Since we moved nearly two years ago, we've been on the hunt for the right house. Spending all this time searching has taught me at least one thing: People really, really need help taking photos for their listings. I have no intention of shaming anyone (because frankly these photos below are not the only ones out there), but I feel like I need to share what not to do. A house is a big-ticket item and you want it to look its best so it can move off the market quickly. Listing photos are supposed to draw people in and make them want your house, not make them laugh or run scared.
(PS: Realtors, when I see you've posted a listing with questionable photos, it makes me question your attention to detail and quality as a professional.)
I won't lie, it can be hard to get good pictures when you've just found out or decided you're moving and haven't packed up yet and there's clutter all around. But try your best to remove distracting and overly personal items. When we were moving from our first apartment to our house, we had a lot of papers, miscellaneous decor, and photos. But we spent a couple days, packed all that stuff up and brought it to a storage space that was running a two-month special. It made a huge difference in the amount of stuff in the apartment, which I then staged for the photos and showings. The apartment sold within 24 hours of being listed. Granted, it was in a highly desirable area and it was before the economy tanked, but I have no doubt that the cleared-out space helped. We even removed all photos of family and friends, save one wedding picture where you couldn't see our faces. People want to see themselves in your house, so even if it feels weird to you, try to depersonalize your house when you put it on the market.
This advice is not new, but it seems people don't take it to heart:
I can barely see this hallway. Is it painted, is that wallpaper? Where is this leading? Aside from the lights being on, I think the door at the end of the hall should have been opened. People want a sense of how the house flows.
In the digital age there is no excuse for posting a blurry photo like this. I can't see the details clearly. Is that a tiled backsplash or simply a gajillion outlets all along the wall? Take a minute to scroll through the images on your camera display and see if all the important details look clear.
It's safe to assume every bathroom has a place for towels and toilet paper, so I don't really need to see that. I'd rather see what the vanity and lighting look like and how many sinks there are. Powder rooms and half baths can be hard to shoot, but at least show me all of something. Showing me fractions and corners of multiple things doesn't help me visualize the room.
I'm the first to admit that on any given day I have a stack of laundry and school papers somewhere. But I wouldn't show them to you in my listing photos. You want your house to look its most attractive when you're trying to sell it, so straighten up and put away dishes and cleaning supplies. People want to see how much counter space a kitchen has, keeping it cluttered is not appealing.
I'm not a plumber or an electrician and I don't know what this is but it looks like a hot mess. And probably not code. I'm not sure why this was included in the listing photos; is this supposed to entice me to want to see more of the house? This makes me want to call Mike Holmes to do a full house inspection.
Now, let's look at this beautifully finished room again. This is a good example of what I would like to see in a listing photo. Obviously it's a professional image so I don't expect a listing photo to be this high quality or the average room to be this well decorated, but here's what this photo has going for it and what you should strive for:
-The picture is clear and in focus, is not taken from any funny angles, and shows the approximate depth of the room. Because I can see the whole room, I'm not left wondering what I can't see.
-It gives an idea of how the house flows because you can see into the next room.
-The lights are on and the windows are letting in natural light so you get a sense of how the room looks during the day and you can see everything in it.
-The furniture is nicely arranged and the room is lightly accessorized but there are no personal items, photos, toys, or other kinds of clutter.
This room absolutely makes me want to see more of the house. When I see the bad images, sometimes I can look past the poor photos if it seems like the house is in good shape. But if the pictures are blurry, make the rooms look small, or if the rooms are a mess, it makes me wonder what state the house is in and whether it's worth my time to see the house in person.
I can generally tell within 3-5 pictures whether I'm going to want to see a house in person or not. If everyone is judging your house by the photos, don't you think it's imperative to have the best possible selection of images for prospective buyers?
top (and bottom) image via pinterest
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