By now it should be no surprise that the Internet is the starting point when consumers want to search for a home. With millions of listings at their fingertips, it makes perfect sense to narrow down the group of potential properties without leaving the couch. But for the seller’s agent, it can be challenging to grab the attention of buyers when you
only have a few seconds for your online property listing to make an impression. A 2006 Canadian study suggests that consumers make up their minds about the quality of a website within one tenth of a second. So how long does it take for a consumer to determine whether a property is worth adding to their list if it has a bad visual presentation? You decide.
The whole point of listing photos is to quickly convey complex information. The more photos you can post with a listing, the more a potential buyer can be enticed into investing more time in reading
the notes you add to the MLS. One important point: buyers are investing their time in the home search. Unless you can give them a good return on that investment by providing quality, easy-to-read, and efficient information, you’ll lose them every time.
Always post the maximum number of photos allowed by the MLS, and then post even more photos on your own website and provide a link to it. Also consider one of the many “single property website” vendors, like Postlets.com or SinglePropertySites.com; these can give you more flexibility and, in some cases, more listing features than your MLS or personal website. Also, take good photos. It may sound obvious, but judging from a random sample on Realtor.com, it’s not the case.
Lighting is a picture’s best friend. When taking pictures of a property, try to wait for a bright, sunny day. Open the curtains and turn on all the lights in any room you’re shooting, because low light is the primary cause of blurry and grainy photos. However, don’t point the camera directly at the window, or the brightness will wash out the rest of your picture. Before posting, you can crop and adjust brightness and contrast using one of the many free online photo editors, like fotoflexer.com or picnik.com.
Video done easily
Why stop at just photos when video is so cheap and effective? Remember that the whole point is to convey the most information in the least amount of time. A simple camera like the Flip Ultra is ideal for its price, portability, and video quality. With free software like Windows Movie Maker (PC) or iMovie (Mac), you can easily edit video with transitions (fading between clips), add text over the video,
add background music, and more.
If you have a simple microphone on your computer, you can also record a voice narration, which I highly recommend, as long as the narrator is giving more info on the home. By not including a voice-over, you are missing a golden opportunity to convey subtle features. Once the video is complete, choose one of the real estate video hosting sites, like Zipvo.com or Wellcomemat.com, to showcase your efforts. These sites make your video accessible online and allow you to “embed” it on your own site so that it becomes a seamless experience for potential clients. Whatever you do to promote a listing online, the one thing you should not do is waste the consumer’s time. The more quality photos you can provide, and the more information you can pack into a video or other multimedia presentation, the more consumers will get the full picture of your property instead of just an introduction.
Photos/Videos Produce Leads
• 92% of all Massachusetts homebuyers used the Internet in their search.
• Nationwide, buyers ranked “Photos” as the #1 feature they valued in propertysearch websites, ahead of “Detailed Property Information” and “Virtual Tours.”
Source: 2008 Profile of Home Buyer and Sellers from the NAR
• Compared to listings with no photos, those with 21 or more photos generated more than 55 times the number of Detailed Views, nearly 27 times the amount of Interest, and 898 times the number of Leads.
• Compared to listings with only one photo, those with 21 or more photos generated more than triple the number of Detailed Views, more than double the amount of Interest, and double the number of Leads.
Source: 2008 Point2 Technologies study
Article written by:
Director of Technology Services
Massachusetts Association of REALTORS®