4 tips for taking listing images that sell

Geoff Roberts
Geoff Roberts | 4 min. read

Published on June 7, 2010

Previously, we’ve spent some time on this blog stressing the importance of writing thoughtful, effective rental listings. But no matter how much time you put into writing a great listing, if you don’t also include an image of your rental unit it may all be for naught.

Did you know that many rental sites allow users to search listings according to whether or not an image is provided? In other words, on sites like Craigslist, a potential renter may never even see your listing at all if an image isn’t provided.

Aside from potentially increasing your unit’s searchability, images also provide yet another way for your property to stand out from the rest. There are lots of comparable one-bedroom/one-bath apartments out there–but for renters, these statistics are only half of the story. Remember, they’re looking for a place to call home and, many times, the things that make a place feel like home are intangibles. Providing images allows renters to get a feel for your unit, to see if it seems like their style, and to begin to form an emotional attachment to it before the in-person viewing even occurs. Which, it goes without saying, provides you with a significant leg up on the competition.

With this in mind, following are a few simple tips for taking listing images that will really get the job done.

Tip #1: Show Your Best Side

If you’ve done some research on Craigslist, you’ve probably seen some good examples of “don’ts” when it comes to rental images. Yes, they’re an important part of your listing but, no, that doesn’t mean anything goes as long as a picture is attached.

You don’t have to get crazy and stage your unit prior to snapping a few shots, but you should make sure that it’s nice and tidy. Of course potential renters know that it will be cleaned prior to their potential move-in, but you only have a few seconds to capture their attention.

Don’t false advertise through imagery, but do put your best foot forward. If you’re missing that huge window by shooting from the left side of the bedroom, then make sure to shoot from the right so that tenants get to see all the great little aspects of your unit.

Tip #2: Don’t Just Shoot the Obvious

One of the great things about online rental listings is that you don’t have the same image limitations you would in a newspaper. In other words, you can include as many pictures as it takes to give potential tenants a good idea of what your apartment looks like. Of course you should include an image of all the rooms in the unit (or at least the major ones, such as kitchen, living room, bedroom, and bathroom), but also include anything else that may win tenants over. For instance, is the exterior of the house completely charming? Then definitely show a picture. Great city view from the apartment’s balcony? Click it and put it online. Does everyone compliment the garden in your property’s backyard? Give potential tenants a gander.

Remember, images are essentially a marketing tool for your property and when it comes to marketing, you always want to be strategic.

Tip #3: Use a Current Picture

It may be tempting to save a little time by using those pictures you already have on-hand of the same unit a couple years ago, but we advise against it. Things change over time in ways you may not even think about. Plus, the last thing you want to do is false advertise—this is your first chance to make a good impression on tenants. Modern digital cameras allow for an easy shooting process, so invest the ten or fifteen minutes it will take to capture listing images every time a unit comes up for rent.

Tip #4: Image Resolution

Now that you’ve put all of this effort into taking great images, make sure viewers can easily see them. At a  minimum, high-resolution 1024 x 768 images are recommended for pictures that are large enough to easily view and do not appear grainy.

Remember, little touches can go a long way. And when it comes to including images in your rental listings, it’s one of those things that may just make a potential tenant choose your unit over one of your competitor’s.

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Geoff Roberts

Geoff is a marketer, surfer, musician, and writer. He lives in San Diego, CA.

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