Heck no you don't!
That's right, I said it and I'm a photographer.
Listen, every once in a while I see a post on AR by a real estate 'photographer' or virtual tour business where they suggest, imply, or outright accuse agents of doing their clients a disservice by not 'hiring a professional'.
To be sure, there plenty of situations where a photographer can enhance your business tremendously but there are also many situations where it might be money down the drain.
Situations where you probably don't need a professional photographer:
The property is sizzling: Last year I recall a listing I shot, curious about how it was doing on the market I asked the agent about how it was going. She just laughed; "That sold in one day." Now, I'd like to think it was my photos that garnered such a rapid sale but let's be honest...that was simply a hot property. Location and availabilty determined the rapid sale. We probably could have put up crayon drawings by a three year old and it still would have sold in a day.
The property is a teardown: No kidding, I've been hired many times to shoot teardowns, including interiors. Now, I'm seldom inclined to argue with a client when they are more than happy to pay me but...seriously...tear downs are bought for the land. Maybe you need a few nice land pics but hiring a professional to shoot the $100k house on the $900k bit of land seems like overkill to me. :)
None of your competitors use professionals and your clients don't expect you will either: Remember, you are running a business. You are trying to utilize minimum capital to acheive maximum revenue. If your clients really don't care, and you aren't going to lose business to competition who might be competing by using professional services you really may not need to hire a photographer. I know, I know...you guys are going; "Has Bryce gone crazy?". I do feel by using professional services when your competition doesn't, you have an advantage that leads to more business but that's a choice (or a judgement call)....it doesn't mean you need to.
You take really dang good photos! A lot of folks in this group have worked hard to improve their skills and it's paid off for many. Some of you are taking some really good shots. I've seen some lately that I'd be hard pressed to distinguish from a professional.
The commission structure doesn't support the cost of a professional: Sometimes the math just doesn't work. I've known agents who work on very narrow margin listings. It doesn't make sense for them to sacrifice a large portion of their profit for very little return.
You can probably think of a few other situations I can't. My main point is you shouldn't feel bullied or guilty about not hiring a professional if the situation doesn't warrent it. :)
So what are we photographers good for (besides outstanding photos of course)?:
- If you rub our belly, we will grant you three wishes
- We ward off the giant, seven toed foozit (seriously, have you ever seen a foozit and a photographer together? I rest my case)
- We can predict the weather (example: it might rain, or it might not rain)
- Flat tire? We can fix it!*
* Actually, we are notoriously lazy. Can't we just call for roadside service?
Some snaps from last weeks listings, enjoy: