I have a request for the rest of my colleagues: please pay a professional to take photos for your listing.
I’m tired of looking at new properties on MLS and seeing dark, fuzzy, awful photos.
What are your clients paying you a commission for?
Maybe it’s just me.
Every Realtor runs his or her business in a different way, and when I take on a listing, I spend money.
I spend money to make money. It’s a good proposition, and has proven results for both myself and my clients.
“A job worth doing is worth doing well.” Right?
So if you’re going to list a house or condo for sale, why not do everything to the best of your ability? And I’m talking to Realtors and the sellers.
From the pricing of the property, to the timing of the market, and to the marketing of the property itself – everything should be done properly.
My newest pet peeve, which is also one of my oldest, is the terrible quality of photos on the MLS listings.
As an aside, one of my favourite blog posts was a piece I did on “Terrible MLS Photos” last year. Click HERE.
I’m constantly amazed by what passes for “marketing” in this industry.
You don’t have to be a genius to realize that it’s hard for people to purchase a property if they never set foot inside it. So why then do sellers and agents constantly provide inadequate photos of the unit?
Take a look at this:
Does this entice buyers to come and see the property?
Does this give a buyer any reason whatsoever to avoid clicking “NEXT” as they scroll through MLS?
How is this considered marketing?
The worst possible photo you can provide, as a Realtor, is nothing at all. The “Photo Not Available” is all over MLS, and I can’t figure out why!
If you’re a prudent, rational seller, and your agent emails you and says – “Hey Mabel, just wanted to let you know that your property is now listed on MLS. It looks great! There are no photos and the listing let’s people know with a big ole’ caption that reads ‘Photo Not Available.’ Fingers crossed!” – wouldn’t you fly off the handle?
Wouldn’t you wonder what you’re paying your agent for?
Wouldn’t you take your basic knowledge of marketing and apply it to this situation?
For the life of me, I have no clue how these agents get listings. It boggles my mind.
But even when agents do put photos on MLS, I still don’t think that’s enough.
I’m telling you all right now: pay for professional photos.
It’s not expensive, and it’s a tax write-off for Realtors.
I don’t care how good you are with your CANON SURE-SHOT 5800 that you took to Cabo last Christmas to snap off 250 pictures of you and your friends drinking and getting shmammered – get a real photographer to come and take photos.
This week, I listed a condo in the Yonge & Eglinton area.
The day before the condo was put up for sale, after all the staging was done and every finishing touch had been applied, I brought in a photographer from OBEO to do his thing.
He took 16 still photos, nine of which we put on MLS (that’s the limit), and he did a virtual tour.
Do you know what it cost me?
It cost $100.
These photos were taken with a camera that likely cost a few thousand dollars, and the eye behind the lens was that of somebody who has taken photos of a thousand condos over the years.
Doesn’t that make sense?
There is a huge difference in the quality of photos taken by a professional, and the quality of photos taken by today’s 24-year-old Realtor on her I-Phone, and frankly, I’m tired of seeing terrible photos on MLS.
A professional photographer ensures the lighting is plentiful, whereas the I-Phone photos are dark and dreary.
A professional photographer knows where to shoot from, what angles to use, how the photos in print or online might look as opposed to how they shoot through the shutter.
And a professional photographer has done enough shoots that he or she can effectively give last minute staging tips. “Fluff that pillow; put that painting on the other wall; centre the bed under the chandelier.” I guarantee that the photographer has a better sense of staging than 99% of Realtors, and you get that service as a bonus!
I’m sure we can draw some comparisons here to other parts of the listing process.
What if you didn’t pay a professional home inspector to inspect the property and you just did it yourself?
As an aside, yes, I also cover this cost for my sellers. It’s $400 – $600, and it’s simply part of my package.
But imagine a seller, a Realtor, or both who decide that in lieu of hiring Carson Dunlop or Ken Haller to inspect the property, they’re going to ask their friend Jed.
Jed, like, totally knows a lot about houses, and stuff.
Jed has amazing eyesight and on the drive back from Muskoka one summer he was spotting roadkill like George Costanza spots raccoons!
So forget about paying a professional home inspector – just have Jed photocopy and old inspection, use lots of white-out, and fill in the data himself.
Does that sound like a good idea?
Maybe I’m being overly-facetious, as there are serious legal and financial hazards to not doing a proper home inspection, but I see both ways as cutting corners for what “should” take place in an efficient and complete listing process.
I’ll go back to the beginning – you won’t get people in the door of the property if they don’t like what it looks like, and that has everything to do with the photos.
On the same day that I listed my Yonge/Eglinton condo, a similar unit went onto the market next door.
I could tell right away that the agent took the photos herself, as they were dark.
My photos are incredibly bright and cheerful, and the colours just sort of “pop.” I don’t know how else to explain it, but the colours are vibrant and sort of jump out at you.
The photos for the other unit looked as if they only contained different shades of grey, brown, and white. They were drab and depressing, and made the unit look bland.
Now I’m not saying that the unit I have listed is necessarily better, but it sure looks it from the photos!
Talk about “Making a good first impression!” The first thing you see when you click on a listing are those nine darling thumbnails, and they can make or break your opinion on the property.
If you’re a seller, and you’re about to sign a listing, ask your Realtor, “Who are you hiring to take the photos?” If your Realtor doesn’t throw out a name within one second, then he or she doesn’t know the first thing about marketing.
Maybe not everybody pays for home inspections, flyers, newspaper ads, and the like, but professional photos are a measly hundred bucks.
If your Realtor won’t spend a hundred bucks to sell your property, which is worth hundreds of thousands of dollars, maybe you should question your own judgement and how you came to hire him…