How to get buyers to want to see your house: Pictures (Part 1)

Pictures.  Some say they are worth a thousand words.  In real estate, they can be worth thousands of dollars.  They make the difference between getting showings from a few buyers who see your house online and getting showings from EVERY buyer.

See, few of today’s buyers will give your house the benefit of the doubt when they see it online.  I’ve had people not want to see a house because there were not enough pictures online-not enough info to decide if it was worth seeing or not.  I’ve also had people not want to see a house at all based on bad pictures.  The house might have been okay, but bad photography killed any chance of a showing.  My favorite example of this is a client who debated for over a week if she wanted to go see a certain house in a neighborhood she liked……which was a 15 minute drive from where she lived.  That seller lost a showing from somebody who wouldn’t make a 30 minute round trip to see if this house could have been “The” one…..that’s just how buyer’s are these days!

So what is a seller to do?  What I do has been pretty successful for me so far.  I use a professional photographer.  Everytime I meet her at a new listing, she alwaaaaaaaays like to pick on me for micromanaging her.  I am amazed she still answers the phone for me.  Before we meet, I try to think about how I want the house presented online.  I always like to show as much open space as possible.  A wide angle lense helps with that.  I often see pictures online where it take 2-3 shots to get what one shot with a wide angle lense can accomplish.  If there are any interesting details in the house, I have her get a close up shot.  Tiled backsplash?  Fancy faucet?  Exotic hardwood?  All get their own picture in addition to any taken of the room they are in.

The order of the pictures is important too.  Today’s buyers get bored easy.  If they see two or three pictures they don’t like, it is over.  They hit the back button and move on to the next house in their search results.  Gone.  Your house is forgotten.  I like to make a cup of coffee and look slowly through the pictures several times to get a feel for the best way to organize and present them.  I usually make the lead picture whichever one really popped to me.  That is the one picture you see that forces a buyer to decide if they want to quit strolling through listings and see the detail of your house.  If the house stays on the market long enough, I mix the order up so it doesn’t look stale to buyer’s agents who may have seen the listing when it was new on the market.  I then order the pictures from most interesting to least.  Secondary bedrooms are usually at the end of the order.  Sometimes if the house has a killer backyard, I may make that the 2nd picture before going to the inside ones just to keep the buyers interested.  People are into kitchens and baths, so I try to get those in pretty early.  Since a wide angle camera was used, the buyers can often figure out the layout of the house.  I’ll add commentary to each picture to help them out….something like “See that door on the left?  That is the HUUUGE pantry that you’ll see next!”

I’m not afraid to delete a picture.  Not all pictures are the most flattering.   That is why I have my photographer take pictures from every angle of the rooms.  If one doesn’t look as good as the other, it is trashed.  If one shot makes the room look too narrow or too small…trash.  I do all that because I don’t want to let any buyer have a reason not to come see your house.

Here is something else to remember.  The goal of the pictures and any marketing ISN’T to sell the house.  The goal is just to get buyers to come see it in person.  There is no need for 80 pictures of a 2000 square foot house or to describe every detail of every element of the house.   Just as too little info can turn people off from seeing the house, too much info can give people more things to possibly not like.




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