Involve Real Estate Agents in Selling Professional Photography to Home Sellers?

June 13th, 2012

I had another post planned for today but just as I sat down to write it Lee Jinks, a Realtor in McAllen, TX made a comment on yesterday’s post that blew me away! This idea has to much potential to not get wider input on it. Here is the important part of Lee’s comment:

“…there isn’t the money there for the agent to spend what it takes to have pro photos on every listing. The money just isn’t there.

Here’s what I propose: Create a brochure aimed at the homeowner that the real estate agent can provide at the listing appointment. This brochure will point out the importance of real estate photography and how hiring a professional real estate photographer will pay substantial dividends; $1,000 to $100,000 in increased sales price, increased number of showings and faster sales. The photographer provides this brochure for the agent to use to sell the concept of pro photos to the homeowner. If the agent feels guilty for not pay the cost of photography, then they can offer to reimburse the seller at closing.

There are lots of benefits to the agent: improved professional image, no up front costs, more sales in less time, higher sales prices and they look like the hero to the seller.

Benefits to the photographer are: they don’t have to enforce the copyright on the second agent who gets the listing because the seller owns the license on the photos for marketing; higher service fees because sellers will pay them; increased business because not just the top 5% of agents are your market, every agent is your market because they may not have the money, but they can sell your services.

Then the photographer is also a hero in the agent’s eyes because they helped the agent with their business. Now who wouldn’t want to raise their prices and get more business?

To me this looks like an amazing proposal! I don’t see why it wouldn’t work for everyone involved. My wife an I have done hundreds of listing presentations and I’ve never met a seller that wasn’t gung-ho about marketing photography. The approach that Lee describes never occurred to me because in my world, my photography was always included in our listing package.

The only sticking point to this approach I can think of at the moment is some listing agents may be apprehensive about doing this because they are afraid the seller will say, “I like the idea of Pro Photography, why don’t you pay for it, agent so-and-so does?”

So what do Realtors in the crowd think about Lee’s proposal?

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35 Responses to “Involve Real Estate Agents in Selling Professional Photography to Home Sellers?”

  • I think could work great in situations where agents are taking a reduced commission, which seems to be quite often these days.

    If I were a home seller paying full commission to an agent and he or she broke out a form like this, my response would be “If you’re not even paying for professional photos, which are the most important marketing aspect for the listing, why am I even paying you a commission?”.

    In a sense, it could be detrimental to some listing agents in showing just how cheap and ineffectual they really are.

  • I’ve been doing what Lee suggested for a while, providing agents with my brochure to help them sell me. It works. For a number of reasons.

    The way I see it, to solve the problem that Matt talks about, the agent can offer a choice of service to the seller at the listing appointment. Normal or all singing all dancing. Sure, the second costs more but actually not very much more in the scheme of things, it actually seems cheap to the seller. You must remember the seller will be on the receiving end of pitches from more than one agent. If your agents service is clearly superior, but, actually not that much more, then your guy offers better VALUE.

    Also it is easier for us to approach new agents / brokers. We are no longer trying to sell them something we are there to assist them.

    The knock on effect I have found is that I receive more work on lower price tag listings than I did before (a bigger market). These lower priced listings really stand out in the MLS they are the only ones with with pro photography and elevated shots. The agent sees the higher click through rates, increased viewings and pushes me even more.

    Choice, if it is available, some will pick it, some won’t. But human nature is clear, better will cost more (in this case not very much more).

  • I think the idea of teaming up with the agent to perhaps sell a higher tier commission structure to help the agent pay for the photographer is a good idea. That being said, and being a realtor myself, I just don’t understand how agents can go to sleep at night by not offering higher quality photography at a bare minimum. We all know that better marketing increases the sale price, so is the agent cheating the seller by not providing their best? I think so.

    In my opinion, there are better photos of $10,000 automobiles on Ebay Motors than there are on 95% of listings in the US. It’s truly highway robbery for a seller to pay a 5 to 7% commission, depending on the region, and get poor quality of marketing in return. My average sales price is around $325,000. That means when I sell a house, that seller pays me over $19k (1/2 goes to the co-op agent of course) to market at the highest level, sell at the highest price, and provide the highest level of customer satisfaction. I’m all about more professional looking marketing, but if an agent can’t afford to hire a photographer on a home they are getting paid thousands of dollars, then they can’t afford to be in business.

  • I agree with Terry. Good idea…but. Like Terry and a few others, I am also a Realtor. Not certain how many of us limit out photography just to our personal listings, but I also sell my services to other Realtors and created a separate business entity. It was actually at their urging that I returned to my first love -photography – after they began seeing my listing photos.

    Biggest concern I have is that the home owner’s concept of “professional photography” is likely to be the cheap run n gunner, as the don’t have the basis to evaluate. Worse would be the time trying to justify your price when they saw $49.95 on Craigslist. All this for a one time shoot.

    When shooting for other Reators, I don’t identify myself as a Realtor, and have an ethics based policy that their client will never be a real estate client of mine even if they lose the listing and the client specifically asks me to take the listing. That said, they can always be a future photography client of mine with the shoot the opportunity to meet me. I leave my photography business card with them, and probably should design a small flier to leave behind,

  • I’ve been working a lot this summer and i’m starting to see signs that the homeowner is starting to realize the value of professional photography. A few examples of what i’ve heard home owners say:

    When arriving to the property I’m greeted by the homeowner.. She looks a me and says: “I sure am glad to see you” I reply “it’s nice to see you too” She looks at me again and says.. “No, you don’t get it, the previous agent took his own pictures”

    I ask every homeowner the same question when i’m setting up my gear. “how did you find your real estate agent?” These answers hadn’t varied much until last week when the wife replied “We chose him based on the photography of his current listings. We wanted our house marketed the same way.

    And then just this week a homeowner told me “I wouldn’t let a real estate agent take our family portrait, why would I let him take photograph our home..?”

    Homeowners are becoming aware of the benefits of professional photography and that is really bad news for the 85-90% of agents who are not marketing their listings to the best of their ability.

  • I see things from a long term marketing point, when an agent says there’s not enough money in the listing to choose pro, what they are really doing is selling themselves short. First “this house is below” me and “its not an important listing”.Is what is conveyed. Always put your best foot forward, and gain the respect of your clients, some day they will have a better house to list. Will they ask themselfs if “You didn’t do enough the first time, will do you a better job the next? ”
    They miss the oportunity to shine through all of the listing range. All of your clients are watching all of the time.
    And for me as a photog. I sure would love only pretty, clean and look good on my portfolio houses but that would be to easy. Shoot every listing as if it matters, all the time.

  • I still believe that the photography belongs with the agent marketing plan for a home. If the agent doesn’t have a marketing plan other than 1 brochure design, listing on MLS and open houses – what is he/she earning money for. Houses usually get something at or below 6% commission which the agent splits with the selling agent if a different agent is involved. And, the agent may or may not split it with the managing brokerage or pay the managing brokerage a fee of some sort (monthly, %, etc.) Even so – if the agent is getting 1-2% average per $100,000 of home sold that is $1,000-$2000 per every $100K. How many hours go into the sale? How much is the agent expending on the actual sale? Not every agent is a “marketing agent” some just are happy to sign a contract and magically wait for the house to sell by someone else and then parachute back in for the closing.
    Please forgive me agents out there if I have it wrong – but just like agents are not really educated about professional photography, are we that educated as to what your expenses actually are. Maybe if the agent showed the photographer the actual budget and breakdown of what the cost of selling and the amount staying in their pocket will be, we would understand the need to constantly “talk us down in price”
    In the last 6 years we have had 3 two sided transactions with agents. Despite our sophistication, one agent did nothing – not even open houses. Fortunately for us the market was still decent and someone else sold our home. One agent – showed us places to buy before they were even on the market – we bought both. And finally, one agent had a marketing plan, showed us her costs and sold our home in 2 weeks and since she didn’t have to spend the money – actually surprised us and reduced the cost by 1% even though she spent a fortune on photography – which we weren’t doing at the time.
    Just thoughts and opinions – please provide facts for me on either side of argument.

  • It’s an interesting theory, but iffy. On one hand, it could help convert cheapskates into true believers of the benefits of pro photos. On the other, it could backfire on the agent (per Matt’s example) who in turn could blame you for the embarrassment.

    If you find the right fit for this sales technique, it could open up a niche. It’s kind of like the invention of the check-yourself-out lane at the grocery store. It sounds ridiculous in theory, but most people prefer to use it.

  • Interesting ideas here. I am a real estate broker/free lance photographer recently concentrating on real estate shots. I did a search of properties in 3 counties in my area of properties over 500K, only found 1 set of “pro” photos. I like the idea of contacting the seller, do you all see any problems of finding potential photography prospects on the MLS and contacting the sellers directly?

  • At first glance it sounds like a good idea….until you consider who you’d be working with.
    The notion that there just isn’t money for photography is bogus…unless you’re talking about a very niche region of the US. No doubt there’s some city someplace where homes are selling for $50K….but those areas also have incredibly low cost of living, and the local photography rates are scaled to match. So, sorry – I’m calling BS on that claim. Around here, most of the larger brokerages now have policies that prohibit listings from going on the market with homemade photography.
    As someone said above — if all the RE agent is doing is typing the stats into the MLS, hanging a sign out front, and waiting passively for offers….what the hell are they getting paid for? That’s intern work, worth maybe $12/hour. As a photographer, why on earth would I even think about operating in that end of the market?? And as a homeowner, (like Matt said) if an agent came to me with this scheme, I’d immediately question his or her competence.
    If you’re building a real estate photography business, I think you need to target a market segment that can afford you, and that has prospects to succeed. An agent who doesn’t have the confidence in her own ability to invest $200 in the most important marketing material is NOT someone I want as a client.

  • I’m an agent and photographer. All agents should include professional photos in their marketing period. The seller paid/reimbursement situtation can work in certain situations. But I agree that most sellers will think the agent is cheap and it will do more harm to the agent than help. Target the top agents and referrals will come from them.

  • Not sure how the agent looks like a hero? He/she is asking the homeowner to pay for a service that the agent should be providing as part of the 2.5% commission. Thats kinda like a fast food restaurant charging you for napkins, straws and the bag when you go for takeout…because they help you eat better.

    It kinda makes the agent look very unprofessional in my opinion, asking for the homeowner to pay 200$-500$ on top of the 8,000-10,000 commission he is already getting.

    If an agent showed up at my house and presented this I would ask him to leave and move on to an agent that includes photography/video. Homeowners already feel most agents are paid way to much.

  • That’s funny, because I was thinking of doing something very similar and think I commented on this site on another page. I’m still licensed as a agent, so I get where they are coming from – so the idea of targeting the seller had been on my mind for some time. Monetarily, its more money in the sellers pocket to have professional photography and at first I was looking at targeting the seller in order to twist the arms of agents to cough up the cash. But often,the money really isn’t there for that. Also, this doesn’t serve to cultivate good relationships with agents that are going to be needed in this field. Also, as a newbie to real estate photography I have had a couple of sellers call me directly for photos, so the market exists, but that might be limited to markets like Westchester where home values are still up there.

    As an agent, I often would have to try and quash the carpet bombing techniques that sellers wanted for marketing their homes. Basically, if it was out there, they wanted it and they wanted me to pay for it! They didn’t care if it swallowed my entire commission. Most of what they wanted was worthless but very expensive. So I would suggest that the seller front the cost and if that advertising sold the home, I would repay them at closing. Often they opted out. Sometimes the opted in. But photos are proven to be useful and less expensive than most of the schemes that my sellers were contemplating.

    I think its a great idea….if done correctly.

  • I have to admit that Lee’s idea doesn’t sound as good to me this morning as it did last night. In the market that I’m used to working in (Seattle’s Eastside) only the cheap agents don’t include professional photography in their listing package so when you are competing for a listing one of your competitors has probably already included it in their proposal.

    At the same time, as I’ve learned by talking to readers not all markets are like Seattle, San Francisco, Scottsdale, Bend, Atlanta and Toronto. Lee’s idea isn’t appropriate for many locations.

  • Hmmm, after reading the comments, I guess I should have focussed on the “if done correctly” part.

    First, selling a home is HARD WORK. For those who think that agents sit on the asses and wait for buyers to fall out of the sky…try it some time. Negotiations can be a bear and anticipating problems with lending and coordinating the sale and purchase or rental of the next property is also a lot of work. Guiding a home through escrow has become ghoulish in the last few years, at least in NY.

    Second, the photography services can be used as a tool to either raise commission rates (if you want to list at X% for sellers and buyers agents – then professional photos are on you) or as a way to negotiate asking price. Most homes expire because the sellers won’t list at a competitive price. Offering professional photography and other perks for free if sellers price the home appropriately is a powerful carrot that will also help move the home in timely way. Using it as an incentive for full commission or realistic pricing from the get-go can help the agent and the seller.

  • I’ve had 2 Realtors here in Portland OR say that Realtors won’t hire a pro shooter unless the house is listed at above $500k. I understand that, even if I don’t respect it. It does allow me to target my marketing. And if the Realtor is so short sighted or “thrifty” as to not want pro images on a $300k home, then I’m not sure I want to work with that Realtor anyway.
    As for sellers paying, I’ve done that for sellers who were savvy. Frankly, I think the Realtor could use imagery as a negotiating point in their take, saying at 6% you get x, y, z and pro imagery paid for by me to expedite your sale and increase the sale price. If you want less than 6%, I’ll do x, y and z, and I recommend you hire the imagery.
    The point about Realtor and sellers not recognizing the difference between the $100 or less per home shooters and the real pros is a good one. It’s up to us to get copies of those images shot by the low ballers and use them under fair use education allowances placed against our own images to make the difference obvious l

  • This is exactly how it works in New Zealand + Australia , I work for open2view and all of my work comes from the agents, They talk to the sellers about pro photography show them our brochures and our website. Then when i go to the shoot i try to up-sell them twilight shots, HD Video or Hi-Cam.

  • An agent we work with had a seller who wanted to pay for professional photos. The only problem with a seller footing the bill is they want to control things. This seller was very picky but really didn’t know much about photography and it ended up creating a lot more work for us and the agent. We all tried our best to please the seller but it was a very difficult situation all around.
    I think a seller should have some input if they are paying for professional photos but the agent should take control of the shoot and not allow it to get out of hand.
    Any thoughts on this?

  • Hi all,

    We have been using a quick and dirty two sided A4 flyer for just this purpose for over 2 years with great effect.
    On one side are 4 shots taken with a PAS and the other the same shot from the same position but with a D300 + lights. The back of the flyer is more of a promotion for Open2view.

    We have also done the same for floorplans, elevated photography, and plan a twilight version in due course.

  • There are several types of brokers that I have dealt with (and might sound familiar to everyone here as well) 🙂

    1. “The Solid Marketer” Those that have photography built into there budget for marketing. They use the same level of service for every listing. They call for every thing from 100k-to 1m.

    3. “The Flashy Agent” Those that use us only for the “big” listings, trying to impress a client, or know the client expects a certain level of service…but will revert back to Iphone camera at the drop of a hat.

    4. “The budget broker”…those that only do it if there client is willing to split the cost of the photography, or the client is willing to pay it all.

    5. ” The strategic seller” …those agents that use us for a lot…but not all listings. Each one is different, and they do different combinations of marketing and photography services for each one (if any).

    6. ” Everyone else is doing it…broker” …often the broker that never does marketing (unless its free), but hears everyone in the office is using a photographer to shoot there houses. They are usually terrible at marketing, don’t get a lot of listing, and / or unmotivated in real estate. You will shoot one house for them, have to chase them down for payment…and never hear from them again.

    The point of this is, you might not want to promote “make the seller pay” to your “1 type” broker that already pays you consistently. Some brokers might be a waste of time, others it might be a good idea.

    personally chasing down a broker for payment might be easier than there client who will be in no hurry to pay you after they receive there photos (if you don’t require payment up front).

  • I’ve been out of pocket some these last two days so I was overwhelmed by the response from the idea. First, let me say it’s an idea and it will need lots of work to prefect.

    As a real estate broker for over 25 years, I feel the need to defend the agent.

    (This is my attempt to explain why I say the money just isn’t there. If you want to see how we could make the idea work better, skip down to my next post. I think this post is tantamount to a rant.)

    The median sales price of a home sold in my area over the past 12 months is $104,000. A typical home in the $300K to 350K price range has 3,000 to 5,000 square feet and most are new construction. Compare this with your market.

    I’d love to list out everything an agent needs to be in order to effectively perform his job, but I’m sure most everyone would lose interest after a page or two so I’ll just make a short list. The agent needs to be knowledgeable in real estate law, contract law, state and federal advertising guidelines and statutes, local ordinances, utility companies, municipal services, local events and attractions, school systems… They need to have connections with subcontractors, cleaning services, mowing services, plumbers, electricians, locksmiths, pest control… They need to be good negotiators, appraisers, estimators, physiologists, navigators, tour guides… They must be able to solve problems, read people, understand what someone wants regardless of what they say… Oh yeah, they need to be marketing specialists and have a bank big enough to deposit these huge commission checks.

    I’m sure, as a business owner, photographers know the difference between gross sales and profit. Larry recently ran through the fixed and variable costs for a RE photographer and determined it costs him $60 to show up to the shoot. Real estate agents also have fixed and variable costs. Annual dues are nearly $500 for the association and about that much to the state licensing agency. Monthly costs for the MLS probably start at $50. Then there’s the lockbox key, mandatory continued education, designation courses, conventions and conferences to stay up on the ever changing laws and technology, computers, smart photos, etc. I really could go on and on but I’m sure you see where this is going.

    I worked the numbers on a $120,000 sale and found that the agent might have a net profit of $1,000. I have done the research and know the average agent will sell 1/3 of the properties they list. The other 2/3’s are withdrawn and/or listed by another agent. The reason I point this out is that if this agent pays $200 for pro photos of every listing, they are effectively paying $600 for every $1,000 they make which means they now take home $400 for each sale. How many listings can an agent effectively service? 20 at any one time? Median days on market was 114. If they actually listed this maximum of 64 homes in the year, 21 of them would sell making them a whopping $8,500 that year. The money just isn’t there.

    I know there’s going to be a lot of rebuttal on this, but this is what agents in my area have to live with. I know, you are thinking about the $20,000 commission on the average $300,000 property. So the seller says, “What am I paying $20,000 for if you aren’t going to provide the photography?” If the seller handed any agent $20,000 at the signing of the listing agreement, the photographer would be at the sellers house before the end of the day! Problem is, it just doesn’t work that way.

    When an agent sits down with the seller to lay out his marketing plan, the agent will give the seller a list of things that need to be done to prepare the home for sale. These include repairs, painting, de-cluttering, staging, lawn maintenance, tree trimming and the like. All of responsibility and cost of these items fall on the seller. Professional real estate photography should be in this same category.

    Before the Internet, the agent would take a single Polaroid of the exterior and put it in the file. Quality wasn’t important. We all know how important good photography has become in the marketing of homes today, but professional photography was never the agent’s responsibility. It’s just that since the agent shot the house before, he assumed photography was still his job. Photography has become so critical that more skill and equipment is needed than what most agents can provide, so a specialist is needed. That’s were you come in.

  • Tweaking the idea

    Okay, if the brokerage has a policy or the agent hires a pro photographer for every listing, this idea isn’t needed. Don’t use it in this situation.

    Those of you who are successful in this industry know that your target audience is the top 5% of agents in your market. I completely agree given the current business model. Using the partnering approach theoretically opens your target audience to all agents. Let’s say you only get 30% of the agents to embrace this concept. That’s a 600% increase in demand for your services. In my economic classes they taught me that greater demand results in higher prices. So now you are shooting more houses at a higher price than you charge today. I’m liking the idea pretty well at this point.

    “How does the agent look like a hero?” The agent shows the seller that for a minimal investment, their home will look better to buyers than the competition (other homes) causing it to sell for more money in a shorter amount of time. Sellers like that!

    “How do we educate the seller as to what GOOD real estate photography is?” Larry already has a free download of “What REALTORS Need to Know About Photography.” It probably wouldn’t need much editing to gear towards sellers.

    Here’s what I need to work on: design the brochure; create a script for the photographer to sell the concept to the agent; create a script for the agent to sell pro photography services to the seller. I’ll have to work on that and get back with you. I’ll take any suggestions and help I can get.

  • @Lee, I think that you and I are on the same wavelength. I understand that photographers at the top of the game (Scott etc) should have the top 5% of agents as their market, and will achieve higher fees.

    That leaves 95%. They cann’t all be duffers. Some of that 95% would love to be able to use our services but, as you point out risk and affordability are issues. Am I in business to do what I want to do, and enjoy doing, and the market can please itself whether they buy it or not. Or am I in the business of identifying what the market wants and providing it. I know which will be more successful.

  • I, for one, used to think agents got their listings and simply did some mass marketing through their own networks, and voila, days later offers fell into their lap. That was pretty immature thinking. I now realize the sheer amount of work that goes into closing a sale. Due to my somewhat shy nature, I wouldn’t even last a day negotiating back and forth on an offer. Agents’ deserve what they’re paid in commission. Having said that, here in Vancouver, BC where housing prices are 3-4 times that of the States, agents still generate a healthy profit from their commissions, even after all the marketing expenses have been dealt with. So most agents up here in Vancouver absorb the photographic costs. In fact, only one agent client of mine asks her clients to pay for the photography. I’m really, really surprised how she pulls that off.

    “Before the Internet, the agent would take a single Polaroid of the exterior and put it in the file. Quality wasn’t important. We all know how important good photography has become in the marketing of homes today, but professional photography was never the agent’s responsibility. It’s just that since the agent shot the house before, he assumed photography was still his job. Photography has become so critical that more skill and equipment is needed than what most agents can provide, so a specialist is needed. That’s were you come in.”

    Lee, that statement is a brilliant educational tool for agents all on its own. I’m going to use this reasoning to convince more agents in my area to begin using professional photography. It’s so true, simply because many agents are not technologically savvy. But they need to get with the program in order to stay competitive, no matter how many referrals they’ve acquired through the years.

  • How does this differ from hiring a professional stager? I know there are differences, but there’s a lot in common too. It’s typically not thought of as the agent’s marketing expense, so the seller pays for it. Can photography be marketed in the same way? Most of my business now is retouching, because all the agent’s in my small area don’t have a problem with dark PS photos since all the other agencies are the same, but I’d like to get around their objections by coming up with a way that it’s more obvious to them that it’s a win/win.

  • Most of the staging in my area is paid for by the Realtor.

  • @Lee – Thank you for a terrific idea as well as for that explanation of what a real estate agent does. There were some on the thread that had no respect for the work of agents and I wish them luck finding clients. People can tell if you don’t respect them and its going to be tough doing business with people you have no regard for. I’m just sayin’!

  • @Shawn- My experience with staging is that there is a wide variation in situations any where from having a stager come in and arrange existing furniture to stagers that bring in a whole house full of furniture and decor items. We frequently staged our listings and sometimes it $1500 to arrange, move out some items, and bring in others while sometimes it costs $5,000 to rent. Depending on the situation some times we pay for the staging, sometimes we split the cost with the seller and sometimes the seller pay for the whole thing.

    So staging is the same because it’s a marketing cost but it’s different in that staging usually costs 10 times what photography does.

  • Respect for Another’s Industry. My best friend was a corprate jet pilot for a local bank for many years. He often complained that his boss and other passengers had no respect for what he did. They referred to him as an over paid taxi driver. He would endlessly tell me how challenging the aviation industry was. As I pilot myself, I could relate. When he lost his job, I sold his house for him and even drove the U-Haul across the country for him. He had little respect for what I did for him, but was careful not to overtly express it. He then got his real estate license in his home state and a year later told me how much more respect he had for me and the real estate brokerage industry than before.

    The other day, he was talking about coming down for a week this summer and he also commented on how much he enjoyed my real estate photography. He said, “When we come down, you can show me how to take pictures like you.” My response was, “And you can show me how to be a commercial corprate jet pilot and we’ll call it even.” People don’t respect the things they don’t understand.

    Don’t you just love the statement, “Your pictures are so beautiful. What kind of camera do you have?” …as though, if you had the right camera, its only a matter pressing the button.

  • “… staging usually costs 10 times what photography does.” So that settles it, we just need to raise our prices 10x. =) Which adds more value to the sale of the house – pro photos or staging?

  • @Shawn- There’s no simple answer, some homes need staging more than others. The properties that are most important to stage are the vacant homes, the homes that the owners have too much furniture in and the homes where the owners don’t have good decorating taste. About 60-70% of homes we’ve listed don’t need staging at all.

  • I just comes down to choice. There is money there but do real estate agents choose to allocate funds to professional pictures? As we know, most do not. But as we also know, the pictures sell the property. But it also depends on the market. To sell a home, it needs to stand out amongst the other homes as the better value. Quality pictures can help as well as price. If you have both aligned, it will sell. If you just have just one, it might sell, but for less. To me, every seller values their home similarly. And every home warrants quality photos – be it a $75,000 modular home or a $4 million dollar custom home. it’s all hard earned money for those sellers and should be represented the best way possible.

  • As an agent, there are 2 sides to my thoughts. I’m almost giddy that most agents here don’t use pro photography, because it makes it so much easier to win a listing from a competitor. All I have to do is open the MLS and show the differences between their photos and mine. For the finale, I show them our video product, and done, they will sell out on their existing realtor relationship because I hit a home run with the marketing and have the stats to back it up. On the opposite side however, I feel bad for the public because I, as we all do, know that pro marketing yields higher prices and potentially more offers. I believe, as others do, that these awful images are costing sellers all over the world billions of dollars per year because of poor marketing.

    All that sad, don’t be too hard on agents that don’t use pro level marketing. This is a crazy business, and to the naked eye, it just appears that we put a sign up, list on the MLS, and wait for the contracts to roll in. That’s almost like saying to a photographer you just show up and snap a few pictures. What’s the big deal? There are hundreds of details including numerous phone calls, stress, weekends, negotiating skills, the ability to craft sales copy, feedback calls, inspections, repair coordination, etc that chew up dozens of hours getting the contract to closing. Then there is the liability, paying for assistants, prospecting for future business, etc. If realtors just sold houses, it would be a sales job. But unlike a traditional corporate sales role, we’re responsible for every facet of project management after the sale is made. It just goes on and on and on….

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  • After thinking quite some time about the original idea of contacting the seller it still makes a great deal of sense to me to market to the seller. This is why: I doubt there are very many agents that can afford to live in homes priced in the above average to high end of their markets.
    My 2 cents.

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