Professional Real Estate Photography
Back in another lifetime, when I worked for a very large, independent real estate broker, I was tasked with improving the Sales Rate of our listings while adding to the broker’s value proposition to their agents and clients. After brainstorming and looking at trends, and up and coming technologies, I found it. What I came up with is using professional real estate photographers to photograph all our listings to get more traction on the web. They were not going to be wedding or sports photographers that took shots of real estate, I needed someone that specialized in Real Estate Photography. I also needed “something special” in each photo shoot that would differentiate our listings on the web. The idea was that if our listings looked better on websites, whether they be on our site, REALTOR.com or Zillow—the listing would attract more attention with would lead to more “clicks”, more sales, more leads, increased Sales Rate. That “something special” in each photo shoot was to differentiate our listings from others regardless of the branding on the website showing the listings.
I then began my search to find the best real estate photography available. After a pretty exhausting search, I ran across a gentleman who was doing something truly unique. He was only taking pictures of real estate and was sending the photos to Asia immediately after the photo shoot to be edited. This did a couple of things I needed. First, it had the photos done the next morning. Yep you heard that right, they would take a photo shoot on Monday and Tuesday morning the photos would be delivered. Second, is the fact that they took a 30 foot aerial shot of the home. This gave a similar view to a drone shot, but with a hi-quality camera—which not only looked great but had the differentiation that I was looking for. Needless to say the photos were stunning.
If You Can’t Measure it, It Doesn’t Exist
Launching this was a big success but for me to show that my plan worked it had to be measured. I knew the photos were awesome, I knew the agents and the sellers loved them, what I didn’t know is if it truly brought more traffic to the listing and ultimately got the listing sold faster or for more money. Being the stats guy that I am (see my article on Using Absorption Rate to See Where to Farm) I needed to measure the effectiveness of this project. So I received a list of homes they had photographed. I then looked on our site (the most trafficked real estate website in the area at the time) and pulled how many times those listings were clicked. I then pulled other listings in the same price range and same Zip Code and averaged the number of clicks. The results were staggering. When IMOTO took the photos, the listing received 118% MORE views that other homes in the same zip code in the same price range. I knew we really had something here. They later had another large broker run stats and verify that the listings that they photographed actually sold 50% faster and 39% closer to the list price. These guys really have something magical here.
Isn’t My iPhone Good Enough? It’s Got a 8 MegaPixel Camera!
I’m not a photographer, so I can’t tell you all the reasons they get the results they do—but they do. I can tell you that for the same reason someone should use a REALTOR when selling their home (use a professional) the exact same thing applies to photography (use a professional). There are a lot of people taking pictures of houses today–very few have the systems in place like these guys. They really have it down, from the lighting, to the editing to the delivering of the hi-res and MLS sized photos the next day.
Where Are They Now?
Without going into too much detail, that company evolved, got a new partner that is a brilliant businessman and they were off. That company today is IMOTO Photo. They still take that 30 foot aerial shot, they still deliver the photos the next day and they now have many more products they offer including free virtual tours, virtual staging, twilight photography, floor-plans, and they are moving into 3-D Walk-throughs. They are now in five different states, Colorado, Louisiana, Alabama, Mississippi and Georgia. They have doubled their growth every year for the past three years straight. These guys are on fire.
Is This an Advertisement for IMOTO Photo?
No, not at all. I’m writing this because I truly believe that one of the best things you can do to get your listing sold is have professional photography done. It means getting more views on every website that displays your listing. If you are lucky enough, you may even be able to put hi-resolution photos on your website as an additional differentiating factor. This doesn’t mean hire a general photographer and have them take pictures of a house— you need to hire a Professional Real Estate photographer to see real results. In addition, I can say that with my long relationship with IMOTO Photo, I feel they have the right systems in place to deliver a consistent product that truly delivers. In a world of real estate marketing smoke and mirrors, its refreshing to see something that is affordable, makes sense and truly works.