Harbert Magazine Online The alumni magazine of Auburn University’s Raymond J. Harbert College of Business

Real Estate Photography’s Impact on Sales

Real Estate

More is more, at least when it comes to photography for a real estate listing.

Auburn University’s Justin Benefield was part of a research group that delved into “The Relationship between Property Price, Time-on-Market, and Photo Depictions in a Multiple Listing Service” back in 2011. Since then, the topic of real estate-related media has only grown hotter; Dr. Benefield’s research was recently cited by Sanette Tanaka in the January 10, 2013 Wall Street Journal article, “What a Picture’s Worth”.

Benefield’s research group concluded that more photography increased the sale price on a home, but the added sensory information also extended the time on market. Benefield’s co-author, Professor Ken H. Johnson of Florida International University explains, as excerpted from the WSJ:

“If I was selling, I would put every picture I could on the listing, at a ratio of four to five interior vs. one exterior,” says Prof. Johnson. “We’re talking about a few extra weeks in marketing time to get that 3% to 5% increase on a home. That’s a good trade.”

Roughly 85% of the 4,077 houses studied by Prof. Johnson and co-authors Christopher Cain and Justin Benefield included a photo. Interior pictures were more effective than exterior shots, adding a 3.9% price bump vs. 1.9%. Although adding just one photo can result in these gains, Prof. Johnson estimates that each additional photo adds about $150 to $200 to the final sale price.

But be prepared to wait for the payoff: Adding a photo increases the time to sell by 20.6%, meaning the house will stay on the market for an additional 16.5 days, on average…”

For more information on Auburn University’s Master of Real Estate Development program, visit the website or reach out to Dr. Benefield, directly!

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