Instagram your home: are professional photos worth it?
For many people it’s the first impression, the curb appeal, the exterior views of a home that capture their attention. Of course, this is the same view you see when you pull into the driveway after a long day’s work.
Whilst first impressions are important for securing initial viewings, they don’t necessarily sell homes. Very often, a home buyer becomes interested in a property based on first seeing the photographs online. If house photos are integral to the sales process, how can you be sure you have the best images? Most agents will hire a professional photographer on your behalf and here are a few tips on getting the most out of the process.
So many factors are important when preparing a home for sale (maintenance, landscaping, fixtures, staging…) but it is the final advert and property particulars that will help you secure viewings.
One of the best ways to get guidance at this stage is to contact your estate agent, who probably has plenty of experience photographing homes. We had a chat with Kaylene Smith from Kinleigh Folkard & Hayward about what their professional photographers do when taking photographs in order to advertise properties.
Smith explained that Kinleigh Folkard & Hayward (like most agents) arranges photography for each and every property they market across both sales and lettings, and that the best photos to take of a home are of the interior and exterior; the wider the selection of photos, the better.
She said: “It’s definitely worth having professional photography taken, which typically your agent would organise on your behalf. Professional photographers understand the elements that create the best atmosphere, for example, lighting and composition and this is so important.”
It’s human nature to assume that homeowners who work with their agent to take the time and effort to provide a comprehensive, and frankly, attractive listing will have put similar effort into caring for their homes. We were interested to know if there’s a correlation between the quality of an image and how properties are perceived to have been cared for.
“Absolutely,” says Smith. “If the property looks better – and lighting is a very important element – it creates an impression of having been cared for and well maintained.”
A picture is worth 1,000… pounds?
According to research done by American realtors Redfin, homes that had professional photos taken sold for thousands more than homes that went au natural. It’s an interesting correlation, but we wouldn’t go so far as to say that taking flattering pictures of a home will actually add value to something that isn’t there to begin with.
But people hire professional photographers to capture other eventful moments in their lives such as weddings, and when there are life savings resting on the sale of your home, ensuring your agent presents it in its best light seems quite sensible.
First impressions don’t always count
Going back to first impressions: if people rely on photos to some extent to make up their minds, do they also arrive at properties having made up their minds about what they’re going to see?
Smith says not.
“There’s so much more to viewing a home than the initial photograph, which presents flattering angles and lighting and encourages visitors to view your home in person. The more buyers who are attracted to your home, the better your chances of receiving an attractive offer; photos are just a small part of the preparations.”
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