tour. To give you an idea of how dramatic that number is, the same survey found just 23% of baby boomers would be at least somewhat confident in putting an offer on a house they’d only seen online.

Millennials are the first generation of digital natives, making up the largest generation of home buyers. Their comfort with technology will drive housing trends and demand for years to come.

That means getting your home ready for its onscreen close-up is key. Here’s how to make your home listing stand out online.

Declutter, depersonalize and clean

Some of the old rules for open houses still apply in the virtual world. Decluttering improves screen appeal. Rooms with a minimal amount of items will appear more open and appealing in photographs. Depersonalizing — removing items like family photos, collectibles and any other personal objects that say ‘This is my house’ — helps potential buyers see your home’s features and imagine themselves living there. Cleaning your home will make it shine in photos and videos. Opening shades and blinds will let in natural light that makes your rooms look larger, warmer and more welcoming. Remember to replace all light bulbs, so your room looks big and bright.

Optimize your layout for the camera

Consider your furniture layout and how it makes your home look on camera. You may love how your rooms are arranged, but your furniture placement might not make the rooms look roomy on screen. Take some test photos to see if the current layout photographs well. If you’re planning on creating a recorded or live video tour, do a video chat walkthrough with a friend and see if you have a clear path between furniture pieces. You want to avoid tripping over an ottoman while doing a live tour.

Hire a pro photographer

Cellphone snaps won’t cut it when you’re selling the biggest investment you own. Hire a photographer specializing in shooting houses for 3D virtual tours and the MLS. They know how to light and frame a room to look its best. Check out our tips for hiring a pro to take great real estate photos of your home. You can hire a photographer in select markets from our directory or ask your agent for a recommendation. Your agent will likely be the one setting up the listing photos and coordinating any virtual tours with buyers’ agents.

Consider virtual staging

Virtual staging uses software that digitally adds furnishings to your space. It can make a home look like it’s furnished without you ever moving or renting real furniture. You can find online services that will virtually stage your home using professional interior designers, as well as apps that let you DIY​ your own digital décor in your listing photos, sort of like The Sims for adults. Virtual staging is a fast way to get empty homes or homes with outdated furnishings ready to sell and help your home listing stand out.

Add a 3D virtual tour

A virtual tour is a must-have and may actually help your listing get more views and saves. Based on data collected between November 2021 and January 2022, listings with a Zillow 3D Home® tour got, on average, 43% more views on Zillow and were saved by buyers 55% more than listings without. And it’s no wonder why; a virtual tour creates the sensation of walking through the interior of a house online. It gives a potential buyer a more immersive sense of what the home looks and feels like than still photos can do. Consider trying the free Zillow 3D Home app, an easy way to create a virtual tour using your phone, and post it to Zillow, your social accounts and beyond.

Write a gripping listing description

Photos speak a thousand words, but they’re not enough. The description accompanying your listing is where you can take your home’s appeal to the next level. Describe in creative words what readers can’t see in the photos or elaborate on what they can see. Mention brands (bonus if they’re luxury kitchen appliances!) and upgrades (subway tile backsplash!) and tell them about your home’s special features, whether it’s a view of the downtown skyline, slate floors or a steam shower. Make your home irresistible to buyers with a few of our smart tips.

Your home looks great — now share it

Now that you’ve maxed out your home’s screen appeal and helped your listing stand out, showcase your home online to generate interest in addition to what you’re getting through your agent’s efforts. Share your listing on social media — everything from Instagram and TikTok, to Nextdoor — to spread it through your network. Claim your home on Zillow and provide details so that you have a more accurate home valuation number. You’ll also get access to information about local market activity and additional tools to help you price your home.

Check out more tips on selling your house online and how to market your home to sell.


How to Boost Your Home’s Screen Appeal? ›

Vacuum, mop, and sweep the floors. Be sure to use appropriate cleaners when taking care of appliances. Keep on the lookout for cracked surfaces and broken appliances. Take a critical look around your house for holes, scuff marks and broken floor boards.

What makes a house more appealing? ›

Opt for neutral colors and decor.

Make your home more welcoming to more potential buyers by repainting the walls with neutral colors, and consider putting some of your favorite art pieces, antiques, or sports memorabilia into storage. Even if you have great taste in design, your prospective buyers might not agree.

How can I make my house irresistible to buyers? ›

Up Your Curb Appeal

Buyers will see the exterior of your home first. You want the first impression to be good, so you must do your best to increase your curb appeal. Removing clutter from the home's exterior, touching up paint, adding plants, and improving the landscape should be a priority.

What adds the most curb appeal? ›

A well-manicured lawn with established trees, shrubs and plants will always boost a home's curb appeal. Start small with a few fast-growing trees and remember to water them often in the first year or so and fertilize them in the spring and fall.

What puts the most value on your house? ›

How to add value to your home
  • Fit a new kitchen. ...
  • Build an extension. ...
  • Converting a garage, loft or cellar. ...
  • Make it more energy efficient. ...
  • Split your home into two or more properties. ...
  • Make it more open plan. ...
  • Improve the garden. ...
  • Give it a good clean.

What makes a house less valuable? ›

Age could bring down a home's value, especially if the home needs work. Buying a fixer-upper can translate to all kinds of additional costs. There are cosmetic concerns such as an outdated kitchen or a less-than-modern floor plan, and then there are functional issues like problems with the home's roof or plumbing.

What is an attractive offer on a house? ›

According to the National Association of Realtors (NAR), the home offer with the fewest contingencies is often the most attractive. NAR states that “removing restrictions related to the sale of a current home and being flexible with things like the move-in date can make an offer stand out to a seller.”

What makes a house harder to sell? ›

Factors that make a home unsellable "are the ones that cannot be changed: location, low ceilings, difficult floor plan that cannot be easily modified, poor architecture," Robin Kencel of The Robin Kencel Group at Compass in Connecticut, who sells homes between $500,000 and $28 million, told Business Insider.

How do you make a strongest offer on a house? ›

Steps to Write an Offer
  1. Make sure the price is right. ...
  2. Show proof of pre-qualification. ...
  3. Offer more earnest money. ...
  4. Waive certain contingencies. ...
  5. Include an escalation clause. ...
  6. Limit your asks for extras. ...
  7. Be agreeable to the seller's needs. ...
  8. Be polite.

What is the best position to face a house? ›

Conclusion. The direction that a house faces can have a major impact on the energy efficiency, comfort, and even the resale value of your home. Generally, facing south is considered the best direction for a house to face, as it can provide your home with the most sunlight and warmth throughout the day.

How do I add color to the front of my house? ›

1 Here are 10 ways to add color to your home's exterior:
  1. 1.1 1. Paint Your Exterior.
  2. 1.2 2. Colorful Siding.
  3. 1.3 3. Coordination.
  4. 1.4 4. Grand Entrance.
  5. 1.5 5. Statement Windows.
  6. 1.6 6. Shutters.
  7. 1.7 7. Stones.
  8. 1.8 8. Roof Color.

How important is curb appeal for an appraisal? ›

Improving a home's curb appeal will add value to your property and help it sell faster. Homes are typically appraised based on the interior of a home's condition and features, making it difficult for financial institutions to measure exactly how much curb appeal adds to property value.

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