As a long time real estate agent, I’ve probably looked at more than a million listings online.  For the life of me, I can’t figure out how a real estate agent gets by with not having professional photos taken of their listings.  It’s 2019: We’ve had digital photography for 20 years!  What is the hang-up?  Home sellers should demand professional photos.  Here are a few reasons why.

Your Home Will Sell Faster

According to the National Association of Realtors, 87% of home buyers found photos very useful.  It that is true, why are you letting your real estate agent getting away with some crappy iPhone pictures?  What did they tell you during the listing presentation?  Why did you believe it would be ok to have bad pictures of your listing when it’s the first thing a buyer is going to see?

Your Home Will Sell For More Money

Have you ever looked at listings online and noticed that one house with no pictures?  What did you think when you saw that?  Were you convinced to go physically take a look at the property?  Unless you knew the area ahead of time, I bet you weren’t.  And, that’s what is so powerful about pictures.  Terrible pictures often indicate terrible homes.  That is, the listing agent is telling the real estate community that the house they are listing is such a dog that they aren’t even going to try and spend money on the photos.  As a home seller, you should be demanding professional listing photos, and if the agent doesn’t have a really good explanation as to why they aren’t doing it, you might want to look for a different agent BEFORE the house hits the market.

A Professional Photographer Knows What Pictures To Take

I have a few “favorite” pictures that are dead giveaways the seller has been hornswoggled.  In amateur photos, there’s this one photo that seems to always pop up.  It’s this picture of the interior corner of two blank walls with the ceiling and floor showing.  What’s that supposed to convey to a prospective home buyer?  Your house has corners?  I suspect most of them do.  Other great photos include pictures of the bathroom with the photographer in the mirror.  Don’t forget about that fish eye lens for that really small kitchen you are trying to hide.  How about a picture of the bathroom with the toilet seat up?  Another one of my favorites is that picture where the amateur stands on a ladder and takes a picture looking down at everything.

Professional photographers don’t do anything like the above.  They stage their shots, and they make sense.  If you’re out on a date with your friend, sure, snap a selfie with your phone.  Home sellers, however, should demand professional photos.  Don’t accept less

The Cost of Professional Photography Is Minor In Comparison To the Commission

You are paying your real estate agent to sell your home.  You aren’t paying them to come up with creative ways not to spend money on the listing.  Let’s say the average costs of professional photos are about $300.  And let’s assume the average commission take home to the agent is $4,000.  If they aren’t getting professional photos, what are they spending that commission on?

Professional Photographers Can Make An Average Listing Look Spectacular

True story:  I use a professional photographer on all of my listings.  His name is John.  He’s a little tough to work with because he likes to work by himself and at his own schedule.  A lot of times I will go to the house with him to talk to the sellers or help move stuff around for him.  I get the pictures back in two or three days.  The pictures I get back are amazing!  When I see them, I can’t even believe how great they look.  I was physically at the house when he took them and the house really didn’t look as good as the pictures!  It’s really amazing.

A Word on Real Estate Drone Photography

In the last few years we’ve seen an explosion in real estate drone photography.  While I appreciate someone going to this level to take professional photos of a home, I’m not so sure that the first picture of the listing should be of the roof.  I’m somewhat of an expert in real estate sales, and I’ve never come across a buyer who said they decided to buy the house because they liked the shingles.  If your real estate agent says that drone photography is included in the real estate professional photo package, it’s fine.  Just don’t go overboard with the drone pictures in the listing.

Don’t Settle For Some Extra Fee For Professional Photos

I’ve seen real estate agents offer to take photos with their camera and then charge an extra fee for professional photos charged to the home seller.  Don’t put up with that.  If you do get professional photos of the home and decide not to stick with the agent, payment for the pictures is reasonable.  It’s not reasonable to pay an additional fee for professional photos above the commission to sell the home.

One Question To Ask During A Listing Appointment

While you are sitting there talking to the potential listing agent, ask them how they are planning to take pictures of your listing.  If they say that they will take the pictures themselves, ask why.  If they aren’t going to use a professional photographer, question that.  Don’t let them off the hook with some lame excuse like the following

  1. Professional Photography is too expensive
  2. Your house is so great it doesn’t need professional photography
  3. Your house is awful and professional photography will make it look worse
  4. There isn’t enough time to get professional photos taken
  5. Professional photography isn’t necessary
  6. I don’t know any professional photographers that do real estate

If you get any of the above excuses, move on from the agent.  I don’t care if it’s your uncle Bob or your brother Steve, as a home seller you should demand professional photos.  Don’t take no for an answer and don’t settle for less.