Realtor Marketing 101 | Property Pictures
Too often Realtor’s are using their iPhones and Androids for producing marketing photos of their listings online and in the MLS. This is not only so wrong, it’s truly unprofessional. Real Estate Agents are givenover the trust of a homeowner to sell their property in a professional manner. In today’s market, you cannot effectively market a property without professional pictures which showcase your listing on the MLS and online. If you’re one of these Realtors please read on and let me try to convince you to stop this practice.
CASE STUDY #1: At the time that I wrote this article I randomly went onto Zillow, searched for single-family homes in Las Vegas from 250K to 350K and this listing pulled up on the first page. It looks like an attractive property from the outside and has a pool on the inside. That’s about all I can see of the property with the only 2 photos which are supplied.
Now before I get into this I know a lot of agents will tell me that “the property is only going to sell for $100,000 so it’s not worth paying for pictures”. This is complete horseshit, sorry for the language but it’s true. Let’s do some math using a $100,000 & $50,000 sales price:
$100,000 | $50,000 Sales Price by 2.5% for the Selling Side of the Commission = $2,500 | $1,250
Let’s say your on a 70/30 split with your broker so your commission is now = $1,750 | $875
Most Realtors are independent contractors, meaning you own and run your own business. Your business is only as successful as you are at convincing buyers to be represented by you, and convincing sellers to list their properties for them. A business requires investment into marketing, accounting, administrative, transportation, etc, and the list goes on. Property Pictures are a cost of doing business because you simply cannot professionally and effectively market a property without them. This is 2013, not 1996, and buyers are online looking at properties daily. They are looking at properties sent to them from their Realtor via the MLS, and they are online conducting searches on Zillow or Trulia. When they check out these listings online they are looking at location, price, and the pictures (videos too if they are available).
In my opinion, there is money in your $1,750 commission to pay for professional photos. Marketing pictures are only going to run you somewhere between $65 to $90. How do you expect to get a showing for your property without showing off your property professionally in profile pictures?
If it’s a $50,000 listing, you can make a case for now not hiring a professional photographer, however you have to come up with a better alternative to an iPhone or Android picture. You need some simple equipment and some basic training on taking professional-like pictures. So if you decide not to get a professional photographer then be a professional yourself and get the training and equipment you need to perform your job to the best of your abilities.
CASE STUDY #2: The Listing that almost didn’t sell! Here is the actual listing as it was marketed on Trulia. This is the listing Andrea is under contract on. As you can see it’s nice and simple good looking house. It’s located in a very nice western suburb of Chicago. However, for a 3 Bedroom / 2Bathroom Single Family Home, which is in great shape, how can you only have 3 Photos!!!
The Listing which almost didn’t sell because of bad Property Pictures, A True Story
In order to illustrate the point let me tell you about a true story which just took place in my office regarding our closing coordinator Andrea in her housing hunt for a new home. Andrea has been working in our office for about 3 to 4 years and handles our admin work and is also the closings coordinator. From working at a real estate brokerage she is familiar with the MLS, Property Listings, Property Pictures, and residential real estate overall. This winter Andrea began searching for her first new home with the boyfriend and used one of our agents to begin the search with. Andrea also has some very involved parents who were also viewing properties along side of them, they are great and looking out for her best interest.
In December 2012, Andrea was about 2 months into her home search when a new listing popped up on the MLS and it was automatically sent over to Andrea to check out. She viewed the property online and decided she wasn’t interested and didn’t go to view it in person. The property was checked OFF of the list.
The pictures for this listing were not only bad they actually made the property look worse! Andrea’s parents were getting the MLS updates via email and they viewed this particular property online as well. Her father had a hunch about the listing with the bad pictures and after a few more weeks of searching other properties he decided perform a drive by on this particular one. After he viewed the property from the street and walked around the exterior of it he called Andrea and said “we have to and check this house out, I think the pictures were just bad but it looks like it could be the one”.
Next, Andrea makes an appointment to see the property and view it in person. It turns out she loves the property and it’s a perfect fit for her and her boyfriend. The property is now under contract and expected to close in February 2013.
Marketing a Property Requires Investment
So what’s the point of all this?
It’s a simple point to make but it’s crucial to your real estate business. Everywhere your name appears in print and online you want a professional image portrayed. Property Listings with dark and faded pictures are a direct representation of you and your brand. That’s it, if you cannot connect the dots here then your competition will eventually destroy you.
Finally, there are plenty of opportunities for Realtors who realize this fact about many of the agents in our business. There is a window of opportunity to compete against other agents in order to attract more listings and buyers purely because some of the competition lacks ability and professionalism. Property Pictures serve two purposes for any Real Estate Agent:
1. Property Pictures help Realtors market their listings to prospective buyers who are searching online. Those buyers may be receiving MLS data from their agents and/or searching external websites like Zillow, Trulia, Homes.com, Realtor.com, and/or Homefinder.com. Realtors are marketers, the best Realtors are great marketers.
2. Property Pictures are one of the services Realtors provide their clients. When a Realtor takes on a new listing they are committing to the professional execution of a Marketing Plan that listing. Why else take on a listing if you don’t plan to sell it! This is a true Value Added Service which should be part of your Listing Presentation to prospective sellers.
I’m a big believer in the “Value Added Proposition” which Realtors bring to their clients. Property Pictures are part of the Basic 101 in Realtor Marketing. If an agent cannot add their ability to obtain and use Professional Property Pictures to market a listing, then what is that agents value to a homeowner who wants to sell their property?
I hope I drove home the point here about Property Pictures for selling your listings. I’m developing more training for 2013 for Realtors, if your unsure about your Online Marketing Plan and how you market yourself and your clients listings online then you need to send me a message and set up an appointment.
Please leave a comment below and let me know what you think.
Thank you, George Cuevas…