Pictures Austin Realtors Take of Homes

Home with trashed porch

I’m often amazed at some of the photos I see of homes for sale in Austin. Given that the internet is the starting point for over 70% of buyers today, and that the photos buyers see online will strongly influence their desire to learn more about the home, one has to wonder why so many Austin homes are listed with very poor photos.

Granted, some homes are less photogenic than others, but would it be that hard to move the SUV off of the lawn and pull the trashbin out of the way? After moving those items, I’d take the photo from the other side of the home so the garage isn’t front and center, and I’d try to get more blue sky and less oil stained driveway into the scene. If you were a seller, would you feel well served by this agent and would you feel like this photo presents your home in the best light?

{Picture removed of home. It had an SUV parked in front the yard and a garbage can in front of garage door.}

Posted by Steve
10 years ago
Steve

Steve is a Real Estate Blogger, Husband and Dad, UT Austin Grad, Runner, Real Estate Broker and owner of Crossland Team and Crossland Real Estate in Austin TX.

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dez - 10 years ago

As a photographer, this is a question that I too have often asked myself. Even if I was just an everyday, shoot photos of the kids and dogs, type of person, common sense would still tell me to take a better photo if I want to make money off of it. Come on realtors – it’s not rocket science. It doesn’t take a professional photographer nor does it take expensive gear to make a house look good in a picture. The most important part of *any* photograph is composition. To me, this particular picture tells me that the realtor doesn’t want to sell this house. It also tells me that the realtor doesn’t care much for the people trying to sell the house, because he or she obviosly isn’t helping them with this photo. Did the realtor take this picture, or was it the seller? If it was the home owner, then I would hope that the realtor would advise them to take a better picture, or offer to do it herself. Either way, shame on the realtor. This is amature effort from an amature agent.

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Steve - 10 years ago

Thanks dez, I’m not sure who took the photo, but ultimately only the Realtor can upload it to a listing, so it’s his or her responsibility.

The other thing I see from time to time is a sideways listing photo. This happens when the agent rotates the camera to get a portrait style shot, but doesn’t know how to rotate the photo after it’s downloaded (one mouse click), and they upload it sideways anyway!

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Leon Fu - 10 years ago

I am also a photographer and after looking at all the bad pictures in the MLS listing, I have wondered if this could be a business? Would realtors or sellers pay me to take professional photos of their property? If I could get the owners to also sign a property release as well, I could also license photos (to print publications) as stock photography…

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Nis - 10 years ago

This is SO true. Our real estate agent once sent us a link to a house and we did not like the picture but he insisted that it had curb appeal. When we actually vistited the house, it was the best one we had ever seen. We did not make an offer only cause the school district was bad. If it were not for our agent, we would never have even considered it. Pictures do speak a thousand words.

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bill - 10 years ago

Well, you can’t expect the technical and photographical skills of majority of the realtors/agents are going to be improved. Have you guys visited personal websites of most other realtors and agents? Heck, have you visited Keller Williams, JB Goodwin, and Central 21’s own corporate websites? Their designs are so amature, they make you laugh. Finally, shall we talk a little bit about the various MLS listings websites? The standard gateway was clearly done by some technical people that have no sense of style.

Here is one question though. Seller’s agent will make about 1.5%-2.0% of the selling price as commission. Say this house is asking for $200k. That’s $4000. How much does it cost for her to hire a semi-professional photographer and graphic artist (maybe a college art student?) to shoot better pictures and make professional looking flyers? If it’s like $500, will he do it?

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Jim - 10 years ago

Unfortunately for the “majority of realtors” they have none of the skills required to make it in the new world of real estate. They have few inernet skills and they can’t even take basic photos.

Even a mid-level digital camera these days can take great shots if you are careful about the lighting. Most agents just don’t have any good aesthetic taste. It’s evident in their websites, marketing and how they conduct business overall. Nowadays it’s all about how you market a home, instead of some clever negotiating skills, and many realtors have not caught up.

Btw, the new wave is panoramic photos. Stitch several of them together to make interiors look much more spacious.

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Steve - 10 years ago

> How much does it cost for her to hire a semi-professional photographer and graphic artist (maybe a college art student?) to shoot better pictures

We have a virtual tour and professional photos made for every sales listing we take. There is no reason not to – it’s cheap – $95 to $149 I think. That gives us about 25 still shots and 4 of 5 virtual tour (360 degree) shots. We also pay extra to have a sketch of the floorplan included.

Here is an example http://www.seeaustinhomes.com/5030 (warning – it plays music šŸ™ – we’ll tell them to leave that off next time)

The company we use is http://www.360degreepix.com.

I noticed a long time ago that our out of town buyers select a disproportionate number of listings with virtual tours as properties they are interested in learning more about. This is because they can see more of the home but also because sellers and agents who invest in a virtual tour are more likely to have put the home in good condition and staged it prior to putting it on the market for sale.

Knowing that out of town buyers like to see as much as possible of the home and floorplan online, it makes sense for sellers and listing agents to provide that on every listing. Only if the home were occupied by a messy tenant do we not do a virtual tour.

Steve

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Jim - 10 years ago

Steve, do you get enhanced listings on Realtor.com at all? I’ve been debating whether to offer that on listings but not really sure if it would help the sale.

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Mark - 10 years ago

Someone mentioned school districts. What are the worst school districts in Austin? Just curious.

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Steve - 10 years ago

Jim, no, we haven’t tried the enhanced listings. It seems to be geared toward marketing the agent more than the home.

FYI – the listing from which the above photo was taken is under contract after just 5 days on the market. I guess the bad picture didn’t hurt it much after all.

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bill - 10 years ago

I’m curious where was this house located. 5 days on market is pretty remarkable, it must have some attractions other than a unsightful photo. Is this in Westlake area?

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Steve - 10 years ago

> Iā€™m curious where was this house located.

Hi Bill,
It’s in an oler, established 1970’s/1980’s neighborhood, priced below $160K. 5 days on the market is not unusual at all in Austin right now in the areas and price ranges with lower supply.
Steve

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Jim - 10 years ago

I bet that house is in Area 10 or Area 9. A lot of flipper investors are buying the less remarkable places, fixing them up and reselling for a profit.

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Nis - 10 years ago

Yes, I am curious about the worst school districts too. Steve, any answers?

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Jeb - 10 years ago

lol Well, the picture does say that this is a neighborhood where people park on their yards.

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