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 (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 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 or direct at 239-777-7007 or toll free 877-777-7545.

So you Missed Last Night’s Sunset, Huh?

One huge perk of owning real estate in Naples, Florida is watching God’s magic, night after night.  Never did I think that orange and purple could work so well together until I moved to Naples and experienced, with utter awe, the handiwork of our creator and his “artfulness” in throwing together such differing colors to weave the most memorable sunsets.  So, when you look at this photograph, taken by my hugely talented husband and business partner Rick, Rick Bethem Photography, you’re probably thinking, ok, where the heck is the sun and what happened to the sunset? Let me explain.  We’ve been having such incredibly mild temperatures and low humidity levels, that we decided it was time to put work aside for a bit and enjoy this great piece of paradise we live in.  I remember when we first moved here, for the first several years, we visited the beach so often that I never thought I would ever miss an opportunity to enjoy it, that is, until life took over and the novelty of having something so rare, so close to me, began to wear off.  It wasn’t until friends moved here that we were invigorated by their enthusiasm to “do the sunsets” as we were those first couple of years.  So, we’ve been more prudent about enjoying what we have because one never knows when it will be taken away.  That leads me to last night:  with a Chamber of Commerce evening, we headed down to the beach just as the sun was melting into the horizon.  With no clouds in sight, it still proved to be a beautiful sunset as the sinking sun started to take the shape of an egg as it slid behind the horizon.  I kept my eyes peeled for that illustrious green flash but to my dismay, there wasn’t any.  Oh well, no harm, no foul as they say.  As I was relaxing in the soft tropical breezes, watching the joggers, the lovers and the newlyweds, a beautiful bride and her groom were walking up the beach from the Naples Beach Hotel with their photographer.  I started to think about beginnings.  And endings.  I remember as a little kid having the bejezzers scared out of me when I was locked in a linen closet while playing a cruel game of hide and seek.  I’ve never forgotten that, as with most bad memories, but I try to make something positive out of it.  And last night, while sitting there with nothing but the sound of the waves slamming into the sand, the echoes of laughter in the distance, my mind began to wonder: Is Dark really Dark or does it just lack light?  You’re probably thinking, man, that’s a misnomer, and frankly, you’d be right.  Except that you’re not! Reason being:  we’re sitting in total darkness with nothing but a sliver of a moon, a lovely misdirected star sitting under it (or was it strategically placed as our own little twinkling gift) and this amazing photograph was produced from total darkness.  Five separate shots were needed ranging from 30 seconds to 5 minutes, consecutively taken within the hour after sunset.  It’s just amazing what long exposures can produce.  And talent.  And faith.   So next time you’re at the beach, or dreaming of being at the beach, think about Naples real estate and don’t forget to contact Ruth Bethem at or direct at 239-777-7007 or toll free 877-777-7545.