Listing your Home Online? Avoid these Photo Bloopers

  • March 28, 2018

Every now and then, property websites come across a listing from a seller, with pictures of the listed house that makes you blush. While the intention of the home owner is noble, the commitment to sell is a little questionable considering the quality of photos produced for the listing. Let’s say the seller hired a real estate agent to do their home staging. If the agent is a thorough professional, she would hire a great photographer and come up with high-gloss eye catchy images. But wait! It's not just the agent and the photographer who come up with stunning visuals of your home. You will need a good home stager to make the property marketable by cleaning up the interiors, find the right angles and work closely with the photographer. A full service licensed real estate agency will undertake all these activities at an agreed commission during the initial rounds of discussion. Many a time, an experienced real estate agent will double as a home stager and occasionally as the photographer as well. Why is photography such a big deal in selling a home?

Because it is common knowledge that pictures speak more than words. Any new home buyer looking for a property online will seek for that perfect home by going through listings in detail. Although the description of the property, its amenities, pricing, and location are all important for screening out the weeds, it is the actual pictures of the listing that will pique the interest of a potential buyer. If a buyer is really involved in the listing, he will make efforts to provide great shots with good lighting, right perspective, ideal camera angle and realistic representation of the home on sale. I say realistic with a hint of caution. Here are some of the common bloopers of keeping it too “realistic” during home staging. We suggest offsetting them with our useful tips.

Home exteriors: Taking a shot of your entire home through special lenses like Fish-eye lens can distort the image somewhat. Instead, take a straight shot of a home cleared of any unwanted mess at its entrance or next door. Use angles to get a shot of the main entrance with a hint of garden with flowers or greenery that you may have. Remove eclectic dolls or paraphernalia used to decorate the outside of house or stairway to entrance. If the house is not newly painted make sure there are no spots of moisture, faded colors or paint peels. If you have a nice swimming pool and curb area make sure you get them in your picture frame.

Foyer area: Although not the most important for a listing, some people may prefer a foyer area with enough space to put an elegant table decorated with a flower vase or pictures that gives a welcoming feel for visitors. One common mistake people make is to display footwear or wet umbrellas in the foyer area.

Living room: Colorful wallpapers or dark colors on more than one wall with insufficient or inappropriate furnishing will make the living area drab and of poor taste. In addition, if lighting is not adequate photographs appear dull and unappealing. Use as much natural lighting with open windows (or close with elegant, neutral colored curtains if window view is too busy) with strategically placed seating, corner stands, serving table, classy artwork and rare but tasteful pieces of artifacts from your travel.  If your living area has a nice scenic view or view to the city’s skyline show it off with clear, open windows.

Some of the most expensive villas have dedicated areas for living and dining. However, it is not uncommon to have a dining table at a corner of the living room, in an open style layout. Make sure this is included in the pictures you plan to post as there are people who prefer both kinds of arrangement. There are times when the seller forgets to remove a stain on the tablecloth or forgets to remove child-safe seating which looks a little too personal for one’s liking. Keep the dining area clean with appropriate cutlery, elegant set of dishes and folded tablecloths.

Kitchen: Posting the picture of unwashed dishes or a full sink is a no-no. Keep the counters and sinks clean of any item that do not belong there. Instead get a nice shot of the center island, refrigerator and the stove for starters. If you have a nice backsplash make sure you capture it also with the right angle. Any special lighting fixtures like a drop light is welcome if it can be added to the frame. If you have unusual gadgets in the kitchen, underplay it as it may create confusion to the buyer on its usability and its place in the kitchen.

Bathroom: Toilet cover up? Water stains on the mirror? Dust settled on the shower curtain and the bath tub? Hair anywhere? Please say no to all of this. Kitchens and bathrooms are very important while showcasing a property online. The preference of material for countertops, walls and flooring all make a huge deal during a purchasing decision. Draw attention to closed faucets and fixtures that are clean and sparkly along with the sink. Add sophisticated towels and bathroom accessories to the photo getting a nice angle of the shower area and the sink. If you have too many bathrooms stick with top two – the ensuite and the powder room.

Bedroom: No dirty linens here! Keep it simple with clean sheets on the bed with no flashy colors or wrinkles. Get the floor view with the bed, storage and night stand. If the window has a great view, play it up with a corner angle shot to the room. Make sure there are no children’s toys strewn or pets in view. This is important as the buyer would think twice about clearing up the consequences of bringing pets into the property such as hair, poop stains and so on. Messy floors don’t make for great pictures as well.

Special areas: Unless there is something that your guests admire and swoon over, do not show any personalized special areas such as your workshop in the garage or themed rooms. If you have an amenity that people envy you for, go ahead and add it to the photo folder.

You might wonder what is the optimal number of pictures to post for a property listing. One might say it is around 20 because anything less will leave a person hanging for more and anything more will make it a little time consuming for online shopping. We hope that these tips will bring you closer to a home sale in Dubai. Happy selling online!