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Should new agents hire a real estate photographer?

“I’m a brand new real estate agent, and I don’t have much left in my marketing budget after paying for my flyers and the billboard, so I don’t think I’ll hire a real estate photographer to shoot my new listings.”

It’s now 2018, and we live in the era of social media where just about everyone is looking at properties online. People aren’t calling their local real estate agent on the phone anymore, and saying, “Hey Bob, have you got any 3 bedroom homes on the outskirts of town? My wife and I are looking to buy something.”

If Bob the Real Estate Agent wants to get buyers to look at a new listing he has then he won’t load the paper in his typewriter, and write:

A sheet of paper with some typing on it, stuck on the real estate office window, will not work.

And when Bob shares information about the listing on his Facebook Page, or in an email to potential buyers, he won’t just use words to describe the home.

It doesn’t matter if Bob is a beginner or an experienced agent, he’s going to be sharing photos on his company website. He’ll probably also share those photos on his Facebook Page, and Instagram, and maybe even add a link to the listing on his LinkedIn profile. He won’t just share words, but he’s going to share photos and videos, and he’s relying on those images to entice potential buyers.

In other words, Bob knows that in 2018 those visual elements will play a big role in determining how many buyers contact him about that new listing, and therefore the images are at the center of the marketing campaign.

What does this mean for new real estate agents?

A real estate agent could still take their own photos, but like anything at all these days there is a big difference between an amateur approach and a professional approach.

For example, if a restaurant wanted to serve meals that were the equal of any Michelin-star restaurant then they could display their restaurant like this:

They’ve got all they need – tables and chairs so people can sit down and enjoy their meal.

Or they could present their restaurant like this:

And if someone was looking for a partner they could upload a photo like this to a dating website:

After all, that’s still a photo of them, but is it going to maximize their chances of finding the man or woman of their dreams?

Probably not, so they’re more likely to use the very best image that they’ve got:

In both of these examples the amateur approach gets the job done in terms of providing a place for people to sit, or a photo on a dating site, and if that’s the only objective then it might be appropriate.

It’s the same situation with the use of photos for a real estate marketing campaign. Yes, a real estate agent could use their own images, and it would get the job done in terms of providing a visual record of the property listing.

However, is it going to attract the best possible buyer, one who is willing to pay a top price for the home?

So the brand new real estate agent could choose to use their own photos like an amateur, as any old photo will get the job done in terms of providing an image that buyers can look at. However, those amateur photos will not attract the very best buyers, nor will they attract the very best sellers for the agent, and ultimately they fail in their main objective of helping the agent to grow their business.

When it comes to deciding whether or not to invest in professional real estate photography then an agent needs to decide if they want to be seen as an amateur who does the bare minimum that is needed, or do they want to be a professional. There is no right or wrong answer to this, only a decision over how they want to be seen by clients and prospects in their market.

If you were a new agent, would you save costs and take your own photos, or would you choose to invest in a professional real estate photographer from the very first listing?