What’s the Value in Real Estate Photography? How About 3.9 Percent?

by Peter Thomas Ricci


Real estate photography is a great way to show off your professionalism, but does it add to the sale price of your listings?

Great real estate photography, as we’ve covered before, has numerous benefits: a professional presentation, a more complete look at your property’s merits and a telling sign of your commitment to selling the property.

That’s all great, but what’s the monetary value of real estate photography? Do actual dollars and cents go back to the sale of the property and justify the time and effort? According to a new study by some Florida-based academics, the answer is a definite yes.

The Monetary Value of Real Estate Photography

As the Wall Street Journal explains, Ken H. Johnson, an associate professor at Florida International University’s Hollo School of Real Estate, analyzed more than 4,000 residential real estate listings, and his conclusions were a boon to practicing real estate photographers everywhere:

  • Having at least one photo with a residential listing, Johnson said, increases the final sale price by up to 3.9 percent; 85 percent of the listings Johnson analyzes featured at least one photo.
  • Interior photos were more influential on the home’s price than exterior photos, adding 3.9 percent to the sale price (compared to exterior shots’ 1.9 percent).
  • Even more interesting, Johnson estimates that adding more than one photo can further add to a home’s final sale price, to the tune of $150-$200 for each additional photo.
  • There was, however, one tradeoff. Johnson found that having photos increased the average time on market by 20.6 percent, or, an additional 16.5 days. Because photos offer more information about the listing, he explained, that results in information overload, and hence, a slower decision-making process.

Is Real Estate Photography Worth It?

So, is that tradeoff worth it? From Johnson’s perspective, it makes perfect sense.

“If I was selling, I would put every picture I could on the listing, at a ratio of four to five interior vs. one exterior,” Johnson told the Journal. “We’re talking about a few extra weeks in marketing time to get that 3 percent to 5 percent increase on a home. That’s a good trade.”

For Ofelia McDonald, an agent with Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate Gary Greene in Houston’s Inner Loop, said great real estate photography is the number one priority for her when selling a home.

“If the photography is bad, you’re not going to get showings,” McDonald said. “It makes all the difference in the world.”

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