“Poorly composed photos taken with an old smartphone in poor lighting can make a listing appear in far worse shape than it actually is. … Anything you can do to make a listing look attractive and create thoughts of hypothetical ownership in the minds of viewers is worth every penny.” - Jared Sickels, a realtor with RE/MAX Alliance
We’ve all seen the listings where a home looks great on paper but in photos, it’s a dark, dreary scene.
From blurry images to gloomy lighting to messy kitchens, poor presentations of a home not only fail to show its potential but can actually deter people from seeking more information. As nearly all homebuyers now start their searches online — 94 percent of Millennials look to Zillow or similar sites — more real estate investors and agents are using professional photography and video to generate interest and accelerate selling.
The reason is simple: first impressions are crucial in selling, said Jared Sickels, a realtor with RE/MAX Alliance in Fort Collins, Colorado. Buyers — especially those looking at luxury real estate — expect to see high-quality photos to imagine themselves in the home. That’s why Sickels hires a professional for all his listings, he said.
Over the years, the traditional viewing has shifted from an in-person experience to a listing’s photo gallery or video tour.
“The listing photos are the potential buyer’s first impression of the property,” Sickels said. “Poorly composed photos taken with an old smartphone in poor lighting can make a listing appear in far worse shape than it actually is. Anything you can do to make a listing look attractive and create thoughts of hypothetical ownership in the minds of viewers is worth every penny.”
Professional photos have proven to be an effective tool in boosting home values and the speeds at which they sell, according to a Redfin analysis.
Among homes between $200,000 and $1 million, homes with listing photos taken with DSLR cameras sold for $3,400 to $11,200 more relative to their list prices, Redfin reported. Redfin also reported that in the $400,000 to $500,000 price range, 64 percent of homes with professional photos sold within six months, compared to 46 percent of homes photographed with phones or point and shoot cameras.
Professionally photographed homes also sell faster, Redfin found.
“In the million dollar range, professionally photographed homes sold four days faster, and those in the $400,000 range sold three weeks faster than their counterparts with amateur photos,” Redfin reported.
As camera technology has advanced, some investors and agents are now providing clients high tech viewing experiences with virtual reality and 3D tours.
Companies such as Matterport and Transported offer technology to create immersive interactive experiences that aim to simulate a home via virtual reality goggles or computer screen. Such experiential tours also seem to generate significant interest, as Apartments.com boosted on-page engagement by 300 percent by including Matterport virtual reality touring on its listing pages.