80% of New Homes are Found Over the Internet and 83% of Buyers Cited Pictures as the Most Important

Posted on July 14, 2007. Filed under: Internet for Real Estate, Media for Real Estate, Out of Town Buyers, Property Web Presence, Real Estate Marketing |

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Left, Lucie Thompson; right, Robert Bradley

PLAYING THE ANGLES Lucie Thompson, an agent at the Corcoran Group in Palm Beach, Fla., photographed a house on Jupiter Island, left. The company later hired a professional photographer, Robert Brantley, to shoot the same house. The results, right, speak for themselves.

The above photos and captions are reprinted from The New York Times article, “Making Every Pixel Count.” It reports, “In real estate, a picture can be worth more than a thousand words. Much, much more. When selling properties online, agents and Web designers say that the pictures buyers see of houses and apartments for sale are often the first — and sometimes the only — chance for a seller to make a good impression. Less-than-flattering pictures can turn buyers off and lead to lonely open houses.”

Indeed,

“Good photos will grab people’s attention and help you sell a home,” said Jacky Teplitzky, an executive vice president of Prudential Douglas Elliman Real Estate in New York. “Bad pictures will absolutely give you trouble, because you won’t have any calls on it, and nobody will come to see it.”

Eighty percent of people across the country who bought a new home last year used the Internet while house hunting, and they rated photographs as the most useful tool in their search, according to a survey of buyers and sellers by the National Association of Realtors. The survey also found that 24 percent of home buyers got their first glimpses of their new homes on the Web, up from a mere 2 percent in 1997.

In many cases, it is the agents themselves who are snapping the pictures and posting them on the agency Web site. Because of this, it is important that sellers choosing an agent know who will take and pay for the pictures and whether a professional photographer is available.

“It’s so important to have photos that are professionally presented,” said Rosalind Clarke, a senior sales associate with the Corcoran Group in Palm Beach, Fla.

She added that she uses only pictures taken by professional photographers, because “if things look shoddy or unprofessional, not only are buyers going to find the property unappealing, they’re going to associate you with being shoddy and unprofessional.”

But there is little point in having good photographs or beautifully written prose describing a home if you don’t have a Web site that is easy to find and easy to use — and this holds true whether you’re using a broker who will list your home on an agency Web site or you’re trying to sell your home yourself and are creating your own Web site or listing your home on a site like Craigslist.

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