HOW MANY LISTING PHOTOS TO INCLUDE IN YOUR REAL ESTATE MARKETING

3 Minute Read | Lauren Maloney

Cliché’s suck, but they are true. And none is truer than ‘a picture is worth a thousand words’.

When it comes to MLS listings, pictures can make or break the deal. In fact, data shows that good photos can, not only make the sales process smoother, but also allow you to command higher prices. 

Homes with one photo will stay on the market 70 days on average. But a home with 20 photos stays on the market for just 32 days. 

That doesn’t mean you should go crazy with property photos on your MLS listings! When it comes to real estate marketing, the right number of photos matter. Today we will answer the question: how many photos should I include in my real estate marketing.

Photos Matter in Real Estate

But first, we will try to understand why photos are important in the real estate business. For one thing, we live in an increasingly time-crunched world. Even the most motivated buyers run short of time, and they love anything that helps them scan the greatest numbers of listings in the shortest time. It is no wonder then that 92% of home buyers search for homes online.

Secondly, the proliferation of social media networks like Facebook, Instagram and Snapchat means visual communication has increased in popularity. That is why photography has become a critical factor when it comes to selling anything, including real estate.

Many realtors think that simply offering the house on the MLS will sell their listing. While the MLS is an essential marketing platform, the sale will only take place if you successfully excite — this is what great real estate photography does.

Some Numbers to Consider

If you’re still not sure of the impact of photos in real estate marketing, consider these stats:

• 87% of home buyers rely on online images to make their buying decision (National Association of Realtors, 2018)

• Properties listed with PlanOmatic photography sell more than two weeks faster

• Homes listed between $200,000 and $1 million can be sold at $3,400 to $11,200 more than their list prices, thanks to quality photos (Think Realty, 2019) In short, photos matter. But how many?

What is the Right Number for Real Estate Photos?

Many MLSs allow you to upload unlimited images for each listing however, experts agree that 20-25 images are sufficient to market any property and increase its online visibility. If you go overboard, it can have the opposite impact. Remember what we wrote above about buyers being time-crunched? Well, anything more than the 20-25 range uses up buyer’s time and has no additional benefit.

Of course, when it comes to marketing, you never really know what’s working unless you have the actual data behind customer behavior. Luckily when we talk about data, we have some helpful case studies and PlanOmatic’s own purchasing behavior data to analyze.

What Does the Data Show?

Perhaps the most significant research on photo count comes from Zillow. Zillow concluded that homes with more photos sell faster. Zillow found that 22-27 photos is the ideal number. Homes with less than nine photos don’t perform well and are 20x less likely to sell in sixty days as compared to a home with 22-27 photos. They also noted that homes with 28 or more photos sell slower than 22-27.

So more is better, but only up to a point. When the number of photos increases from 28 onwards, the likelihood of buyers contacting agents decreases. According to this study, 22-27 photos prove most effective.

PlanOmatic’s client’s purchase patterns support Zillow’s findings. The average number of photos our clients order is 24.75… but let’s make it easy and call it a flat 25.

Is There Any Regional Impact?

One thing that all real estate agents would agree on is that every market is different. But interestingly enough, photo count seems to be universal. From the expansive mansions of Beverly Hills, to the micro lofts in New York, 25 photos is the real estate marketing standard. Speaking of closets, I mean, micro lofts… Does square footage have an impact on the number of photos you should use?

What About Luxury Properties?

Selling luxury properties naturally takes longer than middle market homes because listing agents are targeting a very specific type of buyer. Creative marketing solutions like twilight photography, aerial photography and video are often necessary to generate buzz in this high-end space. But do more photos benefit the sale? The answer is still no. Regardless of the price point in homes, we are still seeing the same small range of photos being purchased, 25-30.

What About Square Footage?

It’s logical to assume that larger properties would necessitate more photos—more space means more photos, right? Not necessarily. From what PlanOmatic customers have purchased we can anecdotally say that 20-30 images are sufficient to display a home less than 2,500 sq/ft, but you can increase the number of photos by 5+ beyond 3,500 sq/ft. The idea is to show just enough of the listing to get the buyer to schedule a showing.  

It’s All About Balance

Photos are an incredibly important element to the process of selling a home but photographs alone are not intended to sell the property. Too few or too many photos can do serious damage to marketing your listing. Remember, photographs actually sell the showing and it is the knowledge and expertise of the agents that gets the deal to the closing table. The tools that you choose to use for your business matter and the way you use them can matter even more. PlanOmatic will help provide you with what you need to be successful at what you do best, selling homes.