Newspaper editor Arthur Brisbane originated the thought, “a photo is worth a thousand words.” Computer scientist John McCarthy later proposed, “… 1001 words is worth more than a picture.” PrimeLending asks, what it’s worth when you have both? We think, hopefully the asking price of your home!

Welcome to part two of our blog series, Boost Your Home Listing – Excellent Photos. According to the National Association of REALTORS®, 97 percent of homebuyers who search for a home via the Internet find that photos are among the most useful features of real estate listings. So to go with those effective words we helped you craft in part one of this series, below are some tips for taking excellent photos that will help you boost your home listing and attract serious buyers.

First Things First – If you’re working with a  REALTOR®, consult with them him/her to determine who will take pictures of your home and what specific photos are best for your listing.

  • Are you hiring a professional? If so, we recommend hiring a photographer who specializes in real estate.
  • Are you taking the photos yourself? If so, a digital or SLR camera with specialized lenses (i.e., zoom, wide-angle, tilt-shift, etc.) can capture high-quality photos with attractive angles.
  • If you’re using a smart phone camera, be mindful of the zoom feature, as it can often lead to a pixilated image.
  • Avoid using a panoramic feature that may distort proportion – it’s never good to give homebuyers unrealistic expectations.
  • Shoot your photos in landscape mode, versus portrait. You can usually fit more space within a landscape shot, and most home listing Websites and mobile apps are pre-set to accommodate landscape photos.

The Outside – Your exterior home photos should include as much of your landscaping and outdoor features as possible. Take multiple photos, showing different angles of the home and yard.

  • First impressions last, so make sure your home has curb appeal with a well-manicured landscape and a freshly painted exterior.
  • Consider power washing the exterior for extra shine. You can hire a professional or rent a power washer at your local hardware store.
  • Spread fresh mulch in your flowerbeds, and add a vibrant potted plant to your front porch.
  • Make sure your windows are clean on the inside and the outside. Consider hiring a professional exterior window cleaner.
  • Make sure yard tools and hoses are neatly stored away.
  • Clean and neatly arrange outdoor furniture to be inviting.
  • If you have a pool, make sure to it’s clean of leaves and insects and the color is inviting. If you’re photographing in the off-season, consider using a pool cover.
  • Store pool equipment, floats and accessories out of sight.
  • According to Digital Photography School, you should plan to photograph your home in the early- or late-day hours for the best lighting. Also, try to photograph on a day with a clear, blue sky. While an overcast sky can help eliminate sun-related photo issues, a white sky can lessen the impact of your image.
  • If you’re selling your home during the winter months, consider also including images home during the summer, if available.
  • Avoid capturing images with cars, neighbors, pets and trashcans in view.

The Inside – Your interior photos should include those critical rooms that sell a home, like the entryway, living room, kitchen, master bedroom, master bath, and additional bedroomsandbathrooms. Ask your REALTOR® to identify these must-include rooms.

  • In addition to the main areas, ask your REALTOR® about other key features to showcase. These features may not increase the value of your home, but they can help your home stand out from the competition. These may include:
    • Mudroom
    • Butler’s pantry
    • Wet bar
    • Oversize patio
    • Attractive architectural details
    • Built-in desk/work space
    • Plantation shutters
    • Solid wood doors
  • De-clutter all rooms and areas of the home. You want homebuyers to notice the bones and charm of your home, not all of your stuff.
  • Vacuum the carpet.
  • Clean markings off of walls and re-paint where necessary, using neutral colors.
  • Be mindful of your camera angle to ensure you don’t show up in a mirror or a window’s reflection.
  • Double check counters and dresser tops for food, beverage containers or dishes that may have been left behind – you don’t want to unnecessarily distract a homebuyer’s eye.
  • Avoid capturing your toilet in a photo; however, if it’s unavoidable, make sure your toilet lid is down.
  • Make sure towels are put away, beds are made and all surfaces are clean and dry.
  • Remove baby gates and animal crates from view.
  • Remove standalone picture frames and any personalized décor.
  • Consider hiring a staging company to really make your home “picture perfect.”

Pairing the right, effective buzzwords with thoughtful, excellent photos, you can boost your home listing to attract serious, potential homebuyers. And when you are ready to buy your next perfect home, remember to reach out to PrimeLending to get pre-qualified.

From the PrimeLending blog, by Mandy Jordan