Since professionally photographed homes are more likely to sell in general, and to sell for more money, it’s not surprising that these homes also sell faster. Because online searching and browsing is such a critical part of the home-buying process, a better-photographed home will sell faster as more people are enticed to schedule a showing. According to Redfin research, homes with professional photos sold faster across all price ranges as compared to listings with amateur photos.
Quality photos are the backbone to any real estate marketing campaign. Most agents choose the DIY method and end up with mediocre results at best that do not showcase a property in the best possible light. The problem is that your first showing is now online! Consumers are gravitating to sites like Realtor.com and Zillow and the competition is fierce for their attention. Subpar quality photos do not lend themselves to winning this battle.
How can you improve your exposure and up the amount of virtual walkthroughs leading to more “real” showings? Hire a professional!
However, you still have one large obstacle to overcome even after deciding to hire a pro. There can be an enormous variance in the quality of a photographer, similar to the contrast that may occur in two REALTORS®. Just because they call themselves a pro, that doesn’t mean they are a capable candidate.
Take a moment to watch the video below about what questions to ask your “pro” and what to look for in a quality Colorado Springs real estate photographer.
Almost every home for sale has pictures. There’s a wide range of photos: from stunning, clear photos to careless, poor photos. Exceptional photos make buyers and renters think, “Wow, I could really live here.”
While most real estate agents opt to take photos themselves, you may want to consider hiring a real estate photographer if you want to step up your game.
Here are the 3 reasons why you need to hire a professional real estate photographer:
#1: You want to beat your competition. If you want your property to look better than your competition, you need to hire a professional. A professional real estate photographer has years of experience with a camera. They know exactly what angle to photograph and what setting to adjust their camera. Hiring a professional will make your photos stand out, making your listing look better than the competition’s.
#2: You don’t have time to learn your camera. Interior and exterior photography is very difficult and technical. Cameras need the ISO, aperture, shutter speed and white balance to be adjusted to produce the ideal photo. You can’t cram this information in overnight, so you’ll have to take the time to learn and experiment with the camera. If you don’t have that kind of time, then you should bring in someone who knows what they’re doing.
Reason #3: Photography isn’t your forte.If you try and try again, but still can’t produce the high-quality shots needed for your listings, bring in a professional. Use your time to focus on your expertise.
Before the days of the Internet, a buyer's first impression of a new home for sale was often based exclusively on curb appeal. This was important because it was usually the first glimpse a potential buyer would have of a property. If there were weeds, dead grass, peeling paint or trash that stood out, the buyer’s first impression of the home was tarnished — no matter how great it looked inside.
These days, the first impression buyers get of a home is from photos from online searches. With limited time and numerous listings to review, buyers will quickly move on if photos don’t reflect well on a property.
Proper equipment used by a professional real estate photographer to produce high-resolution photos are the only type of pictures that should be used in a home marketing campaign. Like any other sales effort, it’s important to put your best foot forward. If an agent takes property photos with a smartphone, it’s often a red flag to buyers. Smartphone pictures are fine for informally sending photos quickly back and forth between agent and buyer, but they can’t measure up to the quality of pictures taken by an experienced photographer with a good camera.
Don’t have photos of the property yet? Don’t list the home until you do. With so much information available online these days, you only have a few seconds to grab potential buyers’ attention. If they do an Internet search or check the MLS email and your home is listed without pictures, there isn’t anything for them to look at. Buyers will likely move on and probably won’t come back.
Because of the importance of a good first impression, sellers and their agents should spend as much time and energy on the photo shoot as they do on creating curb appeal or staging an open house. This means planning the shoot well in advance, sometimes as much as a week.
As a seller, you know when your home gets the best natural light. Make sure the photos are shot during those times. Have the home fully cleaned and in top shape before the shoot, too. As with an open house, clear out all the children’s and pet’s toys and fully declutter the home. Imagine the photo shoots retailers and catalog companies do to showcase their products. Would they release a catalog with photos of stained living room furniture or with improper lighting? Of course not — and neither should a seller. A home is a product for sale, just like any other, and should be marketed as such.
Often, after buyers have toured your home, they return to their computers and look at the property again online. This time, they can put together the floor plan and understand how the home flows and how each room relates to the next. High-quality photos that show the home well will keep them interested, perhaps even encourage them to go take another look. On the other hand, if you cleaned your home before the open house and got the buyer in the door, but then they go back and look at dark photos online or see imperfections, you can easily turn them off.
If you or your agent don’t have a good-quality camera and real estate photography experience, consider hiring a professional who does. While it’s another expense, consider this: When you put a home on the market, you’re competing against lots of other properties. If those properties are highlighted with attractive, well-lit photos and yours isn’t, you’re going to have more trouble getting potential buyers in the door. This could cause your home to sit on the market longer than it would have otherwise — making what would be seen as a “fresh” property look stale.
Derra Meister is a Colorado Springs professional real estate photographer who works with agents, custom home builders, contractors, private sellers, HomeAway, VRBO and AirBnB vacation home owners.