A Resource, NOT just a Billboard

When looking for a company to do business with you have to get past the marketing and the wow factor that they have put into capturing your attention and/or business and dig deeper.

A few years back I had worked with a company that was looking for a change. They had been whewed by the company they hired and a whole bunch of whoop-la. Not only did they find this company’s marketing catchy, but they found their prices to be to good to pass up.

It wasn’t until 3-4 months later, they realized this company was only doing the bare minimum of what their contract stated so they did not stay in breech, their customer service was almost non-existent, and they begin to get nickel and dimed for additional services and fees that were not all disclosed or discussed fully in the initial consultation.

Everyone knows the saying to “never trust a skinny cook”, but in most businesses the idea that a mechanic drives a beat up car, an IT tech works on a buggy computer, or a maid had a dirty house all tend to have the same examples of hard working professionals that don’t have their own things in order because they are too busy providing a great service for others.

Now, just to be clear, I am not saying you should always trust a fat cook or not trust a mechanic that drives a Porsche, however, there is always more than meets the eye when it comes to choosing a business to work with.  Make sure that the companies you choose to work with are a value added and that you are being provided with more than just a service. Each company you choose to do business with and build a relationship should provide you a few things: Great Value, Outstanding Communications, Amazing Customer Service, Invaluable Resources, and most importantly the Ability to Help you Grow and Succeed as Your Own Business.

Great Value – Does the quality of products/services match the price. Don’t just look at pricing when evaluating quotes and proposals, pricing can easily be manipulated to look appealing but hidden cost or additional products/services could be left out to make the initial offer more enticing. So always compare apples to apples not apples to oranges.

Outstanding Communications – This goes beyond customer service. Most companies will answer every time you call to close the sell but afterwards they are no where to be found. What form of communication do they offer? Phone, Email, Text, Skype, etc. Do they have a point of contact for you or someone dedicated to your account? Can you reach someone 24/7 or is there a hotline for after hours? In this ever changing world, things are becoming more and more fast pace; it is important to have work with a business that can keep.

Amazing Customer Service – This kind of goes without saying, however, a good look into a companies policies are a great place to start. Also, some companies have a more lenient policy that even though their terms and conditions may look strict, there can be exceptions and waivers. Companies these days have to document everything so customers, employees, lawyers, etc. don’t take advantage of them, but case by case exceptions will really show you how much a company wants your business and how much they care about your overall success rate and repeat business relationship.

Invaluable Resources – Well this one might be a “duh” bullet point, but I’m not talking about general resources that a company has in which was the reason behind you working with them; I’m talking about the things you can’t do on your own and how they do it.  Is the product you are buying or the service have certain warranties or advantages that will help ensure your business is successful. Be sure to review these resources when choosing a company to do business with.

Ability to Help you Grow and Succeed as Your Own Business – This is a big one, when I am looking for business to work with, I am looking at them almost at the partnership level. B2B networking and deals can be extremely helpful or extremely hurtful to the overall goals of your company. Ask yourself, “if I were to partner with this company, will my company be better because of it, will this add or subtract my current work load, can I trust this company?” If the answer to all 3 is yes, than that just might be a company that is a resource and not just a billboard.

When it’s Okay to Get Your iPhone Out 

Senario 1:

You just signed on the dotted line with a new seller and the listing is a lower priced listing. You want to save money  and you want to get the listing on the market asap; so you grab your iPhone, snap some photos, and post on MLS.

  • The listing sits on the market a little bit or a lot longer than you would expect
  • You don’t have a lot of showings
  • You sell the listing for below asking price

Senario 2:

You just signed on the dotted line with a new seller and the listing is a lower priced listing. You want to save money  but you know that hiring a professional will not only help the listing sell but it will also add value and quality to your brand as a Realtor.

  • The listing was on the market less time than other similar listings
  • You had a lot more showings and most likely multiple offers
  • You sold the listing for asking price or higher.

There are so many decisions that involve a ‘cost versus benefit’ approach, but photographs are not one of them. Photos are the key essential for marketing your listing so don’t cheat and cut corners.

Now I did title this “When it’s Okay to Get Your iPhone Out“, so lets get to that:

  1. You need to send photos quickly to a potential buyer of some details in the listing
  2. You want to post on social networks on your timeline in the moment
  3. You want to take photos for your own reference
  4. You are selling a property and want to get photos up fast

These 4 things are really the only time you should use your iPhone to take photos of real estate.  (1) Sending additional photos to a client via iPhone it is expected that they understand they are receiving the lower quality shots out of convenience, cost savings, and frankly where it does not warrant a pro. (2) Social networks like FB or Instagram, etc, is becoming more saturated with better quality photos, especially in the business world of social media, however, selfies and other like photos in the moment show a reality that people respond to. (3) This is good and recommended; a pro doesn’t usually get every single detail because they are there to show the overview of the property in its best light, which sometimes means, leaving some stuff out. (4) This is understandable, however, there is a big caveat, you must follow through and replace those photos with professional photos asap. I understand that some photos are better than no photos but only in the case that they are replaced with better ones right away. (Note: you may miss some potential buyers buy using this tactic and I don’t recommend it but again if you must… upload, hire a pro, replace.

 

A “So Called RE Pro Photographer”

Professionals from time to time have to deal with not so professional services on both sides. Whether it is real estate agents paying for services that are below par yet high priced or it is other real estate photographers that are competing against low prices and even lower quality photos, this is why education is so important.  Real Estate Agents have a lot on their marketing plate and while so many companies are after a piece of the pie, only a few can actually make the pie bigger.  Are you just hiring the lowest priced company or are you adding value and higher return on your investments?

Below I have taken some photos off of a website and I will not disclose whose they are for obvious reasons, but it is a “so called professional real estate photographer”.

Below I have addressed a few of the issues in these examples.

so called pro 06

Photo not leveled, Verticals are not aligned, shadows and lens aberration not corrected, white balance not corrected.

so called pro 05

Photo not leveled, Verticals are not aligned, white balance not corrected. Shadows and highlights need to be adjusted. Pool cleaning equipment visible. Vignetting not corrected. Skies could be touched up to not add so much contracts between house and sky.

so called pro 04

Photo not leveled. Verticals are not aligned. Overall composition of shot does not show the exterior in the best view. Shadows and Highlights need to be adjusted.

so called pro 03

Photo not leveled. Verticals are not aligned. Shadows and Highlights need to be adjusted. Aperture not properly set to account for outside light.

so called pro 02

Photo not leveled. Verticals are not aligned. Overall composition of shot does not show the exterior in the best view. Camera should be at an angle to be straight on, not from below. Skies are completely washed out.

so called pro 01

Photo not leveled. Verticals are not aligned. Angle too low for proper composition. Shadows and highlights need adjustment. White Balance needs correction.

As you can see the photos are not composed, edited, or even shot with the amount of expertise or quality of a professional real estate photographer. Now to give this photographer credit, they do advertise wedding and portrait services (which seems to be their main service), and in those services, their portfolio is great quality for their prices. Just because a photographer specializes in one type of photography does not mean they specialize in all.

For more information or if you have questions about this post, feel free to email us at our contact page. Don’t forget to ask us about our test drive promotions.

How Much Should You Pay for Real Estate Photos

As a real estate agent, you are faced with “cost over benefit” decisions from start to sold; you are constantly trying to save money to increase your profit while selling your listing but of course keeping quality high.  There are a few things you need to think about when determining how much is a fair price for photos for your listing.

  1. Location: You will obviously pay more for professional photos in places like New York and LA than you will in Houston, TX so make sure you price check a few places to get a good average of the general going rate.
  2. Quality: Everyone with a camera claims to be a professional photographer these days, but a trained eye can tell you otherwise, and most of the time even an untrained eye. You may pay lower prices, but at what cost, low cost means low quality a lot of the times. However, I have had a RE Agent call me up after an amateur (so called pro) took photos of a listing and did a very poor job with very low quality photos, and asked me if I could help. She paid more than what I would have charged and got a completely un-useable product.
  3. Company:  When hiring a professional, you are hiring a company which pays taxes, has equipment and maintenance cost, insurance, etc. Most professional photography businesses are not bonded because of the nature of how they do business, (i.e. they are hired by the agent not the seller) but they should carry general liability insurance, this protects the agent and the seller.

A general rule of thumb I tell my clients is .09% of the listing price; If you are paying more than that, you should ask your photographer why. This is the national average of what professional photography is going for.

Here at DCM Productions Real Estate Photography we work with our clients to make sure we

offer some of the lowest prices for the quality of service we offer. It really gets to me when I see some of these “so called professional real estate photographers” offering services that are cheap and their products even cheaper. There are several of photographers out there that may be great for portraits and weddings, but when it comes to real estate they just don’t know what it takes to professionally generate an excellent finished product. You wouldn’t hire a car salesman to sell a house, so don’t hire a wedding photographer to photograph a house/property.

Seller Home Prep Guide

Why do I need a home prep guide, isn’t that what I pay the photographer for? This is a reaction most photographers get when working with inexperienced real estate agents; experienced agents understand the services each business offers and is more hands on with their clients, after all, the real estate agent is who the seller hired not the photographer or another service provider.

The reason behind the Seller Home Prep Guide is to ready the property for photos or video, a RE photographer is expected to arrive take photos, edit and send deliverables to agent in a very short amount of time, one of the ways to reduce cost is to get in and out of a property as quick as possible. This style of photography (mostly some type of HDR) and type of work flow process for Real Estate differs greatly from a architectural photography work flow process.

In my experience with working with tons of RE agents, I can say that the majority of them want high quality photos, fast turnaround, and easy delivery methods. Having a home prepared before a photographer gets there helps achieve these 3 desires of a RE Photographer.

Descriptive Words for Lisitings

Descriptive Words that Every Real Estate Agent should have in their back pocket

A – E

Accessible
acclaimed
adventurous
affluent
amazing
ambiance
amenities
artistic
authentic
awe-inspiring

Balustrade
blend
bright

Camaraderie
canopy
capable
centered
character
charming
classic
classy
colorful/colourful (UK)
comfort
comfortable
comfy
coordinated
copious
cosmopolitan
coveted
cozy/ cosy (UK)
creative
crisp
custom
cutting edge

Delightful
desirable
discreet
distinct
distinctive
distinguished
divine
dramatic
dynamic

Eclectic
effervescent
elaborate
elegant
elite
elongated
enchanting
enrapturing
epitome
equipped
excellent
exceptional
exciting
exclusive
executive
exemplary
exquisite
extensive

F – N

Fabulous
flair
framed
fresh
functional

Genuine
glamorous/glamourous
glorious
good flow
gorgeous
graceful
grand
grandiose

Handsome
harmonious
healthy
historic

Ideal
imaginative
impeccable
incredible
inexpensive
innovative
inspiring
intimate
intricate
investment
inviting
irresistible

Jewel
landmark
lavish
lifestyle
lovely
low maintenance
lush
luxurious
luxury

Magnificent
majestic
manicured
massive
masterpiece
mature
memorable
meticulous
modern
modern elegance
modest

Nestled
niche
noble

O – R

Old world charm
open
original
ornamental
outstanding
oversized
over-sized
overwhelming

Paradise
park-like
pastoral setting
peaceful
personality
phenomenal
picturesque
plush
posh
practical
premium
prestigious
prime
pristine
private

Quaint
quality
quiet

Rare
raw
refined
relaxing
remodeled/remodelled (UK)
renaissance
restored
resurgence
retreat
revitalized/revitalised
romantic

S – Z

Safe
scenic
secluded
secure
sensational
sensible
serene
shimmering
shiny
significant
simplicity
soaring
soothing
sophisticated
spa bath
spacious
sparkling
spectacular
stately
state-of-the-art
stunning
stylish
substantial
sun-drenched
sun-kissed
superior
sweeping
symbiotic
symphony

Tasteful
textured
tidy
timeless
towering
tranquil
transformed
transitional
treasure
tremendous

Undulating
unique
unmatched
unpretentious
unsurpassed
upscale

Vast
versatile
vestibule
vibrant

Warm
welcoming