How to Increase the Perceived Value of your next Real Estate Listing

Do the photos you use in real estate marketing campaign matter? In the UK, insurance company AXA has revealed how quality photos combined with great presentation can impact the perceived value of a property by up to 21 percent.

AXA took before and after photos of a one-bedroom flat in the UK, and showed it to 1000 people who are currently tenants. One half of those surveyed saw the property in its ‘before’ state, which had rooms with personal items on display, closed curtains and blinds that made the inside look dark, bad camera angles, and dirty towels hanging in the bathroom. The outside had clothes hanging on a line, and garden tools on the lawn. The ‘after’ photos were presented to the other half of the sample. Those images were presented as a home on the market should be presented, with all clutter removed, and used professional photos that presented the flat as a well-lit, bright space.

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THESE ARE NOT THE SAME PHOTOS USED IN THIS RESEARCH, BUT THE PRINCIPLE IS THE SAME. This is a recent listing by Picture KC featured in Newsweek.

The tenants were asked the following question:

“Based on your experience, how much per calendar month would you expect to pay for this property on the rental market?”

Here’s what they found:

When asked what it was worth the public estimated it to be £609 per month to rent (or $779 USD), which was in the same range as the actual rental value of the property that Zoopla estimated at between £550 and £650 per month. When applied to the sale price it meant a price of £180,000 (the equivalent of $229,700 USD).

When asked about the value of the well-presented flat the tenants said they’d be willing to pay on average £752 per month (or $959 USD), which is a difference of £1,716 per year (or $2190 USD). When applied to the sale price it meant a price of £220,000, which is an increase of £40,000 (which is $51,000 USD) above the perceived value of the bad photos!

What else did the participants in the survey say about the photos?

How many people said the apartment was ‘excellent’?

Just 5 percent of those who saw the ‘before’ photography examples rated the apartment as ‘excellent’ compared with 47 percent of those who saw the good photography.

How many people said the apartment was ‘poor’ or ‘fair’?

A whopping 35 percent of tenants who saw the bad photography rated the apartment as ‘poor’ or ‘fair’, but only 3 percent of those who saw the good photos said the same thing about the same apartment!

In other words, when bad photos are used tenants are more likely to perceive the property as poor, but when quality photos are used, even when it’s the same property, tenants are far more positive and optimistic about it.

Here are some of the negative comments:

“In urgent need or recarpeting and decoration. The place is very shabby looking and would put me off viewing.”

“The pictures make it look very untidy and unprofessional,like the landlord is disinterested.”

So these aren’t just about the quality of the photos, but directly impact whether or not the tenant would consider visiting the property or renting it, and it shows that the use of bad photos even reflects poorly on the landlord!

Here are some remarks by the tenants that viewed the good photos, which again, was exact same property:

“Looks very clean and comfortable and the garden is very tidy and well looked after. Ready to move in straight away.”

“It’s well presented – clean and tidy and shows off what you can do with the space you have.”

These are the comments a real estate agent or landlord wants to hear – the apartment is seen in a positive way, and it looks like it has been well looked after, which is appealing for buyers and tenants.

This is why you should hire a professional real estate photographer:

Hiring a professional photographer in Kansas City for only $115, or even $400, doesn’t sound so bad when it means an increased sale price of tens of thousands of dollars.

And this is what many owners and agents miss when looking at the price of hiring a professional photographer. They see the cost now, but they don’t see the difference it can make to the monthly rent, or the sale, of a property later on.

High-quality real estate photography works in lieu with good presentation because it makes a property seem like it should be worth more. This attracts more clients because they want the best value they can afford, and a well-presented marketing campaign presents a home in a way that makes it look like it should be priced higher than it is.