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How to Improve Your Listing Photos and Description

March 09 2022

delta get the pictureListing photos are among the most important collateral in selling any property – and they have only gotten more vital with time. These days, customers have the power to browse dozens or even hundreds of properties in a single hour. Yet, a breathtaking photo is what makes them stop scrolling.

You've heard the old adage: A picture is worth a thousand words. To some extent, that's true—even when it comes to real estate listings. Pictures draw eyes and initial interest, but virtually no homes sell on the basis of photos alone. Instead, it's up to the real estate agent to weave a cohesive narrative around the home.

Of course, that can be a challenge. Real estate agents come from all walks of life, and while some enter the industry following other careers, few are former photography pros or authors. As a result, new agents often come to one or both of these aspects of the job with trepidation. But you don't have to be a world-class expert in either field to give your listings a winning advantage.

Listing optimization is a skill you can learn with practice. And when you start off with a few best practices in mind, you drastically decrease the time it takes to elevate your work to the top 20% in your area.

Real estate is never a matter of "perfection" – it's about improvement. There's always more to learn and do. Start with confidence that you can improve your listings, and the skills you need will grow.

Let's break listings down further and look at the simple steps you can take to achieve superior results.

Your Listing Photos: The First Impression of Every Property

A buyer's interest always starts with photos.

On a page of mixed text and graphics, it's all but impossible for someone to notice text before visuals – that's simply how human attention works. Even if they are looking within a narrowly defined area, they will see a photo, feel a spark of curiosity, and then double-check to ensure the address suits them.

So, listing photos are a crucial "hook."

You already know your photos should be of the highest resolution possible and take advantage of natural light. If you can only photograph at one time, choose early afternoon on a clear day. Additional photos in different lighting conditions are greatly appreciated, but daytime photos are the foundation.

Let's expand on those basics to do more with your photos:

Remember: Decluttering Is Always Step One

Fully staged homes tend to sell faster and at better prices. The first step in staging is decluttering, which often requires some enthusiasm from the seller. Clarify, simplify, and organize whenever possible. Remove large, bulky furniture pieces to open up spaces before you snap them.

Go from Decluttering to Staging

Once decluttering is done, build on your momentum. While some real estate agents work with home staging professionals, many pick up the tricks of the trade themselves. Think about the story of each room – how it impacts the owner's lifestyle – and arrange items to highlight that desirable narrative.

Plan Out Which Photos You Need

There are some types of photos you simply can't do without. These include wide-angle shots of the bedrooms, curb appeal shots, the backyard, and at least one photo of each other room. Use your best judgment to decide what else you may need and which rooms you prefer to emphasize.

Deploy the Latest Photography Equipment

You can do some tasks with your trusty smartphone, but listing photos require a professional-grade camera. Once you know your way around your camera, enhance your results by using a tripod and a wide-angle lens. These two simple items unlock all kinds of creative possibilities.

Experiment, Experiment, Experiment

When you arrive at a property ripe for listing, it might feel like you need to get everything done as fast as possible. Slow down and take your time – and plenty of pictures. Get used to taking more than you need, so you'll practice choosing the best, which will translate to a better "photography instinct."

Get Feedback on Your Work

Although you might not have a gallery showing in your future, it's still a wise idea to connect with feedback on two levels. The first is photography pros, who may be glad to advise you on internet forums. The second, of course, is buyers. They will be more than willing to tell you precisely what they liked!

If in Doubt, Partner with Experts

If it seems like you simply can't get the hang of the photography game, don't despair. From small towns to large cities, communities are packed with professional real estate photographers. You'll often be able to work out a very affordable agreement, and their talent will contribute to higher commissions overall.

Unleash the Power of Your Real Estate Photos with Excellent Listing Descriptions

Once you develop confidence with listing photos, it's time to fine-tune your descriptions.

For maximum impact, listing photos and descriptions work together. Ideally, you'll start thinking about how your description should read as you take your photos. Have a convenient way to jot down notes as you go from room to room – an old-fashioned notepad is often faster than a phone app.

Here's how to boost your listing descriptions to another level without having to become the next Hemingway:

Focus Plenty of Attention on the Opening

Just like sending an email, the opening line is the critical factor in whether a viewer reads on. In your introduction, you need to tackle two questions with an economy of words: "What am I looking at?" and "Why should I keep reading?" Do this in one sentence, and you're on your way!

Sell the Story and the Features

The features are the specific attributes of the home, such as the spacious backyard. The story is how those features better the lives of buyers. For example, many younger buyers look at a big yard as the perfect place for Fido to play. Know what motivates your target audience and weave it through your listing.

Beware of Industry Jargon

Real estate shows are more popular than ever before. Unfortunately, they can give buyers and sellers alike a misapprehension of how the whole process works. Avoid jargon terms like "TLC," "quaint," or "fixer-upper," which such buyers may have learned to react to with disdain.

Don't Forget a Call-to-Action

A call-to-action (or "CTA") is an essential part of any text meant to persuade. It should tell the reader precisely what to do next without demanding too much. For example, your listing might end with "Call now for more information," which is a smaller request than "Contact us to book a showing."

Implement these tips, and you'll be on your way to better-performing listings. And, just as importantly, you'll be able to approach the process of designing your listings with greater ease and confidence.

To view past Real Estate Marketing and Technology articles and read more from the February 2022 issue, click here.

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To view the original article, visit the Delta Media Group blog.