The aim of hiring a skilled real estate photographer is to sell the agent who is selling the house — not the home itself.
That might seem strange to you, but it is the idea that encompasses the need for real estate agents to employ a skilled photographer for any shoot, even if homes are selling quickly.
Here are three explanations for this:
Reason #1: Your marketing defines your brand.
When we speak about a real estate agent's brand, we're referring to how prospective clients view them. For example, what assumptions do potential clients make about an agent when they see ads for a home on their street?
If all they have to go on is the marketing material for that listing, then the marketing strategy is crucial. Using amateur pictures may not have an effect on the selling of a home in a hot market, but they do have an impact on the assumptions that prospective clients make about that agent.
When those assumptions are compared to the agent who uses magazine-quality photographs, it's easy to see why a seller searching for an agent to sell their home would prefer the agent who made their listings look as amazing as possible considering what they had to work with, rather than the agent who took their own pictures.
Reason #2: It isn't for now, but for later.
Homes can sell within days or even hours of going on the market, but the property market will change one day. It may be a gradual transition or a rapid grinding to a stop, but change is on the way, and when it does, homes may take much longer to sell and listings may dry up. Where do buyers go to locate a real estate agent? They search online for agents in their area.
What qualities do they need in an agent? The first thing they'll probably look at is the agent's sales background. They will browse through previous listings, looking at the pictures, images, and anything else the agent includes. That is as far as some sellers will go. Their decision on which agents to speak with is influenced by those lists of previous transactions, where they ask themselves, ‘Given how that agent has sold homes in the past, do I want that agent to handle my home the same way?'
And if the images don't look fine, they'll probably be saying a resounding no.
Some homeowners can go a step further and dig into the numbers, looking at the agent's sales history, how long it takes to sell a house, and what price they receive. In a hot market, those figures may all look very similar, so the seller returns to the marketing strategy used by each agent.
Do they want their home to be sold in this way by this agent or in that way by that agent? That is where the quality of the photographs comes into play. If you get it wrong and your listings seem unappealing in comparison to your competition, you might easily lose the seller to another agent.
Reason #3. Sellers talk.
Consider the following exchange between a recent seller and their neighbor:
Sara: Congratulations on the sale of your home! How did things go for you?
Jill: It was great! I mean, obviously the market is super hot at the moment so it was no surprise that we sold in three days. Even so, we were really impressed with our agent.
Sara: Wow, that’s fantastic! Which agent did you use?
Jill: We went with Amanda Jones and she was fantastic right from the start. Even though it would be easy to cut corners in this market, she went all in, even spending hundreds to hire a professional photographer to shoot the photos and do a video for our home.
Sara: Agents still do that?
Jill: Some do and some don’t. I looked at some other listings in our town and they were obviously taken by the agent, but I was really impressed by the photographer Amanda used, and the quality of the photos was amazing! But again, it was Amanda’s willingness to hire a photographer to present our home in the best possible way that really impressed me. I’d recommend her to anyone.
Conversely, can you imagine how things would play out if the agent had taken their own photos?
Yes, Sara would have sold her house, but the focus of the discussion would have been on the market's pace rather than the real estate agent's efficiency. Amanda Jones, our real estate agent, will hardly be mentioned in that case.
Case and point: Will your sellers boast about your strategy to employ a photographer even in a hot market, or will they just talk about how quickly you sold?
Written By Duston Haley