How to Sell Your Real Estate Listing

Well it's Friday and it appears that you have all made it through the week. I thought that we would wrap on the week on a topic that has really been on my mind lately, and that's property selling and listing. Discussing with you why it is that you as a home owner or real estate agent should always use a professional photographer to highlight your home or commercial property. 

Ever since 2008 the home market hasn't been was in the mid 2000's. Back then the market was booming and interest rates were low. The banks were practically giving mortgages away at that time, whether you could actually afford the home or not. It seemed as if you didn't even need to take photos of a listing to get it sold. 

Let's now fast forward to current day 2016. The market has started to make a come back for different reasons. The rates aren't as low but they are still reasonable and there are plenty of homes on the market, which makes this a buyers market. You may ask yourself what that has to do with selling your home or property though, and I'm about to tell you.

When you have a buyers market, that means that there is a good amount of inventory of the market for buyers to choose from. What it also means is that you or your real estate agent have to do everything possible to make that property stand out from the rest and not get lost in the mix. Hiring a professional photographer is one of the best steps in that process. 

Too many times I have seen real estate listing photos that were either taken with a cell phone or a point and shoot camera. The angles are off, the lighting is terrible, and it makes you immediately go right on to the next listing. I can tell you from personal experience, since I bought a house at the end of 2014, that property listing photos are seriously lacking. I continue to look at listing at least once a week to see who is utilizing professionals and who is not. 

Why wouldn't you or your agent use a professional photographer for your listing photos? There are a few excuses that I have heard and number one is the cost. So let's touch on that one right away. Take for example that your home is on the market for $300k and that you have a listing agent. That agent will get 3% of the sale price and the buyers agent will also get 3% of the price. So for the $300k that your home is selling for, your agent stands to make $9000.00 off the sale of your home, yet says that $200-$300 to hire a photographer to improve the sell-ability of the listing.

That's right, the cost on average for a professional photographer starts out at one tenth of a percent of the sale price. Such a minimal investment to sell such a huge investment. In almost every other sales based industry that relies on advertisement, they hire professional photographers to highlight their products, where aren't you doing the same?  

Real Estate agents, why is it that you are not utilizing and employing the skills of local talent along with building those relationships. Not only are you employing someone local, you are always building up your networking. Sell homes is also about networking and finding people that are looking to buy or sell. When you hire someone local that has friends and family, you are expanding your potential client base. 

Do you want the listing photos to look dark, out of focus, etc? Then put down the camera phone and contact a professional that takes photos for a living. And no this doesn't mean your 2nd cousin who happens to own a camera and says they take some photos either. If the exterior isn't a standout photograph, you can bet most people will breeze right past your listing. 

Educating real estate agents on photography. While there is a time and a place for certain things, real estate is not the place to get artsy with fisheye photos! Nor is it a good idea to use horizontal and vertical photos in your presentation. You should use horizontals across the entire presentation. We as content creators know that your time is valuable, so that is why we try to get you the listing photos as quick as possible. Please understand though that it takes post process time to get your listing photos looking the way that they should. Another thing to think about is HDR. While I know there are some out there that do good at HDR, there are many more that do absolutely terrible at it. It is much worse to have a bad HDR than no photo at all. Lastly, please read about how to stage a home before we come to photograph. It is not the photographers job to stage, pick up, and clean the home. 

Well what about all the gear needed to photograph property listings? Make sure that your photographer has quality gear and the right gear for the job. Typically you will need a couple of lens, and no you don't always need a super wide angle either. The reason for not using super wide lenses is because of how soft the focus is on the edges of the photos. I always suggest a 24-70mm 2.8 lens because of the sharpness edge to edge. Also flash lighting and modifiers are a must have. A sturdy tripod along with a cable release is something that I won't photograph a home listing without. 

There is one other thing that I want to touch on for educational purpose and that is the photographers that you see with some kind of professional association like REPAI (Real Estate Photographers of America). All that most of these associations do is use a personally bias way to judge photos, charge the photographer money, and give you some badge. This is not something that should determine who you hire. What should determine who you hire is their quality of work and your ability to work with them. 

I certainly hope that you learned something today in regards to real estate listings, costs, and photography. There is plenty that goes into great real estate listing photographs, and hiring the right photographer is the best step you can make to sell your home. If you aren't working with an agent that utilizes a professional photographer, are you using an agent who is really doing all they can to sell your home? 

Take care and good luck on those homes sales everyone! Have a great weekend.