Category: Professional Services

Furry Friends

If you’re selling a home where pets reside, keep in mind that your potential buyers might not share your same love of furry friends. And its important to not let little things like pet hair, litter odor, or anything get in the way of your sale! What can be done? I’d recommend two stages of clean up.

Stage 1:  The Photos. This is more light clean up. Be sure your pets are out of the pictures, vacuum couches if pet hair is visible, and set aside any visible signs of pets such as toys, food trays, etc.
Stage 2: The Open House. Now comes the deep cleaning.  Make sure you thoroughly vacuum every inch of your home. Anyone with pet allergies will instantly be able to tell there’s a pet in your home. Remove any visible signs of pets, including the pets themselves. Clean all linens, sheets, etc., anything that could collect hair and dander. Rent or borrow an air filter a few days before buyers arrive to remove allergens from the air.

Simple tips like these can make a world of difference to your buyers. Don’t overlook the details, and you’ll be on your way to SOLD.

Photo Faux Pas?

Is your home or apartment more cozy than the pictures convey? You have to think… Why are they buying the house? What are they looking for in the house? And do your pictures show the best possible image of your home to buyers? If you’re having trouble with your digital photos, MSN Real Estate has comprised a list of 6 tips for drawing in buyers through your photos online. This is especially applicable to anyone using Craigslist or the TourVista Craigslist templates.

  1. Lighten up your subject – don’t take photos at night or try to use dramatic lighting. The clearer and the more professional looking, the better the photo.
  2. More is better – take as many pictures as possible. The more you show, the more your buyer will feel better about wanting to see the house in person.
  3. Get a clear shot – clean up your house or have it “staged” for the photos – clean area, no clutter, no trash outside, etc.
  4. Go Pro – If you can’t seem to take great pictures on your own, consider using TourVista’s Professional Services.
  5. Give it your best shot – borrow a friend’s camera or try to rent one from a local shop.
  6. Edit – using Flickr or Photoshop to edit your photos can make a world of difference.

TourVista Blog: Winterize your home

The onset of November is a simple, yet stern, reminder to us all of what’s to come. No matter what your state or climate, it’s important to prepare your home for the coming winter months. MSN Real Estate has compiled a list of the top 10 ways to winterize your home. Every one of these steps is a quick and easy DIY project that could save you THOU$AND$ in home repair. There’s also a professional services locator and other helpful hints. Don’t let mother nature catch you off guard. Take these simple steps now and prepare your home for the winter.





Halloween’s Real Estate Reminder

A few things to keep in mind this Halloween:

  1. If you have an empty home, don’t decorate unless you’re expecting guests
  2. Beware of potential vandalism in an empty home
  3. If you have a jack-o-lantern, especially if it’s lit by fire, check on it every time a new trick-or-treater comes to your door
  4. Lights in the house is an open invite for trick-or-treaters. If you run out of candy, turn the lights off
  5. There’s safety in numbers. So, go with a group, wear reflective materials, and use flashlights!

Here’s wishing your home and your family a Safe and Happy Halloween from all your friends at TourVista

Real Estate: News paper ads no longer worth your money

There’s no denying we live in a digital world. Even snail mail now tells you to go online for more research or information on a new product. If readership of the New York Times is now down 4.51%, how well do you think your local paper’s doing? According to The Real Estate Bloggers, Advertising in the newspapers does not make sense. Several major USA newspapers have lost readership in the past year, alone. Our digital age is turning the newspaper classifieds into a thing of the past. Don’t waste your money and effort advertising a real estate listing in the dying newspapers. Instead, utilize your best effort and effectively target your audience using TourVista.

Craigslist Guidelines

When it comes to homes for rent, vacant apartments, and sublets, is the #1 classifieds website for the 21st century market. It’s free, easy to use, and everyone has heard of it. In a recent conversation with a friend in NYC, she explained to me how she found her apartment by saying, “everyone here uses Craiglist.” But how do your buyers/renters sort between listings? How do you stand out among a sea of others? The answer is simple. The seven simple rules to posting on Craigslist. Use these simple instructions while creating your TourVista Craigslist add for your real estate listing. The Tourvista Craigslist templates are easy to fill out, simple to view, and more professional looking than posting directly form Craigslist alone.

Paying attention to buyer turnoffs

When you pay attention to the details of your real estate listing, your buyers will too. But when you don’t pay attention to the details, they may end up standing out in a bad way. A few quick care chores to your home such as: touch-up paining, cutting grass, doing the dishes, or hiding the old lawn furniture, can have a lasting impact on your buyers and the way they view your home – or themselves in the home. Don’t cheat yourself when it comes to the value and beauty of your real estate listing. Putting your best home forward will not only bring buyers in the door, but it will ultimately lead to a buyer who will stay (in the door). And this article:  Pay attention to buyer turnoffs in your home. will help you anticipate what your buyers are looking for from the moment they walk in.

TourVista’s suggestion: When it comes to your virtual tours and Craiglist adds, do your touch-ups before your photo shoot! Don’t take pictures of a leaking gutter, hole in the wall, or missing woodwork from a door. Take the time and a little extra money to always make sure you’re putting your best home forward. A little love = a buyer loving your listing.

Should I Hire a Professional to Take My Real Estate Photos?

Sometimes point & click camera’s don’t cut it.  See the difference for yourself between my hand held point & click and my professional quality Nikon digital SLR camera with wide angle lens.

Click on the photos below to launch the slideshow comparison.  Once the slideshow is launched, click on the right side of the photo to view the next, or the left side to view the previous photo.

The equipment you use can make a big difference to your end results.  A wide angle lens can help your photos stand out.  However, not many (if any) point & click cameras you would carry around have the option for a wide angle lens.  I used the exact same camera angle in all these shots with both cameras zoomed all the way out…see for yourself.  A tripod can also really help, but I’m sure most people don’t carry one around with them, nor do they have one for their point & click camera.  It’s a really useful tool in creating professional quality photos.

Another item setting professionals apart from those who do it themselves is editing software.  At TourVista we use HDR technology (High Dynamic Range) to get a more vivid feel for what the image really looks like in person versus the single exposure setting you would take with a personal point & click camera.  Using editing software such as Photoshop or online editors like can save you when you’re underexposed or shots are tilted.  But learning how to use them is a major time commitment you should be prepared for if you want your shots to turn out great.

#7: Creating floor plans from sketches in Photoshop

TourVista’s interactive floor plans are a great addition to your virtual tour.  If you already have floor plan graphics, you are ready to connect them to your photos and create interactive floor plans.

But how do you create the floor plan graphic in the first place?

You may be able to get floor plan graphics from an assessor or your home blueprints (if you can find them). Or you could just do it the old fashioned way: with a pencil and some graph paper!

Drawing a sketch of your floor plans and converting that sketch into a floor plan graphic is a fast and easy way to create your floor plans.  Here’s a tutorial on how to convert your sketches into floor plan graphics using Photoshop.

The video above follows these steps for creating a floor plan graphic from your hand-drawn sketches using Photoshop:

  1. take a picture of the sketch from straight above
  2. open picture in Photoshop and crop it; leave a small padding for the borders and dimensions should be at least 500px. if long and narrow, consider rotating it 90 degrees
  3. add guides for each wall
  4. draw exterior & interior walls on their own layers. hold “shift” key and click away
  5. add room name labels
  6. export for web as .gif
  7. save .psd for future reference
  8. upload floor plan graphic to your virtual tour on


  • color: #777777 (gray)
  • pencil width: 5px for exterior; 3px for interior

Room Labels

  • Myriad Pro – Bold Condensed
  • color: #000000 (black)
  • Size: 18-36pt

Note: when uploaded to TourVista the floor plan will be shrunk to around 350px wide.