Spotlight on Real Estate Photography
Best Foot Forward?
An agent called me recently, somewhat on the defensive. "It's a nice house, the price is right and it's in a good location." The agent had originally taken her own photos for the MLS, but she wasn't getting any traffic. She'd called us because another agent recommended an upgrade to the listing's images, but I don't think she was quite convinced the problem was the photos..
I completely understand the reluctance of some agents to pay for professional real estate photography. Many agents worry, because listing rates are shrinking fast - flat fee wholesale agents, online FSBO programs, e-listing and brokers making "as is" offers are killing profitability. These concerned agents see using their own photos as a way to save their margins.
I'll be honest with you, some of them actually do a pretty good job. The pictures may be a little dark and their shots might look better if taken at different angles, with different setting or different equipment, but they give their listings a fair showing. Other agents could be photography pros themselves. They've invested in the right equipment and they have the eye for photography. In fact, we were agents ourselves, before we understood we liked photographing property better than we liked selling it.
Then there are the agents who just aren't convinced professional photography has any value. Perhaps they've been selling homes for a long time and they remember the days when the listing photo was taken by an MLS rep driving by and snapping a shot of the front of the home - in black and white. Or perhaps they've just started and they just haven't learned the difference. Some just keep doing the same thing and wonder why they don't enjoy the same success as others. Whatever the case, listing photos are one of the most critical elements in marketing a home.
Listing Images Matter
We're fortunate to work with agents who understand the value of professional real estate photography. They know the statistics and they understand what the numbers mean in terms of finding a buyer. Data gathered by the NAR over the last three years reveals:
93-95% of potential buyers use the internet to find the home they will buy.
87-89% consider photos as the most valuable aspect of online information, followed closely by detailed information, but the photos were the most important.
73% use their smartphone or tablet as their primary tool in the home search. (up from 58% in 2017)
47-50% do not visit open houses.
51% don't look for yard signs.
44% of buyers look online, before they do anything else concerning a home search, including finding an agent or telling anyone they are looking
Here's the most telling number and it's growing. 14% didn't even use an agent, at all. (up from 8% in 2017)
Being aware of these statistics, smart agents hire us to take their listing photos. They also hire staging pros or get certified themselves, so their listing can compete in this visually-driven market. And they don't stop there. They hire us to take drone shots and shoot twilight photos, as well as to create slideshows/virtual tours, social media teaser videos and other visually compelling images to stand out from the crowd.
In this aggressively-visual digital market, poor listing photos seem like a wish to fail or a personal insult to the home owner:
Out of focus shots
Images taken on a tilt
Dirty dishes in the sink
Clothes stacked on beds, floors or sofas
Bathtubs and showers with with used linens hanging on them
Bathroom counters full of toiletry items and medication
Open toilet seats
Tables with empty fast food containers on them
Photographers reflected in mirrors or storm doors
The list goes on and on. It seems as if every day I see something new and upsetting on the MLS, as well as the same old bad choices that keep being repeated.
If you're wondering why your listing is not selling, the photos could be the problem. Please give us a call so we can super-charge your listing with great photos.