We’ve all scrolled through the major online property portals looking at houses – perhaps wishing we could live in some of the places featured, maybe crossing others immediately off the list. But, probably without even actively realising it, you’re almost certainly spending more time looking at pictures than text. Now fresh research has confirmed this habit.

A new survey commissioned by a Midlands-based estate agency has articulated what most of us in the industry already knew – buyers won’t decide to view a property if they’re first put off by the photos of the place they’ve seen online.

The study asked people who’d bought a home recently what factor had influenced them the most when it came to creating a view of a house or property that had been placed on the market.

Nearly two in five (39%) of those questioned responded that photographs influenced them more than anything else, while for just over a fifth (23%), the floor plan came second, after the property details and description.

However, a far greater number claimed that images were a deal-breaker when it came to deciding whether or not they would go and see a property for themselves. Some 80% agreed that they’d open a listings link just because they liked the first picture they saw. Meanwhile, well over half (59%) of potential purchasers reckoned they would simply scroll past a property whose initial picture did not appeal.

Approaching three-quarters (71%) reported looking through the full selection of pictures before studying any of the written information. Further, if they didn’t find the images enticing, almost half (49%) said they wouldn’t bother looking at the rest of the listing.

So when it comes to digital listings, just about nothing is more important than the photographs. They grab attention initially for many potential purchasers, and then provide a more detailed overview of the place once someone has clicked on to the actual listing.

So however fantastic the home may seem on paper, if the photos don’t do a property justice, people will just scroll on by.

This is all no doubt because, in our screen-bound age, it can seem as though we spend all our time looking at videos or photos. (A separate survey, conducted by PR News, found that online content with good images will get a whopping 94% more views than those without.)

Equally, of course, this side of things has become even more important in a potentially unpredictable marketplace.

Ready for its close-up: preparing your home for photography

Our most important tip would probably be to declutter and keep your home as free from markers of personal taste as possible. The more of a blank canvas your viewer sees, even online, the more they can picture themselves in the property, with their own things.

Other general advice would include opening curtains and blinds, having good lighting and moving pieces of furniture around if that makes a room appear more spacious.


Always make the bed – try and use covers which suit the room. Shut cupboard and wardrobe doors and put away clutter as well.


Clear worktops, appliances, bins, the sink, pet bowls and even fridge magnets. Clear the sink, close cupboard doors and consider adding a splash of colour with a bowl of fresh fruit.


Declutter your toiletries, put the loo lid down and close the shower curtain or screen. Arrange towels neatly – ideally, their colours will complement the rest of the room.

Oakfield says

We’re really strict with all our images, and always find ways of enhancing them, for example by adding a blue sky, which invariably makes everywhere look better. We’re never afraid to ask people to tidy up a place (right down to making the bed!) if it’s going to enhance their marketing. Heck, if it comes to it, we’re not above rolling up our sleeves and doing a spot of tidying ourselves.

And without wishing to boast, we’d say we outperform the competition when it comes to this side of things. Many agents simply don’t bother, and are seemingly happy just to take a shot of an untidy room, something which always astonishes us.

With offices across Eastbourne, Hastings and Bexhill, we’ve been in the local property market since the 1990s. But we fully understand the importance of modern digital marketing and always help our vendors and landlords set off their properties to perfection with the best preparation and photography.

Whether you’re thinking of buying, selling, letting out or renting in our part of the world, talk to us before you talk to anyone else. Check out our website for our contact details here.