According to the National Association of REALTORS®, 89% of new home shoppers use a mobile search engine at the onset of their buying journey and throughout their research. This growing preference to shop online for a home, the way you’d shop for blenders or computers, makes high-resolution property slideshows and videos a “business imperative,” said Jodi Bentley, a realtor with Weichert Realtors in Vienna, Virginia.
“Photos are the first opportunity we have to reach someone who’s sitting in their home and browsing,” Bentley said. “We may just have that one shot to reach them, so the photos need to be impactful.”
That means interior spaces have enough light to show off their best features, the entire photo (from front to back) is in focus, and there’s no odd wall or floor angles. “Having a realtor take photos of high-dollar properties with their smartphones can be a costly mistake,” said Kyle Hiscock, a realtor and blogger with RE/MAX in Pittsford, New York.
Hoping to up your photography game? Here are a few tips from the pros.
Clear, Clean and Stage
Make sure your sellers prep their home for the photoshoot. Everything from the paint and carpet, to the decor should be fresh and appealing. You may need to advise sellers to start with a thorough cleaning and make sure to repair or replace anything damaged or missing. Even a spot on a rug could be magnified by the lens and quickly become a turnoff. You should also help sellers understand and showcase each room’s top selling point, whether it’s the natural light, spaciousness or little nook in the corner that will make buyers curious to see more. You’ll want them to play up those features while minimizing distractions, such as personal items.
Take Sample Photos
Truly, a picture can be worth 1,000 words when it comes to showing a seller how a room’s green wall color will look in photos or why they need to declutter further. You can take simple photos with your cell phone and view them with the sellers to make iterative changes like opening blinds, painting a room in a more neutral color or removing refrigerator magnets to improve each room’s appearance.
Set Up for Professional Shots
When it comes to taking listing photos, some pros take matters into their own hands, literally. Hiscock learned about the craft for years and invested in high-end equipment and software, including a digital camera, a wide-angle lens, lights and a quality drone for exterior shots. There’s also an art to photo editing. Hiscock uses Adobe Photoshop (see before and after samples below) to lighten dark areas and brighten colors. But, he warns, be careful with how much color you add. “You don’t want to go ‘nuclear,’ so it looks like some kind of explosion just happened,” he said.
Still photos are great for showcasing individual rooms and features of the home, but a video can do even more – showcasing the entire layout and capturing the “feel” of moving through a home. And at some price points, video is essential. “Virtual tours bring in buyers who are interested in our area,” Bentley said.
In addition to having the video as part of the multiple listing service (MLS) description, Bentley posts them to social media platforms like Instagram and Facebook to reach a wider audience and encourages her sellers to do the same. “We try to get the listing saturated in the community as much as possible,” she said. “Someone may know someone looking to buy and, bang, that home is sold.”
Do you have any tips for using photography to sell homes? Let us know in the comments below!
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