Article brought to you by the Tech Helpline, a member benefit of the Kansas Association of REALTORS®.
It takes just seconds to make a first impression, and that’s why the photos you select for every listing count. Now that searching for a new home online has rocketed to an all-time high of 97%, according to the National Association of Realtors, property photos may be more crucial than ever before.
Today, we have a very image-centric home-buying population. Millennials are the largest share of buyers at 37%. Older Millennials (31 to 40 years) account for 23% of home buyers, and Younger Millennials (ages 22 to 30) comprise 14%. More than half of Millennials are active on Instagram, according to eMarketer, the marketing research firm.
Moreover, according to NAR’s 2021 Generational Trends Report, Millennial and Gen X buyers said photos were the most essential part of a real estate listing, with features such as videos, interactive maps, and virtual open houses ranking in the top 14.
The NAR research for real estate is clear: Homes with a single photo are spending twice as long on the market as a home with 20 photos.
Other real estate photography research has found that:
- Homes with high-quality photography sell 32 percent faster.
- Homes with more photos sell faster, too. 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.
While we know that photos help homes sell faster, choosing the right listing photos can also boost your image as a listing agent.
That’s because when it comes to photos, making your first impression your best impression will garner more views and engagement. The quality of your photography is part of what conveys your brand as an agent. If you only use exceptional photos, people will notice this and associate quality with your brand.
Shoot your own photos or hire?
If you take your own listing photos, that’s not a bad thing at all – unless the quality isn’t what it should be. The key isn’t who took the photo. The most important element is what your photos look like and the impressions they make, collectively, when someone views each of your listings.
Today’s smartphones have extraordinary camera capabilities that did not exist a few years ago. The best way to know if your photos make the grade is to compare your shots with colleagues who only use professional real estate photographers. If you can see a stark difference, so can your clients and prospects.
There are many benefits to hiring a professional real estate photographer versus doing it yourself. Real estate photographers use the best equipment – with special lighting and lenses – to capture shots that are either difficult or nearly impossible to replicate with a smartphone.
And when you hire a pro, you hire them because of how they “see” a room, a home, or a yard. They know how to set the right angle and frame, catch the best lighting, and create photos that look like they belong in a magazine.
Why photos matter even when homes are selling fast
If homes sell in just hours or days and not weeks, why should you still care about your listing photos? Because they remain a reflection of you as a professional. Your property photos influence what others think of you: your fellow agents, your broker-owner, your clients, and potential prospects.
What photos help a listing sell?
What works better: a kitchen photo or a great room photo? Space outdoors or a bonus room? A room for a home office or a beautiful master bath?
Choosing the right rooms to showcase for each listing can be crucial to your listing promotion’s success. For example, focus on showing the highlights of the home that help tell its story. Every home has a story that makes it unique. As you write your listing description, think of the photos that will complement its key features as well as what makes the home most attractive.
While the industry standard is often to show the home’s front exterior as the first photo, there might be a compelling reason to showcase something else. For example, if the home’s location is key, an aerial shot could be better. If a new remodel created a chef’s kitchen with high-end appliances, that could make an excellent first photo. Or, if the home features a great outdoor living area, that might have a greater appeal.
The photos you choose and the order you present them should be done thoughtfully. But, again, listing photos are not just about helping the home sell. They reflect on your brand as a real estate professional.
It’s not just about taking the right photos that matter the most for your listing. It’s also about having the best quality images that will help your listing sell.
Here are some additional tips on how you can sell your listing by giving buyers the images they want to see:
The first impression photos matter the most: Facebook allows you to select a primary image, so choose the one that best showcases your list. Then, follow with more photos that show the main highlights of the home and helps to tell its story.
When not to use an exterior photo: Most people use an establishing shot of the front of the home as their primary image. That’s fine, as most people want to see what the house looks like. But if you are listing a condo in a large complex, a better primary image would be an interior shot that showcases its best feature.
Time your shoot the listing photos: The best time to shoot for your listing is after sunrise and before sunset, as you should have sunlight that provides even lighting and no harsh shadows. Shooting on a clear blue-sky day also can make all your exterior shots shine.
Quality over Quantity: Again, quality is critical, so if your listing photos don’t stack up against those of a professional real estate photographer, hire one. Top producers will tell you that professional photography pays for itself, helps the home sell faster, and enhances your credibility when you provide clients the highest quality images. Remember that it’s better to have a few top-tier photos for your listing than many sub-par shots.
Finally, when you choose to work with a professional real estate photographer, keep in mind that it comes with their post-production talents. They will use software and editing tools to enhance the high-quality photos they deliver. The result will be that when you post these photos to the MLS and your social media sites, people will spend time gazing at them instead of glancing at them.
If you have any questions or trouble downloading or resizing photos for your real estate listing, contact Tech Helpline, as we are only a click, call, or email away.
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