Whenever I speak to real estate agents that are not yet clients (or do not use professional photographers for their listings), I often get asked the question, is it really necessary for me to have professional photos of my listings? “My iPhone camera is incredible and I take my photos with that,” is probably the most common answer I receive. “I have been marketing my listings without professional photos for years, and it’s been working for me” is another popular one. Truth is, if you’re not using a professional photographer and professional photos to market your home, you are not marketing your home.
I spent some time trying to find some stats that would indicate the advantage to professional photographs for real estate listings. I cam across a great article posted by Redfin on a study they performed to test the selling market with professional photos vs. amateur photos. The results are remarkable. I have shared them below:
From Instagram to Pinterest to Snapchat, digital photos have become their own mode of online and mobile communication. With 92 percent of home buyers using the Internet as part of their home search, listing photos are a critical factor in the selling price of your home, how quickly it sells, and whether it sells at all.
For homes listed between $200,000 and $1 million, Redfin found that homes with listing photos taken with DSLR cameras sell for $3,400 to $11,200 more relative to their list prices. At the high end of the spectrum, professionally photographed homes for more than $1 million sold at prices similar to those with amateur photographs. In Los Angeles, Redfin real estate agent Eric Tan says, “professional photography and even photo post-processing are expected on million dollar homes.” While million dollar homes take longer to sell, DSLR photography still helps these luxury homes sell faster than than they otherwise would.
Across all price tiers, homes with DSLR photography were more likely to sell within six months than homes with point-and-shoot photos. In the $400,000 to $500,000 price range, 64 percent of homes with DSLR photos sold within six months, compared to 46 percent of homes with point-and-shoot photos. For those difficult-to-sell million dollar homes, 35 percent of professionally photographed homes sold in six months, compared to 30 percent of homes with point-and-shoot photos.
Since professionally photographed homes are more likely to sell in general, and to sell for more money, it’s not surprising that these homes also sell faster. Because online searching and browsing is such a critical part of the home-buying process, it follows that a better-photographed home will sell faster because more people are enticed to visit the home and people know what they are getting before they even set foot in the home. Across all price ranges, homes with professional photos sold faster. In the million dollar range, professionally photographed homes sold four days faster, and those in the $400,000 range sold three weeks faster than their counterparts with amateur photos.
For this latest study, Redfin dug a little deeper, looking at photo sharpness. Photo sharpness can be thought of as detail added to a picture by using a good camera, lens and lighting. Whether it’s a crisp reflection in a mirror, or bright flowers in the front yard, a sharper picture will show a house in its best light. We used some fancy math and image processing via OpenCV to group our photos by a sharpness percentile. The sharpest 10 percent of photos sold at or above list price 44 percent of the time, while listings with average sharpness sold at or above list just 13 percent of the time.
If you are looking for a few more examples of great listing photos that sold fast and at a good price, here are two homes listed and sold by Redfin from 2013.
This professionally photographed 3-bed, 1.75-bath home in Renton, Washington was listed at $329,950 by Redfin agent Monique Losk. Within five days of coming on the market, the sellers received a $332,450 offer and the home sold nearly one percent above the asking price.
This professionally photographed 2-bed, 2.5 bath home in Redmond, Washington, was listed at $449,950 by Redfin agent Loren Ellingson. The sellers had four offers within five days of placing the home on the market, and the 2-bed 2.5-bath home sold for $480,000 which was nearly seven percent above the asking price.
If you’re selling your home, be sure you have professional photos to ensure an ideal home selling process even if you’re selling your own home. And, finally, we’ll take an opportunity to mention that Redfin pays for professional photography for all clients as part of the listing package for selling your home.