WHY HIRE A PROFESSIONAL PHOTOGRAPHER?
There is still a strong mindset in Real Estate today that property photos are an afterthought, a luxury item for high-end homes or top notch Agents. You'll lecture your Sellers about curb appeal, the importance of keeping the home clean or even staged to invite potential Buyers in and make them feel welcome. However, a vast majority of potential Buyers are viewing the property online. If the property is not captured in the absolute best light it possibly can, you're doing your Sellers a disservice.
Michael Seiler, founder and director of the Institute for Behavorial and Experimental Real Estate at Old Dominion Universitey at Norfolk, VA, found that what Buyers typically look at first when viewing listings online are the photos. His study of Ocular Tracking Technology revealed:
"We find that the photo is overwhelmingly viewed first" - Toward an Understanding of Real Estate
Homebuyer Internet Search Bahavior
The fact is that most Internet Home Shoppers won't even view a property without photos, and 40 percent don't review the Agent remarks section at all.
All Agents understand that there is a cost to do business. There are licensing fees, board dues, MLS subscriptions, business cards, websites, advertisements, and marketing expenses. If an Agent is able to secure the mindset that professional listing photos are a necessary cost of doing business, its remarkable how quickly their business expands. In addition, most of my highly successful Agents use a professional photographer on every listing. From 800 square foot condos, to sprauling mansions on golf courses. They've allotted the cost into their budget. These Agents understand that the pictures will pay them back ten-fold.
How do listing photos generate ROI? It's simple. Professional photos demand more online presense. Increased online views translate into more appointments. More appointments means increased demand on the property. The increase in demand generates competition. The competition drives a higher selling price and a quicker turn around time. In fact, a study conducted by Redfin in 2010 shows that professionally photographed homes get "61 percent more online views" and sell for up to "$18,819" more than comparable homes photographed by an Amateur.
Professionally Photographed homes sell for up to $18,819 more
Keep in mind that a Real Estate Commission of 3% would yield an additional $564.57 into the Agent's pocket as a direct result of that increase. With Professional Real Estate photos averaging roughly $300 that's an instant 188% return at closing. However, the most valuable asset of utilizing a professional photogher is not the additional money you pocket, it's how much you put in your client's pocket. In addition, Real Estate is often time sensative in nature. The quicker turn around time can be more valuable at times than the additional selling price. When you're selling properties for more money in less time, client's tend to be really happy. And happy clients talk to everybody. This increases your referral game as well.
Professional photos do much more after a house sells. Most importantly they postively affect the Agent's Image; How an Agent is viewed by their piers, colleagues and the community. When you pay for professional real estate photos, those listings display on your website, on your marketing materials, on your business cards, flyers as well as online and print advertising. There is a reason that McDonalds, Nike, and other brands have been so successful over the years. They understand the importance of investing in marketing and advertising. It builds their image. If you are marketing yourself with mediocre amatuer photos, you're doing damage to your image. You are associating yourself with poor quality. Professional Real Estate photos will enhance every area of marketing that you are already doing.
In the end, shooting your own listing photos is no different than your client trying to sell their own home. Sure, they'll think they are saving money; but in the long run it's going to cost them much more than they will ever realize. Don't make the same mistake with your listings. Grow your business, help your clients, build your image. An Agent that delegates is synonomous with success.