Potential Home Buyers Search Online. Ten or fifteen years ago if you were looking for a home to purchase you would first find a real estate agent and tell the agent what kind of home and where you wanted to purchase a home. The agent would then do a search of the local Multiple Listing Service (accessible only to agents) and create a list of homes for you to physically go look at. Nowadays essentially all home buyers use the Internet themselves to search for a home in the neighborhood, price range, with number of bedrooms, square feet etc., they want. They pare all the possibilities down to a list that’s short enough to physically go look at, take that list to their agent and tell them, “We want to go see these homes.” In online home searches, you give the search page your criteria and then they typically get a list of short descriptions with a thumbnail photo of the front of the home.
In this search process the look of the small thumbnail photo is the first thing that entices the home searcher to click on a link to see more information. This thumbnail is super important and is like the “bait” on the home sellers “hook”. For maximum effectiveness this thumbnail photo should be bright, colorful (like a good fishing lure) and fill the frame. This front exterior photo is where a blue sky helps. I think getting a buyer to click on the thumbnail link to find out more information and see more photos is not unlike a fisherman using a bright lure to get a fish to “take the bait!”
Then after clicking on the thumbnail to get more details there will be 10 to 20 additional photos and some text describing the features of the home. How these photos present the home will play a major role in whether or not this home gets on the buyers “let’s go see it” list!
You never get a second chance to make a first impression. That first impression… that first visual impression is essential to driving and maintaining interest in a property. In today’s market buyers have very high visual expectations, short attention spans and they require clear information instantly. Prospective buyers have an abundance of resources and before they are willing to schedule an appointment to see a property they prefer to view the property online. The only way to capture their attention, entice them into looking further and interest them into knowing more about a property is achieved with professional photography.
Before you can sell a property you have to get potential buyers visiting the property. Reports state that 90% of home buyers searched online during their home buying process. Additionally 28% of new home shoppers used their mobile devices. According to Google real estate searches just on Google have grown 253% in the past 4 years. These statistics enforce our belief that to represent the clients the best way possible you have to have professional photography.
Professional photography isn’t simply using an expensive camera, you have to know how to use that camera and have skill in capturing the property at its best. While you’re smart phone may have an 8 mega pixel camera in it, do you really want that image representing your largest purchase or the selling of your largest investment you’ll have in your financial life? Properly lit rooms feel bright, inviting, a wide-angle lens for size and scale, the angle of the shot is the difference between cramped and quaint, a high-resolution image isn’t just the size of the file but the quality of the image. A real estate professional photographer also doubles as a ‘visual stager’, they take the time to look, really look at the space and try to take an image that showcases each room, even if they are empty, ok, especially if they are empty. Professional photography delivers results and is the only type of photos that you should be using in a high value marketing campaign no matter what the actual price of the property.
The Basics of Visual Psychology
There are a few simple basics that determine if real estate photos are attractive to buyers. There’s no rocket science or advanced psychology involved here. These are all things you can verify for yourself:
1. Light and bright:
People are not attracted to dark and dull as they are bright and light.
2. Disorienting interiors:
We all spend most of our waking hours in buildings; as a result we have a well-developed mental model of how interior spaces work. If interiors are too different from this mental model, in color, perspective, verticals or horizontals, we feel weird. Weird distracts from the effective presentation of interiors.
When presenting interiors visually the way a photo is framed, what’s left in and out contributes to its effectiveness. There are some general rules, but most people intuitively recognize when a photo works and when it doesn’t. Others are less sensitive to composition but can be taught composition.
You want to remove all the distractions from photos that don’t aid in presenting the features of the home. Things like people, dogs, cats and miscellaneous junk.
Creating a high value marketing campaign for a property should be the first goal of every real estate agent. All of our homes, no matter what price range, have professional photography, creating that virtual walk-through that not only draws the buyer into the property but welcomes them into their next home.