Have you ever noticed the care with which consumer product photos are shot?
When you see a new car ad in a magazine (or on the web), its alway very clean, very shiny and usually positioned to look "fast', even when it's parked. If the subject is a food product; then the lighting is perfect, the lettuce looks crisp, and the bun is JUST the right shade of brown, with the appropriate amount of "shine".
There's a good reason for all this: the Madison Avenue geniuses know what sells--and what doesn't. If you're shopping for a new car, won't a shiny red Ram Charger appeal to you more so than a dusty red Ram Charger? If you're hungry, doesn't the Whopper in the ad look a lot tastier than the actual Whopper you get at BK? Of course it does. SO.....knowing all this, as we Realtors do (or should)...why oh why..do we still see photographs of homes which ad nothing to the appeal of the home..or, even worse; take away from it?
We've all seen them: exterior shots with no regard for lighting or composition...trash cans in plain sight (well, they DO come with the house, right?)..clothes hanging on the line in the back yard (or, the FRONT yard...I won't judge YOUR sellers if you don't judge mine)..cars in the driveway--some on tires..some on blocks...and on and on. Sheesh! WHO'S taking these pictures? Mr. Magoo? Will it KILL you to ask the owner to move the car? Does it really take too much time to put the garbage cans in the back yard?...or to put the toilet lid DOWN before you shoot ("Shoot" as in "Shoot a photo"..for all the 8th graders in the audience.)
I know what you're thinking: "Yeah, yeah, yeah...Photos don't sell a house." OK..you're right. They don't. BUT..you do need to have a buyer actually come IN the house to buy it, right? And, as we all know: the vast majority of Real Estate Buyers go to the internet FIRST...so, you really need to give them a (very) good first impression of the property so that they WANT to come in.
With today's digital camera technology..it's now easier than ever to take ("shoot") quality photos of every impressive feature--in every listed property. Notice that I said "every impressive feature..." This is not intended to mean you need to shoot all of the bathrooms..perhaps just the Master Bath with the Jacuzzi..or only the finished portion of the basement. Use discretion..and use it wisely, Young Luke.
Look at your listed property from a buyer's perspective: "what would appeal to me if I were looking for a house?" The kitchen? Sure. Baths? Absolutely. Extra wide driveway...uh..maybe, maybe not. Remember that internet Shoppers are seeing your listing..and dozens more within a short time period. Make yours the one thay want to "Save" and come back to. Take some extra care (and a little time) composing your exterior photos: center the home in your viewfinder (I actually prefer a shot slightly to one side--it makes the home appear larger). Make sure you have the appropriate amount of lighting (the sun should be behind you)..use a flash indoors or adjust your aperture (if your camera is so equipped) and shutter speed for accurate lighting levels.
When you shoot kitchen photos, make sure the sink is empty and the table is clear. Refrigerator doors should not be a community bulletin board..remove as many items as possible. (Yes. We're all so proud of our lil' Eggbert..he done got a "D" on his spellin' exam..first one in the family to score so high!) Tell your sellers to keep a scrap book instead.
Buyers need to see your home as THEIRS..before they decide to buy it. De-personalize as much as possible. Put away family photos, children's art projects, and your stack of bills. Grampa's teeth soaking in that old jelly jar? Get them out of sight. Your stockings and the "hot water bottle" draped over the shower curtain? Put them away, please. Thank You.
We could spend hours discussing the merits of Home Staging and Presentation..but we won't. Suffice it to say that in this ultra-competetive real estate market, YOUR listings must look better than the others if you want lots of buyers to look at them. Take a minute...move the car out of the driveway...take your lawn sign down...get rid of the trash cans..clear off the counters..make the beds...take the pots off the stove..and shoot a decent picture, for Pete's sake! (or for Betty's sake..or Tom's or whatever your name is). Think of it this way: our Clients are going to pay us perhaps $20,000 (or more) to sell their home..don't we owe them our BEST effort? Presentation is everything. Consider the dog food companies. Do they actually think that DOGS are reading their ads? Do they envision a Pit Bull..sitting on the john... reading a copy of Sports Illustrated and saying" Wow! That bowl of Mighty Dog looks good..I'm gonna get some of that!" Of course not. Purina and all the others know that PEOPLE actually buy dog food (you look surprised)..not their dogs. But Purina also knows that people love their pets..and will only buy pet food which they feel is good for their dog. It has to LOOK tasty because (most) people will never actually taste the dog food themselves. So, they make the picture of the dog food look...good. Good enough to give to their own dog. If it didn't, very few people would buy it. After all, how many consumers would actually buy ugly dog food?