I believe one of the best things you can do for yourself, as a real estate agent, is to invest in a good photographer. When preparing to sell a client’s home you want to make sure you are showcasing the property’s best features. Often times, the greatest aspects of a home can’t be captured property through a cell phone camera. Real estate photographers are more properly equipped to handle this, as they are trained to know about space, lighting, and design. The photos are often the buyer’s first impression of the home and are therefore very significant in terms of marketing practices.
I understand that many agents are hesitant towards the idea of hiring a professional photographer for their property listings, but I believe that uncertainty is rooted in misconceptions. I’ve come across agents that tell me they’re worried that photographers will produce highly edited versions of the home and set unrealistic expectations. I agree you don’t want to present an inaccurate view of the space because it will serve you no good in the long run, but hiring a photographer is a more collaborative process than you may expect. You can express these concerns to the photographer and request that they only apply minimal edits to the photo.
Another common concern is the potential cost of hiring someone to take photos for you. I recommend looking into young freelance photographers that are either finishing up their degree or a recent graduate. Young professionals are always eager to get their foot in the door and gain some experience, so I’ve found that they’re usually very enthusiastic about the work. I once hired a 22-year-old art student who was looking to build her portfolio and make some extra money while home for the summer break. I found that she was always trying to put her best foot forward and prove herself as a young professional. While she may not have been a well-established, seasoned photographer she applied a level of effort and care that is sometimes difficult to find.
Budding photographers have lower rates as they’re starting out, therefore making this a very affordable option. Also, with the rate that technology is advancing and digital media is updating, it’s good to have someone on your team that is well-versed in all the latest tech specifications. Through this collaborative process, I was learning new ways to apply these images to my digital brand. Once I had images I was proud of I was finally able to flood my website and social media sites with quality content. I was excited to show off my listings and impress my clients with quick, positive results.
There are a few universal tips for obtaining great photos, whether you’re utilizing a young professional, a seasoned pro, or shooting it yourself. No matter how good your photographer may be, they still can’t create a warm atmosphere if doesn’t exist. That’s where you are responsible for delegating, prepping, and managing.
If it is not already understood, you should always inform the client ahead of time that you plan to have photos taken on a certain date. Give your client as much notice as possible so that adequate preparations can be made. This is where you are responsible for delegating certain “chores” to your client in order to get the home in the best possible shape. These “chores” may include tasks like patching up a hole in the wall, replacing lightbulbs, or applying a fresh coat of paint as needed. My goal is to capture the beauty and charm of the home, so it’s also helpful to remove anything that may distract from that. We also want to make it easy for people to envision themselves in the space.
I recommend providing your clients with a checklist of household items that should be removed or adjusted before photos can be taken. By providing your client with a checklist in advance it will make the process run smoothly, and allow for the best possible photos of the home. You don’t have to waste time hiding TV remote and dog bowls on the day of photos. It’s important to be patient though and understand that this can be difficult for clients. When you’re familiar with the space and have emotional ties, it can be hard identifying certain personal touches. Also, understand that your client may still be actively living in the space, so necessary items can just be temporarily hidden or stored for the duration of photos.
I was able to use my personal experience as an agent, along with helpful recommendations from photographers, to curate a short checklist for clients to utilize before “picture day.” I have included this checklist below for reference. Feel free to use my list, or create your own based on your client experiences. Either way, just remember to highlight the home’s natural charm and allow for potential buyers to imagine themselves in the space. Someone, somewhere, might just find their dream home within those photographers.
Preparing Your Home for Real Estate Photos
- Turn off ceiling fans
- Turn off television sets
- Put away pet-related items (beds, food & water dishes etc.)
- Clear clutter off of counters such as loose papers, mail, purse, etc.
- Remove throw blankets from the couch
- Remove photos, magnets and other things from the refrigerator
- Clear the sink of dishes, washcloths, and sponges
- Temporarily hide soap dispensers
- Hide any trash containers
- Make all beds
- Hide all TV remotes
- Put away any personal photos
- Store all workout/medical equipment
- Clear sink of personal hygiene items
- Temporarily hide toothbrushes if visible
- Fold towels neatly that hang on towel rails
- Clean mirrors
- Park your car across the street so that driveway and garage are clear
- If you use a trash pickup service, please remove large bins from driveway