House Selling Tips: Professional Photography: Is a Picture Truly Worth $1,000 Words?


House Selling Tips: Professional Photography: Is a Picture Truly Worth $1,000 Words?

Is a picture really worth a thousand words? In the Real Estate world of buying and selling property a high quality, professional picture could be worth $1,000 or more. A study done by Redfin found listed homes with professional photographs garnered $934 and $116,076 more at closing that pictures taken with a point and shoot.

Butterflies, Boys and Baseball

I have to admit, while scanning the homes on the multiple listing service and other home search sites I pass over the homes with few and or bad photos. We are a visual animal and in the current environment of Twitter and Facebook we want quick and visually stimulating content before we delve further into the information. Our attention spans have deteriorated to those of an 10 year old boy playing right field in a little league game. 

With over 90% of prospective home buyers starting their search on the Internet the listing pictures can make or break a buyers decision to “click” on that listing, see more pictures, view the specs and then decide if they want to go see the house. Think of the 10 year old boy and how easily distracted he is. We need our information to be quick and concise. We want to decide in a split second whether the content or picture is worthy of our time. Twitter posts only allow 140 characters (that includes spaces and punctuation). Do you know how difficult it is to get any point across or make an impact in 140 characters? Even Steve Martin struggles with it. A picture, however, makes an instant impression.

I studied photography in College and have been an avid amatuer since I was 10 years old. I have invested in several high end SLR’s in the past but when it comes to interiors, I have no clue how to capture the beauty and detail like a pro. My focus has always been faces and expressions. Interiors, exteriors, and lighting of homes is a completely different skill set. Check out the first picture (taken by me) and the second (taken by Mitch Shenker). Which would you rather have representing your home to all the potential home buyers browsing the listings?

Bad Kitchen Picture

Un-Professional Picture


66 Grove Hill South, San Anselmo, CA 94960

Professional Picture

So why is it that only 15% of listing photographs are taken with a high-end SLR or by a professional photographer? Maybe Realtors and sellers aren’t aware of the return on investment? In the Marin Market it is common for the Realtor to include the cost of professional photography in their marketing budget for the listing. Is it a cost factor? A time factor? Maybe all of the above? I spent $250 and received 15 high quality pictures formatted for the web and print. Worth it? Absolutely!

The bottom line is as Realtors, our job as the listing agent is to market and help sell the home. In order to sell the home we need to attract buyers and buyers agents and get them into the home and the best way to do that is with pictures and clever copy and who doesn’t prefer a clear, high resolution picture over a dark, fuzzy one? Um…no one!Professional Home Picture

A picture truly is worth 1000 words and possibly $1,000 or more dollars at the closing table. You can decide for yourself if it is worth the time and cost to have your listings, or your property, professionally photographed or not.

A thought…what do you do with your downloaded pictures that are too dark or a little blurry? Do you show your friends the picture where you have a double chin or your husbands bald spot? Mine go directly in the trash because if I post an unfavorable picture of a friend or loved one on Facebook or Twitter or anywhere else I will never hear the end of it.