We’ve all heard the age-old adage that a picture is worth “a thousand words”, but in the world of real estate, pictures are worth far more than that. The title of this post is obviously a clever little play (if I do say so myself) on the well-known saying, but in fact, pictures in real estate are worth far more than just a thousand bucks. Taking A LOT of quality pictures of your home is absolutely imperative to the successful sale of your property, and getting top dollar in a reasonable amount of time.
It’s an undeniable fact that today’s home buyer does most of their research online, both on their computer and on their mobile device. I could point to statistic after statistic from reputable companies like RealtyTrac, Zillow, NAR, and others that confirm the fact that today’s technologically savvy home buyer is relying more on the world wide web, and less on traditional real estate marketing like open houses, magazines, and yard signs.
Due to these recent changes in buyer behavior, it has become increasingly important that the presentation of your home online paints a compelling picture (pun intended) of the property’s numerous amenities and benefits, and stands out amongst the competition. The best way to do that is with incredible photos, images that truly help the buyer envision what the home is like…even though they may be thousands of miles away. Below are a few helpful pointers to ensure that your photos are an asset to your listing, and not a liability.
1.) Make sure the front photo is GREAT! – The first photo that you see on the internet is much like the headline of an advertisement or news article. If the headline stinks, no one will read the rest of the ad or column. If the photo of the front of the house is terrible, buyers will not look at the rest of them regardless of how beautiful the inside of the home might be.
2.) Take a LOT of pictures – Statistics once again show that buyers tend to express more interest in online listings that contain the most pictures. Because many buyers are searching from out-of-state, and don’t have the ability to tour the home, it’s important that the listing includes as many photos as possible to help give them an idea of the layout, and how each room flows into the next. Take multiple photos of the same room at different angles to help give the buyer perspective, or consider using a virtual tour.
It’s also a good idea to include pictures of the original floor plan, as well as photos that highlight the local lifestyle, shopping, or various attractions. The more a buyer is able to see online, the more they will consider looking at the home in real life.
3.) Take GOOD pictures – Photography is a lot like kissing, everyone thinks they’re good at it, but the sad fact is that few of us actually are as good as we think. Get the opinion of fellow professionals on your photos, and ask for honest feedback. Check out some online resources and advice articles on photography, effective use of lighting, etc. However, if you still can’t quite seem to get the hang of it, then you might want to consider point #4.
4.) Hire a Professional – For most investors, hiring a “professional” will likely just be finding a competent Realtor. As part of their commission, most real estate agents or their assistants will take the photos for you. However, please note my use of the word “competent”. As a licensed Realtor myself, and someone who looks at MLS photos regularly, I can attest to the fact that many Realtors are terrible at taking photos. In fact, there is even a website committed to their ineptitude (http://terriblerealestateagentphotos.com)
5. Stage the Home – Almost as important as taking good photos, is having something to actually take a picture of. Even a renovated room with new paint, new flooring, and new fixtures still looks like a cold, boring box of nothingness without some focal points like furniture, decorations, etc. I stage every home that I renovate prior to take the listing photos. While some investors might see it as an expense, I view it as another investment into the property.
We typically sell each fix and flip in 7 days or less, and oftentimes for full price. One of the things I hear more often than not is, “they loved the staging.” Not only is the staging very pleasant to the eye for the walkthrough, helping to define spaces and create positive emotions, but it is oftentimes the very thing that gets them in the door in the first place, because of the way it warms up the photos they see online.
Now it’s your turn to sound off. What’s your opinion? Do you think photos are important? Have you tried staging, and if so, what were your results? Let me know your thoughts in the comment section below, and let’s continue the conversation!