Not all listings are created equal, and in this fast progressing marketing environment, it is important to stay on the cutting edge. Whether you are an agent, or a seller who is considering an agent, here are eight reasons why professional real estate photography should be a part of your marketing strategy when selling a home.
1. Buyers are searching the Internet for their next home.
From 2006 to 2010, the number of home buyers searching the internet when looking for Rio Grande Valley homes for sale jumped from 80% to 89%. Home buyers are consumers that are increasingly competent with more technology devices such as laptops, tablets, and smartphones; This is where they want to shop, and how they prefer to search for homes. This trend shows that buyers recognize the usefulness of technology, and will notice professional photos versus point-and-shoot or cell phone pictures.
The internet marketplace is intensely competitive, and it is important to have professional photos because they are your first, and often only, impression to the majority of buyers searching for homes online.
www.realtor.org – National Association of Realtors Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers
2. Professional photos get more clicks.
Having eye-catching professional photos will draw more attention to your listings, and as a result, will bring more clicks by potential home buyers. While more clicks don’t guarantee a sale, they do mean more potential buyers are looking at your listing. By reaching out to more buyers, your listing stands a better chance of finding the right buyer. The leading South Texas real estate photography company has examined listing traffic on listings that used their photos and compared it to traffic received by listings without professional photos in the same area, and has found that there is a consistently higher number and rate of inquiries on listings using professional photos.
photographrgv.com – Observation of listings in the Greater McAllen Area 2013-2016
3. Percentage of homes sold with professional camera photos vs point-and-shoot.
In 2010, the Wall Street Journal published a graph showing that in most price brackets, more homes sold that were photographed by professional grade equipment, than those taken with a point-and-shoot. A real estate photographer with professional-grade equipment can affect how a prospective buyer sees a listing, and the benefits can especially be seen above the $300k price range. This is also echoed by local agents who have seen the difference in listing sales rates after switching to professional photos.
blogs.wsj.com/developments/2010/10/04/in-real-estate-a-picture-is-worth-1000-or-more/ – Published in The Wall Street Journal utilizing data presented by Redfin Corp.
4. Percentage of listings on the market using professional photos.
A leading Real Estate Photography company in Dallas, TX researched local MLS listings in the DFW area, noting listings using professional photos as well as those using point-and-shoot photos. In the Dallas area, about half of the listings are marketed with professional photos. In Fort Worth, about one third of listings are photographed professionally. Predictably, the higher the listing price, the higher the usage of professional photos. When you are listing a higher priced home, it is important to use professional photos to stay abreast of your competition. Even if you are listing a home in a price range where less professional photography is being used, utilizing it gives you the unique opportunity to stand out from the competition and attract buyer interest.
http://www.uniqueexposurephotography.com/ – Unique Exposure Photography examined 512 active MLS listings in the Dallas, TX area between July 30, 2011 and August 3, 2011. Also examined were 184 active MLS listings in the Fort Worth, TX area between July 30, 2011 and August 3, 2011
5. Featuring professional photography as part of your brand.
If you are a REALTOR®, you often will have to compete with your peers for listings. Professional photography is a powerful tool in your marketing portfolio when you are meeting potential sellers. If a seller is given a choice between an agent that takes their own photos, and one that uses a professional, they are more likely to go with the one utilizing professional photography. A home is one of the biggest investments many people make, and they want to count on you to market it to the best of your ability. By using a professional photographer, you are showing the seller that you are serious about selling their home. Additionally, a large portion of real estate business is from referrals, and showing your clients you go above and beyond is something they will talk to their friends and family about, bringing you more sellers in the future.
6. Having a professional take care of the photos saves you time, and stress.
Photographing a listing takes time. First you will drive to the property and go room by room taking photos, then when you get back to the office you have to take the pictures off of your camera (or phone!) and put them into your computer to be uploaded to the MLS. Often something can go wrong with the computer, or the device, and photos might not download correctly. If you realize some of the photos didn’t turn out, you have to go back and re-take the shot. If not, you stand the chance of posting a photo that advertises the listing – and your brand – badly when being viewed online.
A professional Real Estate Photographer on the other hand will take the photos, edit them to reflect the actual look and feel of the home (regardless of lighting challenges), resize them to ideal dimensions for MLS, and deliver them directly to you electronically, ready to be uploaded and marketed. They can also provide you with a virtual tour, and link it to syndicated sites for you.
Often a home or property stands to benefit greatly from the tools Real Estate Photographers have available, such as high extending tripods and even professional grade camera drones for aerial photography, allowing them to capture landscaping features, and the scope of large scale properties, as well as the surrounding area.
7. Your best marketing teammate might be a professional Real Estate Photographer.
Your Real Estate Photographer is often able to help you in other areas of marketing, to get more exposure for your listing. They can give you guidance or ideas for brochures and fliers, and provide you with print quality images that amaze your clients, no matter the size of the media.
Sellers need to know you use a professional photographer, and you can ask your photographer to provide you with fliers that showcase their work and have examples of their photos. By including this in your marketing material that you leave with a seller, they are able to see the superior product that you will deliver if they go with you as their agent.
Finally, ask your photographer for a pre-shoot checklist to give to your buyer. They can help you know how to prepare the home for photos, and what looks good in photos often helps the home look good in showings. Little things like replacing light bulbs and putting away personal knick knacks can make a big difference.
8. Choose the right professional Real Estate Photographer.
- Examine what all they offer, and ask them about working with you to create other marketing material
- Build a relationship with them. A good photographer wants to help you succeed, and is willing to work with your personal style.
- Look through their portfolio, and decide if the quality of work they provide meets your needs.
- Do they provide 50 decent photos for you to choose from, or 10-20 carefully planned and edited shots? Keep in mind the experienced photographer knows the best angles and shots to represent a home, and will devote more time to editing higher quality images. While it may seem nice to pick from a “buffet” of shots, time in editing is sacrificed to make that a feasible option for the photographer, and in the end you will usually get a lower quality product. Trust the photographer’s eye.
- Decide what is more important, saving a little money up front, or consistently getting a higher quality service and better valued product. Not all professional photographers are going to provide you with an equal level of service.
Things to avoid when choosing a Real Estate Photographer:
- Lack of consistency. If a company hires out their work, are you guaranteed the same level of quality regardless of photographer?
- Distorted architectural features. Homes have vertical walls, and if the walls and ceilings look curved, it is because the photographer is inexperienced with a wide-angle lens. Make sure all vertical and horizontal lines are straight. They should also not angle outward or inward, as if the camera was looking up or down at the room.
- Bad compositions. A rushed photographer will make poorly composed shots. Your photos shouldn’t show the backs of furniture, the third or fourth walls of a room with only four walls, cameras in mirrors, etc. A good photographer will examine the space and compose the best shot accordingly.
- Fake looking photos (“cartoon” or “painting” looking). High Dynamic Range (HDR) is an effective process that is used to merge light and dark photos together to create an ideal exposure. When done correctly, this can make photos mimic what the human eye actually sees, despite extreme lights and darks. However, many inexperienced Real Estate Photographers are too liberal with its use, and end up with photos that look fake, cartoonish, or obviously over-edited. The photos that buyers see should accurately reflect both the look, and the feel, of the home, while bringing out its best qualities.