In real estate, you might only get one shot at capturing a potential buyer’s interest when it comes to the internet. Thanks to the explosion of the online home searching, that first impression becomes more and more important to you when listing your home. If that first photo doesn’t showcase the home or worse, makes it look bad, you may lose the one opportunity to catch the buyer’s attention. If you miss it, they’re moving on to the next house for sale. Good photos really do matter.
In the words of Eminem:
“Look, if you had one shot, or one opportunity
To seize everything you ever wanted in one moment
Would you capture it or just let it slip?”
Step 1: Getting Good Pictures
Knowing that the purpose of pictures is to present your home to potential buyers in the best possible light and entice them to come in for more information is incredibly important. If the lighting is poor, the home cluttered, or even the image blurry, a buyer can be turned off and never even give the house a chance. Buyers want clear images. They want to see unique features. They want to get an idea about room sizes, layout, design. They don’t need to see your furniture (although good furniture placement can serve to enhance), or your television programs, or doorways or your junk.
The best pictures offer variety, detail, depth, and quality. Taking a few moments to evaluate the room and make minor adjustments before snapping off a few shots is worth the effort, and then some. If the room is dark, turn on lights, adjust the blinds, or bring in a lamp for the 30 second shot. If you have an oversized highchair and piles of laundry on the kitchen table, move them out of the way briefly. Add fresh flowers, borrow artwork or design elements from other rooms. None of these things is permanent, but it can still make a significant difference in the impression being sent out to the world.
Sometimes, this also means excluding things. If you have a room dedicated to junk storage, maybe it’s ok to skip it for purposes of marketing. If a buyer is impressed enough by the other rooms, they’ll see it eventually, and by that point you’ve already gotten them at least a little interested and inside your home.
Step 2: Getting Good Exposure
Where do people begin their home search these days? The internet. Whether a REALTOR® is involved from the get-go or not, buyers overwhelmingly begin their search online. A 2009 study by NAR found that over 90% of buyers used the internet to search for homes. And other than general statistics, such as bedrooms, bathrooms, and square footage; the photos tell the most about a property. Buyers get a feel for the layout. They can see the materials. They begin to imagine how a home might get re-arranged with their furniture. They share the pictures with friends and family and actually start getting excited about their prospects.
Recent surveys by the National Association of REALTORS® show that 84% of buyers surveyed said that the photos are the most useful information. And the number one action they took after viewing a home online was to drive by or make arrangements to visit the home.
There are thousands of people who are willing to buy or lease a property without ever setting foot in that home. Their ability to make this decision has come to rely heavily on pictures.
The more pictures you can include with your listing, the better the exposure. Just one picture of the front of the house tells a potential buyer very little about the property. Twenty-five pictures showcasing the large rooms, layout, or even unique details of the property will yield much greater interest and much greater results.
Choose your pictures thoughtfully. Let the image order flow naturally. Don’t skip from the living room to a bathroom to the backyard to the kitchen to the living room again.
Keeping these ideas in mind, and working with your REALTOR® to market and show your home in the best possible light will make an enormous difference in the long run.
image courtesy of carolyn.will