When Selling Your Home, A Picture is Worth a Thousand Dollars or More

Being a professional photographer as well as a Realtor, I am a firm believer in the use of professional photography as one of the key marketing tools with which to sell properties. Today’s buyers are almost exclusively shopping on-line for houses. Naturally, buyers are attracted to photos that are large, sharp, bright, and artfully composed—as opposed to small, dark, blurry, and crooked shots that are too often found on property listings.

Not long ago, an article on this subject appeared in the Wall Street Journal. I feel this information is well worth further broadcast, so I am re-printing the data and some of the text while also writing original copy.

Attention home sellers! Do you want the highest price for your house? Consider top-quality photos. According to a recent analysis by Redfin Corp, a Seattle-based  brokerage, properties marketed with high-quality photos command higher asking prices: if you believe your property is worth investing in good photography, you will likely ask a higher price for it. The data clearly illustrate that your property will sell for thousands of dollars more if your marketing photos are produced using a DSLR (digital single-lens reflex) camera rather than pictures taken with a point-and-shoot or smartphone camera. See the following chart:

At the closing table, listings with high-quality photographs gained between $935 and $116,076–measured by the difference between list and final price—over listings marketed with lower-quality, amateur shots taken by low-end cameras.

What’s the difference between a DSLR and a point-and-shoot camera? It’s primarily about 2 things: the user and control. Of major control is the lighting: a DSLR is much more sensitive to measuring the light intensity and also allows for an external flash unit to be used to fully light up a room. Another important control distinction is that various lenses can be mounted on a DSLR camera; in particular, a very wide-angle lens which is ideal for shooting architectural images.  Further, a DSLR produces a much larger digital file (in other words, higher-quality imagery) than a point-and-shoot or smartphone (for example, 12 MB on many of today’s new DSLRs vs. 3 MB on some smartphones).

But what’s the biggest difference between a DSLR and a lower-end camera? THE USER. It is highly likely that a skilled photographer is shooting the DSLR and knows how to operate the camera to capture the best-quality images. In contrast, it takes no talent to click the button on a smartphone or point-and-shoot. The result? An experienced photographer shooting a DSLR will produce large, well-lit, sharp, color-saturated pictures that capture all four walls of a room. Small, fuzzy, dull, off-balance shots that show only a portion of a room will be the usual product taken by an amateur on a low-end camera or smartphone (which is not even a real camera). No comparison in quality!

Given the obvious advantage to marketing listings with high-quality photos, it is shocking that only 15.4% of homes in this data were marketed using professional photos. The majority of the listings, 81%, were shot using point-and-shoots cameras and still another 0.7% used just a smartphone camera. Listings featuring high-quality photography receive 61% more on-line views than the competition using low-quality photos across all price ranges. Let’s be clear: if you are not using professional photography to market your home, you are not seriously marketing your home.

So, what does this mean to someone attempting to sell his/her home? Invest in high-quality professional photography to market your property. Doing so will dramatically increase the likelihood that a potential buyer will view your listing, resulting in more showings which will then lead to a quicker, higher-priced contract.

A picture really is worth a thousand dollars or more.

Contact me if you are interested in beautiful, high-quality photographs to market your property. (See the quality of architectural photographs I’ve taken on my Home page.)