Friday, December 28, 2007

Is Your Realtor A Good Photographer?

When was the last time you heard anybody recommend that you ask a prospective Realtor how good they are at taking photographs?  Probably never. It’s not something that most people think about asking in the process of interviewing a couple of agents in order to choose a Realtor.

But, with nearly 90% of today’s consumers starting their home search online (and a whopping 24% actually buying a house they found online) it’s crucial that your home’s online presence be pretty near perfect.

You can check out a short and sweet post explaining the critical nature of photographs. Click here. It’s from the GeekEstate bloggers. I love those guys! Basically, this photograph is a problem. (I didn't want to infringe on any copyrights, so you'll have to click on it to see what I mean)  The front-of-home photo in that link will almost certainly make you instantly uncomfortable. The vertical lines of the house look crooked because the agent who took the original either had the caffeine shakes when s/he took it, and/or didn't photoshop the image before posting online.

Ooops, I've probably offended the Photoshop people by using their trademark as a verb. I'm a former trademark paralegal and I know that just makes TM lawyers gnash their teeth and tear at their clothes.

While you're at it, ask your Realtor how many photos s/he posts online. The metro Phoenix MLS allows 6, and allows up to 25 pics!  NAR studies (from 2005 I believe) show that homes with multiple photos get 299% more views than those with only 1. Wow!

In the metro Phoenix area, potential online buyers clicking next because your photos aren't gorgeous is a big problem. We’ve got over 55,000 homes for sale. It’s common for buyers to have 200, 300 or even 400 homes to choose from that suit their needs. It’s crucial that your online photos, virtual tour and written description capture as many interested parties as possible.

If you’ve hired a Realtor who posts subpar photos or only 1 photo, you've shot yourself in the foot before you begin. But hire a Realtor who takes time with her photos and online browsers will see this - the same house with crooked vertical lines all fixed up.  Ahh, much better.