April 23, 2011 10:11 am
RISMEDIA, April 23, 2011-With a large majority of real estate buyers starting their home search online, it is more important than ever for sellers and the agents representing them to be sure the photos they post online make a good first impression. The National Association of Exclusive Buyer Agents (NAEBA) warns that real estate images can be misleading, especially as home staging-the practice in which experts make the property attractive to the highest number of potential home buyers by enhancing its visual appeal-is becoming increasingly common. Taking the staging element to the dramatic editing of online photos is a relatively new tactic and can be misleading.
Today's home buyer spends more time online when shopping for a home. The practice is growing and more popular than ever with the rise of smartphone apps that allow buyers to search property listings, calculate mortgages and more. Virtual showings are integral to the total home buying process and a large part of that is the ability to view the exterior and interior of a home before deciding to view it in person.
"We advocate for clarity and integrity in every facet of the real estate buying transaction, and that extends to photographic representations of properties," says Benjamin Clark, 2010 President of NAEBA.
The following four tips will help buyers assess online photos in the proper context.
1. Pictures can look better than the actual home. Buyers should view pictures with that understanding and not make a sole judgment based on the photos.
2. Pictures may look worse than the actual home. Buyers may be discouraged by a poorly taken photo, yet the property may actually represent a good bargain.
3. Order and flow make a difference. It can be difficult to get a sense of the flow of the home from photographs. If the photos are not listed in order, try to do it yourself so that you can follow the path of the home from the front door through the rooms of the house.
4. Photos distort scale. It is difficult to get a good view of a whole room from a small picture. Rely on floor plans and room dimensions rather than photos to judge the scale of rooms.
Photos can provide additional information, but home buyers that rely solely on an image can miss out on a great home or be disappointed by an in-person visit. Buyers should assess all available information about a home. Use Google Street View to see the surrounding neighborhood, and Yelp to read reviews about local businesses and stores. A picture may not be worth a thousand words, but when added to detailed research, it can be very valuable.
For more information, visit www.naeba.org.
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