The places and things we see on a daily basis always seem so much more attractive and interesting in pictures on the internet, don’t they? Photoshop. Filters. Wide-angle camera lenses. Modern tools like these make it so easy to adjust here, tweak there, and come up with a beautiful image that, well, sometimes looks nothing like real life. Most of the time this is harmless. But when it comes to posting photos of your real estate listing, too much editing could potentially get you into some very real trouble. It’s imperative that you don’t enhance those photos so much that they end up being a misrepresentation of what your home actually looks like. Here are some of the things to be aware of when digitally altering or staging photos for your real estate listing.
It’s common practice, and usually preferred, for photographers to use wide-angle camera lenses when photographing a home that’s about to go on the market. Using this type of lens allows you to fit more square footage in one photo rather than taking multiple photos of a room. Unfortunately, doing so can sometimes make a room appear larger than it really is. This is something to be aware of when you’re digitally staging a room, too. For example, don’t place an image of a king-sized bed set or a large sectional sofa in a room that won’t fit one. Prospective buyers will be very disappointed to arrive at the home and find that their beloved king-sized bedroom set won’t fit inside the master suite, unlike the photo they saw online.
Added or Removed Fixtures
Never Photoshop a fixture out of a photo just to make a room seem more appealing. Any item that’s affixed to the walls, floor, or ceiling that will stay with the home when it sells should never be cropped out of the picture. If there’s a ceiling fan, radiator, or shelving unit that sticks out like a sore thumb, it will definitely be noticed when buyers view the home in person, and they’ll wonder why they didn’t see them in the listing photos. Likewise, don’t doctor photos to showcase any fixtures that won’t be included when the house sells. No matter how great the kitchen island would look with a beautiful farmhouse sink, if there’s not actually a sink in that island, resist the urge to add one digitally.
No matter how unappealing the view is from the windows of any given room in the house, it’s important not to alter it to represent something that’s not actually there. Do not, under any circumstances, add in a beachfront view that doesn’t exist, a sunset or sunrise on the wrong side of the house, or even regular landscaping that’s more than a slight enhancement. A buyer may be interested in a house for its gorgeous ocean view, only to book a showing and find that the house is actually four streets back from the ocean. It’s one thing to turn an overcast sky into a sunny day or retouch a picture of a patchy lawn during the winter, but it’s quite another thing to digitally create curb appeal where none exists.
In order to protect yourself, keep photo enhancements and digital staging simple. It’s completely fine to adjust lighting to make sure the house looks its best; and sure, go ahead and add a fire in the fireplace or some beautiful scenery on the television screen. Just don’t add—or take away—anything of substance that might promise a prospective buyer something the house and surrounding property can’t measure up to in real life.