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Why Good Photography Sells Homes Faster?

August 8th, 2010

I was a bit shaken last week when a regular reader said, “a friend just put her house on the market and I was checking the PFRE blog looking for some of the articles about why good photography sells homes faster but no luck“. I thought I had proven this proposition beyond a reasonable doubt but perhaps I need to have a post that lays it out real simple step by step.

So let me walk through the basics in what goes on when someone is looking for a home these days:

  1. Price  and location are the most important factors in selling a home. If  the home is priced too high or in a location no one wants to live in, awesome photos make little difference. Price is a key issue in todays down market. Home sellers having a hard time wrapping there mind around how much their home has dropped in value the last couple of years. Getting home sellers to price their home at market value is a big struggle for some agents.
  2. Once a home is priced near market value and there are a bunch of other homes in the same price range and location, the importance of photography kicks in big time.
  3. Now days 90% or more of home buyers use the Internet start their home search and they are faced with deciding which of all the hundreds of available homes they are going to go look at. Home searchers are faced with choosing which homes to physically go see and photographs play a major part. Any one can appreciate this by simply going to any real estate website and pretend they are looking for a home. As of right now if I go to zillow.com (zillow is not unlike most home search sites) and do a home search there are 163 homes within a couple of miles of where I live between $200k and $300k and I live in a small town (just below 350,000).
  4. As I browse through these 163 homes the  initial selection must be by a handful of facts like year built, number of bedrooms and a small thumbnail photo of the front of the home. The importance of this thumbnail are unmistakable! A compelling thumbnail is like the bright flashy piece of metal on a fishing lure. It attracts home searchers attention to look at the listing details.
  5. Once you click on the thumbnail to get more detail the importance of the photos increases. The text descriptions in listing details are legendary for their sparseness. One agent or home owner in a thousand will take the time to write good compelling marketing copy so photos pretty much take over the home searcher’s attention, even if the photos are awful. It is easy to see that good photos give the home seller a distinct advantage in the selection criteria. Even though Zillow allows an unlimited number of photos very few homes have over 20. I believe 15 to 20 photos gives a listing a clear advantage over one with less.
  6. Why are “good” photos more effective than “bad” ones? Because at this time in history even a 65 year old person has grown up with TV and magazine advertising that uses strong compelling images. Even though most people can’t tell you what makes a strong image, they know one when they see it. Strong images work at an intuitive, emotional level. You don’t need to understand how the image works to see and feel it’s strength. Strong compelling image can be created for exteriors and interiors of homes just like other subjects!
  7. The end result of this online search process is getting on the home searcher’s short list of homes they want to see in person. A home will never sell if no one physically comes to see it and it’s easy to see from the steps above that photos play a key role in getting home searchers to come look at a home and thus selling it.

So to summarize, when homes are priced near market value, photos become a key factor that causes home searchers to come look at a home. A home can’t sell if no one physically looks at it. Even though it’s not easy to prove scientifically because market conditions vary even with in the same zip code, it’s easy to see by stepping through the home searching process illustrated above that strong marketing photos will have a significant effect on selling a home faster. Every home seller client we’ve met had understands the power of marketing photos immediately.

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9 Responses to “Why Good Photography Sells Homes Faster?”

  • Great post! Keep up the useful tips!

  • Great article

  • As a 32 year veteran of real estate, I concur completely with this article. If you are not on the internet in a BIG way with GREAT photos, then you are defacto, NOT in the real estate business anymore!

  • if only “the majority” of agents felt this way 🙂 would be, at least, a much prettier MLS

  • There is for sure an increase in awareness. Compelling images, the ones one cant put a finger on, that just somehow absorb and pull in the viewer. Top agents understand the importance of the first visual introduction. Could be the make or break of a deal. Don’t wait, hire that photographer now. If your not getting the enquiries with great images , then your the price is out, probably by miles. Useful to know, when looking for your market price.

  • I’m quite shocked that this isn’t common sense. I was just recently looking into going on a vacation in Chicago and looking at peoples condos that they rent out for the weekend. I could not believe some of these photos that people post of their places. Some of them don’t even make the bed or pick up clothes off the floor before taking their crooked, dark, and blurry shots. Do they really believe that anyone is going to want to rent their place when the pictures are that bad?

    For real estate, if the pictures are bad, people will dismiss it before they even come look at the property. I know I did when I bought my home. If the pictures are good, and makes the home look inviting, it catches peoples attention, more people will want to come see it, which means greater chance of someone putting in an offer. It’s as simple as that. Also, it’s possible it could sell at a higher price.

  • @Brad- Yes I agree, you’d think this would be common sense. But it gets much worse… there are listings with no photos or one photo etc. See:

    http://blog.franklyrealty.com/2007/11/buyers-dont-skip-photoless-listings.html

  • […] I was a bit shaken last week when a regular reader said, “a friend just put her house on the market and I was checking the PFRE blog looking for some of the articles about why good photography sells homes faster but no luck“. So let me walk through the basics in what goes on when someone is looking for a home… READ MORE […]

  • […] Real Estate Photography Posted on August 17, 2010 by Annie I really enjoyed this article, Why good photography sells homes homes faster. […]

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