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Real Estate Image Retouching, Courtesy of e-retouching.com

Courtesy of e-retouching.com

We recently detailed some helpful online tools for local Charleston-area real estate research. Today, we’re taking a closer look at the artistry that goes into marketing a home, from the staging of the living spaces to the images posted online. We specifically looked at current listings on Folly Beach because the area has a diverse offering of real estate, but this info applies to the rest of the Charleston area and most other housing markets throughout the country.

Most folks who are trying to sell their homes engage in some form of staging. In its most basic form, staging involves a thorough cleaning and a sensible de-cluttering. Occupants of a property that is for sale usually need to make a special effort to keep the home spotless, because showings can often happen on relatively short notice. Staging might also involve hiring an interior designer and filing an unoccupied home with tasteful furniture and accessories. On the extreme end of the spectrum, we’ve even heard of some companies in large, highly competitive markets hiring actors to pose as homeowners of vacant homes!

Just like any form of advertising, the visuals used to sell a home matter. The reality of residential real estate today usually begins with prospective buyers clicking through numerous thumbnail images of homes. Given the importance of the photographs, many sellers spruce up their images, known as retouching, before posting them. Just like staging, real estate photo retouching can be mild or excessive. Photograph brightness and contrast are some of the simplest components to manipulate. Changing these details can make a photograph look more polished and provide a clearer image of the property for sale. Replacing a dreary sky with a crystal-clear blue sky is another mild photo retouching strategy. These changes are not used to deceive potential buyers and can help an image stand out among numerous other similar listings.

Retouching is also used to “trim” bushes or remove out-of-place items such as toys or questionable yard art. Listings for new construction homes may digitally add grass and bushes to images of homes photographed before landscaping is installed. If you’re interested in seeing just how far image retouching can go, check out this ABC News video below. It’s a fun and interesting take on what technology can achieve — and what to be on the look out for.

As far as the Folly Beach listings go, most of the photos show homes that are tastefully staged, and some include enhanced skies, but we didn’t see anything nearly as extreme as the video below details.

Do you have questions about buying or selling real estate on Folly Beach or another of Charleston’s beach enclaves? Experienced area Realtor Bob Brennaman is happy to answer your queries. Call 843-345-6074 or send him an email through this site.