What message do buyers get from your real estate photos?

Let’s say you’re flicking through homes for sale in your local area, and you come across one that is using rather poor photos.

The inside is a little dark, so it's hard to make out everything in the room, and perhaps the windows are largely white due to the bright light outside. The home itself is presented in a lived-in state, so whilst it’s not immaculate, it does look like a pretty standard family home with a small number of toys and documents around the living room, a somewhat cluttered kitchen, and beds that are just a little messy.

What message do you get from those photos?

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

If the listing has a price on it, would you start to compare it with other homes listed at the same price, and think that maybe the agent is asking a bit too much for a home of that presentation, relative to others currently on the market?

If you were a buyer in that situation, would you be rushing to the agent, eager to look through before someone else snaps it up?

Or are you thinking that you’ve got plenty of time, and you’ll get to it eventually if nothing else works out?

When considering what kind of offer you might make on the property, would you want to offer your highest possible price, or do you think you would submit a low price because you assume that the seller’s expectations are low as well? Based on those photos you might assume that the real estate agent selling that home doesn’t think it warrants professional photography because he or she thinks it will sell for a low price, so perhaps you would assume that the seller would probably accept a lower price.

Think like a buyer

When we consider the photos that are to be used in a real estate marketing campaign, it can be helpful to consider it from the point of view of a buyer, and all of the subtle messages that a buyer picks up when going through the photos online.

However, the real estate agent selling that home also needs to consider the message that those photos say about them and their service:

  1. Do poor real estate photos make a home seem like good value relative to other homes on the market?

  2. Do poor real estate photos entice buyers to act quickly before it's gone?

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

I think most people would answer 'no' to each of those questions. Poor real estate photos don't benefit anyone, but I don't think real estate agents use poor photos because they want to get a low price for a home, or because they don't want to appear professional.

I think real estate agents who use poor photos do so because they can't tell the difference between a good photo and a poor photo. I don't think that's anything to be ashamed of, provided that real estate agent seeks to learn more about what makes a great real estate photo.

After all, the visual elements of a real estate marketing campaign are king. As we've mentioned elsewhere here at 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?"

And also this quote from another post:

"... 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 your local expert

If the difference between good photos and terrible photos is something that you need to learn more about, have a chat with your local real estate photographer, but just make sure they are a good one because they aren't all equal in their abilities.

If you're not sure how to find a good one in your area, have a look at the list of amazing real estate photographers we have here. Select your country, then look in your state or county to see if we have a listing for a photographer in your area.