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Are your real estate photos scaring off buyers?

Updated: Nov 4

So, you’re swiping through property listings in your local area, and you come across one that haunts you on an emotional level. Your hands are shaking, your pulse quickens, and you start looking for your therapist’s contact info.


The dark interior makes it almost impossible to make out everything in the room. The cold void screams and echoes with color cast. Blown-out windows stare back at you like two burning white eyes, incinerating the joy and excitement you felt about your home search only mere moments ago. The home appears disheveled like it was frantically evacuated. Toys, clothes, and documents are scattered around the room, left to fend for themselves as the previous inhabitants fled. The cluttered kitchen walls close in, encroaching on your sanity. You thumb your phone’s screen looking for the flashlight icon, and accidentally swipe left (Oops, wrong app).


Oooh, another home. Salvation, at last.


What message do you get from those real estate photos?


Something like “STAY AWAY!”?


What is the real estate agent or seller saying with those images?

“It’s a great location, close to downtown and several professional exorcists….”


If you’re like me, you’ve already grabbed a cup of hot cocoa, some tissues, a flashlight, and/or a baseball bat, and you’re already in your Snuggie.


You’re probably comparing the listing price with other homes in the same price range, and thinking that maybe the agent is asking a bit too much for a home of that presentation, relative to other, less scary listings currently on the market.


Are you reaching out to the agent, eager to tour the home before someone else snaps it up?


Or any of the above?


A. I’ll wait. I have time

B. Absolutely not.

C. Let me make sure my will is updated.

D. Gross…

E. Meh…

F. Uh, Just No.


Seriously though, what kind of offer you might you make on the property? The highest possible price, or would submit a below-asking price? Based solely on those photos, You might assume that the real estate agent listing the home doesn’t believe that it warrants professional photography because they don’t think it will sell for a higher price, so why would you offer one?


Think like a buyer!


When considering your marketing campaign and the real estate photos that you use, it can be helpful to consider it from a buyer’s point of view. What are some of the subtle messages that a buyer picks up when going through online real estate listing photos?


It also helps to consider the message that those photos say about the real estate agent and their service:


Do the real estate photos make a property seem like a good value compared to other listings on the market?


Do those real estate photos entice buyers to move quickly before the listing is off the market?


Do those real estate photos give the impression that the agent selling the home is the most knowledgeable and professional agent in the area?


I believe that most people would answer 'no' to most of those questions. Bad real estate photos don't really benefit anyone, but I don't think real estate agents use them because they want to get lower offers.


I believe that real estate agents who use bad photos do it, because they may not be sure what constitutes a good or bad real estate photo. It’s nothing to be a


shamed of, provided that you want to learn what makes a great real estate photo.


The visual elements of a real estate marketing campaign are the most critical piece. As mentioned on BestRealEstatePhotographers.com:


"Hiring that professional photographer for $200, or even $500, when it means an increase in the perceived sale price of a home of $51,000 doesn’t sound so bad, does it?"


This quote also applies:


"... according to a study by Carleton University in Ottawa, Canada, it takes less than 50 milliseconds to form a first impression, and that’s going to be largely dictated by the visual elements the viewer sees, not the written elements since they don’t have time to read that much in just a fraction of a second."


Ask an expert.


If you want to learn more about what makes a good real estate photo, have a chat with your Oklahoma City real estate photographer. Just be sure that you like the message they convey through their photos, because some are scary good, and some are just plain scary.


Unsure of how to find a good real estate photographer in your area, have a look at the list of amazing real estate photographers we have here.


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