Back to the blog

By: Sal Prividera on in

Use More Realistic Photos that More Accurately Portray House

Even with real estate reopening in Pennsylvania, some of your clients may not feel comfortable having an outsider in their home. With these tips, homeowners can take better photos on their own, which can help you better showcase their property.

“Traditional” photography was approached with the goal of making spaces look bigger, said Matt Difanis, chair of the National Association of Realtors® Professional Standards Committee. The tool kit would include ultra wide-angle lenses, filters and framing shots to “make people fall in love with what they see in the photos.” This approach, even during times of a thriving market, frequently results in buyers commenting: “This doesn’t look at like the photos.”

With any showing posing a potential risk, Difanis, broker/owner of RE/MAX Realty Associates in Champaign, IL, said both buyers and sellers want to avoid the unnecessary exposure brought by a showing that could have been avoided had the buyers been fully aware of the layout of a home along with any defects that may exist. Both sides want the buyers to be aware of all the “bad and ugly stuff” before deciding to see the house in person, he said.

“Stop selectively showing cherry-picked views that look like a Pottery Barn catalog,” he said. “Showing everything you can to help those buyers who would be destined to ultimately rule out the property be more likely to do so without imposing all the inconvenience and risk of a physical showing.”

He noted that today neither buyers or sellers will tolerate showings that quickly result in a determination the layout won’t work for the buyer.

There are other new challenges for sellers, too, as they now have nowhere to go during a showing. Families with children who are trying to manage working from home and distance learning now have a higher degree of difficulty when it comes to preparing the house for a showing. Sellers with someone in the house that falls into a high-risk category have to be more vigilant in protecting these family members from unnecessary exposure.

“Sellers don’t want any more strangers in their living, breathing, cooking and sleeping spaces than absolutely necessary,” Difanis said.

Difanis suggests using 3-D tours, such as those from Matterport or Ricoh THETA. These are options that would require an experienced agent or photographer who can access the home while following state and public health guidelines.

In the case where the agent or buyers cannot enter the home and the seller needs to move the process forward, agents can assist the seller with a virtual showing. Agents may also enlist the homeowners to conduct a virtual pre-listing walk through. While typical pre-showing preparations, such as turning on the lights and de-cluttering should be done, Difanis also has these tips:

  • If the showing or tour doesn’t have to be done live, consider recording a video on a smartphone that can be shared later. This will allow for drastically improved quality over real-time video calling apps such as FaceTime, Zoom or Skype when done straight from a smartphone.
  • Move slowly, so that you don’t cause the viewer to have motion sickness.
  • Higher-end smartphones, such as current Samsung and iPhone models, have ultra-wide lenses. These get cropped a bit in video mode for electronic image stabilization, but this still gives a much more sweeping view of rooms than a more standard lens.
  • Get closer to show detail when needed. This can be done by physically getting the smartphone close to smaller items of interest, such as premium windows, cabinets, appliance controls or trim details, or by switching to a longer lens on a multi-lens smartphone.

6 Responses
  • May 27, 2020 at 8:35 am Brenda Miller says

    Thank you for acknowledging the importance of a professional real estate photographer! Now get them approved in Governors orders so they have access during next red phase!

  • May 27, 2020 at 9:16 am Elizabeth says

    It’s funny because I have always photo’d homes to represent the home itself. I don’t have my photographer use wide angle lenses on purpose! I don’t hide the flaws and never did. I label all pictures to show the flow of the house. And I sell homes quickly and my list to sell ratio is 98% over the last 5 years. And houses that attract actual buying clients sell more quickly! Don’t do this because of COVID, do this because it is the right thing to do!
    If every realtor would portray the actual house and it’s +’s and -‘s, it would help all agents show homes that truly interest their clients and not waste time showing houses that have good pictures but not much else!

  • May 27, 2020 at 9:35 am Sue Lease says

    Although the listing contract covers buyers, agents taking extra pics and videos it would be helpful for agents to put that in the showing request if an agent is planning on doing a FaceTime or google duo virtual showing for a buyer/client so that we can inform the seller.

  • May 27, 2020 at 10:04 am Eileen Chaladoff says

    Now if we could only have scratch n snif with the photos that would be great! Examples, pet odor, mildew, nicotine, etc…

  • May 27, 2020 at 12:59 pm Harry McCarty says

    True. Some enhansted photos don’t give a realistic impression
    These are a truer and more realistic.

  • May 31, 2020 at 4:17 pm RT - EasyLandSell says

    Transparency is important when you’re selling a house. Using of digital filters or other effects just wouldn’t work for buyers. It’s best that actual photos or videos are shown to a buyer.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *