When buyers are searching for a home, the first thing they see of a listed property are photos posted through the Multiple Listing Service.

The photos can convince buyers to consider a house or dissuade them from giving a property a second glance, which makes how a house is photographed one of the most important aspects for selling.

Stacey Olmstead, a real estate agent with Virginia Cook Realtors, said, through the photos, potential buyers get the first glimpse into a home. Most buyers begin their home search online and what photos they see creates an opinion of a house.

“It’s like the most important thing because 95 percent of all our buyers start online, and if there are no photos, they will pass right over that property — not even consider it,” Olmstead said. “And if the photos are poor quality, the whole thing feels poor quality.”

Lainie Ramsey, owner of Homes by Lainie Real Estate Group, said in years past, the first impression of a house was through actually seeing the house first. Now, the photos weigh more heavily in the selling process and are the first impression.

“That’s your first showing on a house, so I think it’s really important to have professional photography,” Ramsey said. “It’s imperative. It’s not even up for negotiation that you do your own photos anymore unless you’re a professional photographer.”

Depending on the size of a house, getting professional photos taken can be a large expense for the real estate agent. Ramsey said it is expensive but it’s an investment into selling the property.

As the photos are the first thing buyers see, Olmstead said the photos are the first and most important factor for curb appeal.

“The No. 1 first glance in consideration of a home, and if that first impression doesn’t make it, they’re not going to give it a second look,” Olmstead said. “That’s why I don’t even take my own photos. I hire a professional photographer to photograph every one of my listings because that is how important it is for me.”

Olmstead said her biggest pet peeve of photos she sees on MLS are the photos taken with a cellphone. The quality is typically poor, and Olmstead said if agents want to take the photos themselves, they should at least borrow a good camera.

The quality of the photos taken can reflect on the agent. Olmstead said that if the agent gets professionally taken photos of a house, it can impress people and may lead to additional clients.

“I have actually had clients call me and say we want you to list our property because we think your properties look so good online,” Olmstead said.

As the MLS has a limit on the number of photos that can be posted of a single property for sale, not every feature of a house can be shown in the photos. Ramsey said photos of the front exterior, living room, kitchen and master bedroom are the most important. If the house has a swimming pool that can also be important to showcase.

“I can’t stress how important good photos are because it’s the very first glimpse and impression of a property,” Olmstead said.