THEY say a picture tells a thousand words and experts insist this is particularly true when it comes to buying and selling property.
Agents believe good photography not only helps find a buyer, but also helps increase the sale price.
A survey last year found 99 per cent of agents believe photos are the most essential tool for selling property.
Experts suggested vendors should declutter and scrub up their property before the photographer arrives.
They also said it was important to start planning weeks before the photo shoot to make sure the property is at its best.
Real Estate Institute of Victoria spokesman Robert Larocca said good photos were critical.
“Location may be the most important factor for buyers when determining price, but it is the photos that help entice them to the open house,” he said.
“Buyers won’t buy the home on the basis of the photos, and nor should they as you need to see the home itself, but a poor set of photos will ensure it’s the last on the list when they are hunting for the right home.
“Vendors need to think about the context of the sale; they are in competition with the other sellers in their suburb. Photos are a critical part of making their home stand out from among the crowd. In that light it’s well worth investing in great photos taken by professionals.”
The survey by photography company Top Snap found 89 per cent of agents said good photos attract more buyers.
Almost 80 per cent said they increase inquiries and 68 per cent said they increased clicks to online listings.
And half said they helped secure a higher price for the property.
Top Snap general manager Helen Clarke said sellers should be comfortable with the person taking the photographs.
“You want someone who will respect the fact that in many cases you’re putting your most valuable asset on the market and this represents not only a financial but an emotional transaction,” she said.
Property Snaps director Vince DeStefano said many buyers are initially drawn to a property because of the photos.
“You need photos that will `wow’ someone within three seconds of them looking,” he said. “So I think creating a photo that evokes emotion is very important.”
Mr DeStefano uses tools such as elevated poles and helicopters. His company is becoming Civil Aviation Safety Authority accredited to use a remote-controlled quad copter to take aerial photos.
“We also use the home’s features, such as swimming pools or impressive kitchens, to get a dramatic shot.”
ICON Property director Robert Mitchelson treats property photography as a major production.
He is a former TV and film extra, with a handful of commercials under his belt.
He has appeared in about 85 productions – including alongside Anthony LaPaglia in The Bank – and said property photography was like making films, in that they are all about emotion.
He said this was why his listings are only photographed at dawn or dusk.
“We sell on emotion and if you can get that emotional connection on a property the price becomes secondary,” Mr Mitchelson said.
“At dusk there is warmth – it makes a huge difference. Apartments can look pretty ordinary in the cold, hard light of day.”
Mr Mitchelson starts planning photography a week in advance, picking two nice days in a row based on the seven-day weather forecast.
He attends each photography session as well, to ensure the photos don’t make the property look too small – or too big.
“People will see it isn’t the same as in the photos,” he said.
KITCHEN AND MEALS AREAS
* Clear all benches of clutter
* Remove and hide all appliances (kettle, toaster, etc)
* Remove all fridge magnets and photos
* Clean all appliances (rangehoods, stoves, etc)
* Hide loose electrical leads
* Hide tea towels
* Set table with good cutlery and plates
* Add table centrepiece
LIVING AND FAMILY ROOMS
* Hide all TV revotes
* Turn TVs off
* Remove magazines and newspapers
* Remove gym equipment
* Hide loose home-theatre cables
* Clear clutter from shelves and coffee tables
* Arrange furniture to make the room look larger
BATHROOMS AND ENSUITES
* Remove toothbrushes and shavers
* Remove soap from showers
* Remove kids toys from bath
* Clean mirrors and benches
* Set out best towels and present the room
* Remove any clothes and clutter from floors
* Hide personal items
* Make all beds and straighten pillows
* Remove items from bedside tables
* Remove baby cribs if applicable
* Check globes in bedside lamps
* Move vehicles from driveway and front
* Remove rubbish
* Mow and edge grass
* Trim trees and bushes
* Sweep cuttings and leaves
* Put away kids toys, bikes, etc
* Make sure outside lights work
* Turn on lights and lamps
* Open curtains
* Close toilet lids
* Lock pets in the garage
* Park cars in garage or off-site
* Take the family out while photos are taken.
Source: Property Snaps