The old adage of “beauty’s only skin deep” may be true but when it comes to real estate listings, try telling that to potential buyers.
Even in today’s tight market buyers are still more likely to be drawn to a home that look’s great in an online listing and that means more than just taking a photograph.
"Online listings have to capture the attention of buyers or the home is less likely to sell, and there are two approaches to do that effectively," says Jeff LaGrange, Vice President of the RE/MAX Northern Illinois Region.
He says that buyers benefit from being able to see more of a home in online listings but it is a challenge for sellers.
"One route is to price the home very aggressively. That certainly gets buyers' attention,” he says. “The other is to present the home via an alluring series of photos that make buyers think, 'Gee, that place looks great. Let's ask for a showing.' "
Key to making that work is ensuring the home is prepped to minimize clutter, emphasizing cleanliness, and adding a bit of staging.
It’s worth paying for a pro
Sellers should always be encouraged to have a professional photographer take the images for an online listing according to RE/MAX brokers surveyed.
"Not long ago a couple contacted me after their home failed to sell for a year,” recalls Madonna Egan of RE/MAX 1st Service in Orland Park, Ill. “I looked at the listing, and the photos were dark and clearly not of professional caliber. Plus, the home hadn't been prepared fully."
Egan says they made sure the home was prepared correctly and then had a professional photographer take the images with almost immediate results for the seller.
“The home was under contract in a week," she says.
For those homes that are more moderately priced, Egan says she does sometimes take the photos herself.
How many images is the right number?
Although it would be possible to include a large number of images in an online listing, the right number varies according to the type of home says Ashley Fuhr of RE/MAX Edge in Chicago.
"For a one-bedroom condo, six to eight photos may be sufficient, but for a luxury home, 30 might not be too many, and you might want to show the home both in bright daylight and as it looks in the evening."
What about video?
While video may be a hot medium in marketing right now, the RE/MAX survey finds a lack of enthusiasm.
"Our office has experimented with several video formats and concluded they generally aren't worth the trouble," explains Fuhr. "I've found photos and a floor plan have greater impact."
Drone videos can be useful for showing a home’s exterior and surroundings.
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