A professional real estate photographer’s goal isn’t to sell the home – it’s to sell the agent who is.
It might sound strange to you, but this is why agents need to hire professional photographers for every property shoot, even if homes are selling quickly.
There are three reasons why this is the case:
Reason #1. Your brand is defined by your marketing.
In terms of a real estate agent’s brand, we mean how potential clients perceive them.
For example, when a potential client sees an agent’s marketing for a home on their street, what assumptions do they make about that agent?
If all they have to go off is the marketing material for that listing then that marketing campaign has an influential role to play. Photographs that look amateurish might not affect the sale of a home in a hot market, but they certainly affect potential clients’ perception of that agent.
Compare those assumptions with the agent that uses magazine-quality photography, and it’s not difficult to see that a seller looking to sell their home will choose the agent that made their listings look as amazing as possible given what they had to work with.
Reason #2. It’s not for now but for the future.
Homes may be selling within days or even hours of hitting the market, but the property market is liable to change one day. There might be a slow shift in direction or it could be a rapid grinding to a halt. However, change is coming down the line and when that happens homes are going to take a lot longer to sell and listings will dry up.
Imagine that we have reached that point in the future when the number of available listings has slowed to a crawl and home sellers are being much more selective about which agent they hire.
Where do sellers look to find an agent? They go online and look for agents in their area.
What do they look for in an agent? The first thing they probably glance at is the sales history of that agent. They’ll scroll through previous listings and view the photos, videos, and whatever else the agent includes.
For some sellers, that’s all the further they get. Their decision about which agents they speak with can be made when they ask themselves this question: ‘Given how that agent has marketed homes in the past, do I want them to treat my home the same way?’
And if the photos don’t look right, then they’ll probably answer that question with a decisive ‘no’.
Now some homeowners might take it one step further and dig into the agent’s numbers. This will enable them to see how long it took to sell a home and what price they received. In a hot market those numbers can all look very similar, so the seller should refer back to the marketing approach utilized by each agent.
Do they want to have their home sold this way by this agent, or that way by that agent?
This is where the quality of the photos matter. If you get it wrong and if your listings look undesirable compared with your competition, you can easily lose the opportunity to gain that seller’s trust.
Reason #3. Sellers talk.
Imagine this conversation happening between a recent seller and their neighbor:
Joan: Congratulations on the sale of your home! How did things turn out for you?
Laura: It was amazing! I mean, obviously the market is super hot at the moment so it was no surprise that we went under contract in four days. Even so, we were really impressed with our Realtor.
Joan: Wow, that’s astounding! Which agent did you use?
Laura: We hired Jennifer Parker and she was fantastic right from the beginning. It would have been so simple for her to cut corners in this market. Instead, she went all out, even spending hundreds to hire a professional photographer to capture the home and even do a video walk through.
Joan: Agents still do that?
Laura: Some do and some don’t. I looked at some other listings in Northern Virginia and they were obviously taken by the Realtor, but I was really impressed by the photographer Jennifer used. Plus the quality of the photos was great! But again, it was Jennifer’s willingness to hire a photographer to present our home in the best possible light that really won me over. I’d recommend her to everyone!
Conversely, can you imagine how things would have played out if the Realtor had taken photos without a professional?
Yes, Laura still would have sold her home. However, the focus of the conversation would be on the speed of the market rather than the quality of the real estate agent. In that scenario our real estate agent Jennifer Parker would barely get a mention.
After the sale will your sellers boast about your willingness to hire a photographer even in a hot market, or will they talk only about the speed of the sale?