Here are a couple of drone shots and a video of The Don Cesar Hotel in St. Pete Beach. I captured these with my DJI Phantom 4 Pro camera drone. This format is an amazing leap forward not just for property marketing, but for marketing any business. If you’re a real estate agent or business owner interested in what I can do for you please get in touch.
Sky Eyes Media now has a FAA Certified Remote Pilot, allowing us to offer commercial aerial drone photography and video. We have added aerial services to our real estate photography and video business, and are now available for any type of aerial drone media including promotional videos, artistic photos for homeowners, construction projects, roof, structure and bridge inspections, and aerial mapping.
Call us with your project and we are happy to get you a quote.
Governments, companies and individuals have been buying and selling land and other real property for centuries. But the invention of photography added a new component to the industry—people could actually see a picture of the property before they decided whether or not a visit was worth their time.
On her blog, Living Curiously, Becki Saltzman says the first open house for residential property was in 1947 in Levittown, New York. The picture of the flyer that accompanies the story shows drawings of the select homes, which cost about $13,000 each in that year.
It wasn’t until the early 1970s when Century 21 began to offer franchises to brokers that agents began to hone their marketing skills, and those skills began to include photography. Using the multiple listing system also known as MLS, black and white pictures of residences began to show up on flyers and in newspapers. The technology of the times did not lend itself to high quality photos, but none-the-less the addition of photos to real estate marketing was revolutionary.
In the 1980s some communities began distributing monthly listings in a magazine style format, or “listing book”. These publications were distributed at various businesses and were also available from local agents. Some of the early magazines were very rudimentary and done in black and white newsprint. The only photographs were of the exterior and did not give potential homebuyers much information about the interior of the residence, mostly due to space considerations.
As technology improved, so did the quality of these listing books and the photos within them. Many were similar to glossy magazines and included full color photographs. Though photos certainly helped, the real estate agents’ best tools continued to be salesmanship and taking prospective buyers on property tours.
It was not until the late 90s that quality photographs became important to real estate agents. That was when the Internet became a common source for information on available properties. Agents had a new marketing tool and unlimited space to showcase residences, land and commercial property. Real estate agents began to consider having a website with listings and photos a necessary marketing tool, not a luxury.
How did the Internet lead to the rise of real estate photography? First, agents could add more pictures to a listing online. The addition of interior shots gave potential buyers a better feel for the residence and helped them make better decisions when choosing what homes they wanted to pursue.
Second, the quality of the photographs improved with technology. Some pictures made on mobile phones produce a better picture than those made on professional cameras from the last century. This put the power of photography in the hands of any agent who wanted to pursue it.
Third, professional real estate photographers who could use lighting and other techniques to enhance the features of a residence began to show up. These people learned from principles used in architectural photography and began to apply these techniques to residential real estate. A new industry was born.
The business of real estate marketing and photography has come a long way now from the days of drawings in newspapers and on flyers!
The way buyers search for their new homes has changed drastically in 20 years. Statistics show that the Internet is the first place buyers go whether it is on their computers, tablets or phones. Great photos are a must for sellers and real estate agents hoping to make a profitable sale quickly. Some agents rely on their own point and shoot cameras or even their cell phones to get that shot they hope will bring in the buyers. However, there is no need for agents to add photography to their long to-do list. Professional real estate photographers can help you sell homes in a shorter time and for higher prices.
A study conducted by REAL Trends released last year listed some reasons why a real estate agent should invest in photography. Here’s a summary of those reasons, along with a couple of our own.
- Your website will get more traffic with high quality photos. The National Association of Realtors released a survey back in 2014 that showed 83 percent of home buyers thought that property photos were the best feature of any real estate website. Now that practically everyone has some sort of smart phone or a device with Internet access, getting traffic to your site and to the listings is more important than ever.
- A professional real estate photographer knows how to make a home look more attractive—even if it isn’t. Every real estate agent will from time to time get a listing that doesn’t really sell itself well. As a real estate agent your job is to make the home look its best to prospective buyers. Using a professional photographer makes your job easier since they have experience in bringing out the best in a property.
- Even those who know nothing about photography can tell the difference between a good photo and a bad photo. The truth is that the MLS is absolutely loaded with horrible photos. Websites such as terriblerealestatephotos.com have been dedicated to some of the worst of them. These pictures include everything from children and pets in photos, nasty conditions, mold, raised toilet seats, and my all time favorite, the agent in the mirror taking the photo! It is a disservice to your clients not to make your best effort to provide quality media for the MLS and Internet.
- Research shows that using a professional real estate photographer can increase the amount of money paid for the home. These numbers vary according to the price of the residence but can be anywhere from less than a thousand dollars to hundreds to thousands of dollars.
- Hiring a professional these days is very cost effective. In the early days of Internet photography it could cost upwards of $1,000 or more to hire a pro. Those costs have declined dramatically as more photographers have entered the market and technology has been created that reduces the time needed both at the property and post-processing. According to the Real Trends study, both agents and brokers say that the average cost for professional photos for a small property is around $160. Note that that number can vary greatly depending on the quality and any additional services provided, such as an included virtual tour or additional video.
Finally, don’t you owe it to the seller to give your best service? Of the 437 brokers and agents that responded, 94 percent of agents and 73 percent of brokers agreed that using a professional real estate photographer was important. Homes that have professional photos get more phone calls and showings, and will sell more quickly. Ultimately, a quick sale and the highest profit are the goals.
No matter what we are buying today, we are all looking for value. That doesn’t mean we want what is the least expensive. We are simply looking for how to get the most value for our hard earned dollars. Since a home is the biggest purchase most people will make in their lives, real estate agents want to provide value to the seller and the prospective homeowner. At the same time they want to save money on marketing costs, leading them to skimp on the quality of their listings. This is particularly evident in the quality of the media they provide, such as photos and video. While this can save money initially, this can also cost everyone in the long run.
Commonly quoted statistics show that people only spend an average of 10 to 20 seconds on a website if they are not impressed by the content. When it comes to purchasing a home, buyers are looking for that WOW factor and always go to the photos first. By the time they get to the first photo their initial search criteria has already included price, number of bedrooms and baths, and location. The photo is what will get their initial attention and keep them scrolling through a listing.
Let’s look at several scenarios where professional photos are invaluable to the client. First, is when the home is outdated or in need of repair. A professional photographer will know how to present the home in the best possible light. The photos are likely to be the deciding factor on scheduling a personal showing. The number one goal of real estate photography is to get the buyer into the property.
On the other hand, poor quality photos could keep buyers away from a great property. Does the home have lots of windows? A great photographer can use the natural light to showcase their beauty. Does the home have a large backyard? A real estate photographer will know how to emphasize it.
Sometimes photos are taken after the power has been disconnected, which can be a problem for interior photos. A professional real estate photographer can add lighting that will enhance even the darkest areas of a home.
We have talked about how a professional photographer can make a home more attractive in photos, but let’s get down to dollars and cents. A graphic from Ruxta Realty shows an average impact on the bottom line when using professional photography. For example, a $200,000 home sells for about $934 more when professional photos are used. The higher the price of the home, the more benefit there is. A home that sells for about $800,000 yields an average $18,000 with professional photos are included in the listing. Listings using professional real estate photography also get 61 more views than homes without them.
Finally, let’s be honest about why some agents are hesitant to use a professional real estate photographer—it cuts into their commission. But look at it this way. On a modest $175,000 home on a 6% listing the average commission is $5,250, or up to double that number if the listing agent represents both sides of the transaction. Isn’t a couple hundred dollars worth it to get more buyers to your listings, make your clients happy, sell a home faster, and win more listings?
You bet it is.
The Internet is the world’s largest marketplace where you can buy anything from groceries to cars, and even homes. The web is also the starting point for buyers looking for a home. While it is highly unlikely a person will buy a home online without seeing it first, research shows that the Internet is where 90 percent of homeowners will begin their search. And they are not just looking on their computers. Research from a study conducted jointly by the National Association of Realtors and Google shows that about 89 percent of potential homebuyers will use their mobile device in their search at some point.
How important is the Internet to home sales? In that same study mentioned above, the research showed that searches for homes increased 253 percent over a four year period. Other studies have shown that the large majority of millennials, those between the ages of 18 to 35, use the Internet exclusively to look for a home. Even seniors, about 75 percent of them according to realtor.org, will begin their home search online.
Searching for the right property online is convenient. You can look at listings in your pajamas at 2 a.m. You can open an app on your smartphone and use GPS to show properties near your location. You can use the “Big3” real estate sites Realtor.com, Trulia and Zillow, or choose from a variety of excellent local real estate sites.
It’s also inconvenient to search for a new home in person if you are moving to another city. You can be on the East Coast and look for a home in California without having to put on your shoes. Real estate sites also provide important information such as school districts and ratings, the value of surrounding homes and tax information.
However, the main reason people go online first to look for new homes is to look at photos. This is the first look at a home’s curb appeal, and for this reason many agents now employ professional real estate photographers.
A study was done by Old Dominion University in 2010 that emphasizes just how important a good photo is to real estate agents. They were interested in how long viewers spent looking at the photos. Researchers used an interesting approach, tracking the viewer’s eye movements to capture data. According to this study, 60 percent of viewers will see the photos first, with the description lagging behind at 20 percent along with the real estate agents comments, also at 20 percent.
How long were people looking at these photos? The Wall Street Journal analyzed the report from Old Dominion University in an article and revealed that the exterior photo, the one designed for curb appeal, kept a viewer’s attention for about 20 seconds. Pictures of the backyard, bedrooms, living room and kitchens were viewed on average between seven to eight seconds.
Dr. Michael Seiler, the founder and director of the Institute for Behavior and Experimental Real Estate, summed up the importance of the main photo. In an article in the Wall Street Journal he said that without an eye-catching primary photo the battle is lost before it begins, concluding by saying you have two seconds to grab people’s attention.
The importance of photos as a marketing tool has led to the growth of the professional real estate photography industry. Professional photographers can enhance the features of an amazing property and downplay the less desirable ones, increasing the chances that your listings will get all the attention they deserve.
The short answer is – of course not! Smart phones and point and shoot cameras do not have the ability to produce real estate photos that can compete in todays highly competitive listing market.
Today we can take pictures, listen to our favorite music, watch a movie and make a phone call with a device smaller than our hand. Some real estate agents are finding cell phones are handy for taking pictures of properties they are listing. Some clients may think photos made with point and shoot cameras or cell phones are okay. But as a professional, you should want more for you clients. High quality photos can make a difference when selling a property in a short time or letting it languish on the market.
Here’s some research that could make you a believer in better quality photos. First, most searches for homes are done online—more than 90 percent of them. And what does their eye go to first? It’s not to the expertly worded description. In fact it is the primary photo, the one designed to show a residence’s curb appeal, that first catches a viewer’s eye.
You can do a lot with cell phone cameras, but professional quality interior photos can only be made with professional equipment, software and knowledge. Professional cameras, as opposed to point and shoot cameras, give you the ability to change lenses. That means you use a super wide-angle lens to get that beautiful view of an entire space rather than just a portion of it. Or you can use a “fast” lens to add special effects, like isolating the foreground from the background. But according to Photography Life, ILC (Interchangeable Lens Camera) cameras give you many other advantages.
- You can make upgrades to a ILC camera. A myriad of different types of lenses and accessories are available.
- Sometimes you can’t photograph a property when the sun is shining bright and the lighting is best. With a high end camera you can adjust the lighting as needed, or shoot in very dim light.
- If you have the knowledge you can control aperture and shutter speed. If you are a novice to photography, aperture is the opening of the lens through which light passes. Shutter speed controls how long the lens is open. These two controls, along with ISO (a camera sensor’s sensitivity to light) are all adjusted together in full manual mode to capture just the right shot.
Point and shoot cameras and cell phones are more compact and less expensive than professional cameras so many real estate agents like to use them. However, there is a better option when it comes to getting excellent pictures of a client’s home. Real estate photography is a growing industry and since pictures are more important to home sales than ever before, many agents are employing professionals.
If your client scoffs at the idea of using a professional, here are some statistics that may change their mind.
- The title of an article in the Wall Street Journal says it all—“20 Seconds to Love at First Sight”. If you don’t have the right photo to showcase the listing, you could lose a potential sale in just 20 seconds.
- Redfin, a brokerage based in Seattle, said that homes with nicer photos as opposed to those made with point and click cameras mean more money in the seller’s pocket. A good photo could mean $934 to more than $116,000 between the final and asking price.
Moving from a point and shoot or smart phone photos to hiring a professional is not expensive. Our prices are reasonable and the benefits far outweigh the costs. Better pictures can mean quicker sales, better commissions and most importantly happy clients.