Today is Valentine’s Day and lovers are prepping for the night’s festivities, which usually include a fancy dinner, a bottle of wine, and dim candlelit lighting — perfect for setting a romantic mood.
Well, real estate agents could take a cue from Cupid, and learn how to set the mood for home buying using a simple, but effective lighting plan. Here’s what four experts have to say about captivating buyers through mood lighting.
HomeAdvisor Smart Home Strategist Dan DiClerico says agents need to create a versatile lighting plan that includes bright, white task lighting that highlights the functionality of a space, ambient lighting, and warm, yellow mood lighting.
DiClerico suggests that agents invest in a set of smart light bulbs that can be controlled via a mobile app or voice control device, such as the Amazon Alexa. Then, he said, agents should place the bulbs in key areas of the home such as the kitchen, living room or any other entertainment space.
For example, if a seller has a kitchen island with overhanging pendant lights, place the smart bulbs in the pendants. When you’re highlighting the functionality of the island, set the lights to a bright white. But, when you want to upsell the entertainment quality of the space, use the app to dim the lights to a soft warm, yellow hue, DiClerico explained.
“A versatile lighting plan will allow that buyer to imagine themselves in the home in whatever kind of setting they desire,” he said.
When it comes to brightly hued bulbs, such as blue, purple or pink, DiClerico warns agents to tread lightly — it could sour a buyer’s perception of the home.
“I would be careful about getting too outrageous with the colors,” he said. “It’s the same principle with the color palette for paint colors in the home. If you get too funky or too outlandish, it could potentially be off-putting.”
Dudley-Frank Home Team leader Christina Dudley is known for her inventive listing shoots and home tours, the latest of which featured The Grinch. Although she thinks outside of the box with her photoshoot themes, Dudley prefers a simple approach when it comes to lighting and creating an inviting mood for buyers.
“I love lamplight, the way it picks up the warmth of colors,” she said. “Usually, if there is a source of natural light, I’ll position the lamp on the opposite side of the room.”
Compass agent Val Steele, who in November sold one of San Francisco’s most expensive listings ever, says she agrees with Dudley’s assessment about the role of natural light in photographs and buyer showings.
“There’s nothing better than natural light, quite honestly,” Steele said.
But, when the home has unique features, such as a private art gallery or an elaborate backyard setup, Steele says it’s worth the extra time to invest in lighting that will draw attention to those spaces.
“I think one of the things that really creates excitement in a home is exterior landscape lighting,” she said while referring to the $45 million Russian Hill listing she recently sold. “I think it’s something that should not be forgotten on a home.”
“I think exterior lighting does impact a buyer’s perception of a home, and when it’s positive, it does garner higher offers,” Steele added.
Sotheby’s International Realty broker Michael Morrison’s specialty is selling unique homes, such as HGTV’s 2018 Dream Home. And for Morrison, properly and effectively lit listings is key to his marketing plan.
When creating his lighting plan, Morrison says he asks sellers what their favorite parts of the home are. Then, he’ll make sure he uses lighting to draw attention to those places in photos and during live showings.
“Ask your seller why did they buy the house, and if it’s because of one particular room or one particular window or vantage point in the home, make sure that you take that picture because the next person who buys the home may fall in love with the home for the same reason,” Morrison said.
The Gig Harbor-based agent has also taken a liking to twilight photo shoots and showings, especially for waterfront properties with gorgeous sunset views. The soft, golden hour lighting often captivates buyers and helps them imagine what it would be like to experience those sunsets as the owner of the home.
“Everybody thinks that it has to be, you know, lit up like an airport runway and it doesn’t,” he said. “The home needs to be bright enough, but inviting as well.”
“You literally have to put the home in it’s best light.”