A Picture is Worth ...

Education & Training with RealtySoft.com Chief Evangelist 15067

There's an anonymous old joke that photographers like.  "If you saw a man drowning and could either save him or photograph the event ... what kind of film would you use?"

Obviosly, photographers tend to view everything they see as a potential photograph, and the best of them also have the imagination and skill to properly compose their shots and capture them in a way that elicits reactions from those who see them.  And, that old saying that a "picture is worth 10,000 words" holds value for real estate professionals as well.

Photos for Real Estate

There's money in that camera in your desk drawer.  Sure, we all know that people like photos of our listings, and they want as many of them as they can get when they're viewing listings on the Web.  But, images have as much or more value for buyer sites or any real estate professional's website.  While many are scrabbling around trying to figure out content for their sites, and even hiring writers in some cases to create articles and blog posts about real estate, there's a simple way to add a great many SEO friendly pages to your website, and they'll be quite popular.

Video and Mobile for Real EstateWait you say! Video is more popular these days, and with mobile becoming the way to go to the Web, mobile video is what you need.  OK, so hold on, as I'll get to that.

Let's just stick to photos, photo albums, and the SEO value of them on your real estate website.  Instead of trying to figure out some new and original content for your site, take a look at your MLS and the grouping of listings by location and area.

I know in my rural vacation market, I have in town neighborhoods and subdivisions, as well as small villages and rural MLS Areas by name out of town.  Every one of these neighborhoods or areas is going to be seen by website searchers doing IDX searches on your site.  We all know they go to that IDX search page in droves.

However, when they find a listing there, no matter how good of a job you do with home or land images for each listing, they're not getting much visual information about that MLS area and the surrounding countryside or neighborhood.  If they're not from your area, they can't just drive around to check it out.

Some of my most visited pages are those where I drove into an MLS area, mapped it with a Google map on the page, and then display either a photo album or video slideshow of a dozen or more images of the area.  If it's primarily rural, then it's mostly scenery.  If it's urban, it's the different types of homes and more popular business or shopping locations.  I write text about the area, which isn't difficult, as it's just my description of the area, it's popularity, the things that draw people to live there.

Now let's get to the video discussion.  I use Google's Picasa free software and website to group my thousands of photos into albums, some private, most public.  Picasa will create a movie slide show for me with interesting transitions between images, and I can upload it to YouTube, then embed that video on my site.  I want it on YouTube for the extra exposure.  If you're using Windows XP, and some other Windows systems, go to Accessories and look for Windows Movie Maker, as it's free and in most installs.  There's also a free download here that I think will work with Windows Vista and 7, but check it out.  Posting photo albums and videos both is the best approach to make sure you cover all the bases with your site visitors and their varied hardware.

RealtySoft makes it easy.  For the photo album side, you don't need anything but RealtySoft.  The Photo Gallery Gadget takes care of uploading the images for your neighborhood and displaying them with several choices of format for your slideshow.  Here's the gadget gallery construction window:

RealtySoft Photo Gallery Gadget


Simply choose a theme, upload some photos and you're done.  Of course, you'll want to install this gadget on a page optimized with text for your area's real estate key phrases and for neighborhood key phrases.  As far as video, you can embed your YouTube videos created any way you wish into your RealtySoft page with ease.

So, get into the car and start driving around and taking photos.  With digital photography, it's some of the least expensive marketing you can do for your website.

Comments (15)

Rene Fabre
First American Title - Seattle, WA
Marketing in the Digital Age

Hi Jim... great post. The camera and video I use most of the time 99% of the time is my iPhone 4s, because it's always with me. And, I love Picasa webalbums and I use it to store all of my blog photos and video. I'll check out RealtySoft. I normally use Picasa or Ribbet.com to get my photos ready and Corel VideoStudio for video. Enjoy the weekend!

Jul 13, 2012 02:00 AM
Mark Delgado
houses for rent, Solano County & Glen Cove - Benicia, CA
Benicia and Vallejo, Property Management, rental h
I think I'm doing ok then. Our homepage has a sideshow of local area photos which is in line with your idea is showing the area.
Jul 13, 2012 01:48 PM
Dianne Goode
Raleigh Cary Realty - Raleigh, NC

Hi Jim.  Thanks for the suggestions for a You Tube slide/movie show about a neighborhood or area.  I have a Mac so I can put together an iMovie slide show relatively easily.  All I have to do is .. get around to doing it!

Jul 16, 2012 09:36 PM
Chris and Dick Dovorany
Homes for Sale in Naples, Bonita Springs and Estero, Florida - Naples, FL
Broker/Associate at Premiere Plus Realty

The more pictures the better.  People love the visual.  When it comes to videos.....not so sure.  Personally, when I go to a website or article and there's a video I usually click off before the loud annoying music starts.

Jul 16, 2012 11:01 PM
Bill Gillhespy
16 Sunview Blvd - Fort Myers Beach, FL
Fort Myers Beach Realtor, Fort Myers Beach Agent - Homes & Condos

Hi Jim, Great advice.  Even the cheap P&S cameras do an amazing job when used out of doors.  Once inside the P&S quality drops dramatically. 

Jul 17, 2012 02:07 AM
Kate Conover
RE/MAX Properties - Franklin Lakes, NJ

I have all my homes shot by professionals.  I'm not a photograper, and I agree that good photography certainly gets buyers (and Realtors) in the door, so why wouldn't I hire the best?  My job is marketing, not taking photos.

Good luck! 

Jul 17, 2012 02:16 AM
Praful Thakkar
LAER Realty Partners - Andover, MA
Andover, MA: Andover Luxury Homes For Sale

Jim, yes, the world is changing and YouTube has more videos uploaded every minute - but Picasa is no less either. Having a combination of both will be the best option for Real Estate Marketing - just my 2 cents...

Jul 17, 2012 01:31 PM
Janell Kittleson
Rentec Direct - Grants Pass, OR
Rentec Direct

Great reminder!  I can't tell you how many homes I've completely overlooked due to the fact they had few or no photos.    In our area, there are literally hundreds of homes that fall in my general bracket, and I don't want to waste time searching if it looks like an undesireable area/property.  

Jul 18, 2012 07:26 AM
Phil Leng
Retired - Kirkland, WA
Phil Leng - Retired

Hi Jim,

Good post.

Pictures pull you in or repell you.

Good interesting pictures are priceless.


Jul 24, 2012 07:56 PM
John Manuwal
Keller Williams Northwest Montana - Kalispell, MT
Kalispell Montana Agent and Photographer

Hi Jim,

As a photographer and Broker I hate seeing listings with no or one bad photo. I like to have 30 photos that I can rotate on the mls so it looks fresh all the time. On my website I like to have the community photos on it. I do use realtysoft and have had pretty good experiences so far.



Jul 25, 2012 01:39 AM
Melissa Marro
Keller Williams First Coast Realty - The Marro Team - Orange Park, FL
Jacksonville Real Estate and Home Staging

As a professional home stager, one of the big things we talk about is the importance of how the home shows online. Not only does each listing need to be professionally staged and photographed, but it needs to have lots of intriguing shots that create an emotional draw for buyers.

Jul 25, 2012 02:15 AM
John Marshall - FORE!
LoKation Real Estate - Cherry Hills Village, CO
Specializing in Golf Course Properties

Jim, great info, thanks for sharing, I will start using Picasa ASAP

Jul 25, 2012 03:28 AM
Michael Musgrove
Semonin Realtors - Louisville, KY
MBA, Louisville Realtor, ePRO

Right-on, Jim. "Web-appeal" is the new curb appeal, with 90%+ of people looking online before talking to an agent and 40%+ of people buying homes they saw online, according to NAR. I can't believe it when I see Realtors post their client's properties with photos that look like they were taken with a disposable camera and their 7 year old kid took. The visual ante has been upped, people! 

Thanks for sharing!

Jul 25, 2012 05:20 AM
Andrew Mooers | 207.532.6573
Northern Maine Real Estate-Aroostook County Broker

Real video at 30 to 50 frames or "pictures" per second with real natural captured audio and detail in a casual approach (not Kenny G filler) is powerful. Using eyes, ears and if done right, descriptive, illustrative touch, feel, smell too!

Jul 25, 2012 06:22 AM
Inna Ivchenko
Barcode Properties - Encino, CA
Realtor® • Green • GRI • HAFA • PSC Calabasas CA

I downloaded Picasa but did not have time to play with it 'properly'.

As for RE pictures, I just heard that our listing pictures are the most useful feature online for the buyers. I believe that: who does not like good pictures?! They inspire us.

Jan 31, 2014 05:22 PM

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