In a world where 90 percent of buyers start the process online, it’s the pictures that draw them in. In order to make sure your listing gets the attention it deserves, make sure the images are worth clicking on first. Your sellers will thank you for it.
This shouldn’t have to be said, but some agents don’t include photos at all or take a while to add them. Even if it’s only one picture of the front that you took with your smartphone, have at least one photo ready when you add the listing to MLS. A listing with no picture sends of red flags to potential buyers. “What’s wrong with this house?” is usually what they’re thinking before moving on to the next listing.
Some programs will automatically re-orient a picture so it looks correct and some won’t. Preview your images before you walk away from the computer to make sure no one has to tilt their head to see the master suite. Some buyers won’t have the patience to work their way through images that are difficult to view.
Blurry photos happen for two reasons – you moved when you took the picture or the image you uploaded is too small. You can tell very quickly if an image is blurry. Don’t use it. You aren’t helping your sellers and a blurry image is almost as bad as no image in terms of what buyers will think.
Some sellers want to provide the images and sometimes you have to take them yourself. Either way, before you click the button, make sure a home is clean and clear of people and clutter. Let your sellers know their home will sell quicker with better pictures. And, make sure that when you take a picture, you’re not standing in front of a mirror. You don’t need to be in the listing photos, either.
If you have a choice, take listing photos on a bright, sunny day and use the natural light to show off the house. The front yard will look more cheerful, and the interior will look bigger, more open, and cleaner. You also won’t have to rely on your flash as much which can cast strange shadows and change the appearance of the walls, floor, and furniture.
Swooping down on a listing, taking four pictures, and then jetting off to the next listing isn’t going to get you the best images or draw in buyers. Take multiple shots of each part of the home you want to feature. Try different angles and, if necessary, different lighting to show off each room in the best way. By taking more images than you’ll probably use, when you find the blurry one or your reflection in a mirror, you can discard them and still have pictures to choose from.
You don’t have to be a Photoshop pro to edit images anymore. Try PicMonkey or any of the other online editing options available to crop your pictures, change the orientation, or resize them as necessary. The crop feature may become your friend. It will let you cut out the neighbor’s car, electric poles, and anything else you don’t want in a picture. Remember not to edit a picture so it doesn’t accurately portray what a home looks like. You don’t want to be accused of false advertising.
Part of running your own business is knowing your strengths and weaknesses. If taking great pictures isn’t one of your talents, work with a local photographer instead. They’ll have the equipment, the time, and the editing ability to make sure your listing photos consistently look great. The money you invest will come back to you when it sells.
The photos you take of your listings aren’t just for the MLS and your website. People will find them on Realtor.com, Facebook, and anywhere else your listings are shared. Give buyers something worth looking at and make your sellers happy by presenting their home in the best light with great listing photos.
Former Communications Director for a local Realtor Association and a big cheerleader for all things real estate related, Michaela is now a full-time freelance writer specializing in real estate and other business industries. When she's not writing the serious business-y stuff, she's likely to be found writing about the hilarity of being a Mom to two rowdy boys.