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Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Should You Use Professional Photos For Your Real Estate Listing?

My short answer is “Yes!”

Having just come back from a week of house hunting in Texas I can’t tell you the large number of just flat out bad photos that we viewed on prospective real estate listings. Even the home that we eventually put an offer on I have to tell you that initially, based on internet photos, I was not excited about seeing. It was Mr. Décor who said he felt it could be “the one”. Upon viewing the home in person it was a completely different story. Given that the house had sat on the market for quite awhile in the midst of a housing boom I understood why. I believe that probably 98% of prospective buyers decide whether or not they take the next step in seeing a home based on what they see online.

There is actually a website dedicated to horrible and often hilarious real estate photos. It is called Terrible Real Estate Photos. I’ll warn you that if you click over to the site you will  waste enjoy 30 minutes of time viewing photos that were somehow approved for internet viewing.

So how do you arrange professional home photography? First and foremost I recommend that you interview at least three prospective real estate agents when you decide to list your home. A good real estate agent knows the power of professional photos. In short, they are a big factor in selling a home.

Our Arizona agent, Kim Decker, was the number one sales agent for the Century 21 office here in our area.  That was reason one to hire her. In addition, Ms. Decker is a consummate professional. When she mentioned that she uses professional photography for all her listings I knew we had met our agent.

By selecting an agent who uses professional photography we did not have to pay the photographer out of our own pockets. It is a serious factor to consider when interviewing an agent. 

I have to stress though that while a photographer can work wonders in presenting your home, you must also be prepared to showcase your home in its best light.


I spent three weeks preparing our home for sale. From the ceiling fans down to the floorboards everything was cleaned and polished. Excess clutter was removed. (Just consider that since you are moving anyway you are getting a jump on some of the packing.)


Closets were purged, furniture that we planned not to move was Craiglisted and a garage sale was held. The remaining furniture was grouped in arrangements that while not perfect, were still somewhat pleasing. 

All the bedding, slipcovers and window treatments were washed or dry-cleaned.

Touch up painting was done throughout the home.

Since Mr. Décor was in Hawaii during this time I did invest a couple hundred dollars to have a gardener come in and trim all the tall trees and bushes. He also weeded and brought in 2 tons of gravel to refresh our rock beds. I made sure the pots of flowers were blooming beautifully.

Of course now we wait for a buyer. In our last two homes I followed the same formula and both homes had multiple offers within one week of listing. If you happen to be in need of a well cared for home in the Phoenix area, in an excellent school district, by all means contact our agent, Kim. She will be happy to show you the property in person. :)



Linda said...

Your home looks great! I hope it sells fast :)
I can't imagine ever moving, but both my daughter and I take professional-quality photos, so happily no need to hire anyone else. The housing market is much different where we live; nothing sells quickly in our town and our home values have continued to fall rapidly over the years. I knew this when we chose living here, but we wanted to live here because there was affordable housing far away from the Chicago suburbs (we're 2 hours downstate Illinois). It will be a problem though someday when my parents are no longer alive and we have to sell their house next door....

Love, Linda

ℳartina @ Northern Nesting said...

Laura your home looks perfect!! I'm sure it will be a quick sale!

Auntie Em said...

Your home and yard look lovely! The decor is nice and neutral to make it easy for people to see all the great features.
I would think having a pro photograph it is a good idea. There are some times when it is OK to cut corners but this wouldn't be one of them.
Best of luck on selling your home and getting moved into your new one!

Butterfly 8)(8 Bungalow said...

It looks great! I hope it sells quickly! xoxo

Lisa said...

Laura, your home looks lovely! I've no doubt that some lucky buyer will quickly snap it up!

Linda Merrill said...

Great and important tips to share Laura! I did all the same when selling my parent's house. Of the 3 realtors I interviewed, two said they used professional photography, which immediately cut out the third. They brought in a third party company who specializes in real estate photography and they had a dedicated website which showcased the photos as well as floor plans so perspective buyers could put the room shots in context. I think it made all the difference. And this service was only something around $200. Nothing for the realtor to be spending. The house went in one day, which was actually shocking and had a lot to do with timing. Wishing you a speedy sale!!

Vicki said...

Praying for a quick sale... it looks lovely!

Vel Criste said...

With these photos, I'm sure it will sell quickly Laura! Your love for your home emanates thru the photographs, buyers just have to see that! Good luck dear!

Betty from My Irish Cottage Home said...

Pictures really matter is all I can say. When we were in search of our second home the real estate agent showed up several pictures. I saw one and said this one is out, it looked horrible. The picture showed the driveway and it was all rock and grass and it only showed the side of the house. Hubby said lets just look at it anyway. Thank God he said that. It was this house and we bought it. The house had good bones and look nice inside. The picture they took showed it in the most horrible way they could and only had one picture for outside and none for the inside.

The Quintessential Magpie said...

Well, it looks fantastic!

How are you? I have missed you and have been gone for what seems like an eternity. I jumped back in the pool today and wanted to pay you a call and see what you are up to in your world. Looks like a lot! And that house will sell. It is in move in condition and looks great.

You are so right about photos. You made a good move with these.

Hope all is well with your family. Sending you love and hugs from Florida and prayers for a quick sell!



Pat@Life At Lydias House said...

Your house looks spotlessly clean!! The photos look great and you are right, I think everybody uses the online photos to thin out the ones they will be seeing in person. All the more reason to have professional photos! Good luck with a quick sale and I can't wait to see the new place!

Jane said...

You've done a fantastic job preparing your house for sale! Hope it sells quickly and your offer on the Texas house is accepted. Moving is hard but you have such a great attitude you'll flourish anywhere you live.

Debbie said...

I love the photos of your home. They would draw me in if I were a looker.

I agree with what you said about photos. I was recently looking at the listings of two different houses online (not to buy; I was just being nosy.) The real estate agent is a woman I know, and her own home is really well decorated and appointed. The photos of both of these houses, on the other hand, were horrible. There were messes on the counters and tables, and she took the shot and put it online. What???

Fairhope Supply Co. said...

We are lucky because my husband is a professional photographer, so he has always taken the photos for our houses when we've put them up for sale. But you still have to be careful that the dog's rear end or a stray sock isn't left hiding somewhere in the photo!

Cindy-Living*Laughing*Loving said...

I admire you! You've done an awesome job!!

lynn cockrell said...

Your home looks great! Thanks for all the good advice. I hope you will have a quick sale and a good move to your new home.

Liz Hockamier said...

A perfect example of how "staging" is so important. It looks great! :)

Angela said...

Your house is gorgeous, Laura! Praying for your move to Texas.

Liz Hockamier said...

Oh! I see those pretty little flowers on your desk. :)
I think I would like to see more flowers in the staging process. LOL. :)
Thank you for sharing for Fresh-Cut Friday!