Do You Really Need Good Pictures to Sell Houses?

Bay Area Virtual Tours are everywhere, but do you really need one?  For that matter, do you really need good or professional photographs?  Can’t you just snap some photos with your point-and-shoot, load them to the MLS and “poof” the house is sold?  Well, in some cases… maybe! San Francisco Bay Area real estate has been very strong compared with many areas of the country.  And yet, no different than anywhere else, it is key to the success of a listing and for that matter, the listing agent, to be priced right and marketed well.  So just what do we mean by “marketed well”?
Virtual Tour in Walnut Creek, ca

I am going to borrow a paragraph out of the text “How to Photograph Houses by Stan Barron”.  The booklet was written for members of The Institute For Luxury Home Marketing, founded by Laurie Moore-Moore.  In this booklet, Stan says:

“Selling a house is not a real estate function…it is a marketing function, and pretty photographs sell more houses.  Think about the marketing used for professional products you are exposed to.  Have you ever seen a bad photograph (taken with a point-and-shoot-camera) in an ad for a BMW?  Of course not.  Ever seen a badly composed shot in a cosmetics ad?  Never.  Good photographs are worth the effort.”

Maybe we should ask ourselves, do we have an ethical and possibly legal responsibility to represent the client in a professional manner that includes photographs that highlight the homes features, and marketing that exposes it to the public, even more so than the BMW provider?

So, how do we take good or even great pictures?  Start with a good camera.  With recent technology improvements you can buy a good digital SLR camera for under $1000.  One that I recommend is the Canon EOS Rebel.  Nikon also has a very good entry level digital SLR called the D40 in the same price range.
Bay area virtual tours as an authorized RTV provider, is no different than virtual tours and real estate photography anywhere in the world and one of the keys to good architectural photos is the wide-angle lens.  You want a lens that is somewhere between 12 and 16mm for a digital camera.  Remember, the lower the number the wider the lens.  A normal camera is a 35mm lens so a 16mm will shoot much wider shots such as shown above.  I shoot with a Canon 50D and a 12-24mm wide-angle lens.

Next, always and I mean always use a tripod!  You cannot hold the camera still enough to get good pictures.  And you will also want to be sure the camera is level and that’s hard to do when hand holding the camera.  At Property Marketing Studios, I use a tripod with a built-in leveler so I know the camera is level in either vertical or horizontal positions.

Kitchen in Walnut CreekThen to add natural lighting, you can either use a very slow shutter speed such as 4-8 seconds for a long exposure and natural light (no flash) or use an external flash and a diffuser.  I use both natural lighting (above) and the Gary Fong Lightsphere Diffuser (below) for a natural look and feel.
So, do you really need good pictures to sell homes?  Only if you want to get more exposure, sell faster and get noticed by more potential sellers and buyers that take note of your great photos and superior marketing skills!
And the rewards will be well worth it… Your sellers will be telling their friends and associates what a great job you did and statistics show that properties with good pictures sell faster than those without!  And quantity does matter too…  According to NAR, listings with the most pictures and with Virtual Tours get more viewing by almost 30%.

Yes, all of this is an investment, but it will pay for itself in faster sales and referrals by your sellers and clients.  Or, if your time is better spent getting new clients and prospecting, then hire a professional such as us, Property Marketing Studios.

As part of Bay Area Property Marketing Studios and Virtual Tour business, we offer the option of using the agents photographs and creating a YouTube Presentation for as little as $35.  This is a great option for those agents that like to take their own pictures.  Use the tips above and your pictures will look great and when Property Marketing Studios exposes it to the world, you and your seller will be proud!

So, in summary, I hope we have established the need for good quality, even professional pictures whether you take them yourself or you hire a professional such as Bay Area Property Marketing Studios.
Next, how do we market the property to get the exposure for the property as well as ourselves.  Social networking, Twitter, YouTube, Craigslist?  RTV and Property Marketing Studios have developed social media exposure programs that expose both the property and the agent to the world!  But hey, that’s for another day, We will talk more about that in our next communications.
I invite you to join me on my Facebook Fan Page at: 

Thank You,
Tim Denbo
“The Marketing Guy”