I won't pay 50.00 for professional photos! I have an I phone.

Real Estate Agent with Exp Realty - Atlantic County

It's Friday afternoon and I'm reviewing the mls to find some showing opportunities for one of my prospect buyers. I'm putting in my search criteria of homes with 4 bedrooms between 199,000 and 259,000 and up come the results. I have 47 results. Certainly I can't show 47 homes tomorrow. Let me start looking for the jewels. 

I can't say how everyone else looks for the jewels but for me it starts with the 1st photo and ends a bit later after I've looked at the interior photos. 

Here's a nice one but it only has 1 exterior photo and it's been on the market 147 days. Really! 1 photo after 147 days. I just can't risk it. I don't have my clients time or attention that long and if I take them to something that is a total miss they will think I'm not listening to them or just totally out of sync with their needs. Off to the Scrap heap!   

Here's a house but the photos are all blurry almost like they had used the photos out of a compressed file and did not decompress them. 

Next on the list here's a house but it seems like they turned the I pone upright to give me the narrowest view and all I really see are pictures of beds, dressers and a reflection of the agent in the bathroom mirror. 

You get the point. Of the 47 homes in my selected range I'd say a good 15-20 of them had photos so bad I can't be inspired nor inspire my client to view them. 

I can imagine if we all adjusted our presentation to say, Dear Mr. Customer I want your listing but just know that I use my camera photo to take the photos and they are so bad that we will loose a significant number of viewing opportunities. 

I would think in every area or office there is a mid range photographer who will professionally light and photograph a home for around $ 50.00 (there is in my area) and that seems like it should be the first call after getting the listing. 

Comments (49)

Linda Metallo DiBenardo
RE/MAX Impact, Lockport, Illinois - Lockport, IL

I always use a pro photographer.   They are worth every penny.  

Aug 08, 2015 09:37 PM
Thomas F. Scanlon
Borgida & Company P. C., CPA's - Manchester, CT

Steven Schafer - Well done. A picture is worth a thousand words. Or not.



Aug 08, 2015 11:04 PM
Maureen Harmonay
Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage - Bolton, MA
Your Country Property Specialist, Bolton MA

I always use a top-notch professional photographer, who is worth every penny of what he charges me:  it varies between $250-$350, depending on the home's location, acreage, and square footage.  My listings outshone most of my competition but a lot of them are starting to catch on!   The photos from my current and past listings help me win listing presentations--they become part of my portfolio and I consider them a worthwhile investment.  I have recently started incorporating full-motion video (by another photographer) for my higher-end properties.  Sellers are thrilled with the effort, especially for more expensive homes in which we're not doing public open houses.   

Aug 08, 2015 11:42 PM
Michael Setunsky
Woodbridge, VA
Your Commercial Real Estate Link to Northern VA

Steven Schafer I agree that photos are the first impression and will determine whether a viewing is in order.

Aug 08, 2015 11:58 PM
Ron Tissier
Chapman Hall Premier Realtors (404) 580-9069 - Atlanta, GA
Defining Homes. Defining Lifestyles.

Helpful tip: Check with your local community college to find a student photographer.  Most have great experience and are not yet charging what the pros do.


Aug 09, 2015 12:31 AM
Margaret Rome Baltimore 410-530-2400
HomeRome Realty 410-530-2400 - Pikesville, MD
Sell Your Home With Margaret Rome

I think a photographer who charges $50 IS using a cell phone. If not grab them and put them on your permanent payroll.

Aug 09, 2015 01:09 AM
Margaret Woda
Long & Foster Real Estate, Inc. - Crofton, MD
Maryland Real Estate & Military Relocation

Professional photograhy is not a given, when I list a home... I will invest in professional photos IF the seller invests in their own home, by making their home show and sell ready and pricing it right. The combination of staging, professional photos, and pricing generates a lot of activity and, in turn, a quick sale... usually within 30 days.

Aug 09, 2015 02:04 AM
Andrea Bedard
Thompson Company, REALTORS® 240.593.2860 - Silver Spring, MD
Fluent in German and Real Estate * M.A. ABR ASP

I spend between $200 and $350 per listing - depends if I want to show off the floorplan as well - a bit more than 50 bucks. But, not only do I get awesome pictures, I also get a lot more time to market the property vs. having to edit the ones I took myself.

Of course I agree with you.. blurry, dark pictures or no pictures at all will land the listing in the toss pile.

Aug 09, 2015 03:41 AM
John Meussner
Mason-McDuffie Mortgage, Conventional Loans, Jumbo Loans, FHA, 203(k), USDA, VA, - Walnut Creek, CA
#MortgageMadeEasy Walnut Creek, CA 484-680-4852

Good photos can sell a home, bad ones can keep it on the market.  Good job emphasizing the importance here Steven!

Aug 09, 2015 06:19 AM
Jerry Newman
Brown Realty, 210-789-4216,www.JeremiahNewman.com - San Antonio, TX
Texas REALTOR, San Antonio Military Relocation

Offering Professional photos is a part of my listing presentation, especially for higher end homes. I have used my Droid phone for those homes less than $150K, but I normally make sure they are very descent, and clear images. Bad images only reduces the number of showings on any listing.

Aug 09, 2015 06:38 AM
Frank Rubi
Frank Rubi Real Estate, LLC - Metairie, LA

Added note. In my market we use Imotophoto.com. The cost for 12 pictures is about 115.00. Our response has been tremendous in favor of. It is part of our marketing plan. 

Aug 09, 2015 09:19 AM
Barbara Altieri
Better Homes and Gardens RE Shore and Country Properties - Shelton, CT
REALTOR-Fairfield County CT Homes/Condos For Sale

Steven -- Bad listing photos are such a disservice to the seller. Every listing should have the best photos possible to bring the most prospective buyers in.

Aug 09, 2015 10:50 AM
Kathy Streib
Room Service Home Staging - Delray Beach, FL
Home Stager - Palm Beach County,FL -561-914-6224

Steven-when I want a good laugh, I will often go to the MLS and look at some of the truly bad photos.  How many times are we going to see a bathroom shot of the commode?!  iPhones are great for fun family trips and selfies but marketing someone's home is a serious commitment!  

Aug 09, 2015 12:18 PM
Virginia Hepp - Mesquite NV REALTOR
Desert Gold Realty - Mesquite NV Homes For Sale - Mesquite, NV
Mesquite NV Homes and Neighborhoods - Search MLS

I have several cameras. Used to spend a lot of time taking listing pics at different times of the day, ending up with a couple hundred shots... Then I edited... I was actually doing a great job, especially compared to other agents' photos.  But spent way too much time.

I found a local photographer - $75 for 20 or so wonderful shots.  The first house he did for me sold online from his pics, the second day that it was in mls.  So did the next listing.

I would pay a lot more if I had to. Now that I learned the difference it makes.



Aug 09, 2015 02:07 PM

Bad photos or few photos really annoy me.  The seller probably doesn't even know that these terrible photos exist on the listing.  The crooked, "I'm too lazy to get out of the car" photos are the best!  On the flip side, how many times have we seen beautiful photos online only to arrive at the property to see total destruction? 

Aug 10, 2015 12:13 AM
Will Nesbitt
Nesbitt Realty at Condo Alexandria - Alexandria, VA
Nesbitt Realty is a family-run brokerage.

To acquire NJ Real Estate, call 609-646-1900 for Steven Schafer.

Aug 10, 2015 04:29 AM
ReadySetLoan Condo Approval Team
ReadySetLoan Condo Team LLC - South Windsor, CT
The FHA/VA Condo Project Approval Specialists

You nailed it Steven!  Agents don't realize how much they are hurting their clients by making these silly mistakes.  With the vast majority of home searches beginning online, pictures are extremely important!

Aug 11, 2015 04:13 AM
Jeff Pearl
RE/MAX Distinctive / LIC in VA - Lovettsville, VA
Full Service Full Time Realtor

$50.00 won't buy much around here in the way of professional photography, but I have have seen many of the awful photos that you describe. Sometimes I'll drive by and/or do a preview to see if the property actuall matches the crappy photos in the mls.

Aug 11, 2015 10:47 AM
Nathan Tutas
Tutas Towne Realty, Inc. - Davenport, FL
Your Central Florida Real Estate Expert

In my opinion, this is one of the cardinal sins in real estate. You don't really have to pay someone to take photos. It can be learned and is very easy to do correctly with even a medium range camera with a wide lens. That 1st exterior photo is, thru syndication, the face of your listing. If the pics sucks the response will suck. Great post.

Aug 11, 2015 12:13 PM
Dan Dee McGinnis The Pumpkin Man
Berkshire Hathaway - Phoenix, AZ
The Pumpkin Man

Maybe another five or ten years ane our MLS will REQUIRE 5 - 10 photos.

Aug 13, 2015 08:09 AM