There was a time, what seems like a hundred years ago, when what your home looked like from the curb was how it made its first impression to homebuyers, future homebuyers, neighbors and really anyone that passed by. Landscaping, the color of your front door, outdoor lighting, the state of your exterior stain or paint were all important—and while those things still matter, buyers can now see what’s beyond the front door without even stepping one foot inside.

As Internet and digital capabilities grow wider each year, most potential buyers’ first impression of your home now more than ever takes place online. In fact, nine out of 10 homebuyers are using the Web to search property listings, and 98 percent of them say that photographs are among the most useful features on real estate websites, and that was three years ago according to the 2012 NAR Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers. So, how do you make sure your home is putting its best foot forward when (and even before) you present it to the market? At VHT Studios, this is what we advise Realtors® and homeowners when marketing their homes.

Leave Behind the Amateurs

Professional photographs matter. Research studies by VHT Studios found that whether a listing contains professional photographs or amateur ones can significantly impact the number of clicks on a listing. A consumer survey by VHT Studios found that professional photography increases the perceived value of a home by nearly 13 percent. On a $500,000 home, this equates to a rise in perceived value of $65,000. So, leave it to a professional photographer to get those selling shots because a real estate shoot is one of the toughest types of photography there is.

Quality, Not Quantity

It’s not how many images you have on your listing, but rather it’s how captivating they are and how enchanting of a story they tell that will create an emotional connection with buyers and inspire them to visit your home. And, the only way to present quality photographs is to work with a professional photographer.

I’m sure you’ve noticed that lighting changes drastically from room to room as you go from natural to incandescent to florescent lighting, and from overly bright rooms to dimly lit rooms. Professional photographers know how to capture and present the best quality shot. Another challenge is the size and depth of different rooms. Small rooms look even smaller in photos, while large rooms tend to lose some of their grandeur. Having the right camera, lenses and lighting – and the skills to make the necessary changes from room to room – are critical. Knowing how to achieve color balance and manage lighting and flashes takes experience.

Lay It Out

Floor plans also help increase the effectiveness of your listing. They allow buyers to see how the rooms relate to one another and the overall functionality and flow of your home. VHT Studios has a team of experts who expressly create interactive floor plans. They are designed to present a clear and simple illustration of the layout of your property and are created after an on-site measurement and photo shoot of the property.

Don’t Go on Empty

Never show an empty home. You want potential buyers to be able to envision how the home looks furnished instead of leaving it up to their imagination. Another option, one that’s gaining in popularity, is virtual staging. Using specially designed digital editing, homes can be shown with different types and styles of furniture through digitally enhanced images.

Add a Third Dimension

Consider asking your agent to work with a professional photographer who can provide a 3D tour experience for buyers. This impressive online experience takes buyers on a virtual tour, allowing them to walk through the rooms of your home, seeing it from many different angles. It’s a fully immersive experience, and while it puts buyers right into the “story” of your home, it also is an efficient way for homeowners and buyers to show and view the space when and where it’s most convenient. 

Tag It Right

Be sure to work with your Realtor® to choose tag words that appropriately market your home. What are its most marketable features? What do you love most about it? What differentiates it? What defines it? Tagging images appropriately will increase its success at reaching the right buyers, and will likely facilitate a quicker sale.

Contact the author, Brian Balduf.

Image Credits: Photo credit: VHT Studios.