The Importance of Photography When Selling a Property

The Importance of Photography When Selling a Property

They say that a picture is worth a thousand words. Nowhere is this more true than in property marketing, and increasingly so in the 21st Century. So, why is the quality of the photography of your property so important to your ability to sell it for the best price?

Every Picture Tells a Story

It wasn’t long ago that the average property brochure consisted of a few pages of stapled typescript with a printed photo of the exterior of the property glued to the front. Property freesheets and newspaper ads attempted to persuade buyers to view, and the printed brochures were picked up from the estate agent or solicitor’s office or during the viewing.

Fast-forward a decade or so to the digital age and printed advertising is becoming less and less popular and decisions are being made at the desktop, tablet or smartphone. Information is coming at us from all directions: our attention spans in the digital age are shorter than ever and we no longer have the time to read and digest large volumes of data. Instead, we scan small bundles of words and pictures in formats such as Facebook, Twitter, messaging services and Instagram. Then we make decisions, some of them as large as which home we would like to buy.

The first thing buyers search for online are the price and number of bedrooms. However, after that they will often be presented with hundreds of results, all in a ‘summary’ view: a sample of text and a couple of images. Spending 30 seconds looking briefly at 500 results would still take 250 minutes: that’s over four hours! In reality, to look at the description, all the pictures, the floor plan and save it somewhere for future review takes a lot longer than 30 seconds. So buyers have to be selective. What is the main factor that makes online house hunters select which properties they will click beyond the summary for? In short: images.

Buyers these days are demanding multiple images, are placing far less emphasis on the quality of the copy and are making potential buying decisions rapidly on the basis of what they see online. Property sellers and their agents, in responding to these trends are placing increasing emphasis on the quality and style of the imagery to create viewer interest and drive them to their clients’ properties.

Why Professional Photography

A good image can take just a few moments to capture, but it creates a lasting impression and is one of the most effective ways of conveying value and desirability. In today’s multilingual and multicultural society, an image can transcend boundaries far more effectively than words. Property photographers who are worth their salt invest in professional-grade digital equipment, including cameras with interchangeable lenses, so they can obtain wide angle interior views and quality exteriors and landscapes. Modern digital cameras give photographers full flexibility and control when dealing with varying light conditions and, when coupled with the use of image processing packages such as Photoshop, allow them to produce, sharp, colourful images, presenting properties at their very best to the general public.

It is accepted that interior space is high on the list of buyer priorities and that a camera never lies. Poor quality photography with standard, consumer-grade lenses and relatively narrow angles of view will never capture the true size of a room: your eye naturally glances from side to side when you enter a room, so your perceived field of view is wider than your eye actually sees. A super-wide angle lens gives a more life-like impression of what it is like to walk into your home.,

So although a good photographer can be creative with the view, the camera captures and presents what it sees. That’s why it’s so important for property sellers to take time to prepare their home environment so that the images presented to the outside world are ones that they can be proud of. A quality camera in the hands of an experienced photographer can do many things, but it can’t wash windows, wipe worktops, clean carpets or declutter under the bed!

In spite of all of this, does great property photography get you a better price when you’re selling your home? You bet! If people don’t click-through to view your property online, they can’t arrange a viewing, so you simply won’t sell your home. Competition increases your chances of getting a great price, therefore the more people who arrange to view your property, the more likely you are to get a good price when you are selling.

It’s All Relative – Draw the Line Somewhere

Of course, you have to draw a line somewhere. Whilst paying £2,000 for photography and £3,000 for printed brochures might be worthwhile to attract the cream of international society to a Belgravia mansion and might, in the fullness of time recoup the cost, for most properties this is overkill. The key really is to make sure that the pictures are as bright as possible, that the picture takes-in the important elements of the room and conveys the size of the property and that the rooms are presented as well as you can prior to the photographer showing-up.

Expect to pay a modest fee to an estate agent for great photography and ask to see examples of their work. That way you know what to expect. When you are fighting the battle to win property buyers’ hearts and minds and to get the very best price for your property, the cost of great photography should repay itself several times over.

I'm Robert Carroll, Managing Director of MOV8 Real Estate, Estate Agents and Solicitors. MOV8 is an innovative and forward-thinking estate agency and solicitor firm with its Head Office in Edinburgh, UK. It is one of the fastest growing firms in the east of Scotland. I see first-hand every day what is actually happening in the property market and am regularly quoted in the Scottish Press in property stories. Through this blog I aim to give an honest, fresh and sometimes light hearted take on what is happening in the Scottish property market for anyone who is interested in that kind of thing...

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