A really cool photo shoot we did in the Spring!
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Deadmau5’s condo is for sale, and this is what it looks like inside
Super-DJ and prog-house producer Joel Zimmerman (better known by his stage name, Deadmau5) bought two penthouses in the Merchandise Lofts building in 2011 and combined them, creating this two-storey, 3,000-square-foot sky villa on Dalhousie Street, just south of Gould. The property has views of the downtown core, and its setup reflects the needs and whims of its owner: one room is given over to a $200,000 studio, a soundproofed space where Mr. Mau5 produced some of his most famous beats. The condo, once the backdrop for countless Instagram posts, now stands nearly empty. That’s because Zimmerman is currently living on a 118-acre estate in Campbellville, Ontario where he’s been known to amuse himself by hunting drones.
Earlier today, the unit went up for sale, with an asking price of $2.5 million. Despite its size, it has a bachelor-pad vibe: it only has two bedrooms, and the building is located on the Ryerson campus, a few blocks away from undergraduate residences. Plus, the condo includes certain mischievous, Mau5-ian touches, including what can only be described as mouse holes: miniature arch-shaped openings bored into the baseboards. From their size, it appears they were designed as passageways for Professor Meowingtons, Deadmau5’s cat.
Here, a peek inside the house of Mau5.
Photos Of Your Home Matter In Real Estate
Before the days of the Internet and online real estate listings, a buyer’s first impression of a new home for sale was often the “drive by.” An agent would see the new listing in his real estate book and would call or fax the buyer with the address. The buyer would then go to the address and drive by to get a first look. Or, if a buyer was just starting to look, he would read a brief description of the home in the Sunday paper and decide whether or not to attend that day’s open house.
Either way, curb appeal mattered because it was usually the first glimpse a potential buyer would have of a property. If there were weeds, dead grass, peeling paint or rusty nails that stood out, the buyer’s first impression of the home was tarnished — no matter how great it looked inside. That’s why real estate agents worked closely with sellers on curb appeal before going on the market.
Curb appeal will always be important, but today, buyers are busier than ever and may not have the opportunity to do a drive by (unless they’re seriously interested). Instead, the first impression buyers most often get of a home is from the photos in the MLS listing, which they automatically receive in an email from their agent, or the pictures that accompany an online listing. With limited time and countless listings to review, buyers will quickly move on if photos don’t reflect well on a property.
Properly lit, high-resolution photos are the only type of pictures that should be used in a home marketing campaign. Like any other sales effort, it’s important to put your best foot forward. If an agent takes property photos with a smartphone, it’s often a red flag to buyers. Smartphone pictures are fine for informally sending photos quickly back and forth between agent and buyer, but they can’t measure up to the quality of pictures taken by an experienced real estate photographer with a good camera.
Don’t have photos of the property yet? Don’t list the home until you do. With so much information available online these days, you only have a few seconds to grab potential buyers’ attention. If they do an Internet search or check the MLS email and your home is listed without pictures, there isn’t anything for them to look at. Buyers will likely move on and probably won’t come back.
Staging and prep
Because of the importance of a good first impression, sellers and their agents should spend as much time and energy on the photo shoot as they do on creating curb appeal or staging an open house. This means planning the shoot well in advance, sometimes as much as a week.
As a seller, you know when your home gets the best natural light. Make sure the photos are shot during those times. Have the home fully cleaned and in top shape before the shoot, too. As with an open house, clear out all the children’s and pet’s toys and fullydeclutter the home. Imagine the photo shoots retailers and catalog companies do to showcase their products. Would they release a catalog with photos of stained living room furniture or with improper lighting? Of course not — and neither should a seller. A home is a product for sale, just like any other, and should be marketed as such.
Often, after buyers have toured your home, they return to their computers and look at the property again online. This time, they can put together the floor plan and understand how the home flows and how each room relates to the next. High-quality photos that show the home well will keep them interested, perhaps even encourage them to go take another look. On the other hand, if you cleaned your home before the open house and got the buyer in the door, but then they go back and look at dark photos online or see imperfections, you can easily turn them off.
If you or your agent don’t have a good-quality camera and real estate photography experience, consider hiring a professional who does. While it’s another expense, consider this: When you put a home on the market, you’re competing against lots of other properties. If those properties are highlighted with attractive, well-lit photos and yours isn’t, you’re going to have more trouble getting potential buyers in the door. This could cause your home to sit on the market longer than it would have otherwise — making what would be seen as a “fresh” property look stale.
Researchers use eye-tracking measurements to determine how home buyers look at listings online. Photo: Brown Harris Stevens.
First impressions seem to matter most when it comes to dating, job interviews…and real-estate listings.
Researchers tracking the eye movements of subjects who looked at online home listings found that more than 95% of users viewed the first photo—the one that shows the exterior of the home—for a total of 20 seconds. After that, their eyes tended to flit all over the screen, according to Michael Seiler, founder and director of the Institute for Behavioral and Experimental Real Estate at Old Dominion University at Norfolk, Va.
“Without an eye-catching photo, the battle is lost before it begins,” Prof. Seiler says. “You have to grab people’s attention within two seconds. Do it the way a billboard does.”
Following the home-exterior photo, Prof. Seiler found that 76% of participants viewed the property description—things like the size and number of bedrooms/bathrooms—second. Real-estate agents’ remarks, which can be a turnoff if they contain all-capital text, hyped-up adjectives and brand names, were the most overlooked—41.5% of home buyers didn’t view them at all.
Understanding how people view a listing online can help agents refine their approach. “For a lot of people, the first point of contact with a house is through the Internet,” Prof. Seiler says.
Overall, when viewing an online real-estate listing, home buyers spend about 60% of their time on photos, 20% on the property description and 20% on the real-estate agents’ remarks section, Prof. Seiler says. The research tracked eye movements of 45 people who each viewed 10 listings with six photos in August 2011, looking at the time spent viewing each online feature and the number of times their eyes stopped at a certain element. His study, “Toward an Understanding of Real Estate Home Buyer Internet Search Behavior: An Application of Ocular Tracking Technology,” has been accepted by the Journal of Real Estate Research.
The study participants’ eye movements followed a “Z” pattern, beginning in the upper left corner to the upper right and continuing down the page in small “Z” patterns. After reaching the bottom right corner, they continued scanning up the right column of the screen. But as online browsers click through properties, their interest wanes. “People have respondent fatigue. After a while, you get lost in a sea of homes,” he says.
Paula Wells, a team coordinator for Intero Real Estate in California’s Silicon Valley, says she makes sure that the photos, property details and remarks can be seen on the page without scrolling. “Most homeowners are going to be looking for the photo first. That’s going to pique their interest or not,” says Ms. Wells. Nine times out of 10, she displays an exterior photo first and orders the rest of the photos as if you’re walking through the home. Remarks are kept short, 400 characters at most.
Last Updated Jan 21, 2010 8:56 PM EST
One of the great things about selling real estate is that the landscape changes. As an agent, you’re always adapting and learning new tips and tricks.
Well, of course it makes sense that our photography of properties should change as the way potential buyers view those photos changes, but I hadn’t really thought about it.
So I caught up with Larry, the author of the Learn Real Estate Photography and Real Estate Photographer Stimulus Package e-books, via phone to his home base in Oregon. He noted that in this slower market, good photography can give a seller an edge. “Market times are very long, and in any given submarket, the inventory is huge,” Lohrman said. “So I think the real issue is how you stand out among the competition. To me, one of the best ways to stand out is photography.”
Here are five of his top current photography tips:
- Consider where your photos are going. “In almost every real estate site, when a buyer searches, they get about 25 thumbnails, and that thumbnail is the primary exterior. So I recommend that you spend ten times as much time in choosing that exterior photo than you do the rest of the shots, because that’s the hook that will get buyers to look at the rest of the photos.On Realtor.com, with the four-photo layout, you have to have front exterior photos in the top left because that’s where people look first, then you have to think about the three other strongest photos of the home,” Lohrman said. (Bonus tip: On Realtor.com, he thinks landscape shots — short wide rectangles look stronger than portrait shots– tall skinny ones. )
- Think about the strongest points of the home. If you’re a photographer, make sure that you talk to the listing Realtor about this. “The Realtor may know what the buyers are really psyched about,” Lohrman notes. Secondary exterior shots, especially, should be of a home’s very strongest point. “Usually it’s a deck or a patio, or a wonderful backyard,” Lohrman says.
- Time of day matters. “Early in the morning or at twilight are the best for exterior shots,” Lohrman says. “However, when you’re shooting, you rarely have the latitude to choose. If I had the latitude, the sweet spot is half an hour before sunset to half an hour after; you do the exterior shot with all the interior lights turned on. That can look really nice.” He adds that since it’s such a specific demand on a real estate photographer’s time, you might pay extra for it: “Many real estate photographers have a package where they come back and do a twilight shot.”
- Get your shots straight. “The number one mistake that Realtors and real estate photographers make is that their verticals are not completely vertical, so it looks like the room is going to fall in,” Lohrman says. “If you use a wide-angle lens and shoot up or down, it can look like the walls are converging instead of parallel.”
- Remember that great photography is no substitute for a great price. “Everyone thinks that their home is worth what it was in 2006 at the peak of the market,” Lohrman says. “So the first step is price. If you’re overpriced by one hundred thousand dollars, it doesn’t matter what kind of photography you have.”
From Instagram to Pinterest to Snapchat, digital photos have become their own mode of online and mobile communication. With 92 percent of home buyers using the Internet as part of their home search, listing photos are a critical factor in the selling price of your home, how quickly it sells, and whether it sells at all.
Positive First Impressions Pay Off
For homes listed between $200,000 and $1 million, Redfin found that homes with listing photos taken with DSLR cameras sell for $3,400 to $11,200 more relative to their list prices. At the high end of the spectrum, professionally photographed homes for more than $1 million sold at prices similar to those with amateur photographs. In Los Angeles, Redfin real estate agent Eric Tan says, “professional photography and even photo post-processing are expected on million dollar homes.” While million dollar homes take longer to sell, DSLR photography still helps these luxury homes sell faster than than they otherwise would.
For each price range, the dollar figures indicate how much closer to list price professionally photographed homes sold versus amateur photographed homes.
DSLR Photos = More Money, Less Problems (Selling)
Across all price tiers, homes with DSLR photography were more likely to sell within six months than homes with point-and-shoot photos. In the $400,000 to $500,000 price range, 64 percent of homes with DSLR photos sold within six months, compared to 46 percent of homes with point-and-shoot photos. For those difficult-to-sell million dollar homes, 35 percent of professionally photographed homes sold in six months, compared to 30 percent of homes with point-and-shoot photos.
For each price range, the percentage indicates the difference in the likelihood that a home will sell in in six months when shot with a professional DSLR camera versus a point-and-shoot camera
Sell Your Home in a Snap
Since professionally photographed homes are more likely to sell in general, and to sell for more money, it’s not surprising that these homes also sell faster. Because online searching and browsing is such a critical part of the home-buying process, it follows that a better-photographed home will sell faster because more people are enticed to visit the home and people know what they are getting before they even set foot in the home. Across all price ranges, homes with professional photos sold faster. In the million dollar range, professionally photographed homes sold four days faster, and those in the $400,000 range sold three weeks faster than their counterparts with amateur photos.
For each price range, the days indicate how much faster a professionally photographed home sold compared to a home with amateur photos.
Look Sharp, Get More
For this latest study, Redfin dug a little deeper, looking at photo sharpness. Photo sharpness can be thought of as detail added to a picture by using a good camera, lens and lighting. Whether it’s a crisp reflection in a mirror, or bright flowers in the front yard, a sharper picture will show a house in its best light. We used some fancy math and image processing via OpenCV to group our photos by a sharpness percentile. The sharpest 10 percent of photos sold at or above list price 44 percent of the time, while listings with average sharpness sold at or above list just 13 percent of the time.
Better looking, sharper photos are more likely to sell above list price
Two Professional Photo Success Stories
If you are looking for a few more examples of great listing photos that sold fast and at a good price, here are two homes listed and sold by Redfin from 2013.
This professionally photographed 3-bed, 1.75-bath home in Renton, Washington was listed at $329,950 by Redfin agent Monique Losk. Within five days of coming on the market, the sellers received a $332,450 offer and the home sold nearly one percent above the asking price.
This professionally photographed 2-bed, 2.5 bath home in Redmond, Washington, was listed at $449,950 byRedfin agent Loren Ellingson. The sellers had four offers within five days of placing the home on the market, and the 2-bed 2.5-bath home sold for $480,000 which was nearly seven percent above the asking price.
If you’re selling your home, be sure you have professional photos to ensure an ideal home selling process. And, finally, we’ll take an opportunity to mention that Redfin pays for professional photography for all clients as part of the listing package forselling your home.