Ten years ago when I was a newer real estate agent, I took my own listing photos. I didn’t want to fork out the $150-350 to hire a professional photographer, especially when a higher square footage could put the cost above that $350 range. I had a really expensive Canon camera, and I’d take almost 100 photos in order to get those great 25 or 30 shots needed for an MLS report.
As my business grew, I became more willing to spend money to market listings. Keep in mind that a real estate agent does not get paid until the deal closes, so there’s always a risk that I’ll spend hundreds of dollars on a listing that doesn’t sell. (I should mention that I now am able to be selective in the listings I take on, and I won’t agree to list a home unless I’m absolutely sure I can sell it.)
Many listing agents make their sellers pay for photography and other marketing costs, but I don’t believe this is a good practice. The fact that I’m willing to pay for it myself shows to the seller my intent to sell, and having some skin in the game is good motivation for a listing agent. (Also, many sellers don’t see the value in hiring a professional photographer, which is partly why I’m writing this blog.)
When listing your home to sell, here are 4 good reasons that make the cost of a professional photographer absolutely worth every penny.
That Wide Angled Lens Makes Every Room Seem Bigger
As I look through MLS reports, it irks me to see bedroom pictures that look like close-ups of a bedspread. It makes the bedrooms look even smaller than they are in real life, and these angles don’t show the great details of a room like crown moulding or hardwood floors. In bedroom photos, buyers want to see the parts they’re actually going to be purchasing rather than a piece of furniture.
A professional photographer’s wide angled lens is priceless, especially in older homes where the rooms are more separated or in smaller homes under 1600 square feet. No matter how hard you try to wedge yourself into the corner of a room to get a good angle, a professional camera always produces rooms that appear more spacious.
Homes Appear Brighter
No buyer wants to live in a dark home, especially in a city like Charleston on the South Carolina coast. Buyers are looking for bright, open floor plans. Between a photographer’s $4,000 camera and his editing capabilities (see below), rooms always appear brighter in professional photos. There also tends to be less of a glare on windows and mirrors, helping the buyer to focus on the home itself when she’s browsing for which homes she wants to see with her Realtor.
PhotoShop Does Wonders if You Know How to Use it
My photographer can remove a car from a driveway in order to get that perfect curb appeal shot. On an overcast or rainy photo shoot day, he can also turn a gray sky blue (complete with clouds) for better outdoor shots. You might wonder why this is important if a car or a blue sky doesn’t convey with the home. The reason is that I want potential home buyers to focus on the home itself and not be distracted by the parts that don’t matter.
Many Professional Photographers Also Include Virtual Tours
A good, interactive virtual tour is the next best thing to seeing a home in person. Although potential buyers might view the virtual tour and realize the layout isn’t going to work for them, at least they’ve gotten to virtually view the home without kicking the sellers out for a showing that was never going to result in an offer.
For buyers who are out of town, a high quality virtual tour can be the deciding factor for planning a trip to Charleston to see homes. And when these buyers come into town specifically to see a home that they’ve already gotten all the info they need to make a decision, one showing can easily turn into an offer to purchase. A virtual tour and good pictures work together along with a polished MLS profile, social media marketing, survey and insurance files on hand, and easy showing appointments in order to make your home the easy choice among the hundreds of competitors buyers have.