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Paul Bennett, Director

If you thought that putting a bowl of fruit out when getting a property ready for photography was terribly clichéd, you may want to review your thinking in line with new research.


One canny property professional has turned to cutting-edge technology to find out what makes the perfect digital listing – a crucially important aspect considering almost every property search now starts online. The findings have proved a real talking point in the estate agency industry and we can all take something away from the discoveries.


Eye-tracking technology was used to monitor where peoples’ gaze fell when browsing property search results, with a number of distinct features becoming focal points. With many buyers and tenants making a snap judgment when scrolling online – almost exclusively based on superficial aspects - those with a property to offer should consider the following as they prepare their property.


The lead image: with search results often featuring multiple properties over a number of web pages, it comes as no surprise that home movers choose what properties to explore further in as little as 2 to 3 seconds. Careful consideration needs to be given to the photo that appears on the search results page – usually an exterior – so properties need to have bags of attention-grabbing kerb appeal.


Bright colours: the trend for neutral and grey interiors can leave property listings all blending in to one so the eye is naturally drawn to bright colours. There doesn’t need to be an entire redecoration before going on the market, however, as the prominent placement of a vase of flowers, a plain sofa dressed with bold cushions or even that clichéd bowl of fruit will be enough.


Personal accessories: while many movers strip their homes of anything too personal before photographs are taken, the eye-tracking technology picked up that potential buyers and tenants do linger on photos and personal decorations. Although we feel avoiding a completely sterile look is wise, be mindful of what you choose to leave on display.


Furnishings: although it is unusual to move into a property with the previous inhabitant’s furniture still in place, it was found that browsers were really drawn to what was in each room. Items such as sofas, dining tables and chairs heavily influenced whether a browser moved on from a photo quickly and also the furniture altered their perception of the entire property.


Floorplans: including a floorplan in a listing is imperative, as the eye tracking found this aspect was sought out quickly when the browser clicked through for more property details. The mapping showed the gaze flicking from the drawing to the measurements in a bid to process the size, scale and flow of space.


Clutter: it has been found that piles of paperwork, a stack of clothes or a draining board full of washing up draws immediate attention, distracting people from the true essence and potential of a room. No matter how much of a chore it feels, always clear clutter ahead of property photography.


Local area information: while it is property photography that garners the most interest, people also search out maps, areas guides and details about how close the property is to local facilities. Local area information should always accompany photographs.


Photography quality: it goes without saying that blurry or out-of-focus photographs hold no sway with browsers. It’s proven that they are quickly skipped and may undersell what is potentially a stunning room.


If you’d like further advice about marketing your property for sale or to rent, the Behr & Butchoff team is here to help. Please get in touch and we can share our wealth of knowledge with you.