I have had conversations with clients about properties that aren't "worthy" of paid, professional photography. And I can understand where they are coming from. Sometimes the valuation of a property or the condition doesn't seem like it will create a positive return on the agent's investment in photography. But I've found that often looks can be deceiving.
Here a short list of what I believe are the top benefits of employing a professional real estate photographer even when it doesn't seem to make sense.
Exposure - In a digital world content is king. And the best content is visual. So having excellent photos to market a listing is extremely important. If a listing has dark, unappealing images potential buyers will just scroll right past it and move onto the next. In addition, it is becoming more and more common to see interesting, well photographed, real estate listings picked up and distributed by a wide variety of content providers such as "Curbed Seattle".
Activity - Great images of an interesting property can cause a buzz that increases the agents social media presence. This can result in leads that land buyers and produce future business.
Better Selling Prices - This ties directly into exposure and increased activity. There's no shortage of articles and stats (see below) that clearly show that quality images sell houses faster and for a higher price.
Brand Building & Marketing - Stunning photos to help market the MLS listing are just the beginning. These same photos that help to quickly sell homes are an excellent way to market the agent's website, social media presence and build a brand that promotes a quality service.
Impressing you Client / Seller - Many of the important tasks carried out by Real Estate agents occur behind the scenes and can be invisible to the seller. When we show up to photograph a house it's a 2 to 4 hour affair setting up lights and maybe even a small amount of staging. Often the owners are present and get involved. They help stage, they review the shots on my iPad. But mostly they get to see their agent working hard for them through us.
Referrals - In our modern connected world, seller are quite savvy. Whether they are checking up on their mechanics or doctors or real estate agent they are online or checking with family and friends to see what's what. In the past I used to bring a sample book of my work to hand out to the owners, but all too often they had already done their "homework" and knew what to expect.
Here is an example of a "not worthy" real estate listing. And yeah, this example is a mobile home. And not even a manufactured home at that. But it had a couple of things going for it. First it was very modestly priced for our Lopez Island market. And second, it had a motivated owner who had worked tireless to prep this property for sale and for its photography date.
So the owner and my wife and I spent a little over two hours moving furniture from room to room and photographing this little diamond in the rough. And this little "trailer that could" sure cleaned up well.
But this was only the beginning of the story for this property. This listing became quite the hit on social media and generated a great deal of exposure and follow on leads for my client. In addition, after the successful photo shoot and quick sale of the mobile home, the owner employed my client to list the "big house", a stunning beachfront home on MacKaye Harbor.
But don't just take my word for it
So why use professional photography for real estate and rental properties? A better question might be "how can you afford not to". Home shopping, like all shopping, has changed dramatically with the availability of online resources on the web. Services such as Zillow, Redfin, Trulia, Realty.com, FSBO, AirBnb, VRBO, and many others are often buyers first stop when they look for a new home or rental. So it is important to put your homes "best foot forward" in the competitive online marketplace.
Listing photos of homes that are dark and dingy, with blown out windows, or images that are crooked or blurred are a poor reflection of your home or business. I have included some reference information to help you make your own, informed decision about the most important aspect of real estate marketing and the benefits of professional photography.
98% of homebuyers who searched for a home on the internet found photos to be among the most useful features of REALTOR® websites
90% of potential buyers are looking at listings online before physically visiting a property. (National Association of REALTORS®)
88% of those buyers want to see professional quality photos with each listing. (National Association of REALTORS®)
Overall, when viewing an online real-estate listing, home buyers spend about 60% of their time on photos, 20% on the property description and 20% on the real-estate agents' remarks section. (The Wall Street Journal)
Listings with nicer photos gain anywhere between $934 and $116,076. (The Wall Street Journal)
Professional Real Estate Photography: Why You Need It (MRIS, Real Estate in Real Time - August 2013)
According to the National Association of REALTORS® 2012 Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers, over 90% of potential buyers are looking at listings online before physically visiting a property. Almost as staggering, 88% of those buyers want to see professional quality photos with each listing. Thus, conventional wisdom may indicate that online listings with attractive, professional photos will garner a lot of attention. Professional photos are becoming an essential strategy for most agents. We turned to one of our TruPlace professional photographers, Deirdre, to ask her for her experienced opinion on professional Real Estate photography to help you understand the full benefits of professional photography. What better way than to speak with a professional in the field?
Back Away From the iPhone and Hire a Photographer (Market Leader - August 2013)
Are you really taking photos of your listings with your iPhone? As Dr. Phil says, how’s that working for you?
You caution your sellers about the importance of curb appeal. You counsel them to clean up and maybe even stage the home’s interior. Then you come along, snap some quick photos on your smartphone and slap them on the MLS.
How to stand out in the travel industry (Social Media in Travel & Hospitality - June 2013)
When viewing online home listings, where do potential home buyers spend 60% of their time?
The simple answer is professional photography
In this post, we will explore three case studies that explain why professional photos are so important these days and how businesses can use them to strengthen and deepen their online presence.
There’s a fundamental shift happening in the travel industry (and the web in general) and professional photos are playing a key part in the success of many companies.
In addition, with the rise of social networks such as Instagram and Pinterest, there is further proof that consumers demand businesses to provide a visually appealing presence online or else lose our attention.
20 Seconds for Love at First Sight (THE WALL STREeT JOURNAL - March 2013)
First impressions seem to matter most when it comes to dating, job interviews…and real-estate listings.
Researchers tracking the eye movements of subjects who looked at online home listings found that more than 95% of users viewed the first photo—the one that shows the exterior of the home—for a total of 20 seconds. After that, their eyes tended to flit all over the screen, according to Michael Seiler, founder and director of the Institute for Behavioral and Experimental Real Estate at Old Dominion University at Norfolk, Va.
"Without an eye-catching photo, the battle is lost before it begins," Prof. Seiler says. "You have to grab people's attention within two seconds. Do it the way a billboard does."
Photos Of Your Home Matter In Real Estate (Forbes - November 2011)
Before the days of the Internet and online real estate listings, a buyer’s first impression of a new home for sale was often the “drive by.” An agent would see the new listing in his real estate book and would call or fax the buyer with the address. The buyer would then go to the address and drive by to get a first look. Or, if a buyer was just starting to look, he would read a brief description of the home in the Sunday paper and decide whether or not to attend that day’s open house.
Either way, curb appeal mattered because it was usually the first glimpse a potential buyer would have of a property. If there were weeds, dead grass, peeling paint or rusty nails that stood out, the buyer’s first impression of the home was tarnished — no matter how great it looked inside. That’s why real estate agents worked closely with sellers on curb appeal before going on the market.
In Real Estate, A Picture Is Worth $1,000 or More (THE WALL STREET JOURNAL - October 2010)
Attention desperate home sellers. Don’t want to lower the price on your house? Consider better photos. Real-estate listings that use photographs taken by the higher-end SLR cameras favored by photographers and photography enthusiasts, tend to do better than those that use photos from cheaper point-and-shoot cameras, according to a new analysis done by Redfin Corp., a Seattle-based brokerage.
A Picture is Worth a Thousand Dollars. True or False? (Redfin - September 2010)
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,
Photo Tricks to Sell Your Home (Moneywatch - January 2010)
One of the great things about selling real estate is that the landscape changes. As an agent, you're always adapting and learning new tips and tricks.
That's why I was surprised and pleased to see a blog post from Larry Lohrman, who is a real estate photography guru, talking about photography in the context of the new Realtor.com iPhone app.
Well, of course it makes sense that our photography of properties should change as the way potential buyers view those photos changes, but I hadn't really thought about it.