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While reading a recent post entitled Would YOU Say Something? by Kathy Passarette, a Long Island Staging Professional, it got me to thinking about REALTORS®, photography and MLS photos. In Kathy's post, she was questioning whether or not to mention to a local REALTOR® that the photos of a particular listing on MLS didn't show the home in the best light.
Being a Long Island REALTOR®, I know that it is a challenge to get people to pay a professional stager to prepare their home for sale on Long Island. However, even if we cannot convince the homeowners to pay for staging, we should at least take it upon ourselves to have them get their home into "show-ready" condition before photographs are taken for MLS and all marketing materials.
Some homeowners do whatever it takes to get the home into "show-ready" condition, and yet the photos that potential buyers see still don't do the home any justice, and there is a simple explanation for this. Many REALTORS® take their own photos of their listings instead of letting a professional photographer take them. In my opinion, this is a mistake. Of course, there is always an exception to any rule, and there may be a number of REALTORS® out there that take outstanding photos. Generally speaking though, this is not the case.
As REALTORS®, we can clearly see the pitfalls that people make when they decide to sell their home on their own. After all, we are professionally trained to do what a FSBO may only do once or twice in a lifetime. How can they possibly be as effective as we are when marketing their home? The answer is...they can't! This is not to say that all FSBO's are doomed to fail, or that they all will receive much lower offers than they would if they used a REALTOR®, although the statistics do show that this is true in most cases.
Can a FSBO sell their home on their own? Yes, some of them can. Can a REALTOR® take professional looking photos of a home? Some of us can, but most of us don't. Our job is to market a home, and while photography is part of marketing a home properly, it is not something that we do often enough to qualify us as professionals.
I'd like to share with you some examples of homes photographed by REALTORS® and also by a professional photographer. These are not exaggerated examples for effect. Both of these homes were previously listed and expired. When I took over each listing, I had the homes photographed by a professional photographer, who also put together the virtual tour. The cost for the total package for each was less than the cost to run a photo ad in the local newspaper for two days.
REALTOR PROFESSIONAL PHOTOGRAPHER
Home # 1
Home # 2
As you can see, there is a noticeable difference between the photos. The professional photographer brought the homes to life, and made each room feel very large, while the photos by REALTORS® did very little to show the homes in their true light. This doesn't mean that they are not good at what they do. It simply shows that there are people that are better at certain things, and there is no shame in delegating.
It is widely accepted that the most effective executives are the ones that surround themselves with people that are better than them at certain aspects of their job. Just like a chain is only as strong as its weakest link, a marketing campaign is only as strong as its weakest link. Arguably, the most important part of the marketing campaign (outside of price) is visual. If the photos that you are using are not the best that they can be, then you are placing yourself, and more importantly, your homeowner, at a disadvantage.
So why do REALTORS® choose not to hire a professional photographer? There are two main reasons that I can think of, and they are as follows:
 COST - Why pay for something that you can do for free? I'm sure that most FSBO's would agree with this statement.
 CONTROL - Many REALTORS® have trouble delegating because they feel that they can do it better themselves. Again, the FSBO's are probably in full agreement on this one.
We are in a competitive marketplace right now. Many homes are expiring from the market each day. Do you want your listings to be the ones that sell, or the ones that sit and eventually expire? One simple solution to making your listings stand out is to have them be the most appealing looking homes on MLS. By the way, both of the examples listed above ended up selling for very close to asking price, in a relatively short amount of time, in a declining market.
If you're looking for a point of differentiation when going on a listing appointment, tell the homeowners that you'll be hiring a professional photographer to take pictures of their home. The odds are that your competition won't be making that same promise.
Long Island Real Estate and Relocation Specialist. Please read my blog for tips on how to sell your home for the most amount of money in the shortest amount of time, general real estate advice and consultation on out-of-state relocations.
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Disclaimer: ActiveRain Corp. does not necessarily endorse the real estate agents, loan officers and brokers listed on this site. These real estate profiles, blogs and blog entries are provided here as a courtesy to our visitors to help them make an informed decision when buying or selling a house. ActiveRain Corp. takes no responsibility for the content in these profiles, that are written by the members of this community.