How important is photography to selling real estate? Well, it's like bread and butter, mac and cheese, ying & yang. I think you get the point. They are intimately tied together. There is tons of research that discusses in great detail how properties with excellent photos get more traffic. They sell quicker. They sell closer to asking price. The same can be said for almost ANY product being presented on the internet when the viewer has to rely on a combination of images, write-up and reviews.
But being that real estate is such a big investment and so important, It's still surprising some of the bad images you see? How do you get excited about a blurry couch or a a view that isn't real? This and sadly much more is being passed off as something that is supposed to motivate you to see a property... I don't think so.
I'm a broker based in Miami, Florida who has been involved in real estate for over 25 years. To this day I marvel at how much faith and patience property owners put in agents that represent them poorly. These owners are sometimes forced to look past not just bad images but poor marketing, due diligence and communication skills. Don't get me wrong. I'm not bad mouthing the industry as a whole. It's more about pointing out something that happens enough times to warrant a rant on my part...
In fairness to property sellers everywhere, there are contracts and financial pitfalls that potentially bind the seller of a property to less than ideal circumstances. Sometimes out of obligation, friendship, cost, contracts, etc., you end up hoping for a miracle versus planning for success. There are also times when people sell you on an idea of value that may have little to do with the reality of your property? You don't see this phenomenon as much when it comes to rentals or buyers but this does occur more frequently when related to sellers of real estate.
So what are the things a property seller can do in these types of situations? You can hire your own photographer to improve those bad real estate photos and potentially someone to writeup the language to describe your home. Review the terms of your contract with the brokerage you signed with to see what your options are to cancel, amend, etc. You could have the broker assign a different agent? Ask to review the due diligence used to arrive at the value of your property. How does it relate to recent comparable sales in your area? What marketing channels are they using and how frequently? Do they understand what makes your place special or different? Good or bad?
In terms of evaluating a properties worth, there are at least three relatively automated pricing systems being used in the industry. Each has its own way to arrive at a range of value for just about any property. That being said, not any one pricing system is an absolute and all should be treated with a grain of salt. The personal experience of the brokerage and agent combined with these analytical systems is always better than trusting the numbers solely.
In our brokerage here in South Florida, these are the minimum items we expect to cover and discuss. There is a lot more that goes on in the background to keep things moving smoothly, but this is a good starting point.
So, if you are thinking of selling or are in the midst of selling, treat this little rant as the basis of a series of questions you want to ask yourself and whoever you are working with or might be working with in the future. Remember, bad real estate photos of your blurry couch or that modern art inspired photo of your refrigerator, might really be a cry for help on a much bigger scale.