Hong Kong’s Guide To Taking Professional-Quality Real Estate Listing Visuals

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We have all heard of the old saying that, "A picture is worth a thousand words”. The notion that a complex idea can be more effectively conveyed through visual imagery than a wordy description is one that we grown to be familiar with. 

In the real estate world, this couldn’t be more true. First impressions are everything. Let’s be honest for a second here, how many times have we judged a book by its cover, especially in our digitally advanced day and age where Web appeal is the new curb appeal. Notice how we use the word “visual” instead of photos. There’s a good reason for that. Thanks to the prevalence of internet-connected smartphones that nearly everyone has, we are able to connect with our viewers and customers through diverse forms of media like never before. Whereas in the past, we could only rely on static photographs, we now are able to also engage with our viewers through videos, and live videos via interactive social media apps like Facebook, Snapchat and Instagram. People these days like interactive experiences, and they want everything when they want it! A visual can either entice and captivate potential buyers’ attention or dissolve their interest rapidly. If you’ve ever gone through the process of hunting for a new home, you’re most probably aware of just how many awful real estate photos there are listed on the internet. Some are so bad that you wonder how these photos even made it on to a listing in the first place. People underestimate the power of strong, quality photographs when selling a product - any product, not just a home. In the case of real estate properties, it’s even more important because it’s possibly on of the biggest investments one will make in their lifetime. You can return a pair of shoes you don’t like, but you cannot return a home with such ease once it’s signed to be rented or bought. 

Bad listing photos are discouraging, for both potential buyers and sellers. Investing in better photography for your real estate listing photos can make all the difference in the world, and you don’t even need to be a professional photographer or to hire one to get the optimum results. If you are serious about selling or renting your properties, you need to start taking your listing photoshoots very seriously. If your photos don’t captivate buyers’ attention, chances are they won’t take the next step to contact you to enquire further about your listings. Photography really comes down to design, and great design leads to faster growth. In real estate, agents find that the more attractive a home appears in listing photos, the more money they are able to make from the deals. 

In Hong Kong, the majority of spaces are small compared to properties overseas. There’s a misconception that only a bigger home can be photographed well, and cramped spaces will just have to work with what they’ve got. We will show you how you can take quality, professional listing photos even in dense populated cities like Hong Kong, where ample space is not always a luxury. The most important takeaway from this is really to invest as much as you are capable of in to your listing photos. Good listing photos drive good results. Read on to find out what some of our best tips are to make sure your home looks its best for “lights, camera, action!”.  The right kind of visuals will attract the right buyers and renters to your property. If potential buyers/renters form their first impression of your property based on online listings, you must capitalize on this and make your home as ready as a cover model. 

NEVER list your property online without Visuals

In today’s increasingly digitally connected world, people have less and less attention spans to patiently wait, well…for anything! As great as texts are, most people don’t have the time or attention to read through wordy paragraphs unless their attention has already been captured. Statistics across the board have shown that visuals are much better than text when it comes to marketing and selling products. Marketers who embrace visual content see much bigger returns, in terms of - more audience, leads, conversions, customers, and revenue. 

If you still are not swayed, let’s consider some powerful statistics on just how important visuals are:

    • 90% of information transmitted to the brain is visual.
  • Visuals are processed 60,000X faster in the brain than text.
  • Colored visuals increase people’s willingness to read a piece of content by 80%.
  • Content with images gets 94% more views than content without images.
  • On Facebook, photos get 53% more likes, 104% more comments, and 84% more click-throughs on links than text-based posts.
  • People remember only 20% of what they read and 10% of what they hear, but retain 80% of what they see.

 

If you want to sell and/or rent more homes from this moment on, you need to understand the power behind going all in on visuals. Content with images get exponentially more views, likes, comments, click-throughs, conversions, and overall engagement than content that relies strictly on text-based posts. If visuals are such a powerful tool for connection with people and driving them toward a call-to-action, how can YOU as a real estate agent, property investor, home-seller, use visuals to connect with new buyers and ultimately sell and rent out more homes?

Various Ways to Use Visuals To Sell and Rent More Homes For Your Real Estate Business:

Do NOT upload poor photos - they just wont cut it

Never upload visuals that are blurry, poorly lit, or distorted. These kinds of imagery will not help you sell your home. We understand that photography is not everyone’s forté, and if your budget allows, of course it’s a good idea to hire a professional real estate photographer who give you the most bang for your buck. Professional photographers know all the tricks to give you high-quality photos from the best lighting and best angles. Having professionally taken photos is the key to marketing and selling a property in real estate. However, if budget does not allow, there are still tricks you can learn on your own to take good quality listing photos for your property. Here’s how:

  • Invest in a wide angle camera lens to emphasize space and create a sense of depth
    • Tip: Always use a wide angle camera lens to capture the full essence of a space. A wider shot will give a true sense of both depth and detail.
  • Analyze good real estate imagery to see why they work and learn from them
    • Tip: One of the best ways to learn is to emulate the masters, so analyze great real estate photography to understand why they work to create similar results in your own imager
  • Compose your visuals to emphasize space and natural light
    • Tip: Space and natural light are the two most important qualities when shooting imagery, they can enhance or destroy your visuals.
  • Avoid vertical orientation when shooting photographs and even videos. Always opt for landscape orientation.
    • Tip: Because the human eye sees the world in a roughly 4:3 aspect ratio, our brain finds the horizontal/landscape view much more pleasing than the vertical view.
  • Be prepared to invest dedicated time to create good visuals - photographs and videos
    • Tip: Understand that a decent photoshoot will take time, and don’t skimp on the process.
  • Emphasize the best feature in each room
    • Tip: Take visuals that emphasize each room’s selling point. What is the most attractive and appealing aspect of each space?
  • Prepare and stage every room you plan to shoot
    • Tip: Remove and hide all clutter, clear, clean and wipe off all surfaces, and set up the space with nice staging.
  • Add pops of bright colors to bring your visuals to life
    • Tip: Opt for a neutral color pallet so that the property appeal to a larger pool of buyers but add pops of bright colors to make the imagery come to life and garner more attention.
  • Take shots at dusk when possible for great lighting
    • Tip: Dusk is an optimal time for taking photographs under natural lighting.
  • Pay attention to distortion that happens when taking photos - sometimes lenses can distort vertical lines in photographs
  • Avoid using fisheye or other quirky camera tricks - opt for a wide angle lens instead
    • Tip: Stay away from trends like fisheye lenses because they are deceiving to the potential buyers. Making a space look larger than it actually is using a lens that distorts the area is not going to increase a buyer’s interest. Honest visuals are the best to exemplify your property. 
  • Use a tripod
    • Tip: Using a tripod allows you to keep images sharp and not blurry. 
  • Choose the right perspective
    • Tip: Figure out what impression you’re looking to make to your potential buyers and choose the right perspective in order to achieve that goal.

 

Stage your home like a professional photoshoot

When shooting listing photos, people often make the mistake of shooting the home just as it is without properly staging it like a proper photoshoot. Whatever space you’re shooting, take the time to tidy up to give your photos a more manicured and editorial look. You should spend a decent amount of time preparing for your shoot. This means - cleaning, decluttering, organizing, removing, and staging. Don’t be afraid to move things around. You can even move your furniture around to create a better stage for the photoshoot. Make the visuals more vibrant by bringing some accessories and props to your shoot. Decide the vibe and essence you are going for, and run with it. 

Ensuring that your property is in its best and most impeccable condition will help create better listing visuals. People don’t want to see a home that looks like its been lived in, they want to see a brand new home so create that in your photographs and videos. With technology now, people can zoom in, zoom out and pan across online listing photos, which means they will notice EVERY LITTLE DETAIL. If your photos don’t show a clean, well-kept property, it sends a message to the buyers that you don’t care and are not a serious seller. 

Think about it this way. The buyer is your customer. You property is your product for sale. You want to make money by selling your product. Therefore, invest in the time and money to present your product in the best possible light. Market it well and your product will sell. Selling is all about marketing!

Quantity matters just as much as Quality

When it comes to visuals, the more there are, the better. Honestly, people want to see as much as they can to learn whether they are actually interested or not. If you have ever been on dating apps, you know how important your top chosen photographs are. Profiles that only have one photo usually don’t garner many “swipe rights” (in the dating app world, this means “interested!”). It’s the same in real estate, you need to give interested buyers the chance to see your property as much as possible. One or two photos doesn’t do much to convey what your property actually looks an feels like, how it flows in the floor plan…etc. 

Quality matters in your property listing photos, but quantity matters just as much! A property listing with multiple quality photos and videos from different angles displaying the rooms and floor plans always trumps a listing with just one or two photos and wordy descriptions. 

Leveraging visuals on Social Media

  • Use Facebook Live and Instagram Live to offer virtual tours of your propertie
  • Highlight happy clients in photos to built trust and rapport with potential buyers
  • Develop and maintain and active presence on social media apps
  • Tell stories and create experiences to connect with potential buyers on an emotional level. Emotions drive execution. Think about the experience you’re ultimately trying to sell in your property. For example, if your home has a phenomenal kitchen, consider setting up a nice brunch spread with a coffee bar for potential buyers to see and experience when they virtually tour your home. People remember and connect with experiences, and emotional connections help drive potential buyers to take action and make an offer. 

 

Social media is powerfully helpful for your investment opportunities if you know how to leverage it.

What other strategies are you using to connect with your clients and potential buyers through your listings? Wed love to hear your thoughts! Ready to put your home on the market?  For help with creating higher quality listings to sell and rent your home - contact our team at Engel & Voelkers!

 

 

Engel & Völkers

Hong Kong, Real Estate Agency
Shop A, Ground Floor, 95 Caine Road, Mid Levels
- Hong Kong
Company License: C-035745
Phone
+852 2561 3616

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