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Redfin Releases Updated Data On The Results Of Professional Real Estate Photography

Published: 10/12/2013
By: larry

RedfinReportA few days ago Lance Selgo in Arlington, TX was talking to a Redfin agent. She gave him a link to data from new Redfin Study. At first he didn't realize that it was an updated version of the now famous 2010 study where Redfin first showed the effect of professional photography on real estate sales. After he realized what it was he passed it on to me. By this time you may have seen other sites referencing this.

As a reminder of how this study identifies professional real estate photography, they use the EXIF data from the MLS photos and if the listing has photos shot with a DSLR it calls it professional. Your first reaction to this might be cynical. Yes, of course, this is not perfect but as demonstrated in this study and the original in 2010 it's good enough. How many professionals do you know not using a DSLR. Sure, an agent shooting for themselves with a DSLR gets counted as a professional, but that makes sense. Most agents serious enough to be shooting with a DSLR are doing similar quality as many professionals. I think this metric works. Just look at the results, they speak for themselves.

Another analysis that this study does that wasn't in the 2010 study is the analysis of sharpness. This new study shows a high correlation between sharpness of the photos and a listing selling at or above the listing price.

For anyone in the real estate photography industry all this stuff is pretty intuitive. As Lance said, his first reaction when talking to the Redfin agent was, "Tell me something I don't already know!" He almost missed the fact that this was an updated Redfin study.

I submit that this study is the kind of thing you want to incorporate into your marketing materials because it is, hard fact not just marketing hype. Particularly if this study is summarized in a prestigious publication like the WSJ like was the case with the 2010 study. The NAR Realtor Mag has already publicized this study. Some Realtors are more likely to believe it if it comes to them in Realtor Mag.

13 comments on “Redfin Releases Updated Data On The Results Of Professional Real Estate Photography”

  1. Here in Albuquerque, MLS has updated the image upload to nearly unlimited and they have reduced the normal image size to that of a business card and no way to make it any larger. At that size, even a 1MP camera shot will look good.

  2. We've been using a professional photographer for all of our listing photos lately and have seen considerably more views online and thus more showings and quicker sales. It's too bad the MLS system won't let us use more high quality photos, definitely prevents the gap from growing even further.

  3. Folks, the king has no clothes! I can think of at least 10 factors that have a much more direct and measurable effect on the actual sold price of a MLS property. Buyer and seller motivations, seller paid closing costs, lender paid closing costs, inspection resolution for repairs, type of mortgage, interest rate, all cash purchase, appraisal, time of year, amount of real estate commission, amount of mortgage payoff, location (corner or cul-de-sac), updates, school district, and more. A tip for aspiring real estate photographers: to avoid looking like an idiot do not go into a brokers office and quote these “statistics”. Instead, sell your photography as a way to brand his office to get more showings and listings.

  4. Good point, Rohnn. These statistics are fine for coffee table discussion, but for selling your work nothing beats "it helps YOU get more listings".

  5. Carter, does your MLS allow links to single-property websites ("virtual tours") to be displayed with the listings? If so, it is easy and relatively inexpensive to create a simple dedicated property website to display all of the photos you want at a size that will permit prospective buyers to have a much better view of the photos than the MLS view provides. Even though some MLSes have been improving the size and quality of the image presentations, it is likely that it will be a very long time before they will provide the kind of view that a dedicated property website can provide.

  6. "Folks, the king has no clothes! I can think of at least 10 factors that have a much more direct and measurable effect on the actual sold price of a MLS property."

    My feeling about professionally shot photos of a home for MLS use (not pic to be published in AD) is that all they are really designed to do it one thing: have the prospective buyer stop on the listing and call the agent to see this place in person. If the pic say "I want to live there" or "that's the perfect room for..." etc, then the photos are truly successful. But the way buyers shop online is they see dozens of home and maybe click on a few- I want the home I photographed to be that one! Once the prospective buyer contact the agent, the photos will not close the deal. The 10 (or more likely 100) things that will sell the house then become important. But if the photos suck, then who want to look at a home that sucks? And that goes for 100k or 1 Million $ homes!

  7. Statistics are funny things, they mean different things to different people. All I know is that there are way more agents in my area than listings, most of the older agents are blaming their inability to get listings on the internet, the new agents are too poor or cheap to spend much on marketing but they all seem to agree that the internet has profoundly changed the way they do business.

    All of the things Rohnn mentioned were as true twenty years ago as they are today, if agents believe that the internet is changing their business and continue to market properties the way they did without out it then they will be the ones without any clothes.

  8. Be careful when using this study. If you are only going after the homes that are over $200,000, fine. But if you are going after your average US home, then the study would be detrimental to your marketing.

  9. I saw this Redfin study on Photoclick a few days ago with the following headline: "Houses with listing photos taken with DSLR cameras sell for more money than those with amateur photos”

    Hmmm..really? No, its more about the skill of the photographer, as opposed to the actual camera used. If that was not the case, the fact that I own pots and pans should make me cook like Wolfgang Puck.

    Having said that, there is no doubt that great pictures sell properties faster and for more money than average ones.

    The real take away from this “study” is, that professional photographers deliver better quality images than those simply snapped by agents.

  10. This is what I get from the agents that are my clients: The home sells faster when I shoot it. Plain and simple. The question is why?

    Now, does that negate all the conditions that Rohnn sited? Of course not. As someone who is a licensed agent, all of what he said matters - but most of that are from points M-Z. How about getting buyers INTO THE HOME in the first place. I have worked with many buyers. They ALL select from the internet. Homes that are well photographed have a "pop" that gets people through the door. More people, more competition, more offers = higher price.

    Of course, the fact that I'm a good photographer matters too. Some agents are great photographers - others - not so much. The dslr also is a factor, but if I couldn't shoot, it would be a lot of technology and money going to waste.

  11. I guess the difference between professional and non-professional in their eyes, is when somebody usually smartphone or doesn't use a smartphone. They don't quite understand to be a professional photographer is not simply using a DSLR camera.

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