If you’ve got a rental property then you want to attract the best tenants you can find, and there’s no doubt that the best way to do that is to use amazing photos online. That’s where prospective tenants are searching, and they’ve got a lot of rentals to choose from, so if you want a crowd of people trying to rent your home then highly professional photos will definitely help.
This might vary across different markets, but what we are typically seeing in 2020 is that a lot of sales agents are using a professional photographer to shoot a home. That makes a lot of sense. However, a lot of rental agents still seem to be living in 2003 and are still taking their own (often terrible) photos, hoping that such photos will be enough to attract an influx of tenants willing to pay a top monthly rate for the honor of living in that property.
Sorry rental agents, but it just doesn’t work that way.
When poor photos are used it typically reduces the number of inquiries, so you have fewer interested parties contacting the agent, and that can eventually place downward pressure on the monthly rent. Renters aren’t really any different to buyers – they still want to see what the property looks like, and they are drawn to homes that look amazing.
As we mentioned in another article on this site:
“… 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.”
How do you take great photos of a rental property?
It might seem easy enough when all you need to do is push the shutter button on your phone, but it’s harder than it looks.
For example, if you are looking directly at a window then often the window will be excessively bright, or the interior will go quite dark. Although some phones are quite clever, even if they can somewhat balance the outdoor and indoor exposure, you’ll often get strange colors in the scene that detracts from the overall presentation.
Another issue that you can face is the color being cast by the lights in a room. For example, tungsten lighting can make a room look very orange, and other lights can make a room seem rather blue or green, and quite different to how it actually looks.
How can a professional photographer help?
A photographer has the skills and the gear to overcome poor lighting to make sure every rooom looks its best. You don’t want your photographer to create a false expectation, but rather a realistic view of a room that will attract the kind of tenant that is looking for a home with those features and styles. An experienced real estate photographer will do that.
Consider virtual furniture for rental properties
Another way that your professional real estate photographer can help is that they can shoot the room with no furniture, or even poor quality furniture, and they can digitally insert virtual furniture.
This is a great way to hide the private possessions of current tenants, or their ugly furniture. It’s also a great way to show the amount of furniture that can fit in a space if you shoot it when it’s empty. A lot of people find it difficult to imagine what can fit in an empty space, but your photographer will be able to fix that by adding appropriate furniture into a room at a fraction of the cost of hiring real furniture (and the heavy lifting that goes with that!).
You don’t even need to use virtual staging in all of the rooms. I know of some agents who use virtual furniture in just one photo, which they use as their hero shoot. This is something this rental agent in Melbourne (Australia) does, and here’s how virtual furniture has helped their business at Advantage Property:
“… we experienced an 80% increase in clickthroughs for a marketing campaign when we put professional photos with one (virtually) staged photo. The property leased within one week, and had previously been online for three weeks with no interest.”Michelle Valentic from Advantage Property
Think about your future landlords
When a rental agent uploads the photos for a new rental property, they might like to think about the message those photos give about that agent.
What are those photos saying to future landlords about the level of professionalism shown by that agent?
Do those photos give the impression that the agent handling that rental cares about their listings to the point that they will do all that they can to present them in the best possible way? Or do they suggest the opposite?
Instead of seeking the cheapest possible way to get a property listed online, rental agents and property managers need to take a 30,000 foot look at the whole scene, and look at how those photos impact the business as a whole. When they do that I think they’ll find that hiring a professional real estate photographer to shoot a rental property makes a lot of sense.