I've been reading the PFRE Blog for two years. I´m very excited about the idea of a PFRE Business here in Vienna. Now I work fulltime as Insurance sales. I have two little girls and a wife. My Dream is to shoot the luxury House and Apartments here in Vienna, but my time is very barely.
My question is:
I´m not sure but I think the real estate sales here in Austria is a little bit difference than in the US. When I look at the listings here in Austria, I have the feeling that very few of the realtors has a professional photographer doing their photos.
If I search Real Estate Photography in Vienna, Austria I find nobody who is doing that alone. Some Photographers do architectual photography as a side job. Maybe its a new Market here in Austria. Do you have any experience with this thesis. Or maybe other Photographers which are reading this blog too.
Since I know very little about the details of real estate photography market in Europe, I consulted my friend Oliver Zielinski in Berlin. Olli says:
In metropolitan areas like Vienna or Berlin there is currently a high damand for properties on the buyer's side. Thus many realtors do not see any need to improve their marketing. They are satisfied with their own iphone photos quite often, what makes business for starting photographers very hard. Established photogs have their business partners and can rely on their existing RE contacts. And I have also heard about successful RE photogs who have found some other niches like interior design photography or shooting for high end construction firms. On the other hand there is of course some kind of strange "commercial awareness" with many medium and small RE businesses: They stubbornly save money by not using professional photos but at the same moment they do not see the impact of bad photos on their overall performance and their professional reputation.
Olli's response brought to mind the phenomena I noticed a few weeks ago about the state of the real estate market in the Seattle area. Appraiser, Alan Pope maintains a chart of the number of listings on the market in King County (greater Seattle area). Alan's data shows the number of properties on the market in King County is at a 10 year low and the rate of sale of new properties on the market (inventory absorption) is at a 10 year high. This is similar to what Ollie describes in Berlin and Vienna, yet Seattle is one of the top markets for real estate photographers in the US (although far behind Australia).
So why the difference between in demand for real estate photography in Seattle and Vienna? In Seattle listing agents have been using real estate photography extensively for the last 10 years. They believe in it and homeowners demand real estate photography! Listing agents that don't provide professional photography don't get listings in Seattle! I think that for real estate photography to be popular you have to have a population of homeowners and listing agents that believe in it and it takes time for agents an homeowners to become believers.
Update 10/14: I think Jerry Miller in the comments described what the difference is between Vienna and Seattle probably is. There are to fundamental reasons to do professional real estate marketing:
In Seattle, I know both 1 and 2 are going on. Probably in Vienna there isn't much of 2 going.