The prime spring rental season is just around the corner, and smart landlords are already thinking about how to market their properties to fill upcoming vacancies.
Few things are more important in marketing than great photos. For nearly all renters, the first impression of your property is going to happen online, and if you have blurry or poor quality photos, they’ll probably just click on the next listing.
Yet most of us have seen plenty of awful photos showing an empty corner of a room, those with renters’ clutter everywhere or those so dark it’s impossible to tell what the space looks like. If any of your property photos look like this, it is time to dump them and start over.
Tips for photos that sell your property
A professional photographer with expertise in shooting real estate is the best way to get pictures that highlight your property and attract renters. The photographer’s expertise and equipment, including the tripods, wide-angle lenses and quality cameras, are usually well worth the investment. Quality property management companies also rely on professional photographers when marketing properties.
But it is possible to take decent photos yourself if you’re willing to invest a little bit of time to get them right and a little bit of money in basic equipment. Here are some tips.
- Use a real camera. It doesn’t have to be fancy, but this is one situation where a cellphone camera won’t do. In an article on Houzz, pro photographer David Duncan Livingston recommends using a tripod to steady the camera.
- Take lots of photos from a variety of angles. Experiment to find the way to best show off each room, highlighting its best features. According to Zillow, shooting from a corner will make a room look larger than shooting straight ahead. Small rooms like bathrooms may require the most trial-and-error to find the most flattering shot.
- Focus on your property’s strengths. DC-metro area renters love outdoor space, so be sure to include a shot of the deck or patio, if you have one. Modernized or refurbished rooms, fireplaces, in-unit laundry and other sought-after amenities also deserve great pictures. Use photos to back up claims you make in your ad. For example, if you say the home gets a ton of natural light, show the sun streaming in through the living room windows.
- Clean up. A dirty, messy home isn’t attractive. Make sure the place is both neat and sparkling clean before you turn on the camera. This can be tricky if you currently have an untidy or uncooperative renter. Try sweetening the deal by offering to spring for a one-time professional cleaning in exchange for them clearing the clutter.
- Pay attention to the light. Avoid dark photos by opening the shades and turning on lights, but do it strategically. Many photographers recommend taking pictures in the morning or evening for the softest, most flattering natural light. Try different times and techniques to minimize shadows and make the property look warm and inviting.
Professional wide-angle photographs that highlight your property’s strengths and amenities will help prospective renters imagine themselves in your property. The effort will expand your pool of potential renters, making new photos a great investment in your business, whether you do it yourself or trust in a pro.