While we have all been taught since young “not to judge a book by its cover”, unfortunately real estate is very much like Tinder. Modern house hunting has gone digital – most buyers browse online first before actually viewing a house in person.
If you are not showing off the key features of your house in the best light, then buyers are likely to scroll past your listing – Swipe Left.
A recent international case study confirmed that homes with professional photos sold 50% faster and 15% higher than those without any. It’s a competitive world out there and many houses are often competing for the same buyers, especially in today’s Auckland market where buyers are much more selective.
First impressions matter so you really need to give your house the best shot it has to attract the maximum number of buyers. When more buyers click on the listing and then show up at the open homes, that means more competition between them which will give you a better price. It would also mean a shorter time on the market. And if your photography and presentation are substandard (and we know there are many like that), then buyers will just scroll past without uncovering that gem which is your home.
Like dating in real life, pictures often can make or break your sale. This is why we call the cover shot of your home the “million-dollar” shot.
In this article, we will talk about 5 tips to ensure that you nail the photography each and every time for a successful sale.
1. Set The Scene
We cannot emphasize how important this is. Your potential buyer is not just thinking about spending $2 Million dollars on a 4 bedroom home with a pool in double grammar zone close to Remuera Village and Orakei Basin. They are thinking about what kind of lifestyle they are going to lead when they live in it. Maybe they want to be the picture-perfect parent who prepares healthy and delicious meals every night, or the busy executive who has no time for gardening and wants a low-maintenance home close to Westfield Newmarket. So you need to create the scene to allow your chosen real estate agent to sell that dream – and they must be able to sell that dream well.
Start by decluttering your house. That means moving unnecessary items out because you want to create the sense of space in your photography. It also means tidying up anything that looks disorganized. We cannot even count the number of times we have seen a bookshelf where the books are not aligned neatly which just ruins a picture – it only takes a minute. It also means straightening bed pillows and spreads, keeping the dog bed, clearing the kitchen countertop and adjusting furniture positions. Do not forget to check the background too – you don’t want there to be a washing line with underwear through the windows as I am sure that’s not what you want your buyers to see. Remove cars from driveway when you are shooting the exterior. Make sure there are no puddles of water or visible dirt on windows which leaves an impression of poor maintenance.
In short, this requires you and your agent to be at the scene of the shooting. Many agents are ‘too busy’ for this and leave it to a professional photographer who has a limited time budget for you. But the photographs literally make or break your listing – buyers are scrutinizing those photos and thinking whether to even come for your open home instead of going to another competing one.
For us, we do not leave this to chance. Ever. We work with our preferred photographer whom we have good chemistry and understanding of what we wish to achieve. Before every photography session, we have a good idea of our ad copy and the key selling features, so we make sure that the photographs do our story (and your home) justice.
2. Light, bright and airy photographs
Pictures that look dark or even yellowish do not sell homes. Buyers want to see that the room is filled with natural light so that they can imagine themselves in it. Observe your house and see when your house gets the best natural light – that is the best time to shoot. Switch on all the lights in your house anyway, the brighter a room, the newer it looks.
Dusk photography has also become quite popular in recent years. This creates something different from the other listings on the market – the sky can look amazingly beautiful with the sunset and that image may just entice your emotional buyer to pay top price.
A soft glow can sometimes also hide any imperfections in your house, especially if the house is of an older age. Consult with your real estate agent as to which kind of photography is better suited for your home. Sometimes, it might be necessary to have both and it won’t cost you more with us!
More importantly, in this Instagram/Facebook age, beautifully presented homes attract the most attention (including attention of your prospective buyer). There’s a specific look and filter that draws such eyeballs.
Work with an agent that actually understands all these – and can make use of Facebook and other social media channels to get maximum exposure for your home.
3. Capture the right angles
It is important also in photography that the best areas of your house are captured. We have all seen photographs that do not do the house justice and that can be such a shame when you have a lovely home. For example, we know of agents selling property in Mission Bay that do not even advertise the sea views and that is just falling short of their duties because sea views can often add 15-20% to the price of a home.
So make sure that your photographer strives to capture the right angles to make a home as desirable as possible. That means shooting at the right level and using additional lighting (flash). It is also crucial that your photographer captures shots that demonstrate the indoor outdoor flow, the grand chandelier in the entrance way, the beautifully landscaped garden and the stunning view out to Rangitoto and beyond.
4. Focus on the positives
This should be obvious. Photography (and marketing) is to capture and sell the best features of a property. You wouldn’t expect car manufacturers to be focusing on the poor fuel efficiency of their vehicles, do you?
To the extent that we do not misrepresent the house, we want photography to be focused on the best upgrades in the house – this can be a recently renovated kitchen with natural marble stone top and a butler’s pantry, or a newly added solar heated pool with an outdoor fireplace and pizza oven for entertainment.
Some buyers may complain or feel that the house has ‘too’ beautifully captured on photographs and the reality is far from the photographs. But from our perspective, we would rather they leave slightly disappointed (you will be surprised as how many buyers do overlook a lot of negatives when they start imagining themselves in that home) than you feeling dejected when you receive low crowd turnouts and zero offers. We would not be serving you to the best of our abilities otherwise.
Drone shots have become quite the norm nowadays for real estate photography. Drone shots are good not just for selling land, but also for houses as they show off the amenities in the area, especially if your house is really in a fantastic area. You want people to see that you are within walking distance to Kohimarama Beach, short stroll to Madills Farm, couple of minutes’ drive to Mission Bay shops and eateries and a scenic bus ride to Auckland CBD. These are features that are better appreciated when captured in a single shot.
So How Will You Swipe?
Sometimes we look at listing photography and cringe – but we know it is not entirely the photographer’s fault. They have a business to run and therefore may not have so much time to pay attention to smallest details. As mentioned earlier, this is why we always insist on being present when photographs are taken so that we can always run ahead of the photographer to make sure that the scene is right.
We haven’t even got started on property videos – that’s an article for another day. So before you list, get your photography on point and with the right marketing strategies fit for today’s digital age, you can sell in the shortest amount of time for the best possible price. Give your home the best shot (literally) at getting swiped RIGHT by buyers.
Found this post about Photography useful and have more questions?
Work with someone with a unique marketing campaign to maximise your chances of success.
Do not hesitate to contact me for a no-obligation discussion over coffee on your future plans to either buy or sell.