5 Practical Steps to Boost Your Listing’s Visibility
For those of you who know me, you know that I am super single, and my parents are freaking out about me not getting married anytime soon. To appease their excessive reminding of the baby factory getting shut down in the near future, I signed up for couple online dating sites.
Other than punching in the incessant amount of personal details, all of these online dating sites ask for photos. And not just any photos! They ask for high-quality photos that show off my personalities, my body, my interests and as many as possible. They even offer to take my photos for me with a professional photographer (like this ad below from Dating Ring).
Why all the emphasis on high-quality photos?
Because good photos sell. Good photos tell stories and stories sell. Most people still judge a book by its cover. This ad wisely points out the importance of good photography:
“A picture says a thousand words — make sure they’re positive ones. Many people think pictures are just about looks — but personality and character play a really huge part. We have seen thousands of online dating photos, and we know how to take just the right photos to maximize your success.”
NOTICE THE KEYWORDS: “THE RIGHT PHOTOS TO MAXIMIZE YOUR SUCCESS.“
It’s so in the dating market, and it’s the same in the real estate market.
Like shopping for an ideal mate, most people have a check list in mind when they are shopping for a new home. People are also busy nowadays, they often screen first online before they see the houses in person. According to National Association Realtor’s research, 90% of home buyers searched online during their home buying process (source).
Here are a few pro tips on maximizing your success with listing photography:
1. IF YOU WANT TO SELL IT, PUT A PHOTO ON IT (ACTUALLY, PUT SEVERAL)
According to eHarmony, profiles with photos are nine times more likely to get communication. The same study also shows that more photos mean higher engagement rates. I know this is statistics on dating photos, but wouldn’t you think it is similar with real estate? (source)
Most professional photography starts at $150. That is PEANUTS compare to what you would make on a real estate transaction. That is well below 1% of your listing price.
Many real estate sites nowadays allow you to post as many photos as possible. Realtor.com allows 36 photos (source), and that’s a lot! Since you have such a big allowance, take advantage of it. I also recommend to post a few detail shots to add visual interests and lifestyle elements (like above example).
2. HIRE A PROFESSIONAL
I used to take my own photos to save money. I would spent 1 hour trying to get the best photos with my Canon DSLR. Then at home, I spent 3-4 HOURS selecting the best photos, processing them in Photoshop and Bridge, adjusting the levels, playing with saturations, colors, cropping the photos, etc. I often walk away from the computer feeling cross-eyed and exhausted. Then I realize, I actually am not saving any money by doing it myself. I am also not getting better results by shooting the photography myself.
For $150-$250, a photographer shows up, takes photos, processes them in post production. In return, I get great looking, high resolution, internet ready photos that I can crop however I want. I also get 3-4 hours back where I can focus on doing more important business development stuff. Everybody wins.
Professional photos also often show properties in the most flattering light, which attracts more open rates on listing websites and get more foot traffic during the open house.
3. SHOW OFF THE BODY
Yeah, that’s right, the good stuff. I often see homes on the market hiding behind overgrown bushes and trees. Curb appeal is super important. It is the first thing everyone sees. So make a great first impression.
4. SHOW OFF THE PERSONALITIES
Every house has characters, personalities and unique selling features. These can be architectural details, the neighborhood it’s in, the views, the amenities.
5. BE WELL GROOMED
You may not be able to hire professional stagers to stage the properties, you still should tidy up and make sure the house looks pleasant, inviting and presentable before the photo shoots. As the before and after photo illustrates, you don’t need a lot. Proper lighting, basic tidying up, and dress up the space a little can go a long way.