Professional Photography Is The Single Most Important Thing A Real Estate Agent Can Do For Their Client
Real Estate Agents have a lot of responsibility when it comes to representing a Seller that is listing their home. They gather details on the property, review sold data from comparable properties to recommend a price point, input everything into the MLS, market the property through print, online PPC or Social Media Advertising, and then manage the transaction from offer to closing all while ensuring to mitigate potential legalities for their clients based on previous experience. All of these duties are important. However, the single most important thing a Real Estate Agent can do for their client is to get Professional Photos of the listing from an experienced Real Estate Photographer.
Setting aside all of the responsibilities listed above, the core responsibility of a Real Estate Agent is to sell the home as quickly as possible, for the highest price possible. Statistics have shown time and time again that utilizing a professional photographer sells homes faster, for a higher price tag than homes that do not have professional photos (marketleader). But why is this the case? Let’s take a look at how Professional Photos are able to sell homes faster, and for more money.
1. Presentation, Presentation, Presentation
Real Estate has always been about Location, Location, Location. And while this still drives values from neighborhood to neighborhood, what drives individual home sales is all about Presentation. The Agent that hires a professional photographer typically stages the home, or previews the home and gives a list of items to the Seller to declutter, open up space and make the home appear large and desirable to potential Buyers. This is essential to ensure that the home stands out in the Buyers’ minds. Have you ever wondered why New Home Construction Builders add over a hundred thousand dollars in upgrades, and have professional interior designers stage the model homes? They do this to provide vision to potential Buyer’s, to show them what the home could look like. The amount of resources that Builder’s spend on the presentation of model homes should be a great indicator of how important it is to spend a significant amount of effort on the Presentation of a Listing. Once a Listing has great presentation, it is essential to capture that through professional photos to get Buyers through the door.
2. The Real Estate Industry Has Changed; Keep Up or Fall Behind
The Real Estate Industry has seen a complete shift when it comes to a Buyer’s search for a new home. 30+ years ago, a Buyer’s only option to view active real estate listings was to work directly with an Agent that had access to the MLS. With the formation of syndicate sites (Realtor.com, Zillow, Trulia, Redfin, etc.) Buyers are now able to browse active listings from the comfort of their laptop at home, and then call their Agent to view the homes they like best. This change means that the Photos of the listing have become the primary instrument to gain the attention of Prospective Buyers. Statistics have emerged showing that 87% of Buyers find their homes by searching online (Zillow Research). On average, you have about 20 seconds to grab a Buyer’s attention online. Professional Photos have the ability to reach Buyers faster, and keep them engaged on the property’s page longer. Homes with professional photos typically see 118% more views than homes that don’t have professional photos (IMOTO PHOTO).
3. Competition and Market Conditions
Contrary to popular belief, Sellers don’t set the sales price of their home, the Market does. A good Seller listens to their Agent and sets the listing price according to the Market Conditions and recent Comparable Sales. However, no matter what the Seller asks for on the listing, a Buyer will only pay what they feel the property is worth. That is usually dictated by the Market Conditions. However, there is a way to manipulate the market conditions by generating competition on a particular listing. We know that a home with great Presentation is more desirable, and that a home that utilizes Professional Photography gets more online views. But how exactly does that equate to a faster sale or more money? The answer lies with competition. More online views means more physical showings. More showings creates a sense of urgency with Buyers, equating to a faster sale. In addition, the urgency derived from the competition leaves Buyers with an understanding that if they don’t come in with their highest and best offer, they could potentially lose the listing to another qualified purchaser. This either creates a bidding war, driving up the value of the listing, or has Buyers coming in near or even over asking price when submitting offers rather than submitting low-ball offers in an attempt to get a great deal.
4. More Business
Who doesn’t like the idea of more business? After all, Real Estate is a profession, and you need to be successful to earn a decent living. The cost of doing business as a Real Estate Agent is substantial. Licensing Fees, Board Dues, NAR Memberships, CAR Memberships, MLS Subscriptions, Electronic Key Boxes, eKey Subscriptions, Advertising, Marketing, Branding, Websites, Business Cards, Signs, Mailers. It seems that everywhere you turn someone wants your money. Sometimes it’s an essential part of doing business, like Licensing Fees, MLS Subscriptions and Board Dues; and sometimes it’s necessary to bring in new business, like Advertising, Marketing and Branding. Where do Listing Photos come into the picture? We’ve established that Listing Photos sell homes faster and for more money. But how does that help the Agent?
Sellers that sell their homes fast for more money than expected are typically very happy clients. Satisfied clients tend to provide more referrals.
We know that professional photos grab the attention of prospective buyers. Using the professional listing photos to market to new clients have the same impact. Anytime you can grab the attention of prospective clients, it’s money well spent. Make sure that your license with the photographer allows you to use the photos for your own marketing. These photos are great for Social Media Advertising, Print Mailers or Online PPC advertising.
3. Listing Presentations
When presenting your services as a Listing Agent to prospective Sellers, mentioning that you utilize a professional photographer is a key element to stay ahead of the competition, and it shows that the Agent understands how presentation affects the marketability of a property. In addition, having examples of listing photos in the Presentation can help you gain a key edge against any other Agents the Sellers may be interviewing.