Back in a time, not so long ago, real estate agents had a thing called the MLS (Multiple Listing Service). It was privately owned and no one could peek inside unless they were a licensed agent. The listing books were stacked neatly arranged and updated in brokerage offices throughout Westchester – and throughout most of the country for that matter.
Back then, I wasn’t an agent. So I can only recall that time except from the perspective of a home buyer in the late 90s. But I can tell you that photography was not very important back then. In fact, I don’t recall seeing a single photo before viewing a home. Agents seemed to take one polaroid shot of each home they liste and that was that. The internet was around, but a clunky, awkward shadow of its present state. Search engines weren’t that good at searching and internet speed was…well it was dialup! Loading photos? I don’t think so….
As we entered the 21st century things changed. High speed became the norm and the MLS went online. Then aggregators started scraping listings….Suddenly listing photos were everywhere and everything was visual. Buyers suddenly had an insatiable appetite for photos, photos, PHOTOS!!! They want more, more, MORE!!!
In fact it didn’t take long for them to become paramount. Soon enough buyers started to eliminate homes without so much as a drive by. If the photos weren’t top of the line, the listing went to the bottom of the pile. As someone who has worked with many a buyer, I can promise you that it can be like pulling teeth to get a buyer to view a home with shoddy pictures -even though I know they would love if they could only SEE it.
It became so important that between the years of 2008- 2012 I went from ….
Excellent photography is no longer optional.
Above are a couple of typical agent-style photos. These are duds of mine that I took for the benefit of a home stager. They were meant to be informative, not pretty. You would be shocked at how many experienced agents think photos like this are “good enough” in all their glare and dark, dank glory. These shots also reveal the light issues that plague interior photography. Interiors are trickier than people think and you have to know how to manage them. That’s why agent shots, even with the best of intentions, tend to be so problematic. Photos like this are typical. In fact, I’ve seen far worse on the MLS. If you don’t believe me, check out the FB page: Bad MLS Photos.
Of course your agent can hire a photographer. But that photographer comes in only ONCE. If its determined that touchups and tweaks such as painting or new appliances need to be done after the fact, that photographer is not coming back without being paid again. If its pouring rain on the day of the shoot and one of your home’s best features is that its sun-drenched, that’s too bad.
If your agent is a pro-photographer, he or she can come back in and upgrade the photos as the listing demands. Eventually the home pictured above went up for sale. There were several incarnations of staging and painting required once the tenants left.
Here is a fairly typical recent shot that I picked randomly from my portfolio:
So do I offer a value add with for the seller with my photography skills? The answer is an unqualified YES!
Please feel free to contact me anytime to request additional information or to set up an appointment so we can explore your listing or purchasing needs. I am easy to reach by phone, text or email. Or, if you just want to continue your search online, the links below will help you get started.