They say a picture is worth a thousand words. When you are taking photographs of a home for the MLS (multiple listing service – your home’s official listing when it goes on the market) you want to do whatever you can to make sure one of those words isn’t “pass.” The truth is, I see too many real estate agents who don’t understand the value of MLS photographs. Viewings and interest increase when photos of a home are more desirable. Most buyers preview a home online before ever seeing it in person nowadays, so it’s important you don’t let yours get lost in the shuffle.
With some time, effort, and a small investment in staging, you can greatly improve your home’s desirability. And with the right photography, you can increase it even more. I always recommend investing in a professional photographer to do the photos, but if it isn’t in your budget, consider renting a great camera with a wide-angle lens. Then, check out these staging tips. They will help you take better photographs of your property and get the most out of each photo.
1. Show the layout. Buyers want to get an idea of how the house flows and whether it is laid out to their liking. If a home feels choppy or they can’t get an idea of where everything is, it can be a major deterrent.
2. Include the ceilings. Bad MLS photos often cut out the ceiling entirely, but if you do that the room can appear very claustrophobic. Include at least a little bit of the ceiling in each photo. If you have beautiful vaulted ceilings, really show them off.
3. Show the property at night. Most people don’t think to include at least one or two shots of the home at night. The truth is, if you have beautiful landscaping and outdoor lighting, this could be a major draw for home buyers.
4. Offer a different perspective. Taking an extra photo of the backyard from an upstairs balcony or window offers a stunning perspective of the outdoor space that you couldn’t get from the ground floor.
5. No distractions. Keep surfaces as clear as possible (items that may appear fine in real life can often clutter a photo) and any distractions such as brightly colored art out of the photos, so buyers can pay attention to what’s important: the home’s features.
6. Clearly define each room. You don’t want buyers wondering, “What is this room for?” Make it obvious. This simple desk and chair clearly define this room as a home office.
7. Show the room’s set-up. If you took this photo looking straight on the bed, you would have missed how it connects to the bathroom through beautiful double doors or the wonderful arches leading out to the hallway.
8. Show off architectural features. This beautiful bay window could be a great selling point to a buyer, so you wouldn’t want to leave it out entirely. This photo not only shows the bay window, but how it connects to the rest of the space.
9. Color balance your photos. If you aren’t using a professional photographer, make sure your photos are color balanced properly. This is important so each space shows as it does in natural light and so any wall colors are not distorted.
10. Include special features. Anything special to the home, such as a water feature, should be turned on and displayed in the photographs.
Think of a home’s MLS photographs as one of the most important marketing tools at your disposal and make the most of them. They should make buyers want to see more, not want to pass on it altogether.
All Images Courtesy of Isleworth / Stockworth Realty and Photographer Ian Roth