When a home hits the market, the objectives are clear: to sell the house as quickly as possible and at the best possible price. 


After all, a home is the largest investment most individuals ever make, and it’s only natural to want the maximum return on that investment.


But, when a home goes up for sale, it’s often entering a highly competitive marketplace where it’s difficult to attract attention. Given this challenging and highly competitive environment, how can a homeowner sell a house quickly while still maximizing the return?


Statistics show that professional real estate photography is the answer. Professional real estate photography does as much or more than anything else to sell a home quickly at its maximum price.


It makes perfect sense when you think about. Yes, a home is a huge investment, and it’s also where people spend the bulk of their time. Given how important a home purchase is, prospective buyers want to feel something when considering a listing. They want to be inspired. 


They want to fall in love.


And a professional photographer is skilled at doing just that — evoking emotions, inspiring prospects and pushing them to take the next step of seeing a home in-person.


At Carney & Dement, we are your go-to experts for everything related to real estate in Jackson, TN. We also place a heavy emphasis on professional photography and videography. Why? Because we’ve experienced first-hand the difference it makes for sellers. 


Here’s a look at the ins and outs of professional real estate photography and why it can mean the difference between success and failure in a home sale.


The Difference a Professional Makes


You may have a nice camera. You may have some photography talent. You may even think that amateur shots can look professional with a few real estate photography tips and tricks.


But nothing takes the place of a professional. 


A real estate listing must make an overwhelming first impression. Put yourself in the shoes of a prospective homebuyer for a moment. He or she sits in front of a computer, tablet or mobile device, scrolling through listing after listing. It’s easy for these many listings to start blurring together. And it’s extremely important that your listing find a way to shine.


With that in mind, here are 7 ways that professional real estate photography helps your listing stand out from the crowd:


1. Equipment: Having the right equipment makes a huge difference in real estate photography. And it’s not just about having the right camera. A professional also brings the right lighting, different lenses for different shots, needed accessories and other tools. Equipment like this can make the difference between photos looking professional vs. unprofessional.


2. Scouting: A good real estate photographer also knows the importance of planning, which is why he or she first scouts the location. A scouting visit is when the photographer experiments with lighting, considers different shots and even takes a few sample photos.


3. Staging: If necessary, a photographer can help with staging as well. Empty, poorly furnished or poorly staged homes won’t shoot well. A professional real estate photographer brings the expertise needed to properly stage a home to maximize its attractiveness.


4. Angles and Lighting: A professional real estate photographer brings experience and knowledge in working with angles and lighting — 2 key components to quality images. A pro uses angles and lighting to highlight a home’s strongest and most appealing features.


5. Composition: Composition is how a photographer arrays elements in a photo. A professional composes shots in a way that feels balanced and pleasing to the eye.


6. Post-Production: The work isn’t done after the photographer takes the pictures. A professional real estate photographer can identify the strongest images and make small-but-necessary tweaks and edits using advanced software like Adobe’s Photoshop.


7. Results: You want prospective buyers to stop in their tracks when they see the first photo of your home. You want them to feel something. You want them to imagine themselves living there. A professional photographer uses a process that results in that kind of emotion and that type of powerful first impression.


Trust the Numbers


Don’t just take my word for it — look at the numbers. Study after study indicates that quality real estate photography is essential and that choosing professional over amateur photography makes a real difference. Here’s a look at compelling stats that demonstrate the importance of professional real estate photography:


In 2016, 44% of homebuyers started their search online.


89% of visitors to real estate sites found photos helpful, which is far more than any other feature — agent’s remarks and neighborhood information, included.


Professionally photographed homes sold 50% faster and 39% closer to asking price than those featuring amateur photographs.


40% of homebuyers don’t even read the agent’s remarks in a listing.


Simply using a DSLR camera increases the average sales price of a home between $3,400 and $11,200.


Listings with professional photographs get 61% more clicks.


95% percent of buyers look at the first photo in a real estate listing for just 20 seconds


Just 20 seconds. That’s the amount of time you have to make an unforgettable first impression. You want the first photo in your listing to be one that lingers in the minds of prospective buyers for days on end, creating an itch that they can’t help but scratch by seeing the home in-person.


What About Videography?


If you spend any amount of time on our website, you’ll quickly learn that we believe in the power of video. We believe in video first and foremost because we’ve found that it gets results. But the real power of real estate videography is that it presents 3 great opportunities:


1. The Opportunity for Differentiation


Remember that any prospective homebuyer is looking at listing after listing, often scrolling through webpages on which the many different houses all begin to look the same. Adding video is a simple way to differentiate your listing and give prospects an extra reason to check it out.


Also, any real estate agent in the 21st century is using a comprehensive digital marketing plan to sell homes. Video can be deployed across different platforms and social media networks to maximize your listing’s exposure. Simply adding a video listing to YouTube can greatly increase the number of people who get a chance to a see your home. 


2. The Opportunity for Personality


Looking at real estate listings can begin to feel monotonous and devoid of personality. Buyers want to see homes and rooms and yards because they want to find the best possible place to live. But it’s nice to see a friendly face and hear a friendly voice from time to time, too.


Video listings let agents inject personality into the presentation. Most video listings include a brief introduction that features the listing agent or agents in front of the home, plus a voiceover that describes, not just the home, but the type of lifestyle the home makes possible.


3. The Opportunity for Exploration


Finally, video listings give prospective homebuyers a chance to immerse themselves in a property and to truly explore what it would be like to live there. Video listings can also incorporate real estate drone photography and videography to provide better angles for larger homes. 


Drones also offer an affordable way to shoot video of a neighborhood, highlighting how close a home is to the local elementary school or to dining, shopping and other nearby amenities. And, if you’re selling a home on acreage or raw land, real estate drone videography offers a huge advantage in capturing the size of a property and all that it offers.


Photography and Videography is Powerful Across Generations


Gone are the days when prospective homebuyers worked exclusively through agents or relied heavily on the local paper’s real estate section. Today, the only things prospects need are an Internet connection and a device for surfing.


And this is true across all generations. Consider that:


99% of Millennials use the Internet to search for homes

89% of Baby Boomers use the Internet to search for homes

77% of the Silent Generation uses the Internet to search for homes


And professional real estate photography is vital to capturing the attention of these online homebuyers and coaxing them toward taking that all-important next step — seeing your property in-person.


Use what’s at your disposal now. Incorporate high-quality photos, use video and take advantage of the affordable aerial shots that drones make possible. The future will bring virtual reality listings and other innovations that will transform real estate all over again. But, for now, do what you can with the tools and technologies available.


Create a Listing That Matches Expectations


Forbes magazine recently shared a rundown of web design trends for 2017. One trend was a shift toward high-quality, authentic photography. Web users aren’t interested in cheesy stock photos and low-res images. Rather, they want to see photographs that provide quality representations of the real world.


And that is a huge opportunity for home sellers. Real estate photography and videography are chances to show prospective buyers the wonderful life they can lead in the confines of a home. If a professional can capture quality images and shots, they’ve greatly increased the chances that prospects will want to see and learn more about the home — and they’re also directly satisfying web users’ collective desire for quality and authentic images.


Make the Most of Your Home Sale


Your home is our passion at Carney & Dement. We know real estate in Jackson, TN and the surrounding area inside and out. And we also know the right strategies and tactics for selling your home as quickly as possible at its maximum price. High-quality, professional real estate photography is among our most important recommendations for any client.


We’d love to talk to you about how we can help your property stand out from among the many homes for sale in Jackson, TN. Contact us today so that we can learn more about your home and your goals as a seller.