How to make sure your listing does not end up on Zillow Gone Wild

Apr 20, 2024

90 percent of buyers often form their first impressions of a property through online listings or, let’s face it, on Captivating real estate photos is paramount. However, here at Absolute Altitude, we do occasionally run into problems with homes that are not photo-ready.  

Unfortunately, being unprepared has two outcomes. The first is that we cannot complete the shoot, and the second is that the photos do not reach their full potential—and that makes our team a little sad, as we believe that every home has a “good side,” and we love to capture it!

Here are our best tips for ensuring that your listing doesn’t go viral for the wrong reasons.

11 Essential Photo Prep Tips

1.)Poor Lighting: Dimly lit or overly bright photos can make rooms appear smaller and less inviting. Natural light is your best friend in photography, so open curtains and blinds to let it in. Some folks like us to leave lights on in photos, but our team prefers to leave lights off. We’re a little different than most REPs. For us, we don’t focus on whether or not our photos make rooms look as big as possible. Poor lighting for us would be a home with little natural light or all the lights on but all the lights are a variety of color temps.

2.)Cluttered Spaces: A cluttered room looks chaotic and distracts viewers from focusing on the property’s features. Clear countertops, declutter shelves and tidy up before taking photos. Stash away trash cans, brooms, mops etc. Aim for clear and clean surfaces. 

3.)Unmade Beds and Messy Rooms: Bedrooms with unmade beds or messy spaces convey a lack of care and cleanliness. Ensure rooms are neat, and the beds are made to create a more polished look.


idk what u want me to do im just a 26 y/o teenage girl #messyroom #justgirlythings #roomtour #apartmenttour

♬ original sound – Anne

4.)Ignoring Curb Appeal: Neglecting the property’s exterior can make buyers think the inside is just as neglected. Ensure the lawn is mowed, pathways are clear, and exterior features are highlighted in your photos. Please pick up all items. This is just as bad and distracting as inside clutter.

5.)Overediting: While enhancing photos can make them more appealing, excessive editing can make them look artificial and unrealistic. Wide lenses and over-bright shots distort reality.  This means buyers may be disappointed when they show up. Make sure the photos look like the actual home and are not misleading.

6.)Neglecting Key Selling Points: Failing to showcase a fireplace, scenic views, or architectural details can cause it to blend in with the competition. Our team is trained to know what features buyers love most and how to capture them in the perfect vignette.

7.) Including Personal Items: Personal photos, religious symbols, or overly personalized decor can distract buyers, who may fail to see the room’s full potential. Remove personal items before taking listing photos to create a neutral environment.

8.)Lack of Staging: Empty rooms can appear cold and uninviting, while poorly staged spaces may not showcase the property’s potential. Invest in professional staging or strategically place furniture and decor to help buyers visualize themselves in the home.

9.) Pay Attention to Details: Small details can make a big difference in photography. Ensure towels are neatly folded (If in view), pillows are fluffed, the couch cushions are level, and the rugs are straightened. Hide cords, remotes, and other distractions to create a clean and polished look.

10.) Bring in Color: To enhance the visual appeal of the space, consider adding fresh flowers, decorative pillows, or artwork.

11.) Empty space? Try our virtual staging services to bring modern furniture into an empty room and define essential areas for lifestyle scenes that buyers will love. It’s a perfect way to show the potential an empty home has. 

These 11 tips can make or break your listing photo package. Another bonus is that this package can help you win your next listing when your clients see how spectacular you can make their home look. Art can imitate life and vice versa; it just takes a little time, elbow grease and a smidgeon of planning.

Our team at Absolute Alititude is here to help. Ask us for our ULTIMATE LISTING PREP CHECKLIST to ensure you don’t miss any details before photo day. We guarantee you will ABSOLUTELY love. 

Joel Yocca is the man with the plan, the owner & CEO of Absolute Altitude. The A2 team is prepared to provide you with the assets you need to level up in any market.

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Who is the star?

Both aspects play significant roles in capturing the attention of potential buyers and sealing the deal. However, when it comes to prioritizing, which holds more weight?

Video content has revolutionized the way properties are presented to potential buyers. A well-crafted video tour provides viewers with a comprehensive look at the property, allowing them to envision themselves living there. 

We know we only have seconds to capture a potential buyer’s fancy, and that means that creating content that wows from the first frame is critical to our client’s personal success.

Agent first?

On the other hand, the persona of the listing agent adds a human touch to the transaction process. Buyers often seek reassurance and guidance from a knowledgeable and trustworthy agent.

 A compelling agent persona can build rapport with potential buyers, instilling confidence and facilitating a smoother transaction. Buyers want to feel understood and supported throughout the home-buying journey, and the right agent can make all the difference.

Creating agent-first content also gives a longer shelf-life to the content that is being created. Instead of a one-off video with just a home, the content becomes a featured event for the agent’s portfolio. 



House first?

House first?

If you are shy, or you have a client who specifically asks for a distraction-free video where their home is the star, then moving forward with home solo content is the way to move forward. Our standard-styled videos that showcase the home are going to be your best bet.

This also may be a must for large estates and luxury properties, where the structure itself has such a big personality that there is no room for shenanigans from the agents.

Another popular route is creatively showing the lifestyle the home offers with hired actors who for the length of the video are living their best life.



Which audience do you want to capture?

While both video content and the agent persona are crucial, the ultimate priority depends on the target audience and the property itself. In a visually-driven market, such as luxury real estate or vacation homes.

Captivating video content may take precedence. Conversely, in niche markets where personal relationships and trust are paramount, the agent’s persona may hold greater significance.

Knowing which audience you are trying to capture will help you determine which strategy will be right for the content you are trying to create. If you need help determining this, make sure to reach out to our team for a consult and we will be happy to help. 

 Joel Yocca is the man with the plan, the owner & CEO of Absolute Altitude. The A2 team is prepared to provide you with the assets you need to level up in any market.


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