Online home shopping no longer is a growing trend, it’s an undeniable reality. By some estimates, more than 90 percent of homebuyers shop that way.
One result of this change in buyer habits is that home listings, which once were little more than compilations of basic information, now can be powerful marketing tools that greatly help or hinder a home sale, said Jeff LaGrange, vice president of the RE/MAX Northern Illinois Region, in a news release.
The way a home is presented online “has become the most important element in the entire sales process,” said Mike Cluck, a broker with RE/MAX Excels in Geneva.
“Homes that are presented effectively in photos are the ones drawing the most showings and fastest sales,” Cluck said.
RE/MAX brokers surveyed on this topic recommend using a professional photographer for listing photos in almost every instance.
However, Madonna Egan, of RE/MAX First Service in Orland Park, said for very modestly priced homes she often will take the photos herself.
“I’ll make sure the home looks its best and then take plenty of photos, and if I’m not satisfied with what I’ve gotten, I’ll come back and do it again,” she said.
Planning ahead for the photos you want also can be a big help, said Linda Feinstein of RE/MAX Signature Homes in Hinsdale.
“I always advise my clients who want to market their home in the colder months to take photos of the entry area and grounds during the prior summer and even send a photographer to get the shots,” she said.
When it comes to preparing a home for those photos, brokers agree that minimizing clutter, emphasizing cleanliness and even doing a bit of staging can lead to more effective photos.