The most enjoyable aspect of my job with WeNeedaVacation.com is meeting homeowners at their rental homes, photographing their house, and coaching them to better market their vacation rental. While it is not necessary for the homeowner to meet me during the photography shoot, it is much more fun and worthwhile.
Over the past 7 years, I have met hundreds of homeowners while walking their halls, seeing their yards, and learning what is most special about their homes. Experiencing your homes has been incredibly interesting, especially when the value of a visit reaches beyond the bright lights and camera. Often, a photography session will lead a homeowner to discover some of their property’s most overlooked gems, like the family of bunnies that gather by the back shrubs every morning, or the golden slivers of sun that blanket the kitchen in the afternoon.
Owning a vacation house and sharing it with strangers is not easy, right? You love your home, you have special memories there, you have put sweat and money into fixing it, maybe your grandparents used to live there. To you, it is nearly perfect. I always encourage homeowners to think about these subjective aspects of their home, and then write about it on their property listing. Where is the best seat in the house for morning coffee? What does the afternoon sun look like from the deck? Let’s photograph that and write about it.
My goals during a photography session are 1) get to know the homeowner and what makes this house special, 2) take bright, lovely pictures with an objective eye, 3) work with the homeowner to mix the objective eye with the subjective one to create a thorough, well-written, interesting, personal, unique and enticing property listing.
Homeowners ask a lot of great questions during our photography appointment. The most commonly asked one is “How does my house compare with all the others you have seen?” This is a tough one. I do my best to compare, but this is not easy. I believe what they are really asking is more like, “Is my home more special than the rest? Will people like it?” There is so much to consider beyond the size, price, amenities, etc. I am always happy to run a Power Search on our site to view the competition, and we strongly encourage you to do this also. While our website helps vacationers narrow their search with important search criteria, the final decisions are made when vacationers read and view the way you have presented your home through words and pictures. If you build a beautiful, distinct, thorough property listing, they will come!
Here are a few more ideas on how to personalize your listing:
- If you take your own pictures, please turn on all the lights in every room first. It will brighten the picture, make it look and feel warm and inviting. Find a way to portray your favorite room or space with a picture. Coffee mugs, wine glasses, book and sunglasses, or binoculars on the deck, patio, or sun room. You get the picture.
- Ask your family to identify the three best things about your house. Then write about them. New dishes that remind you of Cape Cod? Hydrangeas by the deck? The sound of the seagulls and other birds? Seeing the stars through the skylight? Walks around the neighborhood? Enough room on the deck for 10 people to grill and eat outside? The croquet set in the back yard? Afternoons in the hammock? Find your inner poet!
- Always keep in mind that many vacationers may never have been to your town before. In fact, they may not have been to the Cape or Islands. Market your house, neighborhood, and town with fresh, new eyes. Think about your favorite local places, and explain why they are special.
So, to the many homeowners whom I have not met, perhaps we can get together, and while your house says “cheese” in front of the camera, you and I can discuss poetic details. And, to the many homeowners whom I have met: thank you! It has been a true pleasure to meet you and learn about your extraordinary home. Keep up the excellent and creative marketing! May you enjoy the many special “bunnies in the yard” at your house for years to come.
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