Brevard North Carolina Real Estate Blog: How Much is Too Much Information

How Much is Too Much Information

There's an interesting article on Inman News this morning about how many photos to use in a listing or a virtual tour. Research on one side of the debate believes that the more photos there are...the better. In the other corner is some research that says our brains can only absorb but so much information in a given amount of time and anything beyond that could result in diminishing returns.

I make it a point to get the very best photos and as many of them as I can use. With our bigger listings we usually hire a local professional photographer who has carved out a very nice niche for himself by specializing in residential photography. Because of his experience and equipment his photos make a huge difference in how a property is presented. One look through our MLS and you can easily pick out a home that he has photographed. Clients love it...I love it.

Taking residential real estate picturesOne of my biggest peeves is when agents pay little or no attention when they photograph a house themselves. It isn't rocket science and even a moderately priced digital camera will do the trick. What it does take is a little attention to detail. In my opinion, if an agent hasn't bothered to properly photograph a home it is a huge disservice to their seller. And if I haven't personally seen the property, it makes it hard to convince a buyer to give it a chance.

But back to the question at hand....

The question posed in the Inman article has to do with the number of photos, though. Our MLS lets you post 12. When we use a single property website we can double that.'s showcase listings also lets you use more photos.

On some quirky level of my brain, this reminds me of dating. Is it possible that too much information too soon is as bad as not enough information??






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Comment balloon 9 commentsCarol Clay • July 11 2008 08:11AM


Its a choice we have looked at. On some property's if there is no mystery there is no phone calls. On out of town buyers a great showcase has gotten them to look quickly. I like alot of photos.

Posted by Chip Jefferson (Gibbs Realty and Auction Company) over 10 years ago

I like a lot of photos, as well.  A picture is worth a thousand words.

Posted by Shirley Parks, Broker, 210-414-0966, San Antonio TX Real Estate (Sands Realty 210-414-0966) over 10 years ago

Carol, how much is too much? What is the magic number of photos? What was Inman's take on the number of photos"

Good Post!

Posted by Michael Setunsky, Your Commercial Real Estate Link to Northern VA over 10 years ago

There's a link to the story in the post...Basically there is research that shows a significant increase in the "stickiness" of your listing (the amount of time someone stays there) depending on the number of photos especially when you get up around 20 or 30. The other camp says that's too many because our brains fritz out due to short attention spans. He makes a comparison to TV commercials which I find a totally irrelevant comparison. Of course TV commercials are only 30-60 seconds! They're expensive! Besides, in TV advertising it's all about repetition. You're going to see that commercial over and over again. Not so with a listing on a MLS.

Posted by Carol Clay, Broker/REALTOR, Brevard NC Real Estate Specialist (Looking Glass Realty) over 10 years ago

I agree with you that lots of agents out there do not pay attention to the details when taking pictures, if they take any at all.  Many listing I see around have either awful pics or just no pictures at all, I just don't understand that, specially when we all know that over 80% of buyers start their search online.  I normally like to take no more than maybe 6-7 pictures that showcase the home for its best features.  If the home is fully renovated, than you could add as much as 20, but when its not, just enough to make that buyer looking online curious.  It will make that buyer to want to see more, when you can take great shots from the best angles. 

Great post

Posted by Andy Park (Weichert Realtors FH Realty) over 10 years ago

As a non Realtor, I have to say that the more pictures, the better. Most people only tour homes they have an interest in. If you don't get their interest with one picture, maybe a second or third will. I think the idea of a professional photographer is excellent. I am going to suggest that to my Realtor clients.

Posted by Fred Chamberlin, Oak Harbor/Whidbeynulls, #1 Experienced FHA Mortgage Consultant (Guild Mortgage Co - Oak Harbor WA) over 10 years ago

Carol, thank you for pointing out the Inman article.

One thing the article doesn't touch on is the quality of the photos. This would be subjective and hard to quantify in a study. However, I would bet a listing with 15 high quality photos would generate more interest than a listing with 30 lousy cell phone photos. So I don't think it's strictly a numbers game.

So back to your original question... all things being equal with the quality of photos I don't think there's a magic number - unless it's maybe some ratio of rooms to photos, okay maybe it is a numbers game :-) but a small condo won't need as many pictures as a large single family house.

I think there are some basic photos buyers expect to see - exterior, kitchen, master bedroom, living room, bathroom.  After that it's like what Andy mentioned - taking photos of the best features so it gets people interested.

Having photos of every room from every angle will probably bore potential buyers and they'll lose interest. But if the kitchen has a great view of the yard, and new cabinets, take 2 pictures to show off each feature.  

Posted by Alan Myers (Boston Image Maker) over 10 years ago

Carol, our office has a staff art director who is an amazing photographer.  It's important to use a wide angle lens that doesn't distort wall angles.  I always make sure to include exterior shots as well as photos of the major rooms.  I think the number probably depends on the house.

Posted by Patricia Kennedy, Home in the Capital (RLAH Real Estate) over 10 years ago

Some smaller homes just cant give a large number of photos. In these cases I will only use about 10 on so I dont appear to be showing the same thing over and over. With larger homes that have more features I try to use no more than 15. To me this is plenty to entice a buyer and still leave a few questions to be answered in their mind by viewing them. I've found that when I take too many photos and the shots show any overlap at all, the buyer seems to think that they have seen all there is to see.

Posted by Darrel Davis, Southern Heritage Realty (Winter Garden, Florida) over 10 years ago

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