Although the origins of the phrase, “a picture is worth a thousand words” are debatable, the most common understanding is that a picture conveys more information, more effectively than words sometimes can.
And if we’re OK with that assumption, then it makes sense that the better the picture, the better and more detailed the description or feeling could be. National Geographic photographer, David Alan Harvey, once said “Don’t shoot what it looks like. Shoot what it feels like.” So, it makes sense that good pictures of your apartment, house, villa or hotel should move me somehow. Emotionally perhaps. Hopefully, move enough to make you an offer that you’d accept and then buy.
When we first started Seven Stones Indonesia seven years ago, we tried to educate our real estate agents and our property vendors about the importance of professional photography. Surprisingly, it wasn’t such an easy idea to get across, but if you’re investing in, or dealing with real estate, we think it’s a game changer because it still seems there are folk out there who think it’s OK to try and sell property with second-rate, smartphone photos.
The subject came up again recently in one of our weekly marketing and branding meetings and we were presented with an idea aimed at vendors to help them see the value of using our professional photographers and videographers to help market property and hopefully, sell faster.
Let’s start with an article written by Shannon O’Brien on the Market Leader website. Her excellent piece entitled: Back Away From the iPhone and Hire a Photographer was written way back in 2013, way before the latest iPhone made everyone a famous photographer, but the sentiment is as true now as it was then.
O’Brien begins with a question we ask each vendor wanting to list with us at Seven Stones Indonesia.
“Are you really taking photos of your house with a smartphone? You’re asking five hundred thousand dollars, right?” we ask. There’s usually an awkward silence. “How’s that working out for you?”
The vendor quickly snaps back, “You’re the real estate agent, you should know how to sell my property!”
We’ve obviously hit a nerve and ruffled some feathers, but we always recommend you take professional photographs. Not only will your house look much better but you’ll also increase the chances of it selling faster.
There are many studies out there that suggest very strongly that real estate listings engage and (hopefully) lead to sales because of that all-important first impression; which means the photos.
Believe it or not, first impressions DO count, especially when you’re competing against the rest of the world and a whole new breed of smartphone photographers who wake up one morning convinced they’re better than someone with training and professional experience.
O’Brien and the Wall Street Journal argue that you only have one chance to impress; a scant two seconds to grab a buyer’s attention without a photograph, and 20 seconds with one. As it goes, that’s not a lot of time for that first impression. Truth is, if you have a great image, people engage. Have an obviously homemade snap and they don’t. That’s simple. It’s not rocket science folks.
“Why should I spend money on a photographer? And anyway, shouldn’t the real estate agent take the pictures? They’re selling the house and they’re the ones getting all the commissions, so I don’t think I should have to pay for that as well.”
The short and polite answer to that is, “No! Professional realtors are not professional photographers. You know, you get the right person for the right job.”
Here’s why. The real estate agent is focused on finding the right buyer for the right property and making the whole process as seamless and as enjoyable as possible. Their job is not to take second-rate pictures on a smartphone, just because you don’t see the value of creating a positive first impression.
O’Brien gives the perfect example when she asks, would the Co-Founder and Chairman of Nike, Phil Knight, whip out his smartphone and snap random photos of a pile of athletic shoes to be used in Nike’s print advertising? Obviously not! You know he’d be hiring professionals.
Pepper Productions write that “using quality, professional photography and video content across your website, social media, and other digital channels not only catches the reader’s interest but also improves your visibility online. Images and video content are one of the most valuable tools for getting better results from your content. Visitors are 80 percent more likely to engage with content if it’s paired with an image and 64 percent more likely to remember what they read or heard.”
Here are three solid reasons to bite the bullet and use professional photographers instead of your smartphone for property listings.
Number One. First Impressions Count (a lot!)
You don’t get a second chance to make a first impression. Kylie Schwartz, writing at Start Blox, says first impressions last well beyond that first moment because of something called the “Primacy Effect“, which means that when someone experiences something before other things in a sequence, they remember that first thing more. And when you’re looking for property, chances are you’re going to filter through a lot of options before you start making a shortlist. Remember, as a vendor trying to sell a property, you want to be on that shortlist! According to Invision Studio, over 80 percent of all homebuyers use the internet to research houses and discover the home they end up purchasing online before ever seeing it in person.
Number Two. Stand Out from the Crowd
There are literally dozens of real estate agencies in Bali and even more real estate agents, either working for those agencies or freelancing for themselves. Or both. All of them are trying to sell your property but nearly all of them will be using the same images, usually supplied by the vendor and sent by WhatsApp, as one property is usually listed across multiple platforms at the same time. Stand out from the crowd and let professional photography be a powerful marketing tool, which can lead to more potential buyers clicking on your property.
Number Three. Show How Much you Value your Property
A buyer is going to be more attracted to a vendor who sees the value of presenting their property in the best possible light. Literally. Put yourselves in the shoes of a buyer who’s looking to spend half a million, or a million dollars (or more) on a dream home. They come across a villa you’ve built from the ground up with blood, sweat, and more than a few tears only to find poorly lit, badly composed images with WhatsApp Image in the picture title. It’s a subconscious connection that works across every business; if something looks like you spent time, energy and love making it be the best it can be, then the chances of connecting with someone who appreciates and values it in the same way you do increases.
The Washington Post suggest that 84 percent of home buyers said they wouldn’t even consider a property that didn’t have listing photos while 87 percent of home buyers relied on photos to help make their decision, according to the National Association of Realtors.
Professionally photographed homes sell 32 percent faster than other listings, according to VHT, a real estate photography company. And professionally photographed homes command a 47 percent higher asking price per square foot, according to Redfin.
So, if you’re a motivated vendor looking to sell your property for the best possible price, take our advice and talk to us about using our professional team of photographers and videographers, who also have pretty mean drone skills we might add!
If you’d like to learn more about selling property in Indonesia, get in touch with us today through [email protected].