We all love pictures, graphics and colors. As the saying goes, a picture speaks a thousand words. We would rather watch a video blog than read six paragraphs of text. Visual should be emphasized over text detail. When we shop for a car, we spend most of our time looking at the pictures first, then think about and research details, engines, performance, etc. If we like the way a car looks and we feel we look good in a car, that is far more than half the battle in selling the car. It is the same thing with real estate! I think the visual appeal of real estate is misunderstood and underemphasized. We look at the pictures first, and if we get through all the pictures, then we read some details.
There was a Wall Street Journal article called “20 Seconds For Love At First Sight” that talked about the importance of the very first picture a homebuyer sees of a house for sale. The article shows first impressions seem to matter most when it comes to dating, job interviews…and surprisingly real-estate listings. It went on to say, “Without an eye-catching photo, the battle is lost before it begins. You have to grab people’s attention within two seconds. Do it the way a billboard does.”
Some interesting points from the article are:
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.
Following the home exterior photo, 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.
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.
My advice when selling your home and putting your listing online is to have your Realtor make the first picture large, eye catching, and colorful. Keep comments and text to a minimum. If possible, you should even include a short video. If they like the look of your house, they’ll call or go and see it to get more details.