Do Your Real Estate Photos Measure Up? • Lab Tested Real Estate
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Do Your Real Estate Photos Measure Up?

Do your home listing photos end up looking like this?

 Bedroom before home staging

Or are you able to transform them into this?

 Bedroom after staging and professional photography

 Yes, that’s the same room.  C’mon, admit it – you’re impressed, no? 🙂

Here’s my prediction:

Good staging and photography are going to be absolutely key to getting home listings in the future.

(And, key to having them sell at the top of their market value range – aka, leaving you with happy sellers who rave to their friends about how their home was transformed.)

But so many agents still don’t do it!  Just this morning I saw a $2.5 million waterfront home listed with photos that had obviously been taken by a non-professional with a 35 mm camera.

Granted, it wasn’t atrocious, but the angle of view was so narrow that one-third of every room didn’t make it into the shot.

(What’s the commission on a $2.5 M home again?  Even if it’s discounted?  Seems like plunking down $250 on a professional photographer would be reasonable.)

Regardless of the price range you’re working with, putting a home on the market is extremely stressful for sellers.  Understandably so – there’s a lot on the line.

Here’s how you can position yourself as the go-to agent:

1.  Be able to give home sellers good advice on how to prepare their home for sale. 

Then, coach them through the process.  They need to feel that they’re in the hands of an expert.  This should be at least one thing being taken off of their plate.

If this isn’t your specialty now, find someone in your area you can hire to do it, or study up on before and after photos now.  It’s not just a trend, it’s the future.

2.  Get dazzling photos that showcase all of the home’s best features.

Home buyers’ standards are rising as they become more accustomed to high quality user experiences online, and I hear more and more complaints about how bad most Internet home photos are.

Home sellers often don’t know what they’re missing until they see it – but they sure don’t need to be told twice after being shown a before-and-after comparison like the one above.

Hire a pro if you’re in an area like Seattle where you can get a typical house photographed for around $170.  It’s a no-brainer.

(The ‘after’ photo above was taken my all-time favorite Seattle-area real estate photographer, Tucker English.) 

If professional help is not available, get a camera suited for interior shots.  One with a 24mm lens or less, not 35mm.  And learn how to use photo editing software like Adobe Photoshop Elements so that when your warm tan wall comes out a cold blue because of lighting you can bring it back to its true self.

3.  Take “Before” and “After” photos of your listings and post them on your website.

Posting a great before-and-after photo gallery on your website is the best way I know of to get sellers wanting to list with you.

(This is a great opening for newer agents, by the way, since you don’t have to have a huge string of listings.  You just need to show what you’re capable of doing for your next home seller client.)

Bottom line?

The demand for higher quality home staging and photography is only going to become stronger, and now’s a great opportunity for enterprising agents to make a name for themselves.  (A superb opportunity – because the norm is currently pretty bad!)

Hopefully that will change soon.

Click Here to Leave a Comment Below 4 comments
Jay McGillicuddy - January 19, 2008

I like the idea of taking the before and after picture tip.

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irenedorang - January 20, 2008

Glad you found it helpful Jay! I really think showing you’re able to make these kinds of transformations sells your services as a listing agent better than pretty much anything you could say during a listing presentation. (At least, that’s true for me – I never felt like I got a great listing presentation down, but people see the photos and want ‘that’ for their home.)

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Lori Turoff - January 30, 2008

I find that the ‘look’ of a property online sometimes has more to do with the staging than the photography. Some owners are very willing to work with me to make their place look great for buyers but many just don’t get it. Then the challenge is not only to take great photos but to get them to make some significant changes in their homes. The before and after photo idea may be a perfect tool to help this process. Thanks Irene!

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irenedorang - January 30, 2008

Lori, you’re right, staging is key – it’s like preparing the tableau that you then take a picture of. I so often see agents who took the time to stage lose the benefits with crummy photos – it really is a package deal, where if you leave on out you don’t get the desired result. Glad you found the before and after photo idea helpful!

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