Home selling is hot going into this summer. Existing home sales are at their highest level since early 2007, and new homes are selling nearly as well, reports the Chicago Tribune. Properties in places such as San Francisco and Dallas are selling for levels above previous inflation-adjusted peaks. Veteran realtors such as Burbank, California, Keller Williams agent David Fogg are saying it’s the hottest seller’s market in a quarter century. If you’re one of the buyers shopping this market, after looking at countless open houses, you might find yourself overwhelmed with trying to keep track of all the fine details, features, benefits and drawbacks of the numerous properties you’ve looked at. Creating a digital scrapbook can make it easier to keep track of this information and compare the homes you’re considering. Here are six steps for creating a home buying comparison digital scrapbook.
Decide What Features You Want to Compare
The first step is to decide what home features you want to compare so you know what to photograph. Plan to take an exterior shot of each property to serve for quick identification purposes. Inside, plan to take at least one picture of each major room, including kitchens, bathrooms and bedrooms, along with close-ups of key features of interest such as flooring or cabinetry. Outside, plan to take pictures of garage exteriors and interiors, backyards and patios. You will also probably want to include pictures of outstanding features in the surrounding neighborhood. You may also want to consider taking video footage so you can get a sense of walking through and around the home.
The next step is to visit homes and start taking pictures. For camera equipment, a smartphone with a high-quality camera such as a Samsung Galaxy S7 edge will do the trick. If you decide to take a video of the property, you have a few options for setting up your shoot. You can do one walkthrough for still shots and another one for still shots. If you want to save time filming, you can take a video walkthrough and then extract still shots from your video by using screen capture later, though this will increase your editing time. Another alternative is to go with a second person with a second camera so that one person can take still shots while the other films video.
Save Your Pictures to Folders
After taking your footage, you should store it in digital folders so that it stays organized and easy to retrieve. Most smartphones have limited storage space, so you will probably want to create permanent storage folders on a computer or on a cloud storage site. You may want to create backup files of your pictures as well.
Select a Scrapbooking App
After shooting pictures, you can transfer them to your scrapbooking app. Your choice of a scrapbooking app will depend partly on whether you want to use a desktop or the cloud. Most desktop-oriented scrapbooking software is geared toward either PCs or Macs and usually costs a premium fee, whereas cloud-based apps tend to be compatible with either operating system and are typically free for a limited amount of storage. Some programs will let you work with both still photos and videos, while others may limit you to just photos.
Top Ten Reviews includes comparisons of scrapbooking software for both PC and Mac devices. Cloud-based options include general photo-sharing sites such as Pinterest as well as specialized scrapbooking apps such as Cliptomize.
Import Your Pictures
The next step is to import your pictures into your scrapbooking app. Depending on the specifics of the app you’re using, you may be able to create subfolders for different properties. If so, it’s a good idea to use a consistent folder naming structure for consistency. Similarly, use a consistent file naming structure. Writing down a template outlining your folder and file naming structure will save you time creating folders.
Share Your Scrapbook
Now that you’ve got your scrapbook, you should share it with other people who will be involved in the home buying decision, such as your spouse and your real estate agent. You may also want to get input from family and friends, or simply to show them what homes you’ve been looking at. Most scrapbooking software lets you share files via email and photobooks, and in some cases slideshows, while scrapbooking apps let you share via email or social media.