Location, Location, Location!… Or is it?

“Location, location, location!”  It’s one of the most overused statements in Real Estate.  Three times for emphases, it stresses the importance ‘location’ has on the value of a property.  And while you can’t do anything about your location, there are 3 things you CAN do to insure your home sells before other homes in your price range.

1) Staging,  2) Professional Photography,  3) Price.  These 3 things will give you the best advantage over other similarly priced homes.

Staging is important in improving a home’s presentation and Price is probably the most important, but quality photos are important for getting buyers to leave the comfort of their home to come and see your home.  90% of home buyers begin their search online and they overwhelmingly use photos to decide which homes to view and which to skip.

Here are some photo tips to make sure your home Photographs well:

Clean & Declutter:  Go here for tips on how to get your home ready for a photo shoot:  Click Here

Have the “right stuff:”  There are no 2 ways about it…  You need a DSLR camera.  Take it off Auto mode (I use Aperture Priority).  ISO 200 & f/8.  Get a non-distorting wide angle lens (not a fish-eye, please!) and a quality tripod with a Ball Head.

Back up!:  Capturing rooms straight on can sometimes make a room look narrow and small. By backing up, standing in a corner and shooting at an angle, you’ll make the room look larger.

Keep the camera ‘level’:  Keep it waist or chest high and don’t tilt the camera up or down.  I once had a Realtor tell me, “I’m not tall enough to photograph my listings.”  I wondered to myself, “Just how short is this woman?”  It turns out she was of normal height.  However, for some reason she brought a step ladder with her and tilted the camera down for all her shots.  Not good!  We want to keep the camera level to avoid converging angles.

Turn off the flash: A flash can make a room feel one dimensional and not using a flash can make the photos look dark and cold.  What is a Photographer to do?!  Consider bracketing 3-5 images at different exposures on a tripod and then merging them in post production.  Post production is where the magic happens.

Post Production: You will need photo editing programs such as Photomatix, Lightroom and Photoshop/Elements.  Please don’t cross the ethical line and change the home in any way.  You wouldn’t want to mask cracks in the wall with Photoshop, for example.  Instead, use post production to help capture a room at the perfect exposure.  A camera cannot capture what our eyes can see and we sometimes need to tweak things in post production like the exposure so we can see out of a window.  We also may need to color correct and crop.

Tell a story with your photos: Organize them so that they flow logically and in the order you would show a home to a potential buyer. Avoid redundant images or those that don’t add value like a closet, laundry room or toilet.  All bathrooms have toilets, we don’t need to showcase one.  Display the maximum images permitted (REALTOR.com allows up to 25 images and Trulia allows 32 per listing). Also, to complete your listing’s photo story, you might also want to add photos of the neighborhood or community amenities like a pool or tennis courts.

97% of home buyers who searched for a home on the internet found photos to be among the most useful features, according to the 2014 NAR Profile of Home Buyers & Sellers. Digital photography and Virtual Tours allow Realtors to serve their clients like never before. There’s a fundamental shift happening in the Real Estate Industry and professional photos are playing a key part in the success of many Realtors…  it’s happening… are you embracing it?

Why not showcase your property at it’s best?  Today’s technologically savvy clients not only appreciate nice photos… they expect them.  Buyers will compare one house to another by the photos.  Add a Virtual Tour and you hit a home run with most every buyer looking for a home in today’s market.

*** Tom Biondi is a Real Estate Photographer located in Toms River, NJ.  He also regularly speaks to Real Estate Professionals about the benefits of Professional Real Estate Photography. http://tombiondi.com/re.html

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