It's no secret that by the time most of my clients call me to start looking at real estate, they've already done their homework by combing the Internet for interesting properties. Helpful Websites such as realtor.com and realtracs.com have features that allow even the most basic Internet surfers all the stats they need to get started in their searches.
But which homes get written at the top of the list? Which homes invite the most visits? In almost every case the most popular are those that include great pictures. A study conducted by Trulia.com reported that online listings including six or more pictures were twice as likely to be viewed than those with less or no pictures.
An article in the Wall Street Journal states, "According to research from the National Association of Realtors, 98% of home buyers who searched for a home online said photos were among the most useful features of real-estate websites." And, "Listings of homes with photos taken by professionals have about 61% more views than listings without-and that's across all price tiers, according to research from Redfin, a real-estate brokerage firm."
Before you break out your camera phone and start snapping pictures of your home to post online, consider these tips for creating a great first impression with pictures.
- Post more than one picture. If your listing only includes a picture of the front of your house or the back yard, for instance, then guess what? People are going to think there is something terribly wrong with the rest of the house and the search will stop before they even get started.
- Highlight the rooms people want to see. That's awesome that your son's band has enough space to set up and play in the random room in your basement, but people want to see the shape of your kitchen, living room, bathrooms, and bedrooms. If you have a great deck with a view or an extra-large laundry room, include shots of those as well because they are selling points.
- Clean up before you start your photo shoot. Pictures of your mess can do more harm than good. You would think this one goes without saying, but you'd be surprised at the number of master bedrooms with unmade beds and kitchen tables piled high with junk I've seen in photo galleries. A first impression is everything!
- Use proper lighting to your advantage. Natural sunlight creates the best photography, so use it in rooms where this is possible. If you have a darker room, bring in extra lighting or skip that room altogether.
- Capture the cozy feel of the holidays. As family and friends gather in your home this holiday season, take note of what makes your home feel and look extra cozy. Think about a fire cracking in the fireplace, a dining room table set with your best china, and neatly folded guest towels in your bathroom. Keep your decorations tasteful and not overwhelming so that potential buyers can comfortably imagine their things in your space as they browse your pictures.
- Hire a professional. If your photo skills are lacking or you don't have anything other than the phone on your camera, consider spending a few extra dollars on a professional. The impact it could make on the number of times your home is viewed will far outweigh the reasonable cost. If you live in the Nashville, Tennessee, area, then I highly recommend Showcase Photography to do this job. Based in Franklin, Tenn., this booming business has 20 architectural photographers who complete between 60-100 photo shoots per day with 1,800 regional real estate agents. In short, this is their specialty, and their photos have helped sell many homes in this area.
For examples of their work, check out their Website: showcasephotographers.com
I'm happy to help you make your home look its very best! Give me a call so I can start to highlight your home's best features, and I'll get your home sold! In the meantime, have a very Happy Thanksgiving!!
Photo credit: Showcase Photography
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