One of the most common places to find new tenants is the internet. There are more rental property listing sites today than ever before. In just a few clicks tenants can find a handful of rentals in their desired market, at their price point and in their timeframe. Gone are the days of relying on classified listings and bandit signs. Today, if your listing doesn’t pop off the page online, you could have a hard time finding tenants.
With all the competition for rentals it is not enough to throw any ad together and wait for calls to come pouring in. You need attractive pictures and descriptive words that prompt a prospective tenant to act. Without visualizing where they may spend the next nine months, or more, they will move on to the next listing without thinking twice. Here are five tips to help the quality of the photos in your next rental property listing.
- Declutter: When looking for a tenant it is always important to put yourself in their shoes. Like most tenants the first thing you would look for is the price. Assuming that the price point works, the next thing you would want to see is the actual property. Here is where you need to stand out from the crowd. You want to include every room of the property, however big or small. It is critical that you clean and declutter before taking the photos. When you have a window between tenants and the property is vacant, use that time to snap off some pictures. The alternative is having pictures with your tenant’s clutter in the background. Not only is this unappealing, but it will make the rooms look small and unorganized. If you do not have a window, get the property professionally cleaned prior to your photo shoot. This may seem like an unnecessary expense, but you will use these pictures in your listing for the foreseeable future.
- Use Quality Camera: The goal of posting pictures with your listing is to generate interest that ultimately leads to finding the right tenant. As obvious as this seems, it is lost on many investors. Don’t spend time, and money, taking pictures just for the sake of posting something. If you have a new phone with a quality camera option, this could work. However, you are better off using an actual camera. You can probably find a friend, co-worker or colleague that has a camera you can borrow. If you haven’t seen camera photos in a while you will be shocked at just how different they are from your phone. As we stated, these photos will be on your listing for years to come. You are better off doing it right with a camera and not have to worry about pictures again forever. You can certainly get some useable pictures with your phone, but they aren’t the same quality as a camera.
- Multiple Angles: If you go through the expense of getting the property cleaned and finding a quality camera, you should be prepared to spend some time taking the pictures. Some rooms are not easy to get the right shot you desire the first time. You may have to experiment with different views and angles to get the picture that looks the way you want. Again, your goal is to make the property look as appealing as possible, without distorting the facts. All the camera tricks you can think of won’t do you much good with a small room. But, if you use the angle that includes a window, it can seem more livable. You don’t need to hire a professional photographer, but you should be willing to put some time into your pictures. A few extra minutes at the property isn’t exactly how you want to spend your day, but in the big picture for your business it can yield large dividends.
- Don’t Ignore Exterior: The starting point for your listing photos should be the exterior. Prospective tenants want to see how the outside of the property looks, how big the yard is and if there is a driveway. You need to include photos of the exterior, including the front and back of the property as well as a shot from the street. The more pictures that can give a feel of the neighborhood the more work that is done for you. Your tenant will already have real interest of the property before they ever step foot inside it. You won’t have to spend time selling, you simply have to discuss dates and terms. Always include a handful of exterior photos with your listing.
- 30 Second Video: As productive as pictures are we live in a world where we want instant gratification. Instead of pouring through 20 pictures it is usually easier, and quicker, to click on a video. Your video doesn’t need to be professional quality, but it shouldn’t make you sick watching it either. A good video should just enhance what is seen on the photos. Give a tour of the property without getting into too much detail about every room. This should just be a preview, so people know what they are renting. If you spend too much time on every room, you will lose your audience and the video will become counterproductive.
The quality of your pictures can make or break your rental listing. Go the extra mile and make sure that your pictures stand out from the crowd.