Home Listing Photos: revealing more than ever

If you’ve been looking at home listings online, I’m sure you’re drawn to the photos. In an effort to distribute information to agents and consumers, the real estate industry has embraced cutting edge technologies that include embedding photos in home listings. Multiple photos and virtual tours can make it seem as if you are actually in someone else’s home, but sometimes the pictures (or lack thereof) can be more revealing of a home’s shortcomings.

Nothing helps a home sale more than multiple quality photos in the listing. The photos help home buyers see the home from the convenience of their office or family room. Both the exterior and the interior can be viewed without actually visiting the home. Realtor Magazine (published by the National Association of Realtors) has published many articles on the importance of using multiple photos in home listings and marketing to help them sell faster. If your home is on the market (or you are thinking of listing it soon) take note of this April 2nd, 2008 article (“How Photos Help Sell Homes”) which indicated that the days on market is drastically reduced when there are multiple quality photos: “A property with a single photo spent 70 days on the market (DOM) on average, while DOM fell to 40 with six photos, 36 with 16 to 19 photos, and 32 with 20 photos…” The same article also reports that your home will probably sell for more if your agent posts multiple quality photos compared to posting only one photo; “listings with one photo sold for 91.2 percent of the original price, while homes with six or more sold for 95 percent of the original price…”

Although you might think that with the availability of technology allows having multiple quality photos to be standard practice among real estate agents, either through hiring a professional photographer or taking the photos on their own. The fact is that many agents still do not take advantage the technology (for various reasons).

What’s more troubling than not having photos in your listing is having exaggerated photos in your listing. Yes, some agents go to the opposite extreme of using photo editing software to “stretch” the truth in their photos. Some try too hard to emphasize features such that the photos look bizarre and occasionally cartoon-like. Although Article 12 of the National Association of Realtors Code of Ethics states that “Realtors shall be honest and truthful in their real estate communications and shall present a true picture in their advertising, marketing, and other representations…”, it is becoming more common to find embellished photos.

Home buyers are savvy and can spot “enhanced” photos, often wondering what is being hidden in the photo. Like the listing without photos, home buyers generally skip those listings where they encounter “enhanced” photos. A common complaint from home buyers is, “the rooms look larger in the virtual tour.”

If you’re planning to list your home, make certain that your listing agent uses the technology available to them to give your sale every possible edge; but make sure there are no extra “enhancements” that may turn buyers away. The bottom line is that your sale has a higher probability of attracting home buyers when you have multiple, high quality, and accurate photos of your home.

by Dan Krell © 2010

This article is not intended to provide nor should it be relied upon for legal and financial advice. Using this article without permission is a violation of copyright laws.

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