I believe that every real estate agent has a threshold price point in mind: anything over that number and they’ll use a professional photographer; anything under it and they’re using their cell phone.
For some the number is $0 — I’ve got any number of clients who call me whether it’s an $800,000, 5br, 4ba home on 5 acres or whether it’s an 800 sq.ft. 1-bedroom condo.
In my mind these $0-threshold agents are the ones who “get it” — professional photos market both the property and themselves well no matter what kind of property. And the fact that they often call me 20-30 times a year to do photography tells me their strategy is working and they’re getting more listings.
I’ve had agents tell me to my face that their number is $350,000. And they call me for more expensive listings but not when they’re marketing and selling a $200,000 condo. Oddly enough, they don’t get very many listings that, in their mind, deserve professional photography…perhaps because sellers look at their listings and don’t want their home to get cell phone camera treatment.
And then there are some agents for whom the number is $1,000,000,000 — they’re never going to call a professional photographer no matter what. They don’t see the need.
I often hear other photographers bemoaning the fact that someone isn’t using a professional on a high-end listing. Or an above-average listing even. Those agents are in that Billion-Dollar-Threshold category and nothing will convince them. You can show them data and articles all you want but it won’t make a bit of difference.
The ranks of the $0-threshold agents are growing, and the latter are fading away as they get fewer and fewer deals. I think there will always be some of the middle group, but I think their price-threshold is getting lower and lower if they want to succeed.
Photographing houses can be a challenge sometimes. Empty houses, while easy, are boring and it’s hard to tell scale — is that a 4′ wide window or a 6′ wide window?
Sometimes occupied ones are even harder. Here are some
- The Tenant – I don’t care how much you love your renter or they love you, if you’re selling the house or condo, you’re making work for them. And they have absolutely no skin in the game. If they make it pretty and easy-to-sell, they have to move faster. Total pain. Some are better than others, sure, but some are nightmares. My photos were once used in an eviction hearing against a pair of hoarders. Enough said?
- The Divorcing – Divorce is hard, but sometimes it can be amicable. When it’s not, neither party wants to do anything and the Realtor and the photographer can get caught in the middle. Lots of fun.
- The Decorator – “I want to try this shot with and without the lamp.” My response: “Are you selling the lamp or the house? Get the lamp out of the shot.” We’re not taking photos for Architectural Digest or Better Homes And Gardens — we’re there to take photos that someone at MLS is going to compress to death and put online for, we hope, a very short period of time. Your “vision” doesn’t apply.
- The Photographer – Everyone who’s every gotten beyond the PHD settings on their camera thinks they’re a photographer. And if they’ve ever been paid — even with compliments — they think they’re a professional. They may even be a true professional wedding or portrait photographer — but just because I know my way around a camera and shooting a house I don’t think I could be a portrait or a wedding photographer. The opposite doesn’t seem to be true.
I had a birthday recently. I’d rather not get into specifics, but let’s just say I can now become a full voting member of AARP.
In fact, someone left my AARP application taped to my bathroom mirror that morning. But that’s another story.
Getting older is fine.
However, I’ve now noticed that the spam I get is no longer for “hot singles in your area” but “mature singles in your area.”
That stung a bit.
Ya know what’s great? When someone approaches you and wants to use your photos for free.
But they’ll give you exposure!
I tried paying for groceries with exposure once but got arrested.
If you want a truly awful experience purchasing a laptop, I’d like to recommend Blinq.
They had some decent “open box” deals on laptops, so I thought I’d give it a try. First of all, vague shipping times so I paid extra for express shipping. The “express” 2-3 day shipping evidently meant 2-3 business days because it took 5.
Then I open the box and discover I didn’t get what I ordered from Blinq While I ordered i5, 8GB, 13″ laptop, what they’ve shipped me is a Pentium, 4GB, 11″ laptop. Not the same thing. At all.
Looking at their website, what they shipped was $148 cheaper.
So, chat with a Blinq customer service rep.
Blinq Rep: You can send it back or we can refund $90.
Me: Let me see, I think $90 is less than the $148 difference.
Blinq Rep: I can refund $140.
Me: Um…let me check my math….
Rep: I talked to my supervisor and I can issue you a refund of $148.
Meanwhile, what Blinq sent really is a piece of crap. Way lower specs. Slower, less storage, crap CPU. It’s light…and small…and junk. Shipping back to Blinq right away.
Photographing a bedroom and hearing agent and stager fighting with shower curtain in the main bath. Move to next bedroom, they continue being frustrated by it. Finally they find me and announce that the bathroom is ready to be photographed.
Go back…find that you can’t even see the shower curtain from where I’m going to shoot it. I decide to not tell them and let them find out later.