This section is perhaps the most vital in this book when it comes to your success in selling your home.
Let's consider why.
Your prospective buyer’s journey is likely to start out with a search on a property portal, such as Rightmove or Zoopla. They’ll enter their search criteria and typically up will pop ten listings. Each will show a very short description and a thumbnail sized photograph. Rightmove’s own studies show that house buyers will spend an average of 28 seconds perusing the summary details, before they click to select a property to explore its details further.
That's an average of 2.8 seconds per property!
That’s only a very small window of opportunity for your property to stand out and shine and the biggest single factor in this decision is the photograph. You could have the best marketing description in the world, incredible photographs inside, but unless your elusive buyer has clicked through to see the details, you’ll fall down at the first hurdle…
In the US, the National Association of Realtors carried out a study. It revealed that online listings with professional photography generated an average of 61% more page views.
Just to explain further, ‘professional photography’, is not your run-of-the-mill estate agency photography. This study was specifically carried out and measured in respect of DSLR cameras. That’s the technical term for cameras with detachable lenses.
The key differentiator with DSLR cameras is the ability to have wide-angle lenses that enable the photographer to capture a wider field of view when taking internal photographs. This means that more of your room is displayed, giving the impression of a
bigger room size. This makes sure that the buyer is not left with the mistaken belief that your rooms are smaller than they actually are.
When choosing an estate agent, it's crucial that you find out whether or not they’ve been professionally trained at a Property Photography Academy. All EweMove branch directors receive their training from one of the industry’s leading photography experts:
In view of the importance of the first picture, which is the main one shown on a portal search, it’s vital that it looks amazing. So when you’re taking this front view picture, you should remove any cars in the driveway, dustbins and unsightly children’s toys. Where possible, you should aim to take the shot on a nice sunny day with a beautiful clear blue sky.
Given the British weather, unfortunately this is not always possible. But a good estate agent will be able to insert a blue sky as a backdrop. I’m able to do this using my editing software (you can also use packages like Photoshop). If a house seller in my area wants to replace their current poor photographs with professional ones, I provide a free service for exterior shots. Ewe Move are even happy to do this if the house is listed with another agent.
There really is no excuse for estate agents taking poor photographs because you can now even use online suppliers to edit them for you for as little as £4. For an example of one such provider, check out:
Online photo editors can do a whole range of things including removing dustbins, cars and ‘For Sale’ boards. Remember, you cannot remove anything that is a fixture of the property, such as a nearby lamppost or electricity pylon! Only movable items can be edited out.
The key to taking good photographs is to take lots of them. You can then select the best ones later. When taking exterior photographs, make sure that you take them from an angle and if needs be, from an elevated position.
But despite all of what I’ve said so far, almost every listing that your potential buyer will search through will look pretty much the same. Reams and reams of house fronts, boring angles, boring views… How can you make yours really stand out from the crowd and get noticed in just 2.8 seconds?
The key to this is to try and be different. For example, if you have a large home, like a five-bedroom property, this is likely to appeal to a family. You may have a picture of all the family lined up in size order smiling outside to demonstrate it’s a family home. It’s quirky, different and will draw your viewer’s eye.
Another example would be to have a picture of a beautiful looking door and have the marketing description saying, “What’s on the other side of this door? You’ll be astonished when you find out…” Curiosity killed the cat and will suck in your nosey buyer…
"One of my colleagues had the great idea of using a drawing done by the seller’s child as the main photograph. It even had his name and age on so that it could be proudly shared on Facebook! Obviously it was a child's drawing, but it stood out. People warmed to the idea and it got a far higher click through rate as a result."
- Ewe Move Estate and Lettings Agency.
If none of these options are available you could always use an alternative picture, such as fantastic feature room like the kitchen or living room. Or what about a patio table set out with plates, wine glasses and scrummy food on a summers day?
When it comes to internal photographs, you should take wide-angle photos of as many rooms as possible, because your buyer will spend a lot of time browsing online before they decide to book a viewing.
As a general rule, I’d recommend between 8-10 internal
photographs for a standard 2-3 bed home. Obviously the amount will increase if it’s a very large home or if it has lots of jaw-dropping features that you want to show off. A large home may have 15-20 photos.
The aim of your photo’s is not to present a virtual tour of every room in your home, removing the need for a potential buyer to view. It’s to tempt and arouse their interest by showcasing your very best rooms. The teaser photos should leave them wanting more… And to get more, they’ll need to arrange a viewing. This is the point at which they can be moved towards making an offer.
When taking photos, remember that this is going to be your key marketing weapon when selling your home. Your photographs are going to be your brochure to the online world. You should imagine that you have received a call from a lifestyle magazine that wants to feature your property as this month’s centrefold. How would you present your home, given that it’s going to be viewed by a large audience and you want to impress?
Don't just present the rooms based upon regurgitating a list of boring features. The person who is buying your home is acquiring a lifestyle and wants to visualise it as a lovely warm cosy home that they and their family are going to enjoy. A good tip is to ensure that you take photographs when there is lots of natural light and all the curtains are fully drawn with blinds open.
You should get fresh flowers for the living room/kitchen, fresh fruit, have lighted t-lights and even set the dining table with your best crockery and cutlery. You can even go as far as having a bottle of wine on display, wine glasses out and a salad bowl. All of this helps paint a picture of a lovely welcoming home to rest, relax, eat and enjoy.
When it comes to the kitchen, it should be spotless and other than electrical appliances, there should be nothing left out on the worktops. Your bathroom should be gleaming and free from any personal toiletries. Have some flowers on display and complement the room with nicely folded, colour-coordinated hand towels, together with hand wash/lotion accessories etc.
Hopefully this step will have given you some pointers, but don't be afraid to ask your estate agent to come back and retake photographs if you’re not happy with them. The importance of fantastic photographs cannot be overstated when it comes to selling your home. This is the one thing that you need to spend time and effort getting right; to make sure that your home is presented in the best way possible.
If your property is listed for sale with another agent and you don’t think that your main photo does your property justice, Ewe Move will be delighted to take a set of professional shots and email them to you for your agent to use, completely free of charge.
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