Photos are worth 1,000 words (and a lot of money too)

We “dog food” our real estate search product at Estately (we use it like a consumer): I subscribe to a couple of daily email alerts, a constantly updating RSS feed showing properties as they come onto the market near my house, and I subscribe to a feed of my saved homes to see when they sell.

Today two properties came on the market (welcome to Seattle prices, out of towners!):

$720,000 3 Beds / 2.25 Baths / 15 photos / 1,412 sqft / $509 per sqft
$729,000 0 Beds / 0 Baths / 0 photos / 1,700 sqft / 2,400 sqft lot / $428 per sqft

I didn’t even look at the second property – really, what’s the point? Like most buyers, I’m driven by emotion. I click through photos pretty much as fast as they load until one catches my eye, I linger, something about the property gets past my reptilian complex and I actually consider the details. Good agents know this on both sides; they take fantastic, eye catching photos or hire a professional to do so. Some of our Agent Match clients have found that they overlooked a great property with bad photos until they were dragged there by their agent and at least one was pleased to find that bad photos and staging could cost a seller upwards of $25,000.

If you are a consumer selling your house, dog food it. Subscribe to a daily email of new homes for sale for a month or two before you list your house and see what catches your eye. It’ll make “decluttering” easier.

If you are a realtor who works with sellers, dog food it. Sign up for a daily email from your company’s website. If your listing doesn’t look good there, you’ve lost a lot of the buyers who are currently in the market. You missed your chance to catch their eye and they’ve moved on to Craigslist. Maybe you can have a second shot at impressing them there.

Photo Editing – Too Much Ceiling!

Every real estate agent needs to know a little about photo editing.  But not so much that they start taking out wires and trees from the view shot 🙂

The ethics of photo editing for real estate purposes, should be a “clock hour class”.  Jillayne?  If it IS already, I’d love to sit in on one of those.  I sometimes have the hardest time explaining to agents how much they can edit, and how much they cannot.

Craig Schiller, founder of Real Estaging wrote an excellent article this week called “Set Your Sites Low (talking about camera angle) – To Raise Your Standards”.  Below are a dozen of the 50 or more shots he found on the mls in his area, with too much ceiling.


Personally, I find it is more about editing the shot after you get home, than it is to “lower your sites” at the time you take the picture.  I use HP Image Zone, which I find to be very user friendly, and does not have the features that can help you erase real features of the home, like telephone wires in the view.

All brokers should be recommending the correct software to their agents, to insure quality photos, without unethical modifications.  Cropping is good.  Brightness and light enhancements is good (assuming new owners could bring in more lamps and better lighting than current owners).  Any software that has basic editing skills will enhance the agent’s value to the consumer.  Point, shoot and upload is no longer “the order of the day”.