COVID-19 and its aftermath are changing the way we live and even where we live. Some people are leaving the cities for more space. Others are moving in with family members to save money. As a landlord, you may be struggling with the kinds of vacancy rates you’ve never encountered before.
So, what’s happening in the rental market? According to a recent Pew Research Center study, 52% of young adults now live with their parents, breaking a previous record set during the Great Depression. And the changes are not just in big cities. The study analyzed data from the U.S. Census Bureau to find that these 26.6 million 18- to 29-year-olds represent both men and women, all major racial and ethnic groups, and both urban and rural residents. Among their reasons for moving are pandemic-related job losses, college campus closures, and health concerns.
What can you do to keep your occupancy rates strong amid all this economic uncertainty? It’s time to throw away the old playbook and lean into technology to showcase your rental property. We’ve identified five ways professional photography will help you attract new tenants.
1. Professional photography pays for itself
These are worrying times for rental property owners and managers. It’s natural for you to be looking for ways to cut costs wherever you can, and you may think smartphone photos of your rental homes are good enough. However, not all images are created equal. As they scroll through online ads and listings, today’s rental home seekers make quick judgments based on image content and quality.
Posting high-quality photos will give you a competitive edge that will translate to quicker lease-signings. According to a study published on homelight.com, high-quality photos boost home transaction rates by 32% over those listed with low-quality images.
Time is money, and when you hire an expert, you also won’t have to waste hours taking and re-taking photos. You even can re-use your high-quality images and videos each time the space becomes vacant – or if you decide to sell the property later down the road. You’ll also save time because professional photos attract a higher-quality of tenant. That means you’ll have a better opportunity of finding people who are actually ready to sign a lease, not just leave you hanging.
2. High-quality virtual tours are a necessity, thanks to COVID
You know that virtual tours have been making their mark on the home industry for years now. In these days of COVID concerns, however, they are also a key way to attract potential renters. Just like with still photos, the quality of these videos matters -- a lot. Shooting a tour to entice a potential renter is not the same as posting a quick video for your friends on Facebook. A professional will make sure the pacing of the video is right and won’t turn off viewers with a jerky camera.
Your prospective tenants are online all the time these days anyway. So, when you post a virtual tour of your property along with your listing, you help speed up the entire rental process. They’ll appreciate getting many of their questions answered without ever leaving the safety and comfort of their current homes.
This great example by The Tanya Eklund Group shows how effective video tours can be at selling homes (and rental units) online.
An added bonus is that virtual tours also save you and your team time from having to meet every single potential tenant in person. And here’s another plus – if your unit is currently occupied, you won’t have to inconvenience these tenants as often for showings or open houses. That’s a win all the way around since everyone is concerned with hygiene and social distancing these days.
3. Renters are hunting for details
With still photographs and videos shot by a professional, you will be able to highlight all the small touches and big amenities that make your property stand out. Modern granite countertops and gleaming wood flooring are in demand and will help sell a room. If you spent thousands remodeling your unit, you’ll definitely want to highlight these features!
And for managers of large multi-unit properties, having professional photos of common spaces such as laundry and community rooms that look clean, modern, and well maintained are a must-have.
Image courtesy of celsious.com
Image courtesy of fairfieldresidential.com
Professional photography can also help you target and attract specific types of tenants. Pictures of an on-site pool or playground will help draw in families, for example, while showcasing photos of nearby bars and restaurants will help you focus on attracting young couples or single tenants.
Today, more and more people are working from home. That’s why another way to attract tenants is with high-quality photos that show the versatility of your floorplans. Consider staging a photo with a large walk-in closet or a kitchen nook doubling as a work-from-home space, for example.
Photography can also help tenants better understand the neighborhood. With more people working and schooling from home, showing high-quality pictures of the street entrance to the property and nearby public spaces can win over tenants that value community and nearby accessibility. Remember that some renters may be relocating from other cities or states, so the more information you can give them to help them make their decision, the better.
4. Your rooms will just look better. Period
Location. Location. Location. We’ve all heard real estate agents sing the praises of a property that has a great location. Well, when it comes to photos of your great rental site, the most crucial element is lighting.
When potential renters look at images of a property, they want to imagine themselves living there. And who wants to think of themselves living in a dark, dreary place?
Even the latest cellphone camera can’t show off your rental in its best light. But a professional photographer can. A professional photographer won’t just know how to make the best use of natural lighting but will also know how to edit photos to really make them pop.
Just look at these before and after photos to see the difference a professional can make.
Same room taken by a professional photographer
Do you know how everything in a room can look a little squashed or out of proportion in some photos? It can be almost like looking in a fun-house mirror. Well, in addition to getting the lighting right, a professional photographer has a trained eye to shoot rooms from their best angles and heights. Rooms can look drastically different depending on what angle the picture is taken from, and phone photos can make a room look small and cramped. Professional photographers have access to the right equipment, such as wide-angle lenses, that make it possible to show a setting at its full potential.
5. Quality photos build your brand
Because of COVID, today’s renters have choices, and that may not end anytime soon. Not unexpectedly, the Freddie Mac Multifamily 2020 Midyear Report says the rental market and the economy are “inexorably tied” to COVID and how well it becomes contained. As a property manager, you need to do whatever you can to build the kind of reputation that attracts tenants.
First impressions matter for both dating and for picking a new home. And the quality of your photos will become a renter’s first impression of both your property and you as a landlord. Blurry, low-resolution images can convey a sloppy approach to business, while clear, bright, high-resolution images reveal that you care about the details of managing a rental property. When you capture stills and videos of your property on a professional’s camera and then share them on social media, you will garner a following of prospective tenants. Now that’s an image worth having!
We’ve seen how professionally-taken photos of your rental property will help give you an edge in this changing rental landscape. Now, your next question may be how you can find a professional real estate photographer in your area.
Snappr’s got you covered. Snappr has the world’s largest network of professional photographers providing quality work on-demand -- often with as little as two hours advance notice.
Contact Snappr’s Enterprise Team today to learn how, by working together, we can attract the tenants you want with photography that is second to none.