Why You Need to Add More Photos to Your Listing NOW

By Melissa Dittmann Tracey, REALTOR(R) Magazine

Photo Credit: Jump Visual, www.jumpvisual.com

By having at least one photo on your residential listing online, you could increase the sales price by up to 3.9 percent, a new study finds of 4,000 homes evaluated by researchers Justin D. Benefield, Christopher L. Cain, and Ken H. Johnson.

The more photos you add — the more you stand to gain too, researchers estimate. Sellers could net about $150 to $200 more for each photo they add.

Johnson told The Wall Street Journal he would recommend having a ratio of four to five interior photos of a home to one exterior for every listing.

Interior photos of the home were found to have a bigger effect in increasing the sales price than exterior photos. Sellers were able to increase the home price by nearly 4 percent by adding interior photos compared to a 1.9 percent increase from exterior photos.

While the photos can help increase the sales price, don’t expect it to help you sell the home faster, however.

The study found that adding photos to the listing increases the time it takes to sell a home by 16.5 extra days. Photos provide buyers with more information to consider and can slow the decision process, Johnson says.

The study did not separate its findings based on whether the photos were professional or amateur.

In this month’s REALTOR(R) Magazine, real estate pro Marilyn Urso with Long Island Village Realty Inc. in Syosset, N.Y., and Tony Calarco, owner of Jump Visual — a real estate photography company — share tips on how to make your real estate listing photos warm and inviting even in the colder months. Check out: Cold Weather, Warm Home

Melissa Tracey

Melissa Dittmann Tracey is a contributing editor for REALTOR® Magazine, writing about home & design trends, technology, and sales and marketing. She manages the magazine's award-winning Styled, Staged & Sold blog.

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  1. I think the phenomenon of added days on market most likely correlates directly to the quality of the photos on the listing. If the photos are giving the buyer information that’s confusing, or the photos are unflattering, there is the potential that buyers are scared off and eliminate that house from showings. I firmly believe good photos attract buyers, but bad photos scare them away. And even a turn-key, perfect home can look bad if photographed poorly.

    Proper staging, and professional photography are a huge asset for not only selling a home for more money, but in my experience as a professional photographer, and former agent, it helps sell homes faster as well. I’d love to see a study that compared agent photographed listings to professionally photographed listings in terms of days on market, asking vs. sold price, and the amount of web hits and leads the listing generated.

  2. I would like to see any statistics you could find comparing professional photos vs amateur, that would be VERY interesting data. What type of camera and lens being used can make a huge difference in picture quality. A high megapixel wide-angle lens really allows a potential customer to see the room in one shot. Of course multiple angles of the room can provide a better glimpse of the home. Here is an example of a wide angle photograph vs a standard camera, http://www.quadcities.fsbofox.com/fsbo_packages.html. Scroll through the bottom images to see the example.

  3. Thanks Melissa, interesting stats. Did the researchers normalize for the quality of home? Higher quality homes naturally have more photos, corresponding to higher prices, but that doesn’t necessarily show causation for the higher prices.

    I believe the premise that lots of good listing photos are good for a home’s sales opportunities, but these stats don’t necessarily show that.

    Also, if the study shows that it takes more than 2 weeks extra to sell a home that has more photos, it might show a reason to limit your photos to the 5-10 best photos. Maybe that encourages more in-person visits to find out more about the home. Not sure why else more photos would slow sales.