Across the board, homes listed with professional real estate photos sell quicker and for more money. But why?
We’ll get into more in-depth explanations below, but the bottom line is that professional photography should be important to agents and sellers because it’s important to buyers. In a study by NAR among all generations of home buyers, photography ranked as the number one most useful feature of a listing.
Why specifically are photos important when it comes to selling listings quicker and with larger price tags? Check out the top 3 reasons below.
1. Most home buyers start their search online.
Not only do 93% of home buyers begin their search online (Statista), but prospective buyers are more likely to click on homes that have photography. According to a study by Redfin, “Listings with professional photography receive 61% more views online.” Buyers want visuals (especially for a purchase as large and important as a home) and professional photos pique their interest. This is especially true as everyday buyers begin to take the home search into their own hands.
Buyers used to rely on realtors to send them homes they might be interested in. Increasingly, buyers are taking to the internet to start their own search. Using sites like Redfin, Realtor.com, and Zillow, buyers now tend to find homes on their own and relay that interest to their realtor.
This shift presents some unique challenges for sellers and agents. An agent might be able to see past bad or even missing photos. But the buyer? They’re going straight to the property gallery. One of the worst things that a seller/agent can do for their home’s marketing is to forgo the professional photos and just have “The Placeholder.”
If you’ve ever tried searching for a home online, you know what The Placeholder is. It’s a “stand-in” photo for a home when there are no other photos to show. It is often made-up of grayscale clip-art (we’re looking at you, Realtor.com). It is not a good thing. In fact, The Placeholder is one of the quickest ways to kill buyer interest. “Why are there no photos?” the buyer wonders. “What’s wrong with it?” In our fast-paced world, the average buyer won’t wait around to find out why there aren’t any photos. They’ll simply move on to the next listing.
2. Potential buyers want to imagine themselves living in the home.
People are driven by visuals. They want to imagine themselves in a new home. But for the most part, buyers need great photos to help them do this. Beautiful photos help them envision the family enjoying dinner in the dining room or playing in the backyard.
What about unstaged homes? Well, these can definitely deter future buyers since they may have some trouble envisioning themselves in the home. This is where staging comes in. According to NAR, 83% of buyers’ agents reported that staging a home made it easier for a buyer to visualize the property as a future home.
In cases where physically staging a home isn’t possible, Virtual Staging and Virtual Renovations can help. Check out our recent blog post showing 5 examples of great Virtual Staging before-and-afters that completely reframed the home’s living spaces – all without lifting a single piece of furniture.
3. Photos help buyers decide whether to move forward in the process.
For better or for worse, it’s not uncommon for home buyers to decide to move forward with a home based on its photos. For many buyers, the photos are a litmus test for if they’re even interested in taking next steps. Why visit a home you’re only lukewarm interested in, after all?
The best way to move potential buyers from the “consideration phase” (e.g., in front of their computers) to a showing is to catch their eye via – you guessed it – professional photography. Make sure you’re listing your home in the most effective way possible so that you hold buyers’ interest and get them in the door.
One last note: We’ve established that photos are key when it comes to selling listings quickly and for more money. With this knowledge in hand, you might be tempted to grab your iPhone, but be careful. Poorly taken photos can actually hurt your listing – potentially even more than if you hadn’t included photos at all.
We wrote a post on this exact topic – Professional-Grade Photography: iPhone vs. DSLR – which goes into detail about the differences in quality between a professional camera and an iPhone. The main differences include dynamic range, higher megapixels, color fidelity, and a super wide lens to show off the space in each room.
It might not seem like a professional camera can make that much of a difference, but top equipment, paired with talented post-production work, means stellar photos. Stellar photos mean qualified leads and ultimately, a happy buyer and seller.