Listing Photos: The Good, the Bad and the Ugly

    We’ve all seen them. Maybe you’ve even been the offender at one time or another. But listing photos come in a variety of categories. The good ones are usually professionally taken and instantly grab you and make you run to your spouse claiming you fell in love and absolutely have to have this house. The bad are usually taken on a digital camera by someone that may not know how to utilize all the fancy settings and may include last night’s dinner dishes. The ugly, the worst listing photos of them all, are the dark, low-resolution pictures possibly even taken on a smartphone. Don’t do it, I repeat, don’t do it.

    Photos can be the difference between a home selling quickly or sitting on the market leading to a price reduction and inevitably resulting in no sale. Listing photos need to quickly make an impact and show off the property, not merely document it. Have you ever heard anyone looking at dark, low-resolution photos on a flyer or the Internet and say, “Wow, look at this fantastic, dark, cluttered home, I would really like to go see it.” First impressions are crucial since most people do an Internet search to select the homes they’d like to view. With limited time and numerous listings to review, buyers will quickly move on if photos don’t reflect well on a property. Here are a few tips to be sure your listing photos leave a lasting impression.

    First, make your subject, in this case your house, neat and tidy. A great photo can only go so far if clutter is the main subject of the photo. Clean up yesterday’s newspaper, dirty dishes and any personal belongings. Be sure not to include pets in pictures as some may see that as a turnoff, especially if they’re allergic. You’re staging your home to look like a magazine cover.

    Remember you’re selling your home, not the furniture or the décor in it. When you’re capturing each room, be sure to focus on the details that are to remain in the home. For example, shoot the beautiful custom built-in shelves or the gorgeous bay window overlooking the yard. Take pictures of the entire room and not specific areas. If you don’t show the complete room people will either think the space is small or you’re trying to hide something.

    Additional Tips for Home Listing Photos

    • Do not list your home until proper pictures have been taken. You only have a few seconds to grab the attention of a buyer. If your home is listed with a bad picture or without pictures all together, they’re going to skip right over your listing.

    • Utilize natural or artificial light which creates the best-looking photos. Avoid taking pictures of your home at night and try not to use a flash. There is a risk of glare from reflective surfaces like mirrors and windows. Just before the sun sets is usually an ideal time to take interior pictures.

    • Update seasonal pictures. People don’t want to see a Christmas tree in your photo in the middle of March. It shows your home has been on the market for an extended period.

    • List your photos in a logical order providing a virtual “walk through” for potential buyers making it easier to understand the layout of the home.

    • Remove clutter and excess wall décor, including everything off the refrigerator.

    • Try not to include the toilet in the picture. If it’s a must, make sure the lid is down.

    • Take an abundance of good quality pictures. On average, listings with 20+ photos receive more inquiries than listings with fewer photos.

    You have two choices when it comes to having professional looking, quality pictures. The first is to hire a professional photographer. The second is to use a decent digital camera, preferably with a tripod, and know how to operate it. While pictures do not need to be the same quality that you might see in a home magazine, they do need to have a professional veneer.

    Finally, leave a lasting impression. Typically, after buyers have toured a home they have interest in, they return to the Internet listing and look at the property again. Since they’ve already seen the home, they can visualize the floor plan and how each room flows to the next. High-quality photos that show the home well will keep them returning until hopefully, an offer is made. However, if your home was in tip-top shape during the showing and they return to the Internet and see dark, blurry photos with imperfections, you may have just turned away your solid buyer. Having great pictures can save you thousands by getting your home sold quickly at asking price.

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