There are aspects of life that depend on a good first impression.
Meeting someone new, interviewing for a job, test-driving a car….there are many examples.
Selling real estate is no exception, and in today’s electronic world a first impression has never been more crucial for real estate professionals. For the vast majority of buyers, their first impression of a property is developed in front of a computer screen, and many times that impression is created in less than a minute (the time it takes to click on to the next listing).
Gone are the days of house hunting in-person and going out to look at dozens of properties with an agent. Gone are the days of couples spending an entire weekend going to open houses in their search area. And gone are the days of a buyer’s first impression being created when they walk through the front door with their agent.
Today, first impressions of properties are created over the internet, and those impressions are rooted in the photos that a buyer views online.
I can recite numerous statistics that support the concept of first impressions being created via a real estate websites and the importance of photos (over 90% of buyers stating that photos are among the most useful features when searching online, listings with professional photos getting more clicks online, etc.).
I’m not writing this article to dictate statistics to you.
If you are reading this, then you are a savvy real estate professional who has probably seen these statistics or you know where to go look for them.
Let’s discuss, however, the importance of the use a professional photographer when marketing a property.
When talking with potential clients (real estate agents or brokers), a common response I hear is that professional photography is only for fancy homes, and/or it involves an out of pocket expense and they can do just as well taking their own photos. I’ve had this response from agents and brokers of all levels of experience and success. Some of whom may drive a luxury car, wear expensive clothes, or invest a lot of money in boutique office space in a desirable area. There is, by the way, nothing wrong with any of these things and I’m not condemning them. Each play a part in creating a first impression to a client and can be important.
But the idea that professional photography is too expensive, or is only reserved for high-end properties is a head scratcher to me.
Professional photography is the most important marketing tool you have in your bag, and it’s not optional.
There are real estate agents and brokers in every major market who use professional photography for all of their listings…ALL of them. From $150,000 condos and townhomes to multi-million dollar properties. This is your competition. A real estate professional who is serious about marketing a property to their full capability is using professional photography in all their listings.
What makes the seller or buyer of a $150,000 condo any less deserving of professional photos simply because the property is less expensive Buyers and sellers are discerning and demanding in all price points, not just in high dollar properties. And an agent who goes into their first meeting with a potential seller and has the promise of using a professional photography to highlight their home, is an agent who gains instant respect as a serious real estate professional who is vested in selling the property.
Now, you may say, “well, I take pretty good pictures…all a professional is doing is coming in with a nicer camera and doing the same thing I could do”. Not necessarily, but do shop around for a professional and look at their portfolios. I will fully admit that there are some “professionals” out there, and yes, all they are doing is taking pictures with a fancy camera and charging you for it.
However, a professional who knows what they are doing and has an eye for detail will be crucial in making your listing stand out online. Balancing light, using proper composition, highlighting the best features of the home, knowing and understanding their equipment….all of these are benefits a professional provides.
A professional photographer can also be your best sales side-kick. I frequently do jobs where one or many of the following things happen:
- The agent/broker is freed up for 60-90 minutes to just talk with their client while I do the photography and they build a strong relationship and gain referrals.
- The property gets high attention when it hits the web due to the photos and multiple offers are generated.
- The client (seller) is so thrilled with a quick sale that they provide referrals to the agent/broker.
- Others in the neighborhood see the photos and later call the agent/broker when they are ready to sell.
So, in the end, a good professional photographer can do a lot more to help you grow your business than just provide good photos. Agents and brokers who sell homes in 60-90 days are common; agents and brokers who sell properties in less than 30 days are valuable. And if you use professional photography on your listings, you’ll quickly see the relationship between professional photos and quick sales. And quick sales are what help create highly successful (and well known) real estate professionals.
The internet, social media, and a society that’s highly dependent on electronic visuals have changed the way real estate is sold.
The good news is, a knowledgeable real estate professional is still a valuable and necessary part of selling a property. The challenge is that unless you are putting your best foot forward online and in your marketing, you run the risk of being passed by in the new generation of selling real estate.
So, sell fast, sell smart, and sell with professional photos…your clients will thank you and your business will grow!