Today with such great cameras on our cell phones, everyone thinks that they are a professional photographer. You can get high quality shots, edit them on your phone, and post them directly to Facebook for all your friends to comment on. The problem is that just because you can take photos does not mean that you are a photographer. One area where this happens all too often is in real estate. Agents will come in and list a home for the seller and use their cell phone or some junky camera to take pictures of your most valuable asset that you are trying to sell.
When you are interviewing agents to list your home ask them about who takes their photos. This is just as important as any other questions you should be asking. Many agents have a photographer that takes photos of all of their listings, so it’s okay to ask to see them. If the agent has an issue with this, then maybe it is not the right agent for you. Here are a few tips that a good real estate photographer can help with.
Clutter – A good real estate photographer will not take pictures with clutter in them. Their job is to make each photo look as appealing as possible. Usually they will ask the borrower to clean the clutter up ahead of time so that they can get clean shots. I have seen them actually pile all of the homeowner’s junk in one corner on the spot, just to make sure the shot was clean.
Staging – If your house is empty it is always an option to stage it, but chances are it will be your stuff in the home. A good photographer will tell you that your Star Wars bed set does not photograph well, or that the piece of art you like should not be in the shot. This is not a time to argue with them about the details. This is their job and they generally know what they are doing.
Lighting – This might be the most important aspect of what they do. Have you ever booked a hotel room online because it looks really nice and you get there and… it’s not nice? That’s the art of photography and probably their ability to use lighting. I am not saying that you want to pull a fast one on the potential buyer, but rather give the best visual description of your home as possible. Lighting severely impacts photos if it is not used properly. Good photographers can use the light to your advantage and make your home look beautiful.
You really only have one chance to sell your home so utilize your resources. I will end this with an example. I was recently involved with a transaction and the home had a model match in the same neighborhood. One of them had photos taken with the realtors cell phone and the pictures were terrible. Although it was the nicer house, the other home that had solid photos closed for more money about 6 months ago. The cell phone picture home is still on the market and receives almost no foot traffic. This is the agent’s fault as well as the seller. My guess is the seller knows the agent and doesn’t want to hurt their feelings. Selling your home should not be looked at as an emotional transaction, but rather a business transaction. Use the people and resources that are best suited to get the job done and please use a professional photographer.
Please leave a comment or contact me with questions.