In addition to having 30 years experience as a real estate broker and having helped hundreds of clients buy and sell homes in the Triangle area, I also have a real estate and architectural photography business, GRE Photography. I have been a professional real estate photographer since 2008. I decided to enter the real estate photography field because I wanted to better serve my real estate clients and realized that digital photography and the internet would revolutionize how real estate was marketed, and that has certainly come to pass. Instead of one blurry, poorly exposed, black and white photo in the biweekly MLS book or Sunday real estate section of the local newspaper, prospective buyers can now view dozens of high quality, high resolution interior and exterior images of a property if the listing agent has chosen to provide those as a part of their marketing for the property. Viewing photos on line has become the first showing for many buyers and the photos can determine whether a buyer will make the effort to see a property in person.
That high quality images are a beneficial marketing tool seems like a no brainer to many people (especially real estate photographers), but not always to real estate agents who want to keep their marketing expenses as low as possible and see no problems with the photos they can take with their point and shoot camera or phone. Quantifying just exactly how much of a benefit professional photos add in the sale of a property and whether the benefit justifies the cost is difficult due to the number of variables involved, although they have been a number of attempts to do that.
My take on the value of photos is based on my experiences with my personal listings and the experiences of the group of agents (mostly veteran, high producing ones) that I shoot properties for on a regular basis. I think professional photography is a very important aspect of the marketing plan for most properties. Professional photography will help your property stand out from the competition and generate more showings to motivated buyers. Those buyers will already have a favorable impression of the property from seeing the photos. Photos may also keep some prospective buyers from seeing the property because they saw some feature that is a deal breaker for them. While that can possibly be a negative, if it keeps a seller from having to prepare and leave the property for a showing that has little chance in resulting in a sale, it is probably a good thing.
Professional photography will not likely increase what your house is worth in today’s market, but it will definitely help you get full market value and sell your property in a more timely manner. Combine professional photography with good preparation for marketing the property (eliminate clutter, make needed repairs, stage and spruce up as needed, price according to market conditions) and you give yourself the best shot at maximizing your homes current value. Bad photos and any other deficiencies in your marketing plan will make your property stay on the market longer and sell for below what its current full value might be. To me, the benefit of professional photography for most properties is well worth the cost and professional real estate photos should be considered an important part of any marketing plan.