Will 360° photos help sell your home?
As if people selling their homes haven’t had enough to contend with over the part year, further changes to the property market as we make our way into Spring 2021 means it is vital that those selling residential properties make the most of their resources to attract buyers.
New research from the National Office of Statistics, shows that prices are falling year on year, (8% growth Dec ’19 – ’20 to 7.5% Jan ’20 – ’21) UK wide although there are some areas bucking the trend – for now. It is possible, with the cessation of the furlough scheme and possibly high numbers of redundancies, that there may be a spike of properties hitting the market in early summer 2021, effectively creating a beauty parade of residential homes.
Attracting viewings in a crowded market has always meant creating high quality marketing material for your particular house, which is why the vast majority of properties are now photographed professionally. The nascent 360 images and virtual tours – originally too expensive to carry out on all but the most exclusive properties – fell in price in 2019 with estate and lettings agents slowly adding these to the pantheon of material promoting residential properties. This area rapidly expanded as the pandemic prevented real world viewings last year.
Obviously, few people will make a serious buying decision just on an electronic image of a place – but virtual viewings offer a first view for buyers; a way of checking if the layout of the bedrooms and how they link to bathrooms, for example, meets with the buyers’ needs. With standard, high end photographic material of properties, this is only really possible with modern open plan layouts.
Where 360° photos make a difference
Those built and maintained as traditional homes (such as from the Victorian era for example) are often a set of rooms connected via narrow corridors and landings, which are rarely photographed due to the pressures of the marketing of houses (it’s better to shoot images of high spec family rooms and main bedrooms) as well as the restricted spaces reducing the effectiveness of high quality photos. 360 images on the other hand, lend themselves well to showing these spaces as the cameras are very small and the photographer runs the 360 camera remotely so does not need to stand behind the camera (freeing up space for the camera in small spaces)
The flip side is 360 images capture the entirety of a space, with little opportunity for ‘framing’, so it’s even more important for sellers to think carefully about the dressing of their property prior to the professional’s photographic session. Dressing a property is always important and all good agents and realtors will have helpful factsheets that offer tips on the best way of presenting your property. All of these tips are just as helpful for 360 imagery – but there are some considerations worth noting with this particular type of photography.
Tips for better 360° photographs of your home
One critical point is that photographers cannot use strobe or flash gun lighting with 360 cameras, so ensuring lights and lamps are lit in rooms will have a beneficial effect on the end result. If you have multiple lights in a room mixing incandescent, compact fluorescent and LED, the overall quality and colour of the light will be affected. My advice is to use one type of bulb in all fittings. Of course, you should ensure all light fittings work & have bulbs in them.
As mentioned earlier, the 360 camera sees all. You need to leave the room (or hide) so you are not visible. That also means checking that your reflection is not in a mirror or window. (In case you’re wondering, the camera is much smaller so it’s possible to edit it out from shots).
Small rooms with large beds present a challenge, as it is best to have a shots from the centre of a room. Where that is not possible, the final image may appear skewed in size. Moving the bed over even by 15cm may be enough to mitigate this effect. A similar challenge exists in dining rooms with large tables although tables are more stable than beds as somewhere to rest the camera.
Typically, the camera height is set at around 140 to 250cm – about eye-level for adults (some prefer a lower height of 100cm – the rough height of you while sitting) which means the camera can see out of windows but also will see inside sinks, basins and baths. Ensuring they’re clean and clutter free will give a better impression than bath toys festooned around your bath and crockery waiting for a wash. While we’re on the subject of bathrooms, hiding the garishly coloured bleach and cleaning solution bottles also helps.
Although it is unusual to photograph inside wardrobes and cupboards, that is possible with a 360 camera. Very helpful if you have a large walk-in wardrobe or a plumbed cupboard. As long as it has its own light, a 360 camera can photograph it. Let’s hope it’s tidy in there.
Staging your home for photos is an excellent way of ensuring your property gives a first class impression when marketing it on the property portals. 360 images need some additional consideration, but their use in the marketing mix ensures prospects spend longer looking at your home than your neighbor’s house.