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Should Real Estate Photographers Charge More For Listings Co-listed Between Two Offices?

Published: 11/10/2016
By: larry

colistingagentsMichael in Colorado asks:

Should I charge more for a photo shoot if there are two real estate brokers from two different companies listing the property together? This comes up several times per year. I'm inclined to let it slide and just charge our standard rate since typically both brokers are long time valued clients. However, I see both sides of the coin here. More people are receiving value from our photography (two different companies with their own vast marketing networks), therefore it seems fair to charge an additional licensing fee. However, if the

brokers were from the same company, I know that I would not charge any additional fees. It's the fact that it's being shared by two different companies.

I worked with my wife for 10 years listing properties in the Seattle area and a few times we co-listed a listing with an agent in a different office. My experience is that this happens because of a strong personal relationship between the agents involved, not because of any marketing motivation. The reason we did this was because friends that we worked closely with in our office moved to a different office.

The listing commission is still split between the two listing agents and the two offices. I doubt it's done because of any attempt improve the marketing leverage. In fact, it confuses the hell out of buyers. I wouldn't be surprised if some offices don't even allow it.

So my advice would be to not charge any differently than usual. As you point out it is relatively rare.

7 comments on “Should Real Estate Photographers Charge More For Listings Co-listed Between Two Offices?”

  1. Just in my personal experience, I don't charge any additional fees. I have found in my small regional area (not metropolitan or city) that I am paid by one or the other and it is still just one property. As long as I get paid for my work at my rates, I am not much concerned. But I have found the bonus in doing so is that often the other partner in the shared listing becomes a new client after they see the awesome photography I do (said with all modesty as I have been learning from Trump) and that I can offer them video as well and can even provide graphic design if required. All good value added. That then becomes word of mouth advertising within the agency. I tend to take a long term view of all this and I am not greedy in my old age, just a bit more challenged when having to climb canyon walls for those establishing shots, more leery of snakes in the undergrowth, and tend to have a harder time tolerating idiots. Happy very few of the latter and too many of the former. Bought some "anti snake gaiters" the other day so I can be more relaxed when my focus is on shooting, not hillside residents.

  2. I would charge the same, but I would sit down and have a think about the licensing. If one broker drops out, can they still use the images to advertise themselves? If one broker drops out, does the one retaining the listing get to keep using the images to sell the property? While the primary use of the images is to sell the home and that doesn't change, twice as many entities may be entitled to continue using the images to advertise themselves depending on your licensing policies. Are you getting more work from both of the offices by offering a dual license? If you can get them into a marketing war, you could bulk up your sales by getting into video, aerials and brochures.

    Think about specific licensing terms for this arrangement. You want to keep yourself from getting dragged into the middle of anything. In the US, it's rare to have something other than an exclusive listing. In other parts of the world listings are nearly all non-exclusive and the owner (vendor) pays the marketing costs.

  3. I often do shoots for one agency who share the listing with another agency, where they split the costs and commission, and I charge my usual fee once. However, if a competing agency wants to use my images then I only let them if it's okay with the client who I shot them for, and then I charge my standard rates.

  4. Even if listed by only one brokerage, the photos will still generally be syndicated to the same websites (Zillow, Trulia, etc.) and will still be accessible by consumers on other brokerage websites via the brokers' IDX connection to the MLS. To me it seems that the only additional usage would be a potential increase in print advertising, and don't see any logic in charging more when the end usage will still be the same (online syndicated use and in print brochures/ads specifically geared toward marketing the property). I agree with @Ken Brown that you need to ensure all parties understand your licensing terms, lest one or both brokerages believe they can put your work on their website masthead or other forms of use not related to the sale of the property. In my experience, when my clients co-list with other agents, they advocate for utilizing my services, which means that I have the opportunity to introduce myself to a new client and in some cases an entirely new brokerage.

    I would also make sure that both agents agree to your terms of service and understand that you will hold them jointly and severally responsible for payment of the total fees due. You don't want to be in a situation where Agent A has paid and Agent B has not. Not only is it just plain awkward, but it opens the door to a lot of really unpleasant what-ifs.

  5. things are really different in the UK - our estate agents all work together under one name in one office (several if there is a chain), we don't have individuals who are estate agents working on their own. I have been asked a couple of times to attend the same address but for different agents. luckily this has been for different dates. I do all the photos again and just reuse the floor plan. they then get charged as normal. I try to make the pics ever so slightly different and not make one better than the other. I think its easier to just go and re-do it so as then there are no conflicts between agents or me!

  6. @Kellie, In the US, agents work under a Broker who "owns" the listings. Often times agents in the same office will operate as a team but it's rare that agents working under different brokers will share a listing. For one thing, the division of the sales commission can get complicated. Agents cannot work on their own and must work under a licensed broker even if some brokers tolerate agents appearing to be independent businesses.

  7. @Ken, I don't know about where you are, but in KY and IN agents can be Brokers who are totally independent. It isn't usually recommended since working for a "normal" brokerage usually has its perks, but some agents choose to anyway. As for two (or more) agents from multiple Brokerages co-listing a property, that is new to me. I have never seen it in our markets, and we would not allow it at our brokerage (at least that is my understanding).

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