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It’s an old cliché, but everyone still loves to say it: “a picture is worth a thousand words” and trust us, when it comes to enticing potential tenants into making inquires, the old cliché rings a lot of truth.
Including quality photos in your rental listings is no longer a courteous extra, it is necessary. No longer are they the cherry-on-top for a listing, photographs of a rental can be the deciding factor in many potential tenants’ eyes.
Quality images of your rental’s best features and could be the difference between finding the perfect tenant quickly, or unneeded vacancies. Knowing this, it’s important to be able to represent your property with the best quality photographs you can.
Check Your Camera Settings
Planning to DIY your way through the rental listings and take your own photos? Be sure to use a camera that has the technology to sufficiently capture your property. Using an outdated and low end camera can cause blurry or grain-filled photos that distract from your rental rather than highlighting its best qualities. Poor images not only fail to highlight your rental’s best features, they express a sense of apathy and a lack of care toward your listing, a considerable deterrent to a potential tenant.
This isn’t to say that you need the finest equipment money can buy, many new cell phones have the capacity to take great images with the right planning. If you use an iPhone or your new smartphone, be sure to change your settings beforehand. Ensure that your camera’s files are not being compressed for storage on your device, and play around with the light settings to find the best representation of what your eyes see in the room.
Pro Tip:Many cameras have settings to input your light source: tungsten, cloudy, sunny ect. (often referred to as ‘white balance’) changing these settings will ensure that your rooms indoors do not look harsh and yellow or blue and dull.
Use Natural Light
While you don’t need a fancy flash or studio light to achieve a nice white and clean image of your property, you do need to be aware of the do’s and do not’s of lighting. It is impossible to showcase your freshly painted white walls, when your photos all look dim and dingy.
To get the best possible look, take your photos in the daytime when you have a lot of natural light to work with. While this may be hard for some rooms or apartments that do not have a lot of windows, eliminate the use of lamps and ceiling lights.
Pro Tip: Open all the curtains, and even doors to make sure your room is as light as possible before taking your picture. This will make your room look brighter, cleaner and even bigger.
The best time to take the photographs for your rental is after your normal reinventions and cleanings between tenants have taken place. However, if timing only allows for you to take the images mid-process, make sure to clear out any clutter, or cleaning materials. If your listing is furnished, don’t be afraid to rearrange the room specifically for the photo.
The most pleasing furniture arrangement for the photographs could be different than what logistically works best in day-to-day life—this is okay. Move the couch to new wall to create a new focal point—even if you know most tenants will prefer to face the TV hook-ups adjacent to the couch. As long as you’re not misrepresenting the listing’s assets, feel free to experiment to see ways that you re-arrange items to open the floor space and make the room more inviting.
Pro Tip: Potential renters respond positively to a house that is staged during their rental search process. A staged home is decorated to look its most beautiful for the purpose of selling or renting a house faster. Staged homes allow a person to see what the house looks like when someone lives there. If your house is empty, consider bringing in a couch, side table, flowers and a throw blanket to stage a cozy living room for a photo shoot.
Get Your Rental’s Good Side
Be sure to capture all the necessary shots: the living area, kitchen, bathrooms and bedrooms, but be sure to be discerning with what you include. If your rental has particularly beautiful landscaping, be sure to include a photo of just the garden. Was the kitchen newly remolded? Take a close up of the new counters and appliances.
Pro Tip: If you recently purchased top of the line appliance for your rental, it is not necessary to a picture of the appliance logo. You future tenant will appreciate a shot that shows the whole appliance so they can see that is actually new and fits the room nicely.
When to Leave it to the Experts
In some circumstances, despite a working knowledge of your camera, and the best intentions, there can be times when it might be worth it to call a professional. If you are noticing that your photos are not the quality you hoped for, or if you have a lot of rentals, it could be time to pick up the phone and call a photographer who specializes in property listings.
For any owner, the reality is that even the best DIY-er will be outmatched by the quality that a professional can offer, and that can translate to finding a tenant sooner. Extended vacancies can cost you more than a professional’s fee.
Pro Tip: For owners of multiple listings, the time investment required to do it yourself may not be achievable—and you can check around to see who offers a multiple property discount.
The next time your rental is ready to be listed, don’t hesitate to do what it takes to include great photos. By following our simple tricks, you’ll know precisely how to display your listing in the best light possible–literally and figuratively.
Credit to Brentnie
Brentnie is a contributor for Rentec Direct. She occasionally stops by to deliver practical industry tips, providing guidance for tenants and landlords alike.
It’s time to get your apartment complexes and rental properties ready for summer.
The warm weather means your residents want to get outside and enjoy the community features you offer. Any pool areas, bbq pits, and picnic areas should be ready and inviting for summertime use and the social atmosphere that makes your property stand out.
Make sure you and rentals are ready for summer with these tips:
- Pool Safety – Get the pool cleaned and in prime condition for summertime splashes. If you do not have a lifeguard on duty, check to make sure your posted safety signs are visible and aren’t faded by winter weather or the sun. Check that locks and gates are in good condition to further protect young residents in your community.
- Fill the Propane – Nothing can kill a summer BBQ faster than a grill that runs out of fuel in-between burger flips. If you want your residents to use the community space you provide, make sure the propane tank is full and keep an extra on hand, in case your residents need to make a quick switch.
- Pull out the summer maintenance checklist– Each season calls for different routine maintenance. Your team should be prepared to add summer chores to their to do list like: servicing the pool, cleaning grills, organizing outdoor community areas, adjusting the irrigation system, and getting ready for A/C maintenance calls.
- Set Your Water – When the temperatures start to rise, servicing the irrigation system can result in big savings on water usage, prevent landscape damage, and reduce standing water. You should also program your sprinkles to optimal summer use settings, to keep your landscape looking fresh and reduce over watering.
- Fire Wise – Make sure your property is prepped for high heat and that fire dangers are removed. Outside bushes and trees should be trimmed backed and dead plants removed. Additionally, make sure any grills owned by the property or your tenants are properly ventilated and positioned away from buildings. Make sure to double check your local laws about fire extinguisher requirements for landlords.
- Service the Air Conditioners – Enlist the help of a professional to service the A/C unit at least once a year. They will be able to check the unit, clean coils, adjust dampers, and look for any other potential problems. It is also important to remove trees, debris, or trash that can obstruct proper operation. These measures can prolong the life of a heating and air system.
- Check chairs, umbrellas and tables – Multifamily renters are about to spend more time outdoors, that means any chairs, tables and umbrellas are going to get a lot of use. Your property will be more inviting and safer if those community fixtures work properly.
- Send a Friendly Rule Reminder to Residents – The warm weather and late sunset times brings people outside late into the night. Remind your residents of the complex’s quiet hours and any rules about using the pool, grills, and community amenities. Make sure to include information about your guest policies and parking.
- Check Your State and Local Requirements – Did you know that in Washington, D.C. the housing code requires landlords to put screens on windows and doors from March 15 through November 15 to protect tenants from insects and pests? Make sure you are following state and local laws for seasonal requirements like this for landlord compliance.
- Don’t Forget About Renewals – With all the fun your residents are having this summer, take advantage of asking for renewals while spirits are high. Try hosting a community event, like a BBQ or pool party, and offer renewal incentives. The more your remind your tenants about how much fun it is to live in your property, the more likely they will stay.
When it comes to summer at your rental properties, remember to prioritize safety by encouraging your tenants to socialize and enjoy themselves responsibly this season.
Credit to Kaycee
Kaycee manages marketing and media relations for Rentec Direct, bringing a unique perspective to the world of property management and proudly shares industry news, products, and trends within the community