Looks Matter: How to Take Good Rental Property Photos

by Chris on April 23, 2018

Imagine if every applicant who applied for your vacancies was qualified. Tenant screening would be a breeze!

Unfortunately, landlords don’t have it so easy. A high volume of calls from interested applicants doesn’t make it any easier to choose the right one. What does help is attracting the highest number of good tenants by presenting the property in its best light.

The next time you’re pulling together your rental ad, keep in mind that bad tenants are looking for:

Distressed or messy properties (signals a less-picky landlord);
Unprofessional-looking photos (equals unprofessional landlord); or
No photos (fewer applicants to compete against).

Taking the time to showcase the property with good-looking photos ultimately can save time and money.

Tips for Improving Your Rental Photos

Focus on creating high-quality photos that can be used again for the next vacancy.

If photography isn’t your thing, consider hiring a professional. Look for an up-and-coming photographer who is seeking testimonials or referrals and you may be able to get the job done on the cheap — without sacrificing quality.

If you are not planning to invest in a professional photographer, then you need to be willing to think like one:

While real estate is location, location, location, photography is light, light, light. Open the blinds. Take pictures in the light of day, not at night. Focus on windows and natural lighting. No one likes dreary.

A little bit of staging makes a huge impact. A table in the dining area with a pretty centerpiece sells it. A blank corner with carpet marks from the previous tenant’s table? Not so much. Empty rooms actually seem smaller, and certainly less functional. Don’t leave it to the viewer’s imagination.

Wait until the property is ready to show before snapping those shots. Whether it’s a broom and dustpan in the kitchen corner or trash bags waiting to go outdoors, a dirty-looking unit will turn off the best renters.

Take photos from the same profile — it’s annoying for viewers to have to adjust from landscape to portrait in the middle of a series.

Be aware of the perspective. A photo taken from too close or too sharp an angle looks distorted, and that can make the space appear significantly smaller than it is. Tip the camera slightly downward toward the floor and focus a few feet away — that tends to look more natural.

Don’t forget to watermark your masterpieces before posting them online. There likely is an easy-to-use app for this on your phone or computer. Otherwise, scammers can hijack the rental ad and entice an unsuspecting victim into paying a “deposit” or “application fee.” That can lead to unwanted attention and negative reviews or ratings of the property.

It’s preferable that the photos be taken when the property is vacant, cleaned, and staged. Taking photos while the property is tenant-occupied presents privacy concerns. Tenants may not like having their personal belongings — like photos or expensive electronics — posted online. It’s also difficult to view the rooms while overstuffed with furnishings, and reflective surfaces like mirrors and countertops might not look their best while in use.

Take your time or ask for help when uploading photos into your rental ads. In today’s tech-savvy world, simple mistakes like repeating the same photo, photos that didn’t load, or images that need to be flipped right-side up send a message to tenants that you don’t know what you’re doing. Check the ads after posting to make certain the photos or slideshow works.

This post is provided by Tenant Verification Service, Inc., helping landlords reduce the risks of renting with fraud prevention tools that include Tenant Screening, Tenant Background Checks, (U.S. and Canada), as well as Criminal Background Checks, and Eviction Reports (U.S. only).

Click Here to Receive Landlord Credit Reports.

Disclaimer: The information provided in this post is not intended to be construed as legal advice, nor should it be considered a substitute for obtaining individual legal counsel or consulting your local, state, federal or provincial tenancy laws.

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Shelagh Brennan April 24, 2018 at 6:25 am

Thanks for all your great info.
I really liked your tips on photo taking in Looks Matter: How to Take Good Rental Property Photos.
But what would be great is to show us some photos.
Thanks,
Shelagh

Chris April 24, 2018 at 8:57 am

Hi Shelagh,
To see some photo examples, I suggest you check out your local Craigslist ads. You’ll see some great photos — and you’ll see some of the examples from the post: vacant units with no staging, cleaning equipment in view, the camera pointed down at your feet, the shades drawn, etc. Follow the examples that you like the best! Thanks for reading, Chris

Leave a Comment

Previous post:

Next post: