Are Your Real Estate Photos Enticing Buyers?

Are Your Real Estate Photos Enticing Buyers?

You’re well aware high-quality listing photographs are a key component to your success as a real estate agent. But here’s a few stats, courtesy of RISMedia, that help quantify just how vital they are:

  •  Homes with high-quality photography sell 32 percent faster.
  •  Homes with more photos sell faster. A home with one photo spends an average of 70 days on the market, but a home with 20 photos spends 32 days on the market.
  • For homes in the $200,000 to $1 million range, those that include high-quality photography in their listings sell for $3,000-$11,000 more.

Now, though, with social distancing still in effect in parts of the country and in-person open houses, visits, and walkthroughs largely on indefinite hold, high-quality photographs have an even greater sway in determining whether or not a property transacts. So, if you’re looking to move a current property, or if you want to take advantage of all-time cheap social media advertisements to generate interest in your coming soon listings, now’s the time to seriously consider the quality of your images.

Best Practices for Real Estate Photography

While we would always recommend you hire a professional photographer, we understand that might not be possible right now. These tips assume you will be shooting on your own.  So, with that in mind, here’s a list of recommended cameras for real estate agents.

Take photos with your buyer’s in mind

Ask yourself who are you marketing to, specifically, and what kind of photos are going to entice them to take the next step? Think about the little calculations buyers make in their heads when they consider a new home: Is there enough storage? How is the natural light? Where might an extra guest sleep? Where might the kids play? Make sure your photos answer those questions in an appealing way.  

On that note…

Don’t leave anything to the imagination

As evidenced by the large increase in properties being purchased sight unseen, buyers, understanding of the reality of today, are willing to forgo in-person visits so long as they believe agents are honestly and truthfully representing a property. Therefore, we recommend you spend time studying the most common red flags consumers note when going on in-person tours, mitigate all ones relevant to your property, and photographically demonstrate that they are of no concern.

Before social distancing, you’d be rightfully cautious in photographing the less appealing aspects of a property.  Today, though, leaving anything out can—and will often be—construed as an attempt to obfuscate.

While you’re at it…

Make sure you’re cleaning and decluttering

Work with sellers to clean, declutter, and remove personal items. Ideally, most of their belongings can be out of the property in storage or boxed up in a basement. Make space for potential buyers to imagine their own lives in the space.

That said, as to our earlier point, getting the best picture you can of a cluttered bathroom or kitchen is absolutely better than not including a photo at all.

Prioritize the lighting

Choose a time of day with great light. The best time of day for property photography varies depending on the home’s orientation, so you may need to do a little research or trial and error. Make sure all blinds are open and windows are clean so natural lighting can enhance your photos. Be careful with turning the lights on, because it may create unwanted shadow, cast odd colors across the flooring, or create a glare in the windows.

Use landscape orientation to maximize visibility

When potential buyers look through listing photos, they’re not just trying to see the rooms: They’re also trying to get a sense of how the rooms fit together. They want to know what it would feel like to be inside the house. Use landscape orientation to give them the best view.

Use a wide-angle lens

Use a wide-angle lens so you’re capturing as much of the flow of the house as possible. You can also emphasize the spaciousness of certain areas. But, be careful not to distort the size of a room too much. You want to make sure buyers feel excited when they actually do walk through the door, not disappointed because the living room looked 5X bigger in the pictures.  Again, shoot for honesty and transparency.

Feature photos of great attractions around the neighborhood

Stay-at-home orders have left millions of people daydreaming about reentering the public world, going to bars and enjoying the nightlife, heading to the lake or beach, or enjoying an espresso at a local café. Many of them have been reminded of how important it is to have favorite spots nearby. So, make sure you take photographs of the surrounding neighborhood—and let potential buyers imagine all the things they can do once they’re out of the house. 

Edit your photos

Even the best shoot photos can use a little post-production editing to bring out the best in the property. You can balance colors in the image, smooth the picture out through “noise reduction,” play around with the contrast, resize and crop the image, and a whole lot of other things according to your needs and skill level.

This blog, which we published last month, details the best photo editing apps available on the market.

More is more…to a point

Normally, we’d recommend you not overwhelm your listing with photos, but instead feature ones that do the best job in highlighting your property’s selling points.  Today, though, your approach should be a little different. While we don’t recommend posting duplicates or triplicates of the same features—say, three photos of a kitchen from the same angle—you do want to work hard to make sure you’re crafting a holistic representation of the property.   

We understand it’s a tricky balancing act. And, unfortunately, there’s no standardized number of photos we can recommend; it all depends on the property (and the neighborhood) in question.  Just put yourselves in the seller’s shoes and ask yourself:  Would what I’m displaying be enough to convince me?

Alternatively, if you’re concerned you have too many photos for a listing, you can complement your selected photos with a virtual tour or walkthrough. In doing so, you can highlight some of the less photogenic features (e.g., the potential red flags we mentioned) in a video tour and use the most eye-catching features in your photo listings. You can learn more about setting up virtual tours here.