Professional Real Estate Photography is Crucial to the Selling Success of Your Home

Nowhere is this more true than on the web where the majority of home buying searches are conducted- “web appeal” is the new “curb appeal”, the lure that draws buyers in. Today’s prospective buyers are used to quality imagery in other marketing venues. Appealing photos will rivet the prospect’s attention, whereas homes with so-so photos may well be passed by.

When selling your home, you hire a Real Estate agent to do the best job marketing of your property. Agents are experts in the business aspects of the selling process; research, pricing, advertising, negotiating and closing. But, the centerpiece in your listing-pictures-is a photography expert taking them?

Grabbing a point-and-shoot and photographing a home seems to be a reasonable option. Often, one can get good shots simply though luck. However, many aesthetic and technological difficulties must be overcome in order to result in the consistently great photography needed in today’s multiple-photo listings.

Internet display systems, known for showcasing still photos, panning slide shows and virtual tours, are another tool available to realtors. These products are only as good as the photography used within. Use poor photographs and you get a poor photo housed in a slide show or tour.

Photography is a highly specialized industry-all photographers are not the same. A good portrait photographer does not necessarily make a good real estate photographer because the photographic challenges and thus, training, are different. Architectural photographers are not the best choice because they charge a significantly higher rate that cuts into your realtor’s bottom line. Professional Real Estate photographers give you similar results at a good price point.

Top-of-the-line equipment aside, professional real estate photographers have more than just a good eye. They know exactly where to put the camera, and are skilled in holding it straight. Professional photographers are experienced at reliably producing multiple uniformly-good shots of every house. Exteriors are taken from the best angle and trumpet blue skies and puffy clouds. Interior shots are well-composed, evenly lit and clearly convey accurate visual information about the space you are looking at.

Photos rarely emerge from the camera ready for display. They require post-shoot processing and this is where the Real Estate professional photographer excels. Great real estate photographs “pop” off the screen or page. They look and feel bright, light, open, and inviting. When done well, the viewer does not know why they like them, they just do!

Ask yourself which listing you would rather be: You are viewing two comparable listings, one with a few photos that are somewhat dark, feel cropped too closely and a little hazy. The other listing has clear, detailed photographs of the outside setting and main rooms of the house. It’s clear which is going to generate more interest, showings and a potentially quicker sale.

So what can you do to get the best photography for your listing?

Examine the existing listings of your prospective agents. Do they feature excellent photos? Are there a half dozen or more pictures on the web listings? Professional Real Estate Photography is done at the agent’s discretion. If the agent you choose doesn’t use professionals, insist that they do. Those that do see the results. And so will you.

Interviewing a Web Savvy Listing Agent to Sell Your Home in the Crowded 2009 Atlanta Market

Over the last 24 months, particularly in large metropolitan markets like Atlanta, real estate print media has all but disappeared in favor of Internet promotion of listings and services. Web advertising continues to evolve; the ability of agents to provide enhanced listing details has captivated consumers who want easy access to every bit of online information that can be provided before they get into a car to begin the search. In the crowded 2009 Atlanta market with huge and stagnant inventories, differentiation is crucial. With approximately 45,000 single family homes and 10,000 condominiums available for purchase, there is significant motivation for sellers and listing agents to understand and implement high impact web marketing.

Customizable search criteria, birds eye views, street views, back yards, parking, amenities, questionable structures, bodies of water and topography are information used by enlightened Atlanta area buyers to eliminate properties in an oversupplied inventory. The Atlanta metro area has two MLS systems with significant overlap, so many agents list properties on both. In practice, a Multiple Listing System creates an equal playing field, so to leverage their listings, proactive agents are likely to advertise beyond the content of these systems. Powerful area specific websites, such as The Atlanta Journal Homefinder, Craigslist, Backpage, and Creative Loafing have evolved quickly to include extras like mapping tools and photo tours. However, these opportunities remain underutilized by listing agents, even when the advertising is free.

Specialized Internet marketing is not included in the skill set of most agents. Tech savvy agents who really get Internet marketing and property promotion are unique. An example of the typical disconnect is the property listing website, indexed by the house address url. What buyer knows your address before searching for their target dream home? How many web paths does your listing agent provide to move the buyer toward a site that showcases your home’s most appealing features?

More importantly, how does your agent achieve front page ranking on Google for your home? Occasionally I see listings that have placed an informational link in the private remarks section of the MLS listing, so that it may be viewed only by agents. If that is the sole online visibility of the path to a home’s virtual tour then everybody loses. The consumer browsing on a public access listing website misses some of the most compelling information. When I see this error, I know the agent has limited Internet marketing savvy; the chances of this home ranking high on Google are slim.

Descriptive property pages which achieve a high ranking on Google are not the result of large corporate brokerages which “stuff” listings into national real estate websites. In the large inventory of urban, suburban, and rural Atlanta housing, a home search can quickly confuse and frustrate buyers. The most successful web advertising for your home is a carefully crafted product managed by an agent who knows what really matters when consumers begin the search process. If Kennesaw Mountain Battlefield National Park, The Avenue of East Cobb, or Roswell Square are popular destinations near your home, then the agent will incorporate this information into the web page title to capture additional traffic.

Relevant interview questions to help you identify a web savvy listing agent capable of creating a high impact marketing campaign to sell your home are:

* On which local and national real estate websites will you list my home?

* How often do you update my home’s listing information on these sites?

* What keyword searches can consumers use to find my home on the front page of Google?

* Explain how you incorporate SEO techniques into your overall marketing plan.

* Which Atlanta area specific domain names do you own that help potential clients find my house?

* Do you hire a professional photographer to showcase my home’s interior and exterior?

* How many pictures will appear on my home tour and which websites will display the tour?

* Will you add information to the pictures to create additional interest?

* How many seconds does it take for a buyer to load and view my tour?

* Can the photo tour of my home be emailed?

* Can you show me an example of your high impact listings?

* Will you walk me through the process that demonstrates how a buyer will find my home online?

* Will you show me all the details of my home’s listing profile as the public will view it?

* Will I receive weekly emails showing the number of views of my home’s virtual tour?

In the crowded 2009 Atlanta real estate market, the answers to these questions and the derived benefits are important differentiators between top sales achievers and those who won’t get to the closing table.

Navigating The Home Selling Process Like Professionals

As you’ve probably already guessed selling your home is something that you can do own your own. Many people rely on the knowledge and skills of real estate agents when buying or selling properties. Although these professionals can provide effective solutions to complete sales, their services are not required.

In fact, more people are doing the buying or selling process without the aid of agents. With the Internet and modern technology, finding information related to the real estate industry is easier than it has ever been. A word of caution would be that even though it is easier to find all the resources you need online to sell your home the process can still be stressful. Of course the amount of money you could save selling your home without an agent makes it really tempting to try to sell your property without an agent.

Property owners can cut costs, up to thousands of dollars, by selling properties without agents. There are numerous resources that offer valuable information about how to sell a home. Most are available for little to no cost, and offer as much insight as agents might.

Homeowners used to rely on real estate agents for information on listings. These professionals were in the know about the market, recently sold properties, pricing information, competition and more. They still are today, but the Internet has made this information more accessible to all.

There are numerous websites that can be used during this process. These sites allow people to easily upload information about properties, which means listings can be marketed to millions of Internet users within minutes. More potential buyers and offers are expected when listings are well-marketed.

More than ever before, potential home buyers are also utilizing the Internet as a tool. There are trustworthy websites designed for property buyers and sellers. Sellers use them as a platform to list properties and reach a large audience. Buyers use them to browse what is available in a specific area. People who use these as a selling platform are encouraged to be thorough in their listings, including high-quality photos and accurate details.

It can be difficult for do it yourself sellers to determine the right price point, especially without professional help. It is important to research the value of nearby properties, including those recently sold. Keep in mind the condition of the home and details about it that might add to its total value. There are plenty of automated tools that produce pricing estimates, but hiring an appraiser might also be helpful. Consider all these things before setting a price. If a property does not sell after some time on the market, reconsider the price to attract more buyers.

Sellers who do not hire real estate agents to list and sell their property should still consider working with professionals. Real estate attorneys or title companies can help close a transaction by signing off on the final paperwork. Another thing to consider is just because you can advertise your home for sale does not mean that you won’t have to work with a real estate agent to get your home sold. Many times your potential buyer will be working with a real estate agent and it would be highly recommended to offer the buyer’s agent a commission to attract the greatest number of potential buyers. This is often the most complicated step in the process of selling and must be done correctly.

Home Buyers, Does Your Agent Work For You?

As a buyer, you may be looking at many properties — those listed with an agent as well as those sold privately, “by owner.” Let’s say you call a real estate agency regarding a listed property you have found in MLS (multiple listing service), the newspaper, or by driving by. Traditional agencies will offer you ‘buyer assistance’, meaning that they will show you properties, direct you to mortgage lenders, etc., all without a contract.

The agent you meet who shows you that property will be anxious to show you other properties, of course. You begin to feel that this agent is “your agent.” NOT TRUE. This agent works for the agency that listed the property, and most likely is working for the seller of the property, not you. Anything you say may be carried back to the seller at any time.

Agents may call themselves many things according to state regulations. In Massachusetts, for example, the “listing agent” is the agent who obtained the listing from the seller. The “selling agent” is the agent who actually makes the sale. In order to better understand this concept, bear in mind that a real estate agency makes the most money when one of their listed properties is sold by an agent “in house.”

Most properties are not shown or sold by the listing agent. Although the homesellers may have spent considerable time with the listing agent discussing the fine points of their home so that they will be knowledgeable when showing it, the property will most likely be shown by agents who are totally unfamiliar with their home. Remember, whether talking about a listing agent or a selling agent, unless you have signed a contract with a buyer’s agent, their allegiance is always to the seller.

As if this isn’t complicated enough. using Massachusetts regulations as an example, a broker can work for both the buyer and the seller on the same property provided the broker gets the consent of both parties and provides each with a written notice of the relationship. In this case, the broker is considered a “disclosed dual agent.” This broker owes both the seller and buyer a duty to deal with them fairly and honestly.

In this type of agency relationship, the broker does not represent either the seller or the buyer exclusively, and neither party can expect the broker’s undivided loyalty. Realistically, it’s hard to imagine that properties are not discussed over lunch or between agents sitting at the next desk. Undisclosed dual agency by a broker is illegal. The agent must present the buyer with an agency disclosure form upon first meeting to discuss a particular property.

The use of an agent becomes further complicated when the subject of seeing properties offered “by owner” is brought up. Unless the agent that is showing you properties is a buyer’s agent, the only way he/she can get paid is to get the private seller to list the property, something that is not likely to happen. You don’t need an agent to see a for sale by owner property and some sellers prefer not to negotiate with anyone but the buyer directly. If you do feel that you need representation, the one agent that has loyalty to you, the buyer, is a buyer’s agent.

A buyer’s agent (ie. buyer broker) represents you, the buyer, and never the seller. Some buyer brokers are known as “exclusive buyer brokers/agents”. Exclusive buyer brokers do not list property – period, nor are they housed in an agency that does. The buyer broker’s commission, typically 3%, is generally accommodated in the selling price of the property, paid at closing. The National Association of Exclusive Buyers Agents (NAEBA – http://www.naeba.org) is a good resource to locate buyer’s agents in your area. Buyers, remember that a buyer broker is able to show you listed properties, foreclosures, new construction, and for sale by owner properties.

A word of caution….make sure you tell the agent that you want to see ALL available properties without regard to who pays the commission. We have often heard of overly aggressive buyer’s agents who will not inform their buyers about a property unless the seller agrees up front to pay their commission. This behavior is unwarranted as the buyer has already agreed to pay any commission due.

NOTE: If you are currently working with a buyer broker and you are looking at a for sale by owner property, please let the seller know up front. Don’t wait until the negotiations are underway to bring in representation. It could easily kill the deal. Most sellers are very open to showing their property to you and your buyer broker – just don’t assume they’ll pay your agent’s fees.

Yes, It Is Possible To Sell A Home In Less Than A Week

Selling real estate without an agent doesn’t have to be a long, arduous and energy-draining experience. Yet you still find a townhouse for sale or estate agents listings dragging on for weeks or months on end. It is possible to sell a home in less than a week, whether you have never sold one or not!

In someplace like, for instance, it can be easier and quicker to sell, more than anywhere else, mainly because for every property listed online, there could be 7-10 potential buyers. But all this depends on a plethora of factors, including Property Hosting’s assertion that over 75% of these buyers start their house searches online.

Today, you are going to learn about the ingenious hacks and tricks that can enable you fast-track your home sale process.

  1. Home Stage, take superb photos, upload them online!

Because you are listing your property online, let the house look incredible. From the drop-dead stunning sitting room, an urbane kitchen, cool study and other vital areas, let everywhere be an absolute stunner. Today, it is a good idea to find a pro in home staging to plump up those cushions, set fresh flowers on top of the table, re-pleat curtains and de-clutter the surfaces on your behalf.

  1. Put out the word

Listing your property on several property listings websites and placing newspaper ads isn’t enough to woo enough clients and eventually land a nice deal. Sing out to everyone that your property is up for sale – neighbours, workmates, Facebook friends, church mates, etc. You could even erect a giant banner right outside the gate for all to see!

  1. Now, be ready to handle streams of potential buyers

Keep your phone lines open, be as present on Facebook as possible and reply to phone calls and texts that relate to the advert. While at it, be wary of those property agents who will emerge with juicy valuations. Instead, trust those who have strong reputations for similar property sales in the neighbourhood.

  1. Play ‘hard-to-get.’

With the best photos of the most vital details and their respective descriptions available online and your phone ringing endlessly, let the newfound publicity do its magic. Start by turning down all viewing requests, of course, in a courteous way. Use an even better excuse like “I decided to include a few pre-sale improvements.” Those who are really vehement in buying it will reach out with more enthusiasm, which will most definitely result in a faster sale.

  1. But, what if you can’t avoid accepting visits from potential buyers?

Well, make sure the first impression counts. With that being said, de-personalise the house, keep all clutter away and be sure to keep the whole house looking fresh, cosy and magnificent.

  1. Be ready with what your solicitor could need

Arrange your window and door certificates, building regulation certificates, warranties and other legal documents so that they are available when they are required. Also, be sure to have the title deed ready since this is the most critical document.

  1. Finally, have an experienced estate agent within your reach

They are those guys who live and breathe property sales and will most probably know what a potential buyer will like to know. A seasoned property agent will be on hand to answer all questions, respond to any concerns and ensure everything ends well.