When it comes to real estate, pictures, images, and visuals provide far more value than words. Whereas written and spoken words only describe a property, pictures tell the entire story. Despite the importance and value of visual content, very few landlords and property management companies fully invest themselves in capturing and publishing high quality listing photos.
7 Tips to Improve the Quality of Your Listing Photos
If you want to maximize the potential of your properties and secure long term tenants, you can’t afford to devalue or overlook listing photos. They are one of the single most important aspects of marketing your listing and require your full attention. Below, you’ll find some tips to help you make better use of your time, money, and resources.
• Understand the priorities.
Not all rooms in the home are created equal. For example, a renter is going to be less interested in the half bathroom in the hallway than they are the master bedroom. Generally speaking, the kitchen, main living room, and master bedroom are the most important rooms to a prospective renter. You should give your full attention and focus to these rooms before considering bathrooms, closets, and spare bedrooms.
• Invest in a quality camera.
There’s a huge difference between an average camera and a high quality camera. If you’re still snapping pictures on your iPhone, you’re missing out on potential leads. While your smartphone’s camera may be good enough for Instagram pictures of your morning coffee, it’s not an adequate solution for real estate listings. Spending a few hundred extra dollars on a top of the line camera is a smart choice. If it means getting a renter in your property a few weeks early, it’ll more than pay for itself.
• Lighting is key.
Lighting can make or break a photo. In fact, you could argue this is the most important aspect of a good listing photo. Your goal should be to use as much natural lighting as you can, while relying on the camera’s flash as little as possible. A camera’s flash, while capable of illuminating a dark room, ultimately cheapens the image. Natural lighting shows off the room’s best features and eliminates unsightly shadows and reflections.
• Angles make a big difference. The angle of a picture makes a major difference. Even when all other aspects are the same, the difference between one angle and another can completely change the look and feel of an image. When taking a picture from the curb, Catherine Sherman of Zillow reminds people that the roofline should be parallel with the photo’s frame. Otherwise, it’ll look like there’s a landslide on the property.
• Control the staging. You may not be able to control the physical layout of a house, but you can influence the way in which it’s staged. Carefully consider the resources you have at your disposal and stage rooms to show off their best features. Renters aren’t always able to picture how empty rooms are best utilized. By laying out the furniture and adding some nice touches, you can reveal the full potential of the listing.
• Take organization into account. It’s not all about the pictures themselves. When you’re dealing with an online listing, you also have to think about the order of the images on the listing. You’ll want to start out with the best images from the most important rooms and then cycle through the other rooms based on priority. The first photo should always feature the outside of the property, while the last photo should be the least important – garages, closets, etc.
• Don’t be deceptive. There’s a fine line between making a property look good and being deceptive. You should never lead people astray by making them feel like a property is anything other than what it is. However, with that being said, you also have an obligation to make it appear as aesthetically pleasing as you can. Use your best judgment here and always err on the side of honesty.
Top Listing Photo Faux Paus
Sometimes it’s less about what you do and more about what you don’t do. Let’s briefly look at some of the top listing photo mistakes you’ll want to avoid.
• Including clutter. One of the biggest listing photo turnoffs is when landlords take pictures with clutter. Spend a few minutes and clean up prior to taking pictures. Prospective tenants want to see clean living spaces. Other than large pieces of furniture and appliances, there shouldn’t be any signs of people currently living on the premises.
• Flash reflections. There’s no excuse for having flash reflections in mirrors or windows. If you have enough natural light, you really shouldn’t even need to use the flash. These bright reflections are distracting and take away from the overall quality of the photo.
• No framing. If the viewer can’t tell what they’re looking at, you’ve messed up. A listing photo should be so clear that people who’ve never seen the property can easily tell which rooms they’re viewing, what size they are, and how they fit into the property’s layout. Avoid using the zoom button and instead opt for wide-angle lenses when you can. A 10-20mm wide angle lens should be adequate in most situations.
• No editing. While you don’t want to be deceptive, you should touch up and edit photos to improve their appearance. The most frequent edits include lightning up dark photos and cropping out distractions. Be wary of spending too much time on edits, though.You want the photos to appear as natural as possible. Excessive editing is easy to spot and may cause prospective tenants to question the trustworthiness of the images.
Reach Out to Green Residential Today
At Green Residential, we believe every landlord needs the right resources to succeed. Over the past 30-plus years, it’s been our aim to provide Houston-based landlords with those resources. As such, we offer a number of services, including comprehensive property marketing, maintenance and repair coordination, electronic rent collection and distribution, tenant screening, professional quality photography, and everything in between. For additional information regarding any of our services – or to learn more about our company’s commitment to serving local real estate investors – please don’t hesitate to contact us today!