Have You Seen The MLS Lately?
If you’re an Agent, Home Buyer, and/or Homeowner looking to sell there is no doubt you’ve spent some time looking at properties for sale online.
Whether you’re on Zillow, Trulia, or even the MLS you’ll find some of the absolute worst real estate marketing photos. They are so bad that there are websites, and articles written up about “bad real estate photos”.
However, the most important question both buyers and sellers have is: WHY?
Why do agents try to “market” homes with bad IPhone or Point-N-Shoot Camera pictures.
With photos of garage doors up, cars in driveways, toilet seats up, clutter not removed, crooked walls and distorted colors and lights?
So Why Not?
I don’t think there is a simple single answer for why all real estate agents don’t use PRO real estate photography to market their listings.
But, here’s several of the reasons why I think some agents do not use PRO Photos…
1. They just don’t know. The real estate industry has changed tremendously in the last several years and today the first showing is taking place online. I believe many agents just think it’s not really needed unless they have a “really good” listings. Plus, many brokerages just dont push for it.
2. There are no industry wide standards for how to market a home today in 2016. These are needed deeply today more than ever if real estate agents don’t want to end up going the way of the Travel Agent.
3. Costs. Some agents are paying out crazy fees and splits to their brokers. This limits the “marketing dollars” they are going to have when marketing a home and Pro Photography is one of the costs which can be easily cut by some.
The Future of Real Estate Photography & Real Real Estate Agents
Because the first showing is taking place online today, this means that buyers and sellers are all online viewing properties first and then making decisions about whether or not they are going to actually physically view the home.
Today, if you really want to market a property you absolutely need professional photos to show it online. There are plenty of real estate photographers out there and many of them are good, but you’ll want to look at their portfolio of work before you decide to use them on your next property.
If they don’t have a portfolio to view online, then you probably don’t want to be using them.
Potential Home Buyers Search Online
Ten or fifteen years ago if you were looking for a home to purchase you would consult a real estate agent and tell the agent what kind of home and where you wanted to purchase a home. The agent would then do a search of the local Multiple Listing Service (accessible only to agents) and create a list of homes for you to physically go look at. Now over 90% of potential buyers search online for the homes that peak their interest, then schedule an appointment with a Realtor to view those homes. These potential buyers are creating these lists from the homes they see with great photos and passing on the ones with poor photos.
Walls, ect. must look perfectly straight. We live in a world where we unconsciously know that all walls are perfectly vertical. When a viewer sees a room where the walls are not parallel with the side of the photo, the viewer is visually distracted and disoriented. A voice in their head saying, “This is not right”. Verticals that are not perfectly straight with the edge of the photo is the first indication of a non-professional interior photographer.
Benefits to the Real Estate Agent
As a Real Estate Agent there are compelling reasons for using great photography to present a listing.
- The home seller will be pleased how you are presenting their property.
- It’s a well established fact that great photos and marketing are a way to get more listings. Neighbors of the listing property watch carefully how a property is marketed. If they like what they see, they will ask the agent to list their property when it comes time to sell.
- If there is competition for a listing, the commitment of professionally done photography and marketing materials can help win the listing. The listing agent is the marketing expert in charge of selling a client’s property and it is important they understand the way marketing photos work so they can use photography to the maximum benefit whether they shoot their own photos or hire a professional photographer.
Photography Makes You More Money
You are bombarded on a daily basis with suggestions from companies on how to spend your money, whether it’s the latest transaction management system, a full-page spread in the local newspaper or the latest social media tool. We aren’t one to jump on that bandwagon. We want to share some of the highlights from our latest study on professional photography in real estate, because, ultimately, we think it can help grow your business.
In our study, we found that agents who consistently use professional photography make 100 percent more in average gross commission income than those who don’t. This is astounding, and begged us to ask the question: Why is that? We’ve come up with five main reasons.
1. Your commitment to your seller in giving them the very best service is something that speaks volumes during and after the transaction. Giving fabled service makes you memorable. One way to do that is by providing a professional presentation of people’s homes.
2. We are an increasingly visual society. As a consumer yourself, you are prone to spend more time and invest more clicks on something that is visually appealing. Increased clicks and duration on a website opens up the potential for further client engagement.
3. Showing is better than telling. The odds of winning more listings or beating out a competitor increases when a potential seller can visually see the difference between you and someone else. Think of your listing photos side-by-side with the competition, would yours win out?
4. Brand recognition is a powerful tool. A simple way to develop a brand image is through consistent visual representation. There are already real estate brokerages out there whose strict photography policy makes them recognizable in their marketplace.
5. For everything that you can gain from using professional photography, the expense is minimal. On average, agents across the country pay $160 per listing shoot. That is money well spent for the quality of the product, and for the fact that it keeps the agent in income producing activities.