Atlanta’s real estate market is incredibly competitive, and with over 40,000 homes listed at any one time, yours can get easily lost in the sea of homes that Buyers are scanning. Almost 99% of Buyers today start their real estate search online and they can easily scan through hundreds, if not thousands, of listings in one sitting. With that much data at their disposal they’re looking for any excuse to skip over a listing. So if your home doesn’t immediately capture their attention, you’ve lost the game before it even started.
It should really go without saying that professional photography is a must and it’s something I offer all of my clients free of charge. However, it still amazes me that I continue to see listing photos that you wouldn’t even want to post on Facebook.
Here are a few examples of actual listing photographs that were taken of the same house by two different agents. I’ll let you guess which agent sold the home…
As you get your home ready to compete in Atlanta’s real estate market, here are a few pointers to make sure your home doesn’t get lost in the crowd.
Professional photography …no, ifs, ands, or buts…
Don’t even consider taking the photos yourself. You can go ahead and knock tens of thousands of dollars off the price if you choose to go this route (if you’re lucky enough to sell it at all). Professional photography is the single most important tool you have at your disposal for getting the most value for your home.
Work with your photographer to create “captivating” images
Here’s what I mean by captivating photography; Buyers make purchases based on emotion, so instead of simply showing high quality photos of a house, you also want to engage Buyers emotionally by capturing the essence and feel of your home. Captivating photography captures the atmosphere and aura of your home. Think lighting, angle, and ambiance.
Most professional photographers do this instinctively, but some need to be prodded. I always try to be present at photo shoots to make sure the images come out just right. It’s the subtle differences that can really make your home pop. The key is, making sure the photos are inviting and engaging.
Prepping your home to maximize the photo shoot
- Schedule a professional cleaner to come by the day before (or morning of) the photo shoot
- Make sure your home looks like a model home. Every bed is made, every dish is put away, and not an item is out of place
- Remove all clutter. I mean everything. Tuck it away, even if it’s for just a day
- Make sure all light bulbs (indoor and outdoor) are working and ready to go. Even in full-daylight, interior lighting is necessary. Rooms with little or no interior lighting can look dead
- Clean all windows inside and out and remove screens. You can stack them in a corner of the garage for the photo shoot and the duration of the listing. Screens collect dust and dirt and they just make windows look dirty
- Spruce up the landscaping with fresh pine straw or mulch and flowers. And make sure the lawn is neatly trimmed as well
- If you have a pool, make sure it is spotless and have a net handy to scoop out any last-minute leaves
- Remove any faded or dirty lawn furniture
- Buy fresh flowers for the kitchen, bathrooms, and outdoor living areas
- Straighten all chairs and space them evenly around tables
- Check under the bed and around dressers to make sure nothing you’ve tucked underneath is showing
- In bathrooms, remove all toothbrushes, medications, toiletries; everything should be put in the cupboards. Be sure to remove all floor-mats as well
- Remove any trace of pets – beds, water and food bowls, toys, crates, etc. We all love our furballs but not everyone feels the same. Even pet owners interpret the signs of pets as an indication that a home hasn’t been well-maintained.
If you simply insist on taking your own photos, please do everyone a favor and follow these basic pointers.
Think about what you’re capturing in the photograph (This is showcasing a condo with a garage but it looks more like a morgue):
Don’t take photos directly into the sun:
Make sure all the lights are on and open the blinds:
Hold the camera steady and get a tripod if necessary:
Think about the exposure and the detail you might be washing out:
Hold the camera upright and straight. Don’t make your viewers seasick. This one had focus issues too…
Make sure you clean the pool:
And above all, take a few moments to tidy up before you snap a photo:
Considering buying or selling a home? Here are a few resources and related articles:
How to Get the Most for Your Home – Part 1: Preparation
Atlanta Real Estate Predictions for 2017
Why Photography is so Important in Atlanta’s Real Estate Market
Dear Real Estate Agent, What Were You Thinking? How to NOT sell your home…
How to Get the Most for Your Home – Part 2: Positioning and Promoting your Home