I think most people would agree that buying a home is a major purchase. It’s typically the largest investment most people will ever make in their lives. Houses cost a lot of money. Buying and selling them can be a complicated transaction with many people, documents, and legal nuances involved. That’s why it’s important to have a skilled and experienced real estate agent to help home buyers guide them through the process. Many real estate agents have gone through years of training, ups and downs, and have seen and dealt with all manners of challenges in the home buying world.
Much like experienced agents, experienced professional photographers (especially those specializing in real estate) have years of training and experience. They have cameras, lenses, lighting, tripods, software, etc, that are especially suited to the challenges of architectural photography. They’ve experienced and dealt with all manners of challenges to creating the perfect image to showcase a home or building.
Just as most professional photographers are not real state agents, most real estate agents are not professional photographers. However, all too often the agents try their best to fulfill that role themselves. Whether it’s with their smart phone, point and shoot camera, or even high end digital SLR, many do the best they can to photograph their listings. But the agent wouldn’t try to be the home inspector, appraiser, mortgage officer, closing agent, or title attorney. So why are they trying to be a photographer?
In today’s market, quality photos are essential to marketing real estate. Home shoppers have less free time than ever before. The internet has given them the power to greatly narrow down the list of homes they will tour in person. This saves both the buyer and agent time by not running all over town looking at homes that were never a good fit. The way they do this is by looking at photos taken of the listing. In our fast paced, information saturated world, positive and negative impressions are made in nanoseconds. Shoppers look at the photos of a home and decide before ever reading a description, caption, or even fully processing the photo, whether or not to look at it any further. This is why it’s so critical to have good, quality, and impactful photos of the home.
The real world practical benefit of homes photographed professionally is that they get more online views, sell faster, and sell for higher amounts. A study by the Wall Street Journal in 2010 really drives the point home.
“ At the closing table, listings with nicer photos gain anywhere between $934 and $116,076–as measured by the difference between asking and final price” - Wall Street Journal
My own experience has born this out. Often, I get called in to photograph a home by a home owner or agent frustrated at the length of time it’s taking to sell the home. They need to change things up. So I’m hired to come in and rephotograph the listing. To this end I’ve heard time and time again how homes that have sat on the market for months or even up to a year will get offers within days of the new photos going up.
“Homes photographed by a professional garner 61 percent more online views.” - Marketleader.com
While it would seem that hiring me to photograph a home costs more than the agent doing it themselves, the numbers show that the opposite is actually true. With professionally photographed homes selling faster and for more money, both the agent and the homeowner actually profit. In this situation a photograph is worth much more than a 1,000 words. It can be worth thousands of dollars.