All Things Real Estate: Quality photos sell real estate online

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I have noticed after 25 years of having our websites on the internet (one of the first Realtors to do so) how incredibly far our technology has progressed over those years. The ease and simplification of taking high-quality-resolution photos to post online has seen amazing breakthroughs.

Years ago the first Apple iPhone cameras had only two megapixels and for that time it was adequate. However, the new iPhone 12 Pro Max (coming soon) has 12 megapixels and the clarity and sharpness with the three cameras is beyond belief and the video capabilities and other upgrades are “off the hook!” In my professional opinion today, every agent who takes their own photos and videos needs to possess the best possible camera or phone w/camera that they can afford.

A multitude of advanced cutting-edge technologies has been created to be able to shoot crystal clear, pristine and outstanding pictures of homes, HOAs, condos, coops and commercial properties to use to market those properties online. Then they will be aggregated out all over the global net. There are varying degrees of the quality of those photos, however, and I have observed them from the most gorgeous, well-taken high resolution, creative and top notch ones to those that are literally disastrous and outrageously embarrassing to the point of probably having a major effect on who will or won’t consider looking at them. This will cause considerably less traffic for those agents and unsuspecting sellers of residential and commercial properties.

Feedback from buyers over the years has told me that they expressed some dissatisfaction when only seeing one single photo on a listing for a property. The first thing that comes to their mind is that the place in poor condition and they pass on the listing and aren’t very interested in going to view it. However, what adds insult to injury is that the same agents and even others who do post better photos don’t even note in the appearance field what condition the home or property is in, e.g. mint, (or mint+) diamond (or diamond+), pristine, excellent, good, fair, poor or knockdown. These are the words that we most often use to describe the appearance as needed when posting a listing.

Being transparent, candid and upfront and using common sense (which is no longer common) eliminates and reduces wasted valuable time for sellers, their agents and most important their potential buyers. So when a purchaser is searching for property and sees one single, poorly taken photo and/or nothing in the appearance field (which really should be an absolute mandatory field (are you listening MLS?), then the interest is lost at the expense of the seller. Inadequate and badly written descriptions and poor grammar doesn’t excite buyers who might normally want to see the property but don’t.

However, because the inventory and interest rates are at such historic lows there are exceptions whereby some buyers will still go out to visit the property. But, most important, the lack of accurate information and terrible photos can’t be a big plus for the sellers and their asking prices. Sellers should be extremely concerned about how their properties are being advertised, marketed and displayed on the internet. Many times I have had sellers call me asking questions (I tell them to call their “hired” listing agent) and I do tell them their photos and sometimes videos are not as professional as they could be.  But I really don’t want to hurt their feelings or embarrass their agents for pictures, pardon the expression, that totally suck!

When I see an angled photo of a home, especially in certain areas on Long Island and in Queens, I wonder where the agent learned how to take photos because an expert photographer would be ashamed (and so would the seller) to post such an inferior photo and expect to be remunerated. Our commissions are paid to us for a job well done, but I have found and still find that there is a lot to be desired of many in our industry. I know why many get their real estate licenses because they truly believe and think that the “streets are paved with gold” but barely treat their businesses like a business. Even worse, some barely put in 40 hours a week.

The majority of licensed agents have other jobs and are performing their business part time. Don’t misunderstand me, there are some stupendous and professional part-time agents who know what to do. But the majority have never run a profitable business before and it takes quite an immense amount of concerted efforts, disciplined pragmatic plans and actions, perseverance and the sacrifice of one’s valuable time to survive in this industry to scale it and earn an excellent above average income.

The average income for an agent in the United States is between $46,500-$49,100 depending on the state and city. Commissions that we receive at the closing have to be earned by having pride in our business, continually providing the best possible service before, during and after the sale as this should be tantamount in the scheme of things from the first contact with a client right through to the closing table.

The future can be quite bright and lucrative by staying in touch with all your clients beyond the closing to earn future referrals and the right to say “that is my client for life.” It is imperative to step up to the plate to do whatever is necessary to grow your client base by staying in touch year in and year out. Increasing the scope of one’s knowledge through consistent education by taking classes on how to shoot basic or advanced photos (or hiring an excellent photographer for photos, videos or virtual tours) or anything else will aid in increasing one’s expertise. This will go a very long way in providing the professional services that every seller, investor, landlord, purchaser, renter and lessee of residential and commercial property should expect and demand that will benefit all parties concerned.

Philip A. Raices is the owner/Broker of Turn Key Real Estate at 3 Grace Ave Suite 180 in Great Neck. He has 39 years experience in the Real Estate industry and has earned designations as a Graduate of the Realtor Institute (G.R.I.) and also as a Certified International Property Specialist (C.I.P.S). For a “FREE” 15 minute consultation, a value analysis of your home, or to answer any of your questions or concerns he can be reached by cell: (516) 647-4289 or by email: Phil@TurnKeyRealEstate.Com Just email or snail mail (regular mail) him with your ideas or suggestions on future columns with your name, email and cell number and he will call or email you back.

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