Real Estate Sellers & Professional Photos – Do they really make a difference?

© Rick Bethem Photography

So you have a Naples seller that says he wants to sell and a real estate agent that is chompin-at-the-bit for a sale.  Yet, the agent brings along a point & shoot camera and considers that to be sufficient.  Or you have the lazy agent that doesn’t want to “bother” to do either and the property sits for eons before it gets a showing, leaving them scratching their heads.  Now folks, this has to be the simplest form of logic:  How can you expect tp sell a property without any photos?  Does it make sense that with 91% of today’s buyers starting their property search on the internet it would perhaps be a good idea to show them the property rather than putting the burden on the buyer to use their imagination or worse, ESP, to imagine what this glorious property looks like that you’ve so richly described in the remarks?  I’ve never been able to understand it but the practice continues and that is for every price point out there, not just the lower end.  That is why it is imperative for a seller to demand the real estate agent hires a professional photographer.  The Wall Street Journal had some pretty interesting stats on the difference in salability between those properties over $300,000 that sold with professional photographs vs. point & shoot photos http://blogs.wsj.com/developments/2010/10/04/in-real-estate-a-picture-is-worth-1000-or-more/ (stats provided by Redfin Corp).  Now, I have to admit I’m a bit biased since my business partner (and husband) Rick Bethem is a professional photographer.  With 30 years of experience (and owning a photo studio for 20 yrs) he launched his own real estate/architectural photography business last year http://www.rickbethem.com/residential/residential.html and the Naples Realtors® are keeping him very busy.  Don’t be misled that he’s only photographing higher end, although it is a sufficient portion of his clientele, there are many Realtors® that understand the importance of hiring a professional for their listings, no matter what the listing price is, specifically under $1m.  After all, a seller has chosen to hire a professional real estate agent for their needs, and there’s no reason why the lower end properties shouldn’t be represented in the best possible light (ok, pun intended) as well.  The WSJ reports:

Not surprisingly, listings with better photos command higher asking prices: If you believe your home is worth the investment of good photography, you’ll probably ask more money for it. The surprising part is that the tactic works. At the closing table, listings with nicer photos gain anywhere between $934 and $116,076–as measured by the difference between asking and final price–over listings using photos from point-and-click cameras. One exception: The low end of the market: Listings priced below $300,000 were less likely to sell with nicer photos, possibly reflecting unrealistic expectations on the sellers behalf. At the low-end, price cuts would seem to be more important than photography.

If the seller wants to sell, it’s the job of their professional real estate agent to convince them the importance of showcasing their property to the world in the best possible light (sorry guys, I just had to do it again!) and that would be to hire a professional photographer.  For further information or any questions on Naples real estate please contact Ruth Bethem at Ruth@RuthBethem.com or direct at 239-777-7007 or toll free 877-777-7545.

National Flood Insurance Program One Year Extension

I thought I’d share this short but happy news from the National Association of  Realtors®.  There should be many happy sellers, buyers, realtors® and closing agents thrilled about this extension as they can close on their real estate and get on with their life now that they have flood insurance.

(Sept.24) The National Association of  Realtors® NAR is pleased to report that Congress has unanimously approved a one-year extension, until Sept. 30, 2011 for the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP).   A long-term extension has been a top legislative priority for NAR.   Earlier in 2010 the NFIP lapsed, causing major disruptions for REALTORS®, and with the Sept. 30, 2010 deadline fast approaching NAR redoubled its efforts to extend the program.

REALTOR® advocacy efforts helped make the long-term extension a reality.  When Congress returned to Washington, D.C. in mid-September NAR was waiting with our Federal Political Coordinators who came to DC to meet with key senators and urge the long-term extension.  Additionally, on Sept. 22, 2010 NAR was ably represented by Maryland REALTOR® Nick D’Ambrosia.  He stressed to the Senate Committee on Banking NAR’s commitment to extend and strengthening the program beyond 2011 for the long-term.  While the one-year extension brings a level of certainty to the NFIP, there needs to be comprehensive reform measures to place the NFIP on more sound financial footing for at least another 5 years.

For further information or any questions on Naples real estate please contact Ruth Bethem at Ruth@RuthBethem.com or direct at 239-777-7007 or toll free 877-777-7545.