3 Reasons Why You Need Professional Photos to Sell Your Home
Why hire a professional real estate photographer; or, reasons why you should tell your real estate agent to put down the smartphone camera.
First impressions matter in all aspects of life - you wouldn’t show up to an interview in a t-shirt or post a Facebook profile picture on a bad hair day; so why would you work with a real estate agent who markets your house with an iPhone photo? Making a great first (and lasting) impression through professional photography is sometimes the only opportunity you get to convince buyers to fall in love with your property.
FACT 1: Home buyers rely heavily on property photos to make their purchase decisions.
- The average home buyer will only view 10 properties in person before making a purchase decision. (National Association of Realtors, 2017).
- To get to that very short list of in-person visits, 95% of home buyers will use the internet to search for a home. (National Association of Realtors, 2017).
- In fact, 44% of buyers will look online for properties as their very first step towards buying a home (even before talking to a friend, agent, or lender, or even looking online for information on the home buying process). (National Association of Realtors, 2017).
- However, not every part of an online property listing is equally useful to our internet savvy home buyer. Almost 90% of buyers find property photos "very useful"--while fewer buyers find things like virtual tours, interactive maps, or even the actual detailed property information as useful. (National Association of Realtors, 2017).
- Consequently, the average buyer will spend 60% of their time looking at the property photos, while only 20% of their time on the listing description. (The Wall Street Journal, 2013).
- First impressions really do matter: researchers watching the eye movements of subjects looking at home listings found that 95% of users viewed the first photo in the listing for a total of 20 seconds before their eyes began to wander around the screen. (The Wall Street Journal, 2013).
FACT 2: Professional photos make a difference in selling price and listing duration.
- According to a study conducted by Redfin, professionally photographed homes brought in as much as $11,200 more per sale compared to an amateur photographed home. (Redfin, 2013).
- Redfin also found that homes photographed with a DSLR were more likely to sell within six months than homes photographed with a point-and-shoot. (Redfin, 2013).
- In another study conducted by IMOTO (a real estate photography company), they found that properties that they professionally photographed sold 50% faster and nearly 40% closer to the original listing price than similar homes without professional photos. (Realtor, 2014).
- Additionally, the New Orleans-based real estate agency of Latter & Blum found that listings with IMOTO's professional photography were viewed nearly 120% more than comparable listings. (Realtor, 2014).
- To really show how professional photos can lock in a higher sales price for a property, Redfin studied the sharpness of listing photos and the likelihood of selling at or above list price. They found that properties with better looking, extremely sharp photos (top 10 percentile of photo sharpness) sold at or above list price 44% of the time, while the middle 70 percentile only achieved the list price 13% of the time. (Redfin, 2013).
FACT 3: Good real estate photos are harder to achieve than it looks.
- Every photograph should tell a story, and real estate photos are no different. Each photograph should be carefully produced to visually communicate moods, highlight features, and psychologically appeal to the target audience. There are dozens of active decisions to be made for every photograph, and having a professional in charge ensures that not only every photo tells the best story for that room, but that there are consistent themes that carry over from room to room.
- Everything in the room counts, and your photographer should work with the agent, homeowner, and (if available) home staging professional or property stylist to ensure that every item in the room lends purpose to the story being told. Removing clutter, hiding personal items, positioning existing furniture or selecting new pieces will ensure that the target audience can envision themselves in the narrative presented by the photo.
- Really good photos require equal parts planning, experience, and luck. A professional photographer should either scout a property in advance to ensure that the equipment he or she will have at the shoot is sufficient to capture the scene as he or she envisions, or at least plan extra time on site on the day of the shoot to work up solutions for difficult shooting scenarios.
- Equipment does not make the photographer, and a good photographer can create amazing images on just about any camera, but real estate photos present a number of challenges that are best overcome with some specialized equipment and techniques. Camera lenses must have a wide angle of view to give small rooms a spacious feel, but not so wide that it bends vertical and horizontal lines. Lighting is usually added into interior spaces with flashes and strobes, modified with umbrellas and reflectors, and layered little by little into a single photo from many exposures. Exterior photos might require ladders or extension poles to reach the right height to take distortion free photos, or even drones for aerial perspectives.
- Professional photos are typically post-processed in software after the photos are taken to ensure that the colors are accurate and convey the right mood, that geometric distortions in the photos are eliminated, and that the lighting appears consistent across all the photos in the set. Often, multiple photos of the same room are combined into a single photo to ensure that details are captured in both the darkest and brightest areas of the room. Finally, photos might be modified to fit printed materials as well as optimized to be delivered across MLS and social media.
BONUS FACT: I produce my own real estate photography for my clients, free of charge.
Every property I list gets the highest level of photography because my husband and I produce our own real estate photos, walk through videos, and 3D virtual tours. While other real estate photographers must rely on quickly producing affordable photos and selling their services to real estate agents who may not know what to look for in a quality image (and still take photos with their phones), we are so particular about the quality of our images that we produce them ourselves for each of our real estate clients. Contact me to sell your home with me and receive complimentary professional photography, video, and 3D virtual tours with your listing.
Resources used in this article:
Real Estate in a Digital Age 2017 Report, National Association of Realtors.
20 Seconds for Love at First Sight, The Wall Street Journal
Look Sharp: Professional Listing Photos Sell for More Money
Why You Might Need Professional Photos to Sell Your Home