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Listing Photo Tips

May 18, 2021

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Make Your House's Listing Photos Look Great With These Tips

In this red hot housing market, a blurry screen grab from Google Street View could be enough to sell a home. Sellers who take that approach, however, are likely leaving thousands of dollars on the table.


Home buyers are doing more research than ever before when searching for their next property purchase. While they're looking at everything from school districts to tax assessments, their first impression of your home will come from the listing photos.

 

The home search often begins on sites like Zillow or the Multiple Listing Network feed on a real estate company's website. High-quality photos can make all the difference between scrolling right past a listing and requesting a tour with a realtor ASAP.

 

According to the online real estate marketplace Trulia, 84 percent of home buyers said they would not even consider a property that did not include photos in the listing. And when photos are included, buyers appreciate it; 87 percent of home buyers found listing photos helpful in their search, according to the National Association of Realtors.

 

Professional photos don't just create more interest: they have also been shown to sell homes faster and for more money. A study by one real estate photography company found that homes with professional photos sold 32 percent faster than other listings.

 

A study by Redfin, a company that introduced interactive map searches to the real estate market more than a decade ago, found that homes originally listed in the range of $200,000 to $1 million sell for $3,400 to $11,200 more when the listing includes professional photography.

 

The research is clear that high-quality real estate photos are important, but what exactly makes a good listing photo? Follow these quick tips from Orizon Real Estate to make sure your home is camera-ready.

1. Clear the clutter

Although it's very normal for a kitchen counter to collect all sorts of clutter - a stack of mail, a toy your toddler left on the ground, the travel coffee mug from your car that you're finally getting around to washing - it will send all the wrong messages in photographs.

 

While you know that the clutter is simply a matter of not having enough time in the day to put everything back in its place immediately, a potential homebuyer could jump to conclusions. If the kitchen is messy, does that mean the current owners don't care for other parts of their home? Do the scattered items across the counter mean there's not enough storage space built in?

 

Before tackling photographs for your listing, make sure to clear the clutter throughout your home - from large items like pieces of furniture to small personal items like a tube of toothpaste. Decluttering to prepare for the sale of your home is a great chance to donate or recycle any belongings you no longer need. Any items that you don't plan on purging should be stored out of site for photos, whether they're neatly tucked away in the cabinet or tossed in a box in the garage for now.

2. Take advantage of natural lighting

Artificial lighting -- the lightbulbs used in lamps and fixtures throughout your home -- can control the overall tone of a room. While incandescent bulbs typically cast a soft white light, which can be warm and inviting, daylight and natural white lighting is becoming more common in homes as LED bulbs replace traditional ones.

 

You've likely chosen light bulbs that work for your taste, but that doesn't always translate well to the camera. When warm and cool lighting is combined in one area, the result can be distracting - especially in photographs.

 

An experienced photographer will make use of camera flashes to balance the light in your home, but it is also wise to take advantage of natural lighting. Open all curtains and doors in your home and see what a difference it can make. Flood your home with natural light for a few days so you can see what rooms look like in the morning glow versus the afternoon sunshine. If you notice there's a time of day when the sunshine perfectly illuminates your living room, make sure to let your real estate agent know so photos can be scheduled for that time. 

3. Kick up the curb appeal

Swiping through online photos is different than driving by your house to check out the latest listing, but curb appeal still matters. The exterior picture is often the first in the gallery, meaning the outside of your home is still your best chance at making a strong first impression.

 

Stand at the curb of your property and consider what items need improvement. Maybe your landscaping could use some love, or perhaps your vinyl siding and front porch need a good power washing. Cross the bigger items off the list first, but don't forget to mow the lawn and remove any weeds just before the photos are scheduled.

4. Depersonalize the decor

While you've spent significant time and money making your house feel like home to you, potential buyers won't necessarily appreciate those personal touches. Your home decor (if tasteful) can remain for listing photos and subsequent showings, but many real estate professionals recommend removing highly personal items like family photos and awards from the walls and shelves. Political signs of any affiliation should also be removed. Potential buyers will have a much easier time picturing themselves in your home if their imagination does not need to battle a family photo from your last beach vacation. 

 

If the process makes your walls or shelves look bare, consider investing in a few pieces of neutral decor or house plants to add color and comfort back to the room.

5. Keep it clean

After you spend time decluttering and working on the curb appeal, your home will probably feel fresh and new to you. Don't stop there.

 

Before taking photos for your real estate listing, you will want to perform at least one deep clean of the entire house. Every smudge on the mirror, dog nose print on the window and cobweb in the corner can be picked up by a camera lens. If you want your listing to shine, you'll need to put in some elbow grease.

6. Take a test tour

Wander around your house with your iPhone or point-and-shoot camera and take photos of each room. Transfer the photos to your computer so you can view them on a larger screen (homebuyers browse listings on a variety of devices, so you'll want to make sure to replicate their experience). 

 

That stain on the carpet that you've learned to ignore over the years might be glaringly obvious on camera.

 

Test pictures will give you a good idea of what areas you need to improve before the final listing photos are captured.

7. Don't rely on Photoshop

Sure, Photoshop can be a powerful tool to elevate the "wow" factor of photographs - but it can't turn your messy and cluttered home into a beautiful listing with the click of a button. A real estate photographer may use Photoshop to balance the lighting or edit out the coffee mug that was accidentally left on the counter, but don't expect every blemish to be corrected during the editing process. Creating strong house listing photos takes much consideration, planning and preparation - the editing process is just the finishing touch.

8. Work with a trusted real estate company

Successful real estate agents understand the importance of good photography and will not let a home hit the MLS without a collection of beautiful pictures.

 

Orizon Real Estate offers professional photos with every home listing. Our team of experienced agents know exactly what kind of angles homebuyers want to see when browsing listing photos. They can also provide expert advice on how to prepare your home for the best possible photos.

 

Premium listing services are also available to sellers who list with Orizon, including video tours and aerial photos.The extra visuals can be helpful in showcasing all areas of larger homes and properties. 

 

Orizon Real Estate doesn't stop with the photos. Your Orizon sales team can use a multi-layered approach to helping your home stand out and earn higher bids, which can include a postcard sent to neighbors or a digital advertising campaign targeted to users already searching for homes in the area.

 

Are you thinking about selling your home? Call 260-248-8961 to connect with an Orizon Real Estate agent today.