A recent survey conducted by the National Association of Realtors (NAR) found that 95% of home buyers used a website to look for properties. And 89% of those people found photos of the property to be a key factor in deciding whether to tour the property. That means taking good photos of your home is essential!
How to Take Photos for Selling a House
A real estate agent selling a high-end property will hire a professional photographer to make sure to get the best photos for the client. But it isn’t necessary. One of the best home-selling tips you’ll ever get is that you can get high quality, DIY photos, without spending a fortune.
What Photos Sell Best?
The goal is to take photos of a house that people want to live in, not a home people are already living in. The reason being, potential buyers need to envision themselves in the house before they buy it, and that’s hard to do if all they see is your stuff.
Clean, Declutter, and Stage
Picture prep begins with decluttering every room of items that do not add to the décor and are not essential for daily living. Then deep clean the entire house. After that, stage it with on-trend updates like an accent wall and modern fixtures. This might sound like a lot of work just for photos, but you’ll have to do it before your first open house anyway, so you might as well get it out of the way now.
Tip: Renting a storage unit while selling your home can make the decluttering process a lot less painful. Realtors recommend getting rid of anything religious, political, or otherwise personal, and if you give these items a temporary home you don’t have to go through the process of repurchasing them once you move.
Invest In Good Equipment
It doesn’t have to be anything elaborate, but a point and shoot camera with at least five megapixels will give you the best professional-looking photos. A tripod is another good investment as it will make it easier to frame the exact photos you want. You may also want to ask around — you may have a friend or neighbor who is willing to lend you their equipment.
Lighting Is Key
For interior photos you want as much natural light as possible because using the flash will create dark shadows and corners, distorting the room. Plan to take your photos midday when the sunlight is brightest, open every curtain and blind, and then turn on every light in the room. If you have a fireplace, light it — even if it’s 80 degrees outside. The lighter the room, the better your home will look.
Unfortunately, exterior shots need a different type of light. Like using your camera’s flash indoors, bright, sunny days cast dark shadows which can hide some of your home’s best aspects. So it’s best to take exterior photos on an overcast day, but not a rainy day.
Tip: If you want to create a softer look in the bedroom, take pictures in late-afternoon. The light isn’t as intense as during midday and can give the room a romantic feel.
Choose Angled Photographs Over Straight On
Potential buyers want to get a feel for the size and functionality of the house, and photos taken at an angle will give them the best context for space.
When shooting interior rooms, stand at the doorway or in a corner, and take exterior photos at an angle. And whatever you do, don’t use a wide angle lens. These can make your rooms look bigger than they are. This might seem like a good thing, but it can cause frustration for potential buyers if they thought they were coming to see something different than what you have shown.
Take Lots of Photos, Then Touch Them Up
Experiment with different settings, angles, and lighting, taking way more pictures than you think you need. Professional photographers take hundreds of photos per session because you never know where that perfect picture is going to come from. And if you want to entice potential buyers with professional-looking photos, you need to do what they do.
This means you will also need to touch them up. Two online tools: Picnik and Snipshot offer novice photographers tools like light adjustment and cropping to make sure their subject (i.e. your home) looks the best it possibly can. If this is all too technical or too far out of your wheelhouse, there’s no shame in calling a professional.
Good pictures are the number one thing that will draw potential buyers to your home, but you don’t have to be — or hire — a professional photographer to get them. Just get yourself a good camera and experiment. And who knows, maybe you’ll find yourself a new hobby in the process.