$116,000: The Difference That Good Photos Make

by Mark Wellborn

Photo Courtesy of HomeVisit

Back in April 2009, UrbanTurf wrote an article asking why so many home listings on the internet were marketed with poor quality photos. A commenter wrote the following:

“As someone who got a great deal from a listing with bad photos, I must ask that you stop telling people about this issue. The last thing I need are sellers wising up and putting better photos up, and buyers realizing that photos often don’t to a place justice. It’ll only drive up prices!”

It appears that this comment was right on. Redfin recently did a study on the power of professional photography in selling home listings, and it concluded that sellers are “likely to receive thousands more if [they] list [their] home using DSLR photography [instead of] a simple point-and-shoot camera to take the photos.” Specifcally, the study reported that listings with professional photography gain anywhere between $934 and $116,076 over those that do not use professional photos.


Here are some other interesting findings from the study:

  • Only 15.4% of homes in the listings Redfin studied were marketed using professional photography.
  • Homes photographed using a DSLR camera receive an average of 61% more views than comparable listings, and have a 47% higher asking price per square foot.

This article originally published at http://dc.urbanturf.com/articles/blog/the_difference_that_photos_make/2543


  1. The Wire said at 2:10 pm on Tuesday October 5, 2010:

    Sellers these days should demand that their agents use a professional photographer to market their property. It always disappoints me to open a virtual tour and see grainy photos.

  1. Rebecca said at 2:17 pm on Tuesday October 5, 2010:

    Sellers should also use Home Visit to list their virtual tour photos. The cost is extremely minimal and the quality difference is unreal. Red Fin should do a study on that too… maybe they have?

  1. Janson said at 5:52 pm on Tuesday October 5, 2010:

    It’s not the DSLR, it’s the person that cares enough about the quality of the photos to own a DSLR. I bet that you if gave that same person a point and shoot of decent quality, they’d produce similar quality images by doing the important things, light, lens, and angle. In any case, I agree with the person who wrote in: please don’t explain how much staging and high quality photography contributes to a higher sales price! I’m in the market to buy…

  1. Christina said at 6:54 pm on Tuesday October 5, 2010:

    I can’t believe how crummy some of the pictures are that I see of houses for sale. I’m not talking about the lack of staging—I mean blurry, with dishes shown in kitchen sinks and towels hanging from door knobs. And, while I’m complaining—please, real estate agents: learn to use and love spell check. Reading about a house in a “quite” neighborhood is like nails on a chalkboard.

  1. swested said at 9:56 pm on Tuesday October 5, 2010:

    Christina - I know you meant well, but “quite” wouldn’t appear as a mistake in spell-check.

    But yes, I do agree that proofreading is something that countless agents (or whatever intern at Remax) simply overlook.

    Some of the most hilarious photos are on foreclosures. It’s like the photographer goes to extra lengths to make the property look horrendous.

  1. Richko said at 1:50 am on Wednesday October 6, 2010:

    and its sequel,

    By the way, I keep seeing listings for condos with a “walking closet”—WTF???

  1. Mony said at 11:10 am on Wednesday October 6, 2010:

    Agree with Rebecca. HomeVisit is awesome-always spent more time looking at properties that used it, does anyone have the idea of the cost? Does the agent usually pick it up or does the seller have to pay for those types of photo services

  1. Russ said at 11:56 am on Wednesday October 6, 2010:

    A really cool photo listing service is mouseonhouse - gives a nice feel for the layout coupled with excellent quality photos. It is not cheap but given that you are trying to sell a property worth hundreds of thousands of dollars, it’d definitely be a plus. BTW, am in no way affiliated with the service. Just think that properties that utilize them always stand out.

  1. Jen said at 12:48 pm on Wednesday October 6, 2010:

    As an agent who has a nice DSLR, I think it’s better when a professional takes the photos. It’s not just the camera.  It’s having the skill to take amazing photos. Showing a room gets a lot of light is really hard. So are bathrooms. I use a professional 99% of the time.  It makes a huge difference in traffic on the web and in person.

  1. Andi said at 1:36 pm on Wednesday October 6, 2010:

    I’m and agent and use Homevisit for all of my listings where the seller has put in some effort to get their house ready for market. However, even with a house in terrible condition, I still put up photos (from my point and shoot camera).  I want buyers to get a real sense of what they are walking into and why it is priced the way that it is. No sense in wasting anyone’s time.

    And if you can’t spell Capitol Hill or Brookland (Capital/Brooklyn), you should not be allowed to list there!

  1. Rebecca said at 9:19 pm on Wednesday October 6, 2010:

    I’ve heard that HomeVisit is five dollars (vs free to list virtual tours on the not-so-impressive sites). That is probably if you buy a subscription, however, but I’d say it’s worth the extra exxpense if you’re going to get $100,000 in return.

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