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Just In: New Statistics on Realtors' Experience of Real Estate Photography

Published: 21/09/2019

Author: Tony Colangelo

Dave from Canberra, Australia sent me a note highlighting the results from research conducted by IMOTO, a real estate photography company out of New Orleans, LA. They surveyed 248 Realtors who utilized professional real estate photography, with the survey aimed at finding out more about realtors' beliefs regarding:

  1. The most important photo in the real estate shoot;
  2. The product most likely to win over sellers;
  3. The importance of professional real estate photography to sellers when choosing a real estate agent to list their property;
  4. The benefits of professional real estate photography for Realtors

Here are some of the findings:

  • 80.2% of participants believe the front picture is the most important picture in the shoot.
  • The majority of Realtors believe interior videos are most likely to win realtors the listing.
  • 61.3% of Realtors believe real estate photography is “crucial”.
  • 31.0% of Realtors believe real estate photography is “important” to sellers.
  • 72.2% of participants agree that real estate photography helps them win more listings.
  • 68.9% of Realtors surveyed believe professional photography helps them brand their business.
  • 69.8% of Realtors who use professional photography believe that doing so decreases days on market.
  • 88.0% agree that professional real estate photography helps increase showings and increase online listing views.

Personally, I'm a bit surprised by perception that interior videos are "most likely" involved in the realtor winning the listing. I'm more surprised that, in a world where virtually everyone starts their search for a new home by going online and looking at photos, only 88% of realtors believe that photos increase showing/online listing views. I would love to have a chat with those other 12% to explore why they didn't agree with that.

That said, I think there might be an opportunity to engage our clients with this data (i.e., as a conversation starter to find out a bit more of what our clients are thinking along these lines.)

So, what do you think? Does anything in the findings surprise you?

Tony Colangelo is a residential and commercial photographer, as well as a photography coach, based in Victoria, BC, Canada. He is a long-time contributor to PFRE and is the creator of The Art & Science of Great Composition tutorial series.

Tony Colangelo

8 comments on “Just In: New Statistics on Realtors' Experience of Real Estate Photography”

  1. It would be good to know what market those agents are in. 248 is a pretty small sample size. I like where most of those numbers sit, but I too am surprised by the video response. A good adjunct question would be what percentage of their market has professional still images of the listings. The 31% of sellers that believe photos are important is disappointing. A couple of agents I do work for only hire my when sellers require professional photos and the number of times I hear that from agents is increasing.

    Perhaps the video interest is in response to all of the flipper shows on TV.

  2. I've done videos almost since the day it became possible to link them to MLS. Listing is a competition. Sellers want their realtors to be highly competitive. At the time, my first and most progressive realtor made a decision to advance to a new level of sales. His goal was to secure ALL of the highest value properties in our area. He engaged me to produce still and videos worthy of that clientele, and he did indeed secure that segment of the market for himself. The people who's properties we marketed were ecstatic about what we provided for them, and it created buzz. We could barely keep up with demand. And the way it works is: If you have the listing, you always get a commission no matter who sells the house. Listing is a competition.

  3. @Ken Brown, At the top of the article it says that the research was conducted by a photography company out of New Orleans. I’d like to know more about where exactly the survey was conducted and the state of the agents when they answered the survey. I could totally see this coming from a party at a bar. 🙂

  4. Also, it depends on what market you are in. Are you in one of the fastest growing cities in the country (like me) or a really depressed market? Here, I see agents all the time listing houses that are two to three times the average home price just using their phone. The house still sells pretty quickly. The agents that use me are the ones who understand marketing and branding, and how it helps their business.
    And video? Most agents I ask about it don't really care that much.

  5. I have done survey research, and this one is so sketchy as to be essentially useless. Its amazing how dumb smart people can get when they are conducting or interpreting surveys (or even writing about them).
    If as you stated, this is a survey of "248 Realtors who utilized professional real estate photography", then the following answers are useless:
    61.3% of Realtors believe real estate photography is “crucial”.
    31.0% of Realtors believe real estate photography is “important” to sellers.
    72.2% of participants agree that real estate photography helps them win more listings.
    They are already using professional photographers. They have come to the conclusion that real estate photography is worth it. That's called "intrinsic bias".
    This cannot be confused with a survey of ALL realtors, regardless of whether they hire professional photographers.
    Secondly, belief is no substitute for data. I may believe that my car is a better, wiser choice than others on the road and that it gets me to work faster, but where are the data? Where is the evidence.
    What would be really useful is for a University-level "center for real estate studies" to conduct science-based survey research on this topic.
    Until then, we should pay no heed to this claptrap.

  6. Hi All,

    Thanks for taking time to read the results of our survey. It was an informal survey among our customers (located throughout 10 states). As mentioned, the respondents (248) were all users of professional photography and the questions were opinion based. While this was not a scientific research study, the results did show some interesting findings which we were inclined to share. These preliminary findings could point to great areas for additional research within the industry. We'd love to see more in-depth research in each of these areas.

    Thanks again!

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