A Home’s First Impression

Researchers have discovered a method of maximizing the effectiveness of online real estate listings. In his study, Michael Seiler, founder and director for Behavioral and Experimental Real Estate at Old Dominion University, found that 95% of potential home owners view the first photo of a listing for 20 seconds. Therefore, the first photo should always be the exterior of the property on the market. The leading photo is the agent’s chance at making an impactful first impression, and thus it should be taken seriously.

“Without an eye-catching photo, the battle is lost before it begins,” says Prof. Seiler. “You have to grab people’s attention within two seconds. Do it the way a billboard does.”

The eye-catching doesn’t end there, however, as users tend to view home listings using small “z” shapes starting from the top left and continuing down the page. Placing photos of home features like the kitchen, master bedroom, and master bathroom in conjunction with the “z” shape will bolster chances of a successful property listing. In this time of fleeting attention spans, real estate agents will thrive if they can grasp an understanding of how potential home owners view online properties.

Source: Wall Street Journal (03/22/13) P. M7; Tanaka, Sanette