Is a professional real estate photographer really worth the price?
As a licensed real estate agent, when you are contracted to sell a home, your main job is to help set the right price and get buyers to come take a look. This article can't help with setting the right price, but let's look at getting buyers interested enough to visit the property in person.
When those potential buyers are doing their web search for a home (you can be certain that's where they're looking), first of all you must have complete and accurate information about the property made available to search engines. When your listing matches their search criteria, you have achieved an important first step. The property will appear in their initial short-list.
The second step is catching their eye. What catches their eye is an attractive, bright and colorful lead photo! There is nothing more important in this second step because you want them to dig in and look more closely at your listing. Once they click on yours, you have their attention. Great! Now, what are they going to see? Even if you have a decent front-view photo, if you're like many of the real estate agents in Berkshire County Massachusetts (and in many other markets), you're taking photos with your smart phone or a hand-held camera and are likely to be presenting photos like these...
Do they look like some photos you've taken before? You probably lost the buyer (:
It doesn't matter if you're trying to sell a multi-million $ property or a modest manufactured home, both your client and the home deserve to be treated with respect and care. There is no downside in presenting the home to the public in a professional manner. Take time to have the seller get the home in shape. You can read about ways to prepare a home for photography in one of my earlier blog articles. Then, even if you think you take great photos, turn the job over to a professional. Get it done right and you are likely to close more quickly and at a higher price than if you took the photos yourself.
This is the look you want to show the buyers.
This is the look that tells your sellers that you have a great marketing program and will showcase their home in style!
As a Realtor, you are a professional. Your time should be spent in generating leads, knowing your market and territory, communicating with clients, showing homes, presenting offers, assisting with negotiations, on-and-on. That is your core business. Photography is not your core business. Time, that you spend taking and editing photos, is time away from INCOME GENERATING ACTIVITIES! Don't do it.
Ok, let's look at price. For example, I offer a 25 photo virtual tour & stills package for $124. In our area, a nice home may be listed for $240,000 (I'm using these numbers to keep the math simple). So, my price is 1/20th of 1% of the asking price. Do you have room in your advertising budget for that? Do you think you might be able to recover that in the final selling price?
Remember, you have only a short time (a few seconds) to grab and hold a buyer’s attention. You can lose it in a heartbeat. Without a photograph your listing will probably be missed completely. With crappy photos, you may get a glance followed by a quick exit. With high-quality photos, you may get a request for an in-person showing (and that's what you want!).
Here's an excellent article that appeared on Inman May 7, 2015 and it is just as pertinent today as it was a couple years ago.
Another interesting article appearing on REALTOR.com July 22, 2014.
Save your smartphone for “selfies” and family vacation shots. Bring your listings to market with professionalism and class. Hire an experienced, qualified real estate photographer for your indoor and outdoor stills, virtual tours, videos and aerial photos (and get a custom floor plan done too!).
Wayne Tremblay has been a professional real estate photographer and floor planner since 2005 with well over 3,000 photo shoots and counting. He has lived and done work in Arizona, Ohio, Colorado and now resides in western Massachusetts serving all of Berkshire County.