Make Your Pixels Count

February 11, 2007 by Vivian Toy

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Make Your Pixels Count


In real estate, a picture can be worth more than a thousand words. Much, much more. When selling properties online, agents and Web designers say that the pictures buyers see of houses for sale are often the first and only chance for a seller to make a good impression. Less-than-flattering pictures can turn buyers off and lead to lonely open houses.

Eighty percent of people across the country who bought a new home last year used the Internet while house hunting, and they rated photographs as the most useful tool in their search, according to a survey of buyers and sellers by the National Association of Realtors. The survey also found that 24 percent of home buyers got their first glimpses of their new homes on the Web, up from a mere 2 percent in 1997.

In many cases, it is the agents themselves who are snapping the pictures and posting them on the agency Web site. Because of this, it is important that sellers choosing an agent know who will take and who will pay for the pictures and whether a professional photographer is available.

“It’s so important to have photos that are professionally presented,” said Rosalind Clarke, a senior sales associate with the Corcoran Group in Palm Beach, Fla.

She added that she uses only pictures taken by professional photographers, because “if things look shoddy or unprofessional, not only are buyers going to find the property unappealing, they’re going to associate you with being shoddy and unprofessional.”

The Realtors’ association survey found that when it comes to Web features that buyers considered “very useful,” 83 percent cited pictures, 81 percent cited detailed property information.

Unless you are selling your home yourself, your real estate agent will ultimately decide which photographs will go up on the agency’s Web site, but agencies vary greatly in their policies on pictures. Some send their agents and brokers out armed with digital cameras, but others use only pictures taken by professionals. Still other agencies let brokers decide whether to take their own pictures or pay a fee to use the agency’s recommended photographers.

All of which explains why there is such a wide range in the quality of photos found on real estate Web sites.

“When you look at the difference between professional photos and ones taken by brokers with digital cameras, it’s not hard to see that you get what you pay for,” said Lauren Cangiano, a senior vice president of Halstead Property in New York.

Halstead uses only professional photos, and its agents reimburse the agency from their commissions after the properties have sold. The same pictures will be used on information sheets, in the agency’s storefront windows and in advertising brochures.

source: New York Times Feb 11, 2007 by Vivian S Toy

2 comments

  1. Mike says:

    I agree with this article. It has a lot of good points.

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