Go online and take a look at the different real estate listings in your area and you’ll probably see that the photographs seemed to fall into three categories. The first category includes photos specifically meant to catch a potential buyer’s eye, while the second contains those awful images everyone notices for all the wrong reasons and in third is when viewers don’t even take notice of. So the question is who exactly are taking these photographs and what are they doing differently?

Are all the best photographs taken by professionals?

The answer to that question isn’t really something that anyone can answer honestly, as there is no quantifiable data. The reality is that it doesn’t matter who takes the actual photos, it’s the end-result that matters and whether or not they are having the desired effect when marketing a home. Generally speaking though, the quality of the photos in a listing usually reflects how hard a real estate agent is prepared to work to sell your home.

There was a time when agents would tell sellers that the all important first impression given to a potential buyer was all about the curb appeal. The impression that would-be buyers would get when they pull up outside of a home and instantly put them in a positive mindset before they’ve even set foot into the home to view the rest of it. Today though, the first impression that most prospective buyers get of a home is what they see on their computer screens. Screen appeal now trumps curb appeal because that’s how most people search for houses online today through listings on websites like Zillow or Trulia.

There are many factors that go into a real estate agent’s ability to sell your property. A good, professional agent will market all their listings in the best way possible, and will see that work as a reflection of how they want other sellers to see them. They also know that good quality photographs are critical in today’s property market. Many people who are in the first stages of deciding whether or not they buy a new home will skim through listings to see what is on offer in their price range, but buyers who have made a firm decision to purchase a new home will view the listings with more of an analytical eye.

The most effective listing photos are the ones which show homes at their best. Potential home buyers are drawn to homes with clear, well-framed photos more so than those either with no photographs, or those with poorly taken foggy and out of focus images. Well taken, professional photographs will likely help the sale of a house rather than hurt it.

So why do some real estate agents take their own listing photographs?

There are normally only 3 reasons why agents will choose to take their own photographs.

  1. The most prevalent reason is because they simply don’t want to pay for these out of their own pocket since there is no guarantee that they will get a return on that investment if they can’t sell the home. But ask yourself this question. If an agent isn’t prepared to pay $100-200 to get professional photography for your home to make sure that it’s presented in its best light, how confident do you think they are that they are going to be able sell the property?
  2. The agent may be skilled with a camera and have all of the right equipment to be able to take professional looking real estate photographs themselves. There’s no doubt that there are some agents who are able to do this, but they are in the vast minority of agents and not the majority. As the number of agents that are able to take professional looking real estate photographs is minute, the best agents choose to work with professionals to make sure their listings stand out for all the right reasons.
  3. The third reason some listing agents choose to take their own photographs has nothing at all with budget constraints but rather it relates more towards in the inability to coordinate everything so there no conflicts between themselves, other providers such as stagers, and the photographer. In this case the question still remains, whether the agent is still doing the best job for their clients if they are prepared to sacrifice quality when it comes to marketing a home for their convenience.

When you are hiring a real estate agent to list your home one of the many questions you should each agent that you interview is how are they going to market your home. Specifically ask if they will be using professionally taken photographs, or will they be taking them themselves. If they are considering taking them themselves, here’s a list of questions that you might want to ask them…

  • Do other similar home for sale in the area have professionally taken photographs and video to showcase them, or are they display cellphone pictures?
  • Will better quality images attract more potential buyers?
  • Will poor quality photographs turn potential buyers away?
  • What equipment will you be using and what photography experience do you have?
  • Will you be carrying out any post-production editing of the images to make sure they look their absolute best?
  • Can we review the images together and opt for a professional if I am not happy with them?

Good quality images are not just about the MLS

In the era of Pinterest, Instagram and other social media sites that rely heavily on visuals, real estate photography is more important than ever. More importantly though, a great photo can inspire and motivate potential buyers to view the property — plus it indicates to potential buyer that your home is being sold by an agent who takes their role seriously and has the best interest of their clients at heart.

When you decide to sell your home, make sure yours in the first category where the photographs get your home noticed for all the right reasons, and not in the second category where they are being ridiculed because of the inferior photography.


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