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03/11/2005 04:40:17 PM · #1
Okay, here goes. I am a realtor in Minnesota and when I look on the MLS the photographs are awful. Sometimes they are so blurry it's not even worth taking a look at the house because most people look at them on the internet and then decide whether or not they will actually go to the home. Well, my question is: I have been thinking of offering my photography services to the Realtor to take the photographs and I am wondering what lenses would be best? I have a Rebel and have your standard kit lense and the 75-300. I know I will probably need a wide angle lense. Any suggestions?

03/11/2005 04:45:02 PM · #2
IMO I think you have a good start with equipment and yes you may want a wide angle lens but one that limits distortion. I have notice that most Realtors use there cell phone cameras to take pictures here and that is the cause of low quality pictures. They just don't want to have to worry with having to take a camera around with them but they have to have a phone so they just combine them both.

Message edited by author 2005-03-11 16:45:30.
03/11/2005 04:48:03 PM · #3
Musts: wide angle...and a tripod. You could probably get away without using a tripod. But to optimize poor lighting in a lot of houses you'll want to use a slow shutter and a tripod. I was thinking of this myself since I'm in the market for a condo and have seen some brutal pictures online. Good luck!

P.S. the 18-55 kit lens with the rebel might do it for a wide angle..esp. considering you only need internet quality shots for now.
03/11/2005 04:51:06 PM · #4
I have thought about this option before. How would one go about finding a job like that and what kind of pay or pay scale would one expect?
I think it would be a good service for Realtors since they are so busy.
03/11/2005 04:56:12 PM · #5
One thing I found most irritating when I was buying a house was all the wide-angle photos of the rooms. I knew that the sellers wanted to have their rooms appear wider and longer than they actually were, but it had been done to such extent that borders were extremely distorted.

If you decide to achieve this effect, don't use fish-eye lenses. I think that your kit lens should do a pretty good job, even at ~25mm range.
03/11/2005 05:01:53 PM · #6
The problem is that the market is too diffuse. Any good-sized city will likely have dozens if not hundreds of licensed real estate agents (Realtor is a trademark of a national association), each of whom might get (if lucky) one or two listings/month. The only way to make it worthwhile would be for a large office to hire you for all their listings.

But, how much can they pay you for a couple of pictures? Probably not enough to cover telling you how to get to the house, your travel time, your processing and uploading time, etc., especially considering the quality they're used to seeing.
03/11/2005 05:09:39 PM · #7
There are a lot of high-end homes going for big bucks. At least where I live. Someone is taking pictures for these big sales..might as well be you!
03/11/2005 05:19:30 PM · #8
having been a realtor for 3 different companies... 99% of the agents have digital cameras and take their own pics. that certainly explains the lousy pics - i was accused more than once that the pic i had of a house i listed was emphatically NOT that house, and that was at the open house - i had to take the person outside and show them where i stood for the pic.

YES, a good pic will increase calls, and clients, and mo money for the agent. 75% of agents are part time, the NATIONAL average income for an agent was under $19,000. (2001 number).

Top agents, the really busy ones MIGHT take you up on your offer, and one guy i talked with was hired by a small office to do their pics - $25/house. If you can do 4 houses in a trip it MIGHT be worth it.

Our MLS went on-line 3 or so years ago and now allows 5 pics - usually some interior and backyard or other special details. many agents do not bother with the full 5 pics.

Our MLS has thousands of agents listed. Contacting them all is either time consuming or expensive. Convincing them to use you is another task, and of course you are not saving them time IF they want more than the front of the house shot, as they wil have to be there to let you in for interior or other shots.

MANY MANY companies are out there to take agent's money for one thing or another - virtual house tours and other 3-D room visuals is one option that i know VERY few agents use (around here anyway)

If you want to persue it, make up some flyers, perhaps a sample website with agents pics and your 'better' ones and try stopping by offices and putting hte flyers in teh agents' mailboxes. you could do up a presentation and give it at their weekly meetings (bring donuts!)
03/11/2005 05:32:30 PM · #9
A listed house in the neighborhood had someone use a wide angle lense to take shoots of the interior and possibly with the pictures went $300,000 over listed price. The pictures may or may not have helped, but the pictures were definitely gorgeous.
03/11/2005 05:32:46 PM · #10
Is pitching to the homeowners possible? I'm still talking about high-end homes, though. Just because a realtor doesn't want to spend $100 to get some good shots doesn't mean the homeowner doesn't want to.

If you went online and searched for homes..say..over $1million that have been listed for a couple of months, it might be worth while to approach them. At least, it sounds good in theory.
03/11/2005 05:37:25 PM · #11
I checked into this last summer. A neighbor who is a broker told me that here the MLS agency has an exclusive; and listing agents have to use them. They charge the agent $15 for one digital image and two different 8x10 prints. I figured there was no money to be made at those rates so never botherd to check into it further with the MLS agency. I think it's a case of the agents don't want to pay much and every soccer mom with a P&S is willing to do it for very little. However, you wouldn't need much to top the quality of most real estate shots.

Message edited by author 2005-03-11 17:45:08.
03/11/2005 05:52:48 PM · #12
here the MLS will take a pic if you want - no charge. they will send you 2 5x7 b&w prints. they take terrible pics most of the time.

best pics as we all know require good lighting and usually move the cars out of the way, shut the garage, etc. So is the front of the house facing n,s,e,w? you won't know until YOU go and look at it...so you may have to make multiple trips...and getting cars moved, etc in a non-suburban setting can be a challenge to say the least.

goldberry Good thought, but since realtors only cahreg IF the and when the home sells, most sellers don't see the need to spend money when it is the agent's job to do that. Also, most agents, and certainly the good ones, are control freaks. if you have teh seller 'demand' theat the agent uses your pics, the agent will develop an attitude immediately - so if you approach the photo biz from both ends you will get caught in the middle.

The real estate magazines usually rin the MLS pic (one reason for the prints form the MLS to the agent). So here is place to use color prints/digital files.
03/11/2005 05:58:06 PM · #13
Yea I know what you mean about control freaks. I've never had a really good experience with any realtor and out of the hundred or so people I know who have them; nobody likes them. Mostly because they've been treated so poorly by their realtor. WHich is why I thought approaching sellers directly without going through their realtor may work.

I've seen realtors yell at customers. Crazy!
03/11/2005 06:06:26 PM · #14
Originally posted by GoldBerry:

Yea I know what you mean about control freaks. I've never had a really good experience with any realtor and out of the hundred or so people I know who have them; nobody likes them. Mostly because they've been treated so poorly by their realtor. WHich is why I thought approaching sellers directly without going through their realtor may work.

I've seen realtors yell at customers. Crazy!


My first homebuying expereince got me thinking - "I can do better" and my wife and i got into the biz. I did it for about 5 years, she for 2. Very educational, that's for sure. Althought many agents are a**holes, i'd never sell a house without one.

Easy money: put an ad in the paper offering your house for sale (by owner). Get a buyer, take a $1000 deposit (actually you are going to take 4 or 5 from different people). Don't sell. do nothing. they will want their money back - tell them to go and sue. It will cost them more than the $1000 to sue you. Yes they;ll win, but to spend $2000 to get back $1000 is not worth it, is it?

yes, that is a true story.
03/11/2005 06:14:48 PM · #15
well then I must have a good realtor! Sure he doesn't really listen to me and sure he keeps sending me listings that aren't in the realm of what I've asked for, but at least whenever I want appointments he'll pick me up and drive me around for an entire day looking at houses. And not complain. Nice guy really.

Annnnyway, back to the original post!

Message edited by author 2005-03-11 18:15:07.
03/11/2005 10:22:42 PM · #16
Oh lots of talk on this whole house thing here. I've been a realtor for a year and I was honestly tired of all the jerk realtors who don't do their job #1 Customer Service!!! Treating your client with the utmost respect is number one in my book...
Anyway, no one really gave me an idea on what kind of lense to use. I basically want something that tells the truth of the house. Nothing to make it look bigger. So maybe a wide angle wouldn't work..I don't know.
I know a lot of Realtors here in the Twin Cities and all of them are pretty big agents. I could start with them and roll the ideas around through them first.
I don't know if I will do it or not. It was an idea of doing something with my camera while my Real Estate Work sits at a Lull.
Winter's here are very slow...but thankfully my listing sold in less then 30 days which is amazing for our market right now.

Thanks for all your answers!
03/11/2005 10:35:59 PM · #17
Originally posted by ali626:

Anyway, no one really gave me an idea on what kind of lense to use.


Use your kit lens, 18-55. That should do very well.

And Congrats on the quick sale. No go get that next one.
03/12/2005 12:03:43 AM · #18
I've been a Realtor for 8 years and LOVE the job. I get wonderful referrals, partly I believe because of my photography and marketing pieces. I NEVER let the MLS take my photos (bleh!) and I always use the maximum number of shots I can post.

One of the things you might want to consider to market to Realtors is to provide them with a cd with two sets of files...one folder for print files, and one folder for web sized files. On top of that, if you are good at writing, when you take your photos write up a nice description of the area you're shooting, and what might appeal to buyers. It won't cost you anything and believe or not, many Realtors really struggle with finding concise, descriptive captions for their listings. Since most advertising has space constraints, it helps to know how to use that space wisely. Adding that feature would surely set you apart from other "photographers." I think you said you are a Realtor, so you know the legal issues for your area regarding what you can and cannot include or say in the marketing, which is a plus.

If anyone needs a Realtor in the Cincinnati area, give me a call! I do full color brochures and property portfolios for every listing - even the small ones.
03/12/2005 12:08:33 AM · #19
Originally posted by GoldBerry:

well then I must have a good realtor! Sure he doesn't really listen to me and sure he keeps sending me listings that aren't in the realm of what I've asked for, but at least whenever I want appointments he'll pick me up and drive me around for an entire day looking at houses. And not complain. Nice guy really.

Annnnyway, back to the original post!


I'd drive you around all day too if you bought me a beer.
03/12/2005 12:39:23 AM · #20
Originally posted by ali626:

Oh lots of talk on this whole house thing here. I've been a realtor for a year and I was honestly tired of all the jerk realtors who don't do their job #1 Customer Service!!! Treating your client with the utmost respect is number one in my book...
Anyway, no one really gave me an idea on what kind of lense to use. I basically want something that tells the truth of the house. Nothing to make it look bigger. So maybe a wide angle wouldn't work..I don't know.
I know a lot of Realtors here in the Twin Cities and all of them are pretty big agents. I could start with them and roll the ideas around through them first.
I don't know if I will do it or not. It was an idea of doing something with my camera while my Real Estate Work sits at a Lull.
Winter's here are very slow...but thankfully my listing sold in less then 30 days which is amazing for our market right now.

Thanks for all your answers!


priced right, sells tonight! Too many agents will over price a property on a listing appt with the line "OHHH, this is lovely, I can get you $250,000" when the house is a dog that will sell at $185,000. Once the contract is signed the seller then gets told "The market has turned...new competetion...interest rates moved...etc, You need to lower the price". TOO many agents just let it sit and sit unsold. It will eventually sell - often for less that it would have if priced right up front. (if the house is on teh market for 6+ months, the MLS pic shows snow in the pic in a July ad...the potential buyer assumes something is wrong with the house!)

If they agents you want to take pics for are in your office or company, fine. Doing that for other brokers or agents of other companies while still being a practicing agent seems like some conflict of interest or will at least make the other agents feel threatened. Too much backstabbing in that biz as it is.

BTW, i'll make you a good deal on Top Producer 6i, with all the bells and whistles! (top locator, top financial, MLS top connector, videos and more)
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