The goal of hiring a professional real estate photographer is not to sell the home – it’s to sell the agent who is selling the home.
That might sound a little strange to you, but that concept is what underlies the need for real estate agents to hire a professional photographer for every shoot, even if homes are selling ridiculously fast.
Here are three reasons why:
Reason #1. Your brand is defined by your marketing.
When we’re talking about a real estate agent’s brand we’re talking about the way they are perceived by their potential clients.
For example, when a potential client sees an agent’s marketing for a home in 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 important role to play. Using photos that look amateurish might not impact on the sale of a home in a hot market, but they certainly do impact on the assumptions that potential clients make about that agent.
Compare those assumptions with the agent that uses magazine-quality photography, and it’s not hard to see that a seller that’s looking for an agent to sell their home will choose the agent that made their listings look as amazing as possible given what they had to work with, not the agent that took their own photos.
Reason #2. It’s not for now but for later.
Homes might be selling within days or even hours of hitting the market, but that property market is going to change one day. It might be a slow change or it could be a rapid grinding to a halt, but change is 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 day in the future where the number of new listings have slowed right down. Home sellers are being much more selective about which agent they hire because they know they need a good one if they want to sell their home within the first 60 days, let alone within the first 6 months.
Where do sellers go to find an agent? They go online and they look for agents in their area.
What do they look for in an agent? The first thing they probably look at is the sales history for that agent. They’ll scroll through previous listings and they look at the photos and the videos and whatever else the agent includes.
For some sellers that’s as far as they get. Their decision as to which agents they speak with can be decided in those lists of past sales where they ask themselves this question: ‘Given how that agent has marketed homes in the past, do I want that agent treating my home the same way?’
And if the photos don’t look good, then they’ll probably answer that question with a decisive ‘no’.
Now some homeowners might go further than that and they’ll dig into the numbers, looking at the agent’s sales history, how long do they take to sell a home and what price do they get. In a hot market those numbers can all look very similar, so the seller goes back to the marketing approach taken by each agent.
Do they want to have their home sold this way by this agent, or that way by that agent?
That’s where the quality of the photos matter. If you get it wrong and if your listings look undesirable compared with your competition then you can easily lose that seller to another agent.
Reason #3. Sellers talk.
Imagine this conversation happening between a recent seller and their neighbor:
Sara: Congratulations on the sale of your home! How did things go for you?
Jill: It was great! I mean, obviously the market is super hot at the moment so it was no surprise that we sold in three days. Even so, we were really impressed with our agent.
Sara: Wow, that’s fantastic! Which agent did you use?
Jill: We went with Amanda Jones and she was fantastic right from the start. Even though it would be easy to cut corners in this market, she went all in, even spending hundreds to hire a professional photographer to shoot the photos and do a video for our home.
Sara: Agents still do that?
Jill: Some do and some don’t. I looked at some other listings in our town and they were obviously taken by the agent, but I was really impressed by the photographer Amanda used, and the quality of the photos was amazing! But again, it was Amanda’s willingness to hire a photographer to present our home in the best possible way that really impressed me. I’d recommend her to anyone.
Conversely, can you imagine how things would play out if the agent had taken their own photos?
Yes, Sara still would have sold her home, but 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 Amanda Jones would barely get a mention.