A pictures speaks a thousand words

The saying that a picture speaks a thousand words has never been truer than in today’s real estate market, with the growing number of potential homebuyers searching for property on the internet before they look anywhere else.

“The first look that most buyers will get of a property is through the lens of a camera, which is why it is so important that sellers ensure that their home is camera ready and that the photographs that are used to market their property will show their home in the most favourable manner,” says Adrian Goslett, CEO of RE/MAX of Southern Africa.

“We have all seen badly taken photos and how they fail to communicate both the benefits of the property and effectively create an image that the property buyer can envision living in. The buyer’s initial judgment of a home will be based on the pictures they see of that property. Therefore it is important that the photos entice the buyer and make them want to see more of the home and its features, instead of simply moving on to the next property,” he says.

Goslett provides homeowners with some tips on how to ensure that their home is camera ready and the photos are aesthetically pleasing to potential buyers:

Remove clutter and personal items

He says that the first step that sellers should take is to de-clutter and de-personalise their home. Pack as many personal items away as possible, take down family photos and remove any old magazines or newspapers that may be lying around. Clearing everyday items such as toys, cleaning supplies and utensils will allow the buyer to focus on the property’s features without being distracted. The idea would be to have the property seem like it is ready to move into.

Remove unused or bulky furniture

Goslett says that if the choice is there, take photos of the property with minimal furniture. Removing large or unnecessary pieces of furniture will make the rooms appear larger and once again will allow the buyer to focus on the features of the home rather than the items in it. A clean, simple, modern look is best.

Give the home a good cleaning

High resolution photos may show evidence of dirt that may otherwise be overlooked, so it is best to thoroughly clean areas that will be photographed. Goslett says that homeowners should make sure that windows are clean and streak free along with any stainless steel appliances.

Give special attention to the outside of the home

Goslett notes that the outside of the home is just as important as the inside. He says that homeowners should ensure that their lawn is mowed and the landscaping has been manicured. Clear the garden of any refuse and pack away garden tools or toys from the lawn. When photos are taken of the outside of the home, where possible avoid having vehicles in the pictures.

Take photos at the right time of day

With light being an important factor, ensure the weather is good and the sun is shining, so completely avoid photos on rainy or cloudy days. Goslett says that nobody wants to purchase a dark property, so photos are best taken when the property is in sunlight. “The best time for photos is either early in the morning or late afternoon. Late afternoon is in fact better as the light is softer. Avoid taking pictures of the homes between 11am and 3pm as this is when the sunlight is at its brightest, which can make the picture look colourless and flat,” he says. “Even if the sun is shining outside, the lights should be turned on as well.  When you see the images afterwards on the computer screen, you will notice the extra light and how much better it looks.”

Take some test shoots

If the homeowner has a digital camera they should take a few of their own shots and review them to see how their home would look to potential buyers, which areas are most aesthetically pleasing and which areas need more work. If possible, it is better to have the photos that will be used to market the home taken professionally or by an experienced real estate agent with a good quality camera, as photos taken with a phone will not suffice.

“The visual element of marketing a property is crucial to the success of the sales transaction. The photos of the home will be a key factor in determining how much interest the property generates from potential buyers, so it is important for homeowners to spend some time on getting it right,” Goslett concludes.

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