A Picture is Worth a Thousand Dollars. True or False?

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In our series of reports on The Real Estate Scientist we bring you data driven, no-nonsense answers to help you untangle the snarl of real estate advice you commonly encounter when trying to buy or sell a home. We’ve sifted through piles of real estate data to answer the following question: What is the true benefit of listing your home with professional quality photos?

Conventional wisdom would tell you that homes sell better when they have listing photos that were taken by a professional photographer, like the photo on the left.

Professional Real Estate Photo
Professional Photo
Amateur Real Estate Photo
Amateur Photo

Never ones to be satisfied with conventional wisdom, we turned to the numbers to answer the question at the top of every seller’s mind when deciding how to market their home. Is it truly worth the money to pay for professional photography? At Redfin we believe in the power of professional photography. Every house that is listed with our brokerage is marketed with professional photos, and we pick up the tab. So, is it worth the dough?

[UPDATE: We re-did this study and published the results on March 15, 2016: see Spring Home-Selling Tips]

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Senior Data Journalist / Real Estate Analyst

Tim Ellis has been analyzing the real estate market since 2005, and worked at Redfin as a housing market analyst from 2010 through 2013 and again starting in 2018. In his free time, he runs the independently-operated Seattle-area real estate website Seattle Bubble, and produces the "Dispatches from the Multiverse" improvised comedy sci-fi podcast.

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