If there is anything that we can all agree on about apartment listings, it’s the importance of pictures. Without them, listings are easily overlooked and mistrusted. In fact, a recent Naked Apartments survey found that 70% of renters identified issues with photos as their main turn-off when sifting through apartment listings.
But there is much more to it than just taking any photo and calling it a day. Photo sets are often the first impression that a renter has and if pictures are carelessly taken or if it seems like there’s something withheld from the set, listings can go stale or lose value over something that is easily remedied.
1. Don’t take pictures of only one thing. If there’s just a terribly shot photo of a toilet, what are renters going to imagine the rest of the apartment is like?
Additionally, if there is only a photo of one room in a multiple-room listing, it can feel misleading or like something about the other rooms is being hidden from view. It’s good practice to show a photo of every room being advertised to create a complete set and a more concrete picture for renters. If you’re already there taking one photo, it’s a small step to take photos of each room and it can really make a difference.
2. Make it look nice. Cleaning up the place is an easy and effective way to dramatically improve the perceived value of an apartment. But it’s more than just eliminating clutter. The space should feel inviting and livable in order to attract renters that will want to take care of it. (Your place should not look like a drug den.)
3. Interior please. Exterior shots are nice to complete a photo set, but they’re not apartment photos. Looking at a beautiful exterior says very little about the inside of the apartment and can feel misleading even if the outside looks great. Additionally, while it is nice to know what landmarks are nearby, they are irrelevant if there are no photos of the apartment.
It should be noted that sometimes the landlord or tenant of an apartment won’t allow an agent to take photos of the interior. But in those cases, it is best to mention that fact in the description otherwise potential renters might just think the agent is lazy or trying to trick them.
4. Take ‘em during the day. Nighttime photos are rarely attractive to prospective renters and they can make a beautiful apartment look like a horror movie set. Renters want to see how natural light enters the room, not how poltergeists do.
5. No camera tricks. Throwing on a wide-angle lens may feel like an innocent way to improve photos by making the room look more spacious, but it is misleading by definition and in excessive cases, the listing can be flagged and taken down. Furthermore, even if a renter is lured into visiting the apartment, it won’t match their expectations and you can bet that they will feel like they’ve been baited.
Both of these photos are irritating examples of photos taken with a wide-angle lens. The right photo is almost more frustrating because it is not terribly obvious (the wall on the right is curved, the left border of the photo is curved, the proportions of the couch and side-table are off, and the objects in the center are too small). Rule of thumb: If you have to try to make it look genuine, it’s misleading.
A Note On Stock Photos: Earlier this year we surveyed renters on Naked Apartments and found that a whopping 65% of them found stock photos annoying. So why do we see stock photos on apartment listings so often?
Some landlords don’t allow agents to take photos out of concern that bad photos will turn away clients. But with a majority of renters voicing negative opinions about stock photos, it makes one wonder if they are actually working against what these landlords are trying to achieve. To learn more about the benefits and dangers of choosing stock photos, check out this article.