Home Selling in Milwaukee>Question Details

Jon, Home Buyer in Milwaukee County, WI

I want to express the importance of getting rid of clutter and the great photos to show online.

Asked by Jon, Milwaukee County, WI Sat Feb 19, 2011

We put our home on the market Nov 2008 right at the moment prices were coming down, we were advised regarding price etc. Our home was in Cudahy and in a normal market we would have asked $196K, as much as we did not want to lower the price we did to $184K. We decluttered the whole house. When our agent came to take photos ( he stated he was a good photographer) I told him I wanted the best light and rooms that I had staged. When I saw the photos online I gasped, they were dark and did nothing for me. I went and took photos myself and sent them to repace the original. My new photos were great and we were lucky enough to sell to the first person who walked in the door. What really irks me is when now looking for a home I click on the pictures and they are so dark, Why do people allow their homes to be presented in photos that are just terrible, if you see something wrong with your photos tell your agent to get them down and do new ones.

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Irfanview is another great tool for editing, but it has its limits as well.
Web Reference: http://www.lindacefalu.com
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Feb 20, 2011

Thank you for reminding us all that the first impression may be the last if the buyer doesn't emotionally connect with the space. Point-and-shoot cameras are notorious for producing underexposed photos. For agents without access to fancier equipment, I recommend they use some of the FREE editing tools at picnik.com to try and overcome the shortcomings of their snap-shot images. It's no panacea, but it sure beats doing nothing.
Web Reference: http://www.picnik.com/
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Feb 20, 2011
Yes, Debbie,

I think that's what it's called. I am a graduate of ISRP-International Staging/Redesign Professionals and it has always been a passion for me. I think this would be really interesting to offer to my buyers to enable them to see the possibilities that I see when I walk into a home.

Bernadette was very smart to intercede and work with her agent on those pictures. And imagine how much better it would be for a buyer to be able to play around with this and really see their dream come true instead of having to try to visualize it. A picture really does speak volumes, doesn't it.

And I think the wide angle might come in handy when trying to shoot the tiny bedrooms and you can't get out of the room far enough to get a good pic. I guess I'll have to research this and just make sure that if I hire a photographer he/she knows exactly what I want.
Web Reference: http://www.lindacefalu.com
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Feb 20, 2011
Linda - are you referring to "virtual" staging?

I know they have a style designer option (can change color of walls and countertops, etc) .....as well as a staging designer plan (allows virtual furniture to be placed in the rooms). I think they do floorplans, too.

Honestly - I haven't tried either option yet.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sat Feb 19, 2011
Thanks for the info Debbie,

My company also has a contract with OBEO. That is why I have been considering it. I also saw somewhere recently where you can upgrade to provide to the buyer a way to change out the rooms, floors, counters, cupboards etc. That is something that really got my attention, but nobody seems to know anything about it. I wonder if it is only offered in certain areas.

I will check into it, but I still have some reservations about it.
Web Reference: http://www.lindacefalu.com
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sat Feb 19, 2011
Linda - my company has had a contract with Obeo for a number of years (before it was called Obeo).
I agree that sometimes the wide angle can distort the size of the room, but overall, I am happy with their product. I really like the chart showing how many hits the home has had, and what rooms were viewed (nice to email that to the seller) and the pie chart that shows where, on the internet, the "lookers" came from.

I may be wrong, but I think the photographer can adjust the lens if you want. Ask them about that.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sat Feb 19, 2011
I'll take the other side on the wide-angle part; two walls are enough in any photo. The trick in photography is to document and represent, not glamorize or glorify. If the home has dated cosmetics, we should be marketing it as a cosmetic fixer and show what we mean. If the home has small rooms, we need to market it to people who don't mind that (clearly, if it's resale, somebody bought it at least once before!)
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sat Feb 19, 2011
I'm glad to see that all the talk about wide angle is positive. I have been contemplating using OBEO, but I've had my reservations for a number of reasons. The most important is I work a lot with first time home buyers and one very common complaint is that they are very disappointed when we see the house in person. The wide angle tends to make the rooms appear much larger than they are.

Just my experience.
Web Reference: http://www.lindacefalu.com
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sat Feb 19, 2011
Based on a survey conducted by one of the large real estate companies (and recently published in the Wall Street Journal), listings with nicer photos gain anywhere between $934 and $116,076–as measured by the difference between asking and final price–over listings using photos from point-and-click cameras.
The photos on my listings are shot with a digital SLR camera using an ultra wideangle lens and professional lighting. Last year we found our homes sold for an average of 3% more than the competition.
After price, photos are the most important marketing information the agent provides. Pretty pictures sell houses!
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sat Feb 19, 2011
Thanks, Bernadette!

As a practical matter, real estate agents are sort of like regular people; some of us just believe that aesthetics are some frilly sort of fluffy nonsense and that real buyers are solely interested in the, well, other stuff.

Not me, pal! I hire professional stagers, photographers, and create brochures designed to sell the home, rather than market myself personally.

Thank you, again - we needed to hear that!
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sat Feb 19, 2011
Bernadetter, you are so right!

The photo's on line is the first impression of a house and needs to make the best impression. Buyers want to see lots of photo's and a good quality variety of photo's. The house should be as clean as it can be and staged beautifully for the photo's. It is certainly easier to declutter the house and make it show it's best than have to lower the price, which is what will have to happen if the house doesn't show well.

There are several softwares out there that allow for photo editing. One free software available on line is picnik and gives some nice ranges of editing.

Vicki Holmes
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sat Feb 19, 2011
Hi Bernadette..

You make an excellent point, and I couldn't agree more.

I am often shocked at the poor quality of phots online. Not only quality, but choice - Ionce saw a listing that had only 3 online photos, and one of them was of the hot water heater!! Yes - the hot water heater! If that was the best shot they could come up with to help sell the home - it didn;t send a good message about the rest of the home!

I don't think all sellers go online to see how their home is presented. You did, and your home benefited from doing your due dilligence.
Good advice to all sellers to check their online presence.

For those hard to photograph homes - a professional photographer can do wonders!
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sat Feb 19, 2011
Great point Bernadette and I completely agree. The only problem is when you get a home that does not have much natural light regardless of how the sun is shining. Those become a real challenge even with photo editing options.

Glad you saw the LIGHT and helped your agent help you.
Web Reference: http://www.lindacefalu.com
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sat Feb 19, 2011
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