According to the a recent study, approximately 92% of people are searching online when looking for a new house. More importantly, 42% of buyers start their search online, and almost half found their final purchase online.
But which photo is the most important?
A few months back I polled my Facebook followers and asked them what room they thought. It was by no means scientific, but it did lead to a lively Saturday morning discussion which concluded fairly predictably. Over 80% of people said the kitchen was number one.
The kitchen is probably one of the most used rooms in the house. It is central to everyday life. It needs to be functional for food prep yet aesthetically pleasing for hosting. Kitchens are also enormously expensive to renovate so buyers want to know if yours will need work. That’s why people want to see what it looks like before stepping foot in the house. That’s why they need to be some of your best photos. Well lit, inviting, and open.
But enough about kitchens.
I’m actually here to tell you about a different photograph. An even more important photograph. It’s your first impression, your ‘online curb appeal’, yet so often it’s plain and uninviting.
The Other Most Important Photo
The most important photograph of your home is the Front Exterior.
Your house may have the most gorgeous interior, but which photo is listed first online? The front of the house. How do people judge your ‘curb appeal’ online? The front of the house. Which photo sets buyer expectations before seeing the rest of the house? You guessed it: the front of the house. Worse than a poor photograph of the outside of your house is not showing it as the first photo online. People will wonder what’s wrong with it.
Unfortunately, the front of the house can be difficult to photograph. A grey sky is less inviting than a blue sky. Brown grass is less inviting than green grass. Power lines may get in the way of your perfect angle.
If you have the time plan ahead and you know you’re planning on listing your house in the next twelve months then start taking pictures. Take pictures when your home looks beautiful in every season. Warm and cozy in the winter. Flowering blossoms in the spring. Green grass and blue skies in summer. Orange and yellow leaves in autumn. Imagine how great your house will look when you’re listing in the winter and you have multiple beautiful exterior photographs.
If you don’t have a year for seasonal photos then plan at least two weeks ahead. Take the time to cut the grass and then water it daily. A nice green lawn is the most noticeable improvement you can make.
Buyers expect to fall in love with the interior of your home. Help them out by setting the tone with a beautiful exterior shot. First impressions matter, even online. Don’t waste yours.
Andrew Newton is a Real Estate Photographer and founder of www.RealtorPhotoTraining.com, where he shows you how to take photos to sell your home. He lives in the Annapolis Valley, Nova Scotia, with his wife and two children.