Friday, January 23, 2015

Real Estate Photos are More Important than Ever Before

One of the things that chaps my hide as a Realtor® is finding listings on the MLS with lousy pictures. Sellers are paying real estate firms a handsome fee to market their homes. I understand some "discount" brokerages that offer limited service, but I am talking about traditional "full service" brokerages. I come across full service brokerage listings with crummy photos made with a phone. I have even seen, albeit at a lesser frequency, high end homes with poor quality photos.

Today's buyers are more likely than ever to utilize public online real estate services prior to actually engaging an agent. My friends, Google and the National Association of Realtors® performed an extensive study that showed an amazing statistical fact that cannot be ignored. 90% of home buyers shopped or researched homes online during their home buying process.

Sellers, can you afford to have your home look shabby with poor photos when 90% of the buyers are looking online? A quality Realtor® will either utilize good camera gear and make quality images of their listings or they hire a photographer to do so. Sellers are well advised to insist their real estate agent provide quality photos. If the agent can't deliver on the simple idea of presenting a property well to marketplace, then that agent is not the seller's best choice.

As a Realtor® that participated in 30 closings last year, I can say bad photos are often hard to overcome for buyers. I often look past poor photos and will preview listings that have bad photos. I find these homes to be opportunities for my buyers to get a value. Listings with poor photos will get shown less often. Less showings means a longer marketing time. More time on market substantially increases the chance a seller will take less for the home. This is good for my buyers, bad for the sellers.

Manufactured Home in Park
$55k sold in a month!
This is not to say the Realtor® needs to hire a high end photographer that charges hundreds of dollars, but they can either invest in good gear or hire an reasonably priced photographer. They are out there charging less than $100 for a good set of listing photos. Photos should be well exposed with properly controlled lighting and sharp detail.

The photos need not be masterpiece museum quality. Just clean, clear and sharp. The home shown here was a property that was difficult to sell. Manufactured home in park and at the top of the price range. The photo isn't spectacular but it is well exposed, clean and sharp. It makes a difference. Too many agents fail to take good photos, especially with the less expensive listings. All listings deserve to have a great set of photos.

Sellers should also insist that the listing agent utilize all 16 MLS photos (Local limit is 16). Raw land and one room flats may take less but a traditional house should have a full set of interior and exterior photos. Failing to show the interior will conjure up visions of dilapidation in mind of the buyers. They will assume the interior is so bad the Realtor® didn't want to show it.

Sellers should insist upon great photos because today's buyers are discriminating and 90% likely to find the home they buy online whether sent by an agent from the local MLS or on a public site! Photos are more important than ever before.

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