Sooo, I’m sitting here editing a property video when I hear the familiar “ding”. It’s a Facebook message from one of my Facebook friends. No I don’t mean that as an insult – she really is a friend, not someone I don’t really know but we’re friends – on Facebook. Her question – one I’ve heard many times before – “why do real estate agents take such horrible photos?”.
Hi! How are ya! I’m sending you a message cause we have some mutual friends and it isn’t common knowledge, but my family is moving to Chandler or Gilbert. So I’ve been on Zillow and Redfin a lot lately and I wanted to tell you some of the pics I’ve seen in these listings are horrendous and made me think of your company. It’s clear as day why some of these gorgeous homes down there have been on the market for 100+ days when the lighting is awful and the family’s belongings are all over the place instead of staged to sell. ? It makes me want to say, “Hey, your home isn’t what my family needs, but call this guy. He’ll fix your pics/videos.” Lol
I chucked. and then I cried. For their clients.
I mean, if they only knew what they are doing to their clients – hopes, dreams – let alone financial wellbeing by publishing horrible photos.
Look, I get it. Everyone wants to save a buck, but photos, scratch that – professional photos IS NOT the place to do it. It’s 2016. The consumer, regardless of their age is now digital. We are ALL digital citizens. We do everything online. Shop. Date. Socialize. Criticize. Research. Watch movies. Listen to music. We even order our groceries online. And of course we look at houses online too.
The last “official” stat I heard from the National Association of REALTORS® said 47% of consumers start their home search online. But I think that’s way too low. I think it’s more like 98%. I mean, I don’t know anyone that would look at a magazine or newspaper for a home – do you? We all go online. Like it or not – Online is where your first showing will take place. NOT when they get to the house. In fact, those iPhone pictures you took, the ones with you in the bathroom mirror, the ones that are overexposed or underexposed, blurry or diagonal, the ones with tooth brushes and other personal hygiene products in the bathroom or clothes thrown around the house or even a kid still sleeping in the bed (no I’m serious I’ve seen this) are not helping you. You know who else they aren’t helping? Your client. The seller that hired you to sell their home. The seller that is paying you big $$$ to get traffic and ultimately a buyer to their property. There is a direct correlation between increased days on market and a lower sales price.
But here’s the thing. Consumers are visual. We buy what we can SEE. We want what we can create an emotional attachment to. I don’t care how great the Wolf, Viking or Sub Zero appliances are – how shiny the Onyx or Marble kitchen is – how amazing the view is – if the consumer can not SEE them – there is no emotion. And sales 101 – we buy EMOTIONALLY and justify RATIONALLY – LATER.
It’s not like photos are all that expensive either. There are plenty of companies here in the valley that will HDR your listing for less than $150. $150! Where else can you invest $150 and possibly get $3,000, $6,000, $10,000 or more in commission back in return? But to make matters worse – it’s not about you. It’s about your client. They want to sell their home. The home their kids were born in. The house their favorite dog died in. The first house they got married in. To do this they need marketing. Scratch that. They need GOOD MARKETING and those iPhone pictures are the exact opposite.
I’m not writing this because we want to do your photos – we don’t even do photos. We do video – and that’s a whole other story but I won’t go there right now. Ok I will (slow down on the Facebook live from your latest listing, you’re making people dizzy)
By publishing horrible photos, you’re not just hurting your client- you’re also hurting yourself – your BRAND. Everything you do online either brings the consumer closer to you and your brand or pushes them further away. Your marketing, like your lender, your title company, your home inspection guy, is an extension of you and the level of service you provide. So, what is it saying about you?
I used to feel bad when I showed up to shoot a video of a listing and another agents sign (that lost the listing to our client) was still in the yard. But any remorse I felt was quickly removed when I saw the photos on the black and white flyers, on standard printer paper (if there were any in the flyer tube). Your first showing is happening online. And your past listings are easily searchable on Zillow, Redfin and others. Those horrible photos could come back to haunt you later and you won’t even know it. A seller considering your services will see your pictures and make an immediate determination – “do I want my house marketed like this?”. I’m betting the answer is – nope. What’s the craziest thing you’ve seen in an agents listing photos?