We’ve all heard the old saying that a picture is worth a thousand words. In today’s real estate market, the right pictures can be worth many thousands of dollars. Good professional photographs are absolutely essential to selling a home. The right pictures will get buyers’ attention and highlight your property’s best features.
Buyers start looking for homes online before they see them in person. That means good, thoughtfully composed photographs are your home’s first impression to the buyer. They may, in fact, be your home’s only impression. So take the initiative to put your best foot forward, visually speaking.
On the Internet, homes with better photos get more clicks. The more views your listing gets, the more potential buyers you reach.
This is so important that I recommend against listing a home until photos are ready. If a property is listed without photos, buyers will skip over it in favor of those they can see and evaluate. Once buyers move on, they are unlikely to revisit the listing. That first chance may be the only chance.
No verbal description can compete with a good photograph, especially when it comes to a buyer’s emotional reaction. Never forget that buying a home is an emotional process. Well-made photos will give prospective buyers good feelings about what you’re selling.
For interior photos, home staging is very important. I hire a stager for all my new listings, so your rooms are shown at their very best. For more on staging, see my January 2014 article.
Even if you don’t hire a professional stager, at an absolute minimum you should have the home cleaned and decluttered. Let buyers imagine how they could make the house their own, not roll their eyes at how much stuff you have crammed into it!
Outdoors, get your yard looking its best, too. Be sure the lawn is freshly mowed, the shrubs are trimmed, and the leaves are raked off your driveway and yard. Invest a few dollars and a little time to plant fresh flowers in strategic places. Depending on the season, a few flats of annuals or a couple of potted mums will make a big, positive impression.
In deciding on what to photograph, it helps to imagine that you’re looking through a catalogue. What would you want to see to help you make a buying decision? Think about your home’s best features, and plan pictures to show them in their best light.
Speaking of light, timing is important. Photos should be taken at the time that lets the most natural light into the house, and best illuminates the exterior, too. Often early morning or late afternoon is best for this, when the sunlight has an appealing golden cast and shines under eaves and other overhangs. But be aware of shadows from trees or nearby houses, too. Our eyes often compensate for deep shadows that will look unattractive in a photo. So make a point of noticing where shadows fall at different times of day before scheduling your photo session.
Don’t skimp on the photos. Take lots of them. That will give you the luxury of choosing only the very best for your listing, instead of having to settle for something that’s merely “OK.”
All photography is not created equal. A professional’s trained eye makes a big difference, and so do high-end professional lenses and high-resolution cameras. This is not the time to rely on your smart phone, which can’t produce the clean, crisp, well-focused images you need.
But even a professional photographer who specializes in real estate won’t necessarily know which features you especially want to highlight. So don’t be shy about pointing out any details or amenities you want emphasized.
The bottom line about photography is that you are competing with many other properties. If they are presented online more attractively than yours, they will get more showings. And the more showings they get, the quicker they’ll get an offer.
Michelle Clark is a broker with Intracoastal Realty, based at the Wrightsville Beach office. She is an Accredited Luxury Home Specialist, ALHS and also a Short Sales and Foreclosure Resource. Whether you are buying, selling, or investing, know that Michelle and her team will go the extra mile for you. To learn more about Michelle and Intracoastal, go to www.intracoastalrealty.com. You may contact Michelle at [email protected] or 910-367-9767. Like Michelle’s team on Facebook at www.facebook.com/MichelleClarkTeam.
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