Do’s and Don’ts of Professional Real Estate Photography

EXTERIORS – Clean the pool and remove pool vacuum/cleaner hose, tidy up your landscaping (clear leaves, mow, trim shrubs), remove clutter such as empty planters, water hoses, and please remove cars and trash cans away from driveway and front of home.

DON’T:

Don’t let your professional photographer go too wide on their wide-angle lens and if the home does not naturally look like a magazine cover, don’t let them over light the property. Bright is OK, but not overlit. If the house is naturally dark, a potential buyer will feel an immediate let down upon entering the property if the photo’s lit like an operating room. The goal is not to just take a “pretty photo,” it is to represent the home well while showcasing its best attributes. It can be really frustrating for a buyer’s agent when they find “the perfect listing” only it isn’t because it’s not represented well, and the promising trip to see the property is a total waste of time.

IF for some reason you are not in a position to hire a professional photographer, here are a few more tips specific to smartphone photography:

– Clean your lens. If you are like most people, your smartphone takes a beating and gets exposed to all kinds of grunge. You may be surprised at what this simple little step will do for the clarity of your pictures.

– Make sure your verticals are straight. You can do this by visually selecting a door frame or other architectural feature to align your frame. If all else fails, straighten the photo using your smartphone’s crop tool.

– Speaking of crop tools, avoid using the digital zoom. Your image quality will degrade. With most smartphones having an 8-megapixel resolution, you can substantially crop without loss and artifacts.

– Install better camera apps and editing tools. I recommend looking into Camera+ and Snapseed.

– For external photos, cover the top of your smartphone with your hand to help prevent lens flares.

As you can see, professional photos deserve careful consideration and the balance of show and tell is essential. A good photographer can influence potential buyers and your home sale experience in positive ways.

Real Estate Agents – How to Be an Effective Agent

If you are just starting your career as a real estate agent, it is important to get everything right so that you can continue to build up your levels of experience and develop a reputation that means that people are going to come to you when they need somebody to work with their property.

As such, you need to know how to be an effective agent if you want to be treated like one. Follow these tips and you should be well on your way to success within the industry.

Stay Honest

There is an old idiom that claims that “honesty is the best policy.” You should take this to heart when working in the property industry, as failure to be honest can lead to you developing a bad reputation that could lead to fewer people making use of your services.

As such, you should never make any claims that you can’t back up with previous experience or hard evidence. Furthermore, if you don’t know the answer to a question, never try and hem and haw your way through a botched answer. Tell your clients what you do know and make sure they are aware that any questions you can’t answer will be researched.

Have The Knowledge

The property market is one of the most fluid around, with changes happening on a constant basis at both the local and national levels. It is important to stay on top of these changes so that you understand where the market stands and how you can use this to the advantage of your clients.

Never get lazy and assume that you know everything. Instead, try to take a little time to figure out the market you work in, where it currently stands and where it is likely to go based on historical data.

Communication

Having the gift of the gab helps as a real estate agent, particularly when you are negotiating transactions or trying to bring in new business, but that isn’t what good communication means in this scenario.

To be an effective agent, you need to communicate with your clients on a regular basis. Let them know about any recent occurrences that are of note and try to maintain a regular line of contact via email or phone, even if there are no important developments. This lets the client know that they haven’t been placed on the backburner and that their transaction is still high on your priority list.

Listen

Talking is all well and good, but if you do too much of it your clients are going to feel like you’re leading them in a particular direction without taking what they want into account along the way.

As such, you should always listen to what you clients have to say to ensure that you can provide the best possible service to them. Don’t make assumptions and don’t just do what you think is best without any information. Instead, use what they tell you to inform your work and you will find the client is much more appreciative as a result.

Reasons We Still Need Realtors

Many homeowners are now opting to try one of the numerous For Sale By Owner (FSBO) services. As tempting as it sounds to save on the significant commission rates many realtors charge, it may actually end up more costly than a real estate agent’s commission. There is a definite art to marketing your home properly, and here are several reasons it is a great idea for sellers to utilize realtors:

Negotiating Is Risky Business

If you decide to fly solo and list without a realtor, here is a list of just a few of the people you should be prepared to negotiate with:

– A buyer seeking the best deal possible
– Realtors who represent the best interest of their buyers
– In some parts of the country, a buyer’s attorney
– A home inspection company. These companies are hired by the buyer and typically find problem areas in the house.
– An appraiser
– In the event of a short sale, your bank

Keep in mind that some realtors can take on the “bad guy” role in a transaction, preventing anything negative between a buyer and a seller that could kill a potential deal.

Sales Come From the Internet

Recent studies show that when prospective buyers begin their home search, 92 percent of buyers begin by searching online, while a mere 28 percent read through print newspaper ads. Gone are the days of putting up a “For Sale” sign in the front yard and listing it in the paper. Statistically, results have shown that buyers found the home they actually purchased:

– 43 percent from the internet
– 9 percent from a yard sign
– 1 percent from newspapers

It is important to remember that if you are too busy to respond quickly enough to their calls, potential buyers are more inclined to move on and continue their search. Additionally, there could be times you find yourself stretching yourself too thin to rush home to an appointment, only to find that interested party is a no show. Professional realtors are better equipped to handle the organizational logistics of selling a property.

You Net More Time and Money When Selling Solo

A majority of homeowners are blinded by the potential commission they will save by listing on their own. On the other hand, one main reason buyers look for FSBO homes is because they believe they can save. In the end, the seller and the buyer can’t both save on commission. Studies have pointed out that a home sold using the FSBO method would sell for $184,000, while a realtor would sell that same home for $230,000.

Additionally, there has been a dramatic increase in the paperwork involved in selling houses. As disclosures and regulations have become mandatory in the real estate industry, there has been a dramatic drop over the past 20 years, from 19 percent to 9 percent, of homeowners who choose to FSBO.