How to take photos that will sell your house

Web appeal trumps curb appeal in today’s real estate market

Published: February 02, 2015 04:00 PM
Photo: pink_cotton_candy

With nine out of 10 home buyers now using the Internet at some point during their search, it’s no wonder that “Web appeal” has been called the new curb appeal. That puts a premium on the photos that you (or your real estate professional) use in your online property listing. Here are three ways to guarantee the best shots:

Use the right camera

You might think your smart phone takes great pictures, but online home buyers aren’t likely to agree. An advanced camera is best for real estate photography because its larger sensor takes clear pictures even in low-light home interiors. That can pay big dividends. In a December 2013 study by online real estate brokerage Redfin, homes listed between $200,000 and $1 million that were shot with DSLR cameras sold for $3,400 to $11,200 more than those photographed with basic point-and-shoot cameras.

Tip. Consumer Reports’ top-rated SLR camera, the Canon EOS Rebel T5i, $750, takes great photos with crisp detail, even in dimly lit rooms.

Tell the whole story

Buyers pay more attention to photos than the actual property description in the listing, so it’s important to provide every visual detail. Include photos of each room, as well as the exterior and yard. And take close-ups of interesting features, such as a stone fireplace or high-end appliance. Natural light is always best, so you may need several days to capture every shot.

Time it right

It’s best to debut a listing on Thursday or Friday, ahead of the weekend open houses. Make sure you have all of the pieces in place before going live because listings get 4.5 times more traffic in the first week than they do a month later. Some sellers (and agents, too) make the mistake of debuting a listing without the photos, thinking they’ll upload them later. By that time, many would-be buyers will have moved on.

Editor's Note: This article also appeared in the March 2015 issue of Consumer Reports magazine.

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