Avoiding Buyer Turn-offs When Photographing the Home

Pictures move the masses and if you’re not careful, they can move prospective buyers away from your property online.  All sellers know the value of great photos and even video and floornplans posted online, but sometimes the smallest mistake can turn off a prospective purchaser.

Check out this list of buyer photo turn-offs to avoid and tips for making sure your listings are getting the right attention on the Web:

Turn-off #1: Not enough photos

 The number one way to turn off web-surfing and mobile buyers is featuring only one or no listing photo.  I hear it from my buyer clients all the time: “I’m not sure what the home looks like- there aren’t any photos.  It must be awful inside.”  My buyers are less inclined to visit a home without plenty of photos.

Serious buyers need photos to develop a bond with a property and evaluate whether or not they could see themselves living there. The more photos you have online the more time a prospect will spend viewing and connecting with your home.  Show different angles.  Show all relevant spaces.  Show the vistas from decks and windows. And preferably, show the house at different times of day.

Turn-off #2: Amateur photography

Your online listing photos are your shot at making your property look like a dream home. When photos are gray, grainy, or make your home look like a dreary prison cell, you’re ruining your only chance at a first impression.

Here are a few quick tips for using light to make buyers want to schedule a visit:

  • In the best possible world, hire a professional.  The difference between agent or owner shot images vs. professional photography is substantial.  This is not the time to skimp on marketing; first impressions are important.  In my practice, I leave the photography to the experts, so I can concentrate on marketing the home.
  • When shooting outside, make sure the sun is behind you. The light will act as your own natural “studio light” brightening up the property.
  • Make your photos look cheerful; show off natural light inside by shooting on a sunny day.
  • If your home doesn’t have windows or much natural light, bring in your own “sunlight.” Investing in household lamps can go a long way toward producing better photos by brightening things up.

Turn off #3:  Missing photos

If your home is being overlooked online, it might be because you’re not showing the right areas.  Be sure to show these areas that buyers said make a home most attractive:

  • Bathrooms
  • Closets
  • Kitchens
  • Outdoor living spaces
  • Unique add-ons like hot tubs, special appliances, or wiring for an entertainment system

While you want to show off as much of the home as possible, focusing on these top priority living spaces are what really matters when it comes to generating inquiries and offers. Also, remember to focus in on any special features that attracted you to the home in the first place.  We like to sit down with our sellers to make a list of just such features, and focus the photographer on them.

Turn off #4: Clutter

When it comes to listing photos, clutter can be a seller’s worst enemy. When consumers view listings online, they want to see the property not your decorating and collectibles.

If you really want to pique the interest of buyers with staging, focus on simplifying the space.

Here are a few easy staging adjustments you can make right before you shoot pictures to make for better photos:

  • Remove cars from the driveway or garage
  • Completely clear off any table and counter spaces
  • Clear out the corners before you shoot a room

You’ve heard it plenty of times: “pictures are worth a thousand words.” In my practice, I’ve found that a great picture is worth a thousand dollars.

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