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The Importance of Real Estate Front Shots

October 3rd, 2011

Several discussions I’ve had recently brought up various aspects of the fact that the front exterior photo is THE most important photo in real estate marketing. The reason is that time and time again the listing agent is forced to choose a single photo that is  represents the home and is either featured most prominently (as on web sites) or the only photo (as in print media ads). This single shot has the job of creating enough excitement to get the prospective buyer to click a thumbnail for more information or make the call to the agent to ask for more information. This is why front shots are frequently called “money shots”. They are the shots that do the “heavy lifting” of making the agent money. Most MLS’s require this photo to be an external photo. Because I’ve had the opportunity to talk to both the home sellers and to the buyers that eventually purchased the home I’ve witnessed the important role of the primary exterior shot over and over.

Because of the importance of this single photo, more thought and time should be focused on creating and choosing this single photo than the other photos. You want grab the attention and capture the emotion of the potential buyer. It’s difficult to state rules for doing this. I think this is so important that I dedicate a whole chapter to this subject in my Photography For Real Estate eBook.

Twilight shots are just one approach for drawing attention to a home. Patrick Beil was telling me recently that he was finding that he was using twilight shots to distinguish himself from the “point-and-shoot” crowd. I can believe it. My experience in the past has been that home sellers would come to us to list their home just because they saw a twilight shot on one of my wife’s listings and wanted a twilight shot of their home too. Twilight shots are very popular with home sellers and most Realtors.

Some homes are just plain ugly. We had a listing that was so ugly that I used a twilight shot (to the right) so you couldn’t see much of the home. A twilight or near dark photo, in this case can hide the uglyness. This actually worked amazingly well by covering up many aspects of the home that were not very attractive in the daylight.

Many times a straight-on shot accentuates the garage, large driveway or street these are usually not all that interesting. In short, do everything you can to make the front shot look great.

For condominiums where a photo of the front of a particular unit in the condo is rarely inspiring, I recommend a wide shot that shows the whole condominium structure and it’s surrounding environment so the buyer has a feel for the setting. On this condo listing I  marked where the particular unit was we were selling. Not very elegant, I admit but we wanted to show where the unit was because this was a very desirable location next to the greenbelt. I believe in this front shot you want to convey as much information as possible. A photo like this shows where the unit is as well as well as a complete feeling of the whole condo environment.

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2 Responses to “The Importance of Real Estate Front Shots”

  • Great advice and the perfect info that EVERY agent needs for EVERY listing. As a REALTOR, I see all of the awful shots of the lower price sales and almost all rental listings. It is an absolute disgrace and may soon be unethical as it is not in the clients best interest in using bad photos.

  • As a Realtor, I also wish ethics would focus on representing the client’s best interest. Further, I wish they would abolish the word “commission” and call it what it is – sellers risk free marketing cost payable only if sells. It would add visibility to the listing agent’s marketing effort and the risk they were assuming to present the property in the best possible light.

    Unfortunately, I think may be swinging the other way as the clueless powers that be respond to the whiners. Last week had a “discussion” with my broker who returned from a mandatory legal/ethics continuing education seminar presented by the local Board. She indicated that people were complaining about photos with green grass when it was really dormant and the lawyer was presenting it as a case of “misrepresentation.” She swallowed it hook line and sinker and I made her think about it. First is the presumption that the pictue was taken co-inciding with the listing date when grass was dormant – and not an existing photo the owner provided. More realistic though, with our southern grasses dormant 2 months, or 1/6th of the year, is it no “misrepresentation” and failure of the listing agent to perform their most basic fiduciary responsibility to NOT show it as it exist 5/6th of the year. It is not like filling in bare spots, but taking the existing grass, blade for blade, pixel for pixel, and making it what every first grader would expect…green.

    I can’t wait until I am scheduled for that mandatory class. I’ll be loaded for bear waiting for such absurd statements.

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