189: Winning with Your Listing Photos

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You never get a second chance to make a first impression, right? We all know by now that buyers’ first impressions of your listing happen online, so your listing photos are THE most important marketing you will do! In this episode we talk about how sellers should prep for photos and what exactly happens on photo day. How many photos are enough? Do you need drone photos? Where do sellers and agents go wrong in their photos? We will answer all of these questions and more and tell a few funny photo storiews. If you haven’t seen the many websites and articles about MLS photos gone wrong, warm up your google machine and get ready for some solid laughs. It’s time for a chat full of actionable advice and a full list of listing photo do’s and don’ts!

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The following is a rough transcript provided by Otter.ai.

I was just like, I used to play a hole with water in it in a yard.

Yes, like I wander in and out. And I just wanted to be like, Get out. Get out. You want to listen fine. You’re gonna hear I dislike your comforter, maybe.

I would literally take a bulb and be running from room to room. But it was staged with mannequins. Oh no, the entire house and the mannequins were all wearing like prom dresses.

Hi, y’all. Welcome to hustle humbly. It’s Alyssa and Katie. And we are two top producing realtors in the Baton Rouge market.

We work for two different companies where we should be competitors. But we have chosen community over competition. The goal of our podcasts is to encourage you to find your own way in business to stop comparing yourself and start embracing your strengths. Is this thing on? Hello? Hello. I’m gonna tell you what. This is gonna be a great episode. I can already tell you the giggles the giggles I’m excited. I guess I should tell you tell you hello. Hi. Hey, Katie. How’s it going Alyssa?

Oh, it’s going just fine.

This is episode 189. Listing photos. Okay, and I just am down the rabbit hole of bad MLS photos right now. And it is look if you’re having a bad day. That’ll put you right real quick.

If you’re down on yourself feeling like man, I’m not a very good agent. Just go look at these photos. And agents have used the market their listing?

Unbelievable. It is unbelievable. Unbelievable. So the number one thing that I think we need to say at the beginning of this episode, because no matter who listens, you should take away one thing. professional photos are not optional. No, you need professional photos. And not only do you need them, you need to talk about them to your clients and tell them why you need them. And that’s because how many buyers start out online? 97% Yep. I mean, so

everyone’s good. They’re not coming up to that site. Again, if the pictures aren’t good, they are not coming

or not coming. They’re not coming. So that’s the most important thing. And we’re going to kind of talk you through how to hire a photographer. What are you going to do on your like all the stuff and then we’re going to tell you some don’ts? Yes, because don’ts are very important with photos and just

some background. We have two episodes, that would be the lead up to this one. Okay, so episode 35. We have staged to sell right? That more if you are one of our template owners, you have the getting your house ready for photos checklist. Yeah, because it is attached to the pre listing email. And that

is sort of a hybrid of staging and photo prep,

right? Just start things to start doing before we come to the initial meeting. So you’re not surprised. And then episode 73 is how to build your staging closet. Okay, so if you want to do some light staging in your listings, or just helping with photos, or helping out sellers who are maybe sparse or just don’t have like, the decor you’re looking for that episode is more things that you can just have for yourself without having to get like a whole storage unit of staging. Yeah. So we will try to focus not so much on staging even though they do kind of go together.

Okay, fair. But there are do’s and don’ts. Yes. For photography, regardless of how it’s staged. If it’s a vacant house, if it’s an occupied house, there are do’s and don’ts on photography day. Right regard regardless. Yeah. Okay. Well, let’s start with we’ve already told them they have to have a photographer. So how do you find a photographer?

I found my photographer through word of mouth early in my career. He was a realtor in my office that really just has his real estate license for his own personal things. He doesn’t really work with buyers and seller. Yeah, we just became friends. I’ve always liked his photos and he was always very accommodating.

Okay, when did you start using a professional photographer?

Since the moment I got my first listing? Okay, love it.

I feel like I was a relatively early adopter. Okay. I mean, it was a real estate specific photographer, but they were new to the market. It not it was probably, I don’t know 20% of agents had started using but you started real estate what year 2005.

And how many people had professional photos at that point? Probably

none. Right quickly thereafter in the next few years. That’s

when you really started Yeah, for sure. See, when I started in 2011 Everybody has everyone

does Yeah, that’s just what you did. Right? But there are still agents to this day and 2023 that do not use a photographer clearly from In that website, and I would say when you’re great, and when you’re going to get a photographer, it’s not just any person with a nice camera. It’s an actual person with the appropriate lens who takes real estate photos? Correct. They’re not the same as wedding photos. No. And I did

have a photographer one time that reached out saying she was trying to branch into real estate, and asked me to give her you know, a try. And you know, she would discount for the first couple packages, and they just didn’t pop right away, the real estate photographers did, they were pretty, right, they would have been fine. But I get so excited when I get that email with my listing photos, because I know it’s going to stun me.

Yeah. And there, it’s going to look the best. Now, I don’t think you need to over filter a photo to where it doesn’t look like the same house. But it is going to have the appropriate light the right angle to where you’re seeing the whole room that requires a certain kind of lens. So yeah, the photos always come back and are beautiful. And I

think that that is a very good point. So even if it’s a really ugly, terrible house that needs repairs, yeah. Okay. I have listed a few properties that were either succession properties, or some in some sort of distress. Okay. And I have told my photographer, listen, I don’t want people to be deceived. You’re here because I like how your lens shows the whole room without distorting it captures the space. I don’t want you to filter out Yeah, lighting or stains or that the you know, I want them to see so he that’s what I like to is some people say, Well, this house is so ugly, but I’m like no, I really think that if you’re still trying to market it as a fresh as a blank slate Yeah. You know, or whatever needed repair. Yeah, it’s still helpful that they can see the pictures for what it is. So I don’t want to over Edit. No, you know, he really, I mean, he makes the sky blue. He makes the grass green. Yeah. Okay. But we’re not gonna love that. Yeah, it’s the sky blue and grass green. But we’re not going to get into editing what color the floors look like, no, no, no,

no. But look, I have a current listing right now. And my client pulled out the photos from when we bought it just a couple of years ago. She’s like, do you remember this? The photos made the floor look gray and the and the walls look gray. And when we got here, it was all like brown and tan like they were filtered. And I’m like, wow, you’re right looking at it and then looking at what it what they were not the same. It’s not right. You don’t you never want a buyer to show up to the house and be like, this isn’t even the same house.

We actually had a lawsuit filed you did in our office. I don’t remember what the situation was exactly. But somebody sued somebody because of the photos and what they appeared to be. Oh, like this was back when people were making offers sight unseen, okay? When we were in the peak of busyness, okay, and this house was listed it was something to do with the pool. Okay, the pool was very edited it Okay, looked like an oasis just like your perfect resort. And then they made an offer sight unseen, scheduled the inspection flew into town for the Inspect so spent inspection money, flight money, hotel money, and got there and was like this is so it’s false advertising right at some point and they have a case for it. Wow, they do have a case for it. So you do have to be careful with how much you are deceiving.

Yeah, okay. Ironically, I have a story also about a pool. My buyer was when they were luckily here though, and we went to go look at the house. The listing photos show an aerial with a blue pool. And in round blue pool, when we went to the house, the pool was what I would label a like it was a fixer upper. The pool was brown like a like a pond. It was a line pool. But when you looked inside of it, the liner was gone. It was mud. It was just like, basically a hole with water in it in a yard. It couldn’t be fixed. In fact, when the appraiser came, they said this loan is not approved with this pool here at all. I bet so the seller had to fill it in action order for him in order for us to close they had to fill in the pool. I guess your people didn’t want the pool. I mean, they were they really wanted to house more than the pool and they didn’t have any other choices. And I think it wasn’t like oh, we went to this house because of the pool. But I do feel like that photo should never have been included. Because the pool was not like oh, it needs chemicals and it’ll be fine. It was not repairable not repairable, it was not repairable. So that is a good point. You can’t do the same thing with Virtual Staging is fine, or we were just looking at a bad MLS photo where they cut and paste in like a stove and a microwave. You can’t, it’s not there, you can’t make something be there that’s not there. Now if it’s Virtual Staging, and we’ll get to this again, I feel like you should have two photos. Yes. One is the virtually staged photo and one is the vacant photo. So they understand these things are not there now, right? They’re just a sample, you know, so we’d be very careful with that. Okay, but I found my photographer because they were advertising to local real estate offices. They were only doing real estate photography. I think this is the same as hiring a title attorney. You want a real estate photographer? Yes. Okay. And then how do you order or do you just like, text? I text Ben? Yeah, because you know him. I think ours, the one I was using has like an online system. You go and pick the day pick the time

and I’m usually like, if ever he if ever, I need something quicker than he can get there. I like yours, too. It’s just different, you know? Yeah.

And so the one I use is a franchise there all over the country. But there are real estate photographers in every market. Yeah, for sure. It should not be too hard to find one. And again, I think asking a referral from another agent is a good idea. Okay, Alyssa, now tell us what hap before we do prep work and talk about like kind of nitpicky stuff. What exactly happens on a photo appointment?

When the photographer the photographer is there, okay, so I do if you own our email templates, there is a email template for once photos are scheduled. Okay, this I love this one. Okay, it’s so helpful and I just feel like the boxes have been checked. Yeah, it has everything I need them to know when photos are going to be I also make my sellers leave for photos. Okay, that was my next question. I have evolved to that okay, because they were I never had one that went well when they were there that’s shocking

to me because my sellers are almost always there.

And maybe I’m very like I’m new uncomfortable with no I’m just saying I don’t want to to chat.

Oh, you are like this is taking too long because we’re here together. Yes. Like I wander in and out I’m sure Ben your photographer prefers no one there he does

and actually even there have been times where it was me just me not my sellers and he’s like Alyssa I see your arm like move move because sometimes so the process is I usually would get there like 20 minutes before him to measure all the rooms and make sure everything is how it’s supposed to be right right right right there has been a time or two so I have been to the house already. Okay, I have done the walkthrough. I have sent all the things okay, it should be ready today. There has been maybe two or three times where I showed up 20 minutes early and had to text him and say do not come Yeah, it is not ready. They did not do what they said they were going to do right it’s not happening today. Yeah. So I have had that it’s very rare right? And it hasn’t happened in years but maybe my earlier it has certainly happened before so I tried to take that time to get my input sheet done measure all the rooms as I go through and measure I’m turning on all the lights for him and kind of checking everything okay, when he arrives I don’t usually stay the whole time because I’m pretty much done with my input she I make sure he doesn’t need anything after he takes the exterior photos I put the lockbox on the front door okay that’s kind of something too I see a lot of photos where the lockbox is on the front door I don’t like that I don’t like it either.

It’s also not fun if you want to use these photos as your gift after closing like in a book I don’t want a lockbox

on the front door Yeah,

I just don’t like you can’t have a sign in the picture no signs allowed MLS Yeah, I mean for in Louisiana. I have a clue anywhere else right but it is a part of the law like where we can’t have that kind of advertising in the listing photo because your phone numbers on there. And if

we’re not going at the same time, sometimes I will go before him and leave the lockbox disassembled in the sink. Yeah. And be like hey, when you’re done, do you mind just had one you know? So that that’s usually my process. But yes, my sellers were trying to help always okay, and I just wanted to be like, get out. Okay, good. I

am opposite my sellers are almost always there. I tell them they don’t have to be there. Like if you want to leave me a key that’s the one I’m gonna put in the lockbox so you can be gone. I can handle this no problem. But if they’re there, I’m not I have no problem directing them like Hey, open these blinds, turn on these lights, turn off the fans, you know, do the list, you know, and I’ve given them the list, but sometimes you still have to do things right. And then we hide in the garage or I go and measure rooms while he’s in other places. So I definitely think that it’s okay if they’re there as long as you’re able to corral them and not Yeah, they’re not slowly

care to making me have a bad attitudes.

We don’t want I just asked him to leave.

And so it basically says please do not be present. He’s coming at this time. Please let me know where the key will be, this will be my key. Right? So you will not have access to it after photos. So make sure you have your own. And then also I found when they’re not there, we mean the photographer can speak freely. Yeah, like okay, this this comforter is not working. Do

you worry about being surveilled?

I mean, I don’t say like I don’t say that. No, no, but we just to where if they were listening, I wouldn’t be worried but if they were standing in the room with us, you might feel self conscious. I just Yeah. If you want to listen fine. You’re gonna hear I dislike your comfort or maybe right it’s fine. I just he appreciates it. I appreciate it’s just easier to be it. I’m usually trying to be in and out yeah, I’ve spent much time consulting at this point. Today is the day we’re doing it we’re doing it Yeah. And so I let them know that if we need to move things we will and then their checklist. Do we want to go through that right now? For me before they leave the house? I think that’s a good idea. So their checklist before they leave the house and this is if it’s occupied if it is vacant, I’m not going to ask them to go over there and turn all the lights on Oh no, I can we will handle that right. But if you’re in the home and you’re leaving for photos, this is what I want you to do. Leave all your lights and lamps on right every light and lamp that you have turned into

like the oven like the light not in the oven but on the vent.

Yeah, so your microwave it light under the camera turn it on the lights every single light there is a light that can be turned on on on a wait

before you move on from lights. That’s the number one thing I had to run to my car and grab during photos is a light bulb right please make sure all the bulbs are working.

Yes and that should be on there. Check their first checklist getting ready. But yes, light bulbs burned out. bulbs are different colored bulbs right in a match. They really stand out

and they do. Oh listen. On many listing photo appointment have eyes mostly in a vacant house? Have I taken a bulb and run from room to room and filled a picture so we could take the photo? Wow. Do you know what I mean? Last because a one’s missing here. What’s missing there? I don’t have enough to fill it all at the same time. I would literally take a bulb and be running from room to room. And luckily my photographer is quite tall because sometimes he in a vacant house. There’s not a stepstool No. Some fixtures you can’t reach

Sure. Okay, go on. Okay, turn off all fans. Yeah, take a photo of a moving fan. You don’t think people try? They try we see it in MLS all the time that would show in the living room. So no, there’s just a blur. Yep. Open all drapes. Okay, turn blinds to the horizontal position right TVs off. Clear off countertops, kitchen and bathrooms. Hide your toiletries from your shower and bath. I do tell my sellers. Photo day is the hardest day right? It is harder than showings. Yes, it is. Okay for shampoo to be in your shower for showing right for photo day. I want it gone. I want it perfection. Right

like that. That should not be on the floor for photos. bathmats are fine on like a showing. Yeah, yeah, there’s quite a few things like that. Yeah. Okay.

So toiletries, toothbrushes all that hit up. Sometimes I tell my sellers get a basket. Yeah, leave when you leave for photo day. Take it with you. Close toilet lids. Just so we’re not getting the inside of toilet behind your trash cans. Let’s go

back to toilets. Here’s an interesting thing that is different on photo day and showing day. Your toilet lid should always be closed. Nothing irks my nerves more than going to an agent open house where the agent is showing a home and the toilet lids are open. I’m like you’re here bothers you go close the Toilet. Toilet should not be open ever. Never ever Okay, now

always close please. Always close. I didn’t realize this was a thing of yours.

Yes, because it’s so tacky to have that toilet lid open. I don’t know why but but it just is toilet must be closed. But here’s the other thing your toilets don’t have to be perfectly clean for photo day because the lid should be closed. But for showings probably want those toilets to be clean. I don’t know some toilet whatever but like your sink doesn’t have to be perfectly clean. For photo day but on a showing you want it squeaky clean. The only thing that has to be perfectly clean for photo day I think is the floor and fans. Those things will show in a photo

the fans do I’ve never really just depends on how dirty they have. Sometimes you get if they’re

really dirty that I you know a lot of people just when they’re living in their space they don’t realize because it has gotten dirty over time, and they just don’t think about it, or they run the fan all the time. Some

of the cleanest people have a thick layer on their fan,

if you’re running it all the time, you know, collecting more dust and you never notice because you don’t stop it. So you turn it off for the photo and all of a sudden, it’s like, ooh, right, we need to clean that. Okay, carry on. Hide your trash cans. Yes.

And this one I just added, because I got photos back, I had gone early. And so he went, photographer went solo, okay. And then when I got the photos back, I’m like, There’s a car in the carport. And he was like, I know, I didn’t know what to do. And I was like, well, because they are a three car family. So they had gone to work and left the person. And I didn’t think about it. It wasn’t on the list. Right? So it has been added as number nine. Okay, I do end the email with letting them know once pictures have been taken, it takes two to three days to get them back. Here’s the thing. Sometimes it doesn’t sometimes I get them back the next day, but I don’t know what my day is like. Yeah, so I don’t want to promise you that I can make your house live tomorrow, right? I need a buffer

was whatever your so that’s my fine. Like my photographer gives them back the next day and I don’t have a problem uploading it that day. However, I would then schedule the photos accordingly. If I knew I couldn’t put it the next day then I would just push the photos back.

Yeah, forward. So once I have the photos, I like to write the description as I’m looking at the photos. Yeah, I yeah, it just so I just need a little once the photos are in my hand. I need just a little bit and make sure that I have time to get the whole thing done. Okay, so that is my photo appointment prep list. Okay. Hey, friends, we are here to tell you that we have made you a freebie a freebie. It’s free. It’s free. Those are my favorite. Why? No look.

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there. Perfect. Okay, enjoy.

I, you know, so the photographer I’ve used for years had a a ay, like, advisory board. Oh, and I was on it for a little while. That’s Did you know that? I don’t think I doubt it was just like me and a couple of other agents. They started in the New Orleans area. So there were some agents there and there were some agents here. And we were talking about the checklists for photos and like, you know, it’d be great if you as the photographer was providing a checklist to my sellers that told them what to do. The week of the photo shoot and the day of the photo shoot, so some things obviously can’t don’t. The toilets don’t need to go down until the day of the teeth are turned off. Yep. So I’m gonna run through some of these week before Okay, and then the day of some of them are already on your list, so I’ll speed through them. The week before exterior landscape, weed your flowerbed. Add fresh mulch. Don’t let your sellers put in their fresh mulch three months before they’re going to list it’s not fresh anymore like week before seasonal plants and flowers mow the lawn. I’ve had to reschedule photos many times because the lawn couldn’t get mowed. I’m like nope, we’ll just push it clean the pool don’t just

and then take the pool cleaner out of the pool right Michelle with the tail right so in around thank

you I’m like what are you doing in there? To out right get out. pressure wash the house, the driveway, the walkway, patio, whatever. Okay. Wash the exterior windows and here’s a hot tip take the screens off your windows we talked about this in staging alright interior remove the clutter in your rooms replace any non functioning light bulbs give your home a deep clean okay fine. day of the shoot the exterior Remove the cars. Here we are again we go. Here’s the other thing. Don’t just put them right in front of the house because the photos from in those front bedrooms or front living room, look right out at them, right. Move them to two houses down. Yes, like they can’t be right in front of the house. Remove the garbage cans put away the garden hose sprinklers. Here it is pool cleaner, remove it. Add fresh cushions to your patio furniture or like if you take your cushions up every like put them out. Sweep up the leaves. How many times am I out there blowing with the blower now right before the photos and then again, I’m like, wait, hurry up. The wind keeps blowing it back. Yeah, get out here in the rooms, open the drapes and you turn your blinds horizontally. Okay, so that we can see you have blinds because it’s a feature of the room but that we can also see out of the window sunlight. And the only way you’re going to be able to see out of the window is if you have a photographer that knows how to combine those exposures. Yeah,

they take three Yeah, three photos, and then merge them that wraps all the correct light in one photo. Exactly. So amazing. realize that’s how they did it. And I was watching him do it one day and I was like, why are you taking this photo in the dark. And he was like, Well, I’m just taking a photo of the light of the window right now.

Oh, they merge them together. Fasten white fascinating. clean the floors. Turn off the band’s turn on the lamps and lights, hide power cords, cables and chargers. Just hide them. You can unplug stuff you’re not using and just tuck that away. Remove the pet bowls, the pet beds and the pet toys, no evidence of pets zero pet evidence, turn off the TV and hide the remote for heaven’s sakes, we don’t need to know what you were watching this morning. It’s distracting. And I also don’t like when they put a faux thing on the TV. I just let the TV be off. It’s fine, but that’s fine. Sometimes they put like a picture wherever. Okay, kitchen dining, wipe down your counter remove items from the countertops the rule of thumb on counters, three items per counter is the max Okay, okay, three. But you can have none or one or whatever just not more than three. Remove the magnets and the stickers from the fridge a photograph so poorly. I know we already talked about the trash can hide it, but also we’re on the inside. If your trash can is out on display. Just throw that thing in the garage for a minute. It’s fine if you have to live like that, but we need it to not be there in the photo. Okay, fine. Wipe down your sinks and counters, remove the items from the countertop or in the bathroom. Now remove the items from the shower. You already said this. Hide your trash cans, their clothes, your toilet lids, refill the toilet paper rolls, please don’t have an empty toilet paper roll. I mean, if you’re living there, it should look like you’re living there. Okay, hang fresh towels. And I’m gonna beg that you make them be white. But this is your business. I would prefer if they were bedrooms, put away all the clothes and tidy the closets. But I’m not taking a picture of the closet. No. Okay. Shove whatever you got to in there, make the room look good. Make the bed. Obviously short. Okay. And then for your twilight shoot, it said you needed to turn on the interior and exterior lights. So you know there’s dust photos, you got to have outside lights one for that. Okay,

I have had situations where the seller for what it may be that like, for example, my most recent one, they just got married. They have a room full of wedding gifts, right? Her stuff. They’re merging houses, right? They’re stressing about and I said, Listen, pick the smallest bedroom and we’re not going to photograph it. Or if we’re not going to photograph you just have a regular garage, that we’re not photographing the inside of the garage. There’s only been a few garages that I’ve been impressed with that I was like, We need a picture of

this on it. You should say that I put it on my list. I have photographed one garage that can remember one it had the really nice painted floor. Right? Right. It had perfectly organized shelves. I was like, well, dang, we can take a photo of this but otherwise had that stuff. And I know

I’m like if you use it as storage, you know someone’s living here when they come for showings, they’ll open this door. Make sure they can walk to a closet and open the closet because they want to see but it’s okay if you’re using a storage if it’s done neatly.

Right, right. Right, right. I agree. Okay, there are other things you don’t have to photograph. Okay, the laundry. If it’s messy, if it’s tiny if it’s you don’t have to have a photo of the laundry. I have probably photographed 25% of my laundry rooms.

See we usually do them.

Okay. Laundry the pantry. Oh, how many pantries do you post photos

of so mine will always take a photo of it and then I decide

I believe I have posted less than five pantry photos Yeah, I

don’t usually use

I mean I’m gonna want to me because I’m so aesthetic it mine is gonna have to be like home edit level pantry for me to post it correct. Like real nice. Like wow, what like I don’t know, because having a photo the pay entry is not going to be the deciding factor if someone comes to the house when they get there they can see that it’s a large pantry. I don’t need to show them the messy pantry. Okay so laundry pantry garage we talked about the master closet and an occupied home

it’s very very hard again home edit level or nothing

I think less than three I have photographed and and then put on the MLS nothing bothers me more besides the open toilet lid then a picture of a closet that basically when you look at the MLS it just looks like a rack of clothes. That’s all you see.

You can’t even see the clothes and

point yeah, like I want when you post your photos on the MLS first of all, just because you are the photographer took a photo of that thing doesn’t mean you have to share it.

Oh no, I deletes a few before it just

as necessary. Then look at each photo and think what is this telling the buyer? Can they actually see something? I mean, if it’s just showing a line of clothes? What good is that doing? Right? It’s doing no good. Okay, do you want to do don’ts yet? Or do you want to ask you my questions? Okay, what

questions do you have?

Let’s do questions. How many photos are enough?

Oh, man, I mean, I guess depends on the house. But I like every room if possible. I mean, I don’t know. Yeah,

I think 20 Do you feel like there’s too many photos?

At some point, I have gotten to the point where I’m like, This is too much. If you’re

taking three angles of a spare bedroom, that’s too many. Yes. Right. Like you need one with Botha. Right. Do you need maybe two and a primary bedroom if there’s something fancy going on in there, maybe a couple in a in the primary bathroom, but like you don’t need three photos of every room.

And it becomes confusing. You know what I noticed when I was looking for cabins before I bought my cabin when they came so in Tennessee, you can only list however many bedrooms depending on the size of your septic tank. I know. I learned a lot. I learned a lot. Okay, so in the mountains, legally, you can only say two bedrooms. Because I didn’t could have four. But legally, you can only listed us two because it’s it’s a thing. Okay. Okay, so I couldn’t set up a search I want for what I wanted, because I would not see a septic tank size search. I don’t know. So what I had to do was count the bedrooms from the photo from the photo and the way I did it because they all look very similar because it’s like a log cabin. Right? I counted the comforters, okay, because they didn’t all have the same comfort, right? And that and it was confusing, because they would take like three pictures of one guest room and I was like, Oh, wait, is this a new bedroom? Right or right? And so I was counting comforters as to how many bedrooms it had. What makes sense? Yeah. But it was frustrating whenever it was one of those where, okay, look, I’ve seen it where they have 50 pictures, and I’m like at that. Then you don’t even need to go see the house. Just give them enough to get them

there. You right. Yeah, right. We don’t need a picture of every bush in the yard. Right. Have you ever seen those? That’s like a lemon tree. This is a blueberry but I’m like, okay, great. Thank you. Good for that. Okay, right. Oh, wait, our drone photos required? No, no, I would say no. If you have a big piece of land, I do. Fancy y’all. And I’ve

even used Google Earth to get done like a screenshot. And it was enough because just to show the layout, big house pool shop. And then and I’m even like taking a screenshot from Google Earth. uploaded it there’s into the app where you can type you know, label thing on the property and it looked really nice like that. And it’s very helpful. So you don’t have to spend a lot of money. I have done a few drone when it’s a big property and I think they look nice. Yeah. Okay,

what about video?

I haven’t been doing video I did during COVID. A good bit, right?

It depends on what it is. Right? Okay. How much do photos cost? You pay right? Do you pay? What do you pay? It depends on how many photos there are right? Yours is going to be more official. Okay, fine. I mean, like, I think who had I don’t know the exact number but 20 photos. Let’s call it 200. Okay, or maybe less? Yeah, depending? Sure. Okay. Yours is very kind of friend deal. Okay, fine.

You don’t say like anywhere between like 150 and $200 is about

the general realtor listening needs to know oh, I’ve never hired a photographer before. I can’t afford that. It shouldn’t be $500 No for a basic sized house with three and three bedroom two bath. It should be a couple $100 And

now that I have these wonderful photos, right, that’s when I make their closing gift where I put them all in like a Shutterfly book. And, you know, they can remember their house. Yeah. And you can also use those photos to get, you know, a painting of the front like you have these photos now, yeah, right. Use them. Use them for your content on your social media, use them for closing gifts. Like there’s so much that you can use nice photos for Absolutely. And you ask your seller to leave a leave one of the photos and their Google review

that they gave you. Perfect. Okay, how should you order your photos on the MLS?

I’ll just tell you what I do. I don’t think there’s a right or a wrong way. Really what tell us what you do. If it’s an important, I tried to make my first four photos, the best, the best. There are a few websites where they will only let you look at for photos and then you have to log in. So I want to get your best ones out there best for photos. And then I usually start with kitchen Living Master or primary bedroom.

Okay, and then like, and then back

outside if it’s a good backyard, and then I kind of save like the guest rooms for towards the end unless they’re really special. Yeah, usually I feel people want to know, how’s the backyard? How’s the primary room? How’s the living in kitchen? Right, right, right. And then I’ll just whatever extra is my photographer took? I’ll just tack on the end. Yeah, there’s not too many like, okay, laundry or half bath,

right? My photographer orders them as if you’re walking through the house, which I kind of like however, I do really like the top four. So now I’m kind of hybrid, and I’ll do the best for and then as we will make the house that’s yeah, you know, it just kind of helps your mind go Okay, here I am. I’m walking. I can kind of see where I’m going.

And if it’s a big house label, label them. Okay, that was

my next question. Do you label your photos? I tried to Yeah, okay. I label mine. And I will tell you why. Sometimes buyers don’t read the MLS description, right. So the photos are your moment to say new wood floors?

Oh, you put that kind of stuff? Oh, yeah, that’s a good idea.

I because in our MLS, there’s a title to the photo. So you could say dining room. And then there’s a notes and that shows up at the bottom of the photo. So I’ll put, you know, dining room view to kitchen and then I’ll put at the bottom brand new quartz countertop, right? Because they may not be reading the description, but they should they’re going to look at the photo and they may just read what that says. Okay, so I think it’s a good hack to get people to hear what you want about the house. Okay, or if it’s confusing, or if like in for instance, I just took a listing the dining room is being used as an extra kid den, or like a playroom. And so I wrote dining room, and then I put notes currently being used as an extra den like nice. I need to make people aware of what I need them to know about the

house. I had a house one time I was going to be the second listing agent. It was an it was an expensive house around 850. And they had this odd room upstairs. Right? Oh, I remember that. Nobody could really figure out what it should be. And it had some weird angles to it at the ceiling because it was part of the attic at some point. And it was just finished. So I had my I had them empty it because obviously wasn’t working. They were kind of using it as storage, but that’s not very exciting. No, so we I had them empty it and then I made sure that the photographer got a really good picture of the room. Okay, then I uploaded it to one of the Virtual Staging companies. And I asked, I paid for three different stagings, the same room. So I had it as like an office, I had it as a gym. I had it as a media room. I love it. And then I got those photos. And I uploaded them to MLS after the empty one to say what is this room for you for this, this or this? And then I also had those three virtually staged printed up in that room on little easels love that. So when you walked in, it was like, Oh, look, it could be this or this or this. And you’re I mean, I’m not saying that’s exactly what did it but I had no problem selling that house

and it was listed before. Yes, yeah. Okay. Genius.

I mean, we had to do a few other things, but I think all of it combined, you

made a difference, right? Okay, are you ready for don’ts? I think you answered all my questions. Okay. Okay. Don’t

Don’t leave your toilet lid.

We’ve already been there. Babies are very upset. I’m wearing my black and white shirt today, which makes me feel like a referee. So I’m throwing flags on these blades. Yeah. Ready Okay don’t use a cell phone oh yeah never never use a cell phone don’t it’ll say you have a camera use the fisheye lens where it makes it why it looks like it’s really wide and really looking in a bowl no please don’t do that don’t false advertise we talked about this too many filters tell you I tell people it’s virtually staged. Okay Don’t stand on a ladder and take the photo down into a room

oh yeah that’s a lot of effort I

was that a thing? I don’t know where people are holding the camera up in the air like it’s pointed down Yeah, no, please don’t do that. Don’t take a picture of just the bed. Oh yeah. How many times have you seen a spare bedroom when they don’t have the right lens and really all that ended up in the photo was a bed right?

You can’t really see the wall

is not buying a bed no, no, don’t take a picture of just the bed or just the anything make sure you’re on there and look here’s the deal. If for some reason you’re absolutely have to use your cell phone you can zoom out now more on a cell phone you

can click that point five button Yeah, right really help whenever I have a client that can’t come in town to do and they want a walkthrough video. I do use my cell phone with my stabilizer which is on our website if you need to go find that right and it um, you do the point five I do the point five on the video but it really makes it look like you’re walking through okay, my it’s better for a video I think but it’s great. You’re right.

My photographer once told me because I like to ask a lot of questions. The lens that they use on their camera for real estate photos is the most similar to the human eye. So what the eye takes in is the lens they’re using very not wider it’s not narrow it’s the what though? I would see okay. Okay do not have a finger in the photo. Yeah, you know like you held over the lens. How many times have you seen that? Do not have a person in the photo we just saw Grandma, Grandma I mean there are a lot with with with the people in the photo. I saw one in our MLS when I was searching for a client where the guy was mowing the backyard like and I’m like well hold up now that’s just laziness because he was going to be done in like four more stripes right? Why didn’t they just wait just wait, just wait come back if you have to leave right but you never put a person in the photo

do you think about this kind of went away but I saw it a few times in our markets probably bigger in big cities but the lifestyle photo shoot were around doing well and like they have the big inflatable Swan in the pool and people you know swimming and having cocktails.

Okay, I did list a house actually down the street from mine once no one was lifestyle photos except I did put the swan blow up in the pool because I thought it was that is cute. That’s staging to me. I didn’t put a right person on the swamp

this is like people like the rich and famous and having dinner I

personally want to see the house just the house. Yeah, just let me see it but cuz that’s distracting, right? Yeah, well, maybe now I’m looking at the lady in what she’s wearing right instead of the house. Okay, same differences removing your personal photos also do not have pets in the photo. I’ve seen that a few times. So many times the cats on the bed the cats on the couch. The dog is laying on the floor. I’m like, yeah, what my please move the pets. Okay, and then if you like we said before, if you want a good laugh today, go look up bad MLS photos, but I wanted to mention one. I don’t know if you saw this one a while back. I feel like it was on Zillow Gone Wild or one of these accounts. Yeah, but it was staged with mannequins. Oh no. The entire house and the mannequins were all wearing like prom dresses. Oh my goodness. And Alyssa they were like laid out on the bed. They were in the kitchen eating they were like at the dining room table. They were mannequins all over this house. It was wild bizarre bizarre. There should never be like I’ve seen him when there were dolls in every room dolls here dolls they’re all the dolls no mannequins, no dolls. No no. There was that one that went viral a few years ago with I mean I don’t know that it guess was kind of staged but it was like an adult room.

So I had this has probably been years ago before I had kids for sure. But it was a friend of mine and her dad had passed away and she’s like okay, I’m like really strict like this is very stressful for me getting his house emptied. You know? He was larger than live super fun bachelor. Okay. And she’s like, it has been terrible emptying his house because she was fine. She was like I wrote Yes, yes. She’s like, I don’t I have been dreading asking you to even come because I don’t know what you’re gonna say like, how much do I have to do to this house? So she called me and said, like, Okay, I think I’m finally ready. I think you know, you I’ve done I’ve totally emptied it. There’s a few things I don’t know what to do. So you’re just gonna have to tell me for the sake of photos. What do I need to do? I’m dying right now. And I’m like, okay, so we walk in the master bedroom. And I’m like, oh, oh, because the ceiling and all the walls were mirrors. The ceiling and the walls. Yep. Wall to wall, like, you look up. And it’s mirrors and the walls are mirrors. And there are a few hooks in the ceiling. Where things used to be hanging. Right, right, right, right. Right, right. Oh, I see. I see.

What did you make her do? I

see? I said, I have a painter. And I think we’re just gonna have to spend some money. Yeah. And we got to remove it. We have to Yeah, we have to remove it and just let him I don’t know what’s behind. It was not a mirror hanging on a wall, though. It was all wall mirror was. Yeah, I don’t even know if there was sheet rock behind it. I said we are going to have to remove all these mirrors and hooks. And we are going to have to have the painter come and and just make it look like a normal room. And she was like, Okay, you have some moms like Yes. So I just sent my guy and he handled it.

Wow. That’s a mate. I mean, you know?

Yeah, it was fun.

I’ll call that style specific. You know, when you’re staging or like, this is a little too style specific. Right? That works great with my last Don’t, don’t be in the mirror. Oh, yeah. You know, how many of the agent that the arm the camera, something’s in the mirror. See there, a good photographer is not going to get the mirror. Not going to be in it anyway, you could have had grandma come from the other photos and just sit in that bedroom and grandma would be all around on the mirrors. Don’t be in the mirror. Don’t do it. Okay, good news. That’s all I have. Wonderful. I

think this is very helpful.

I think it’s super important to remember that the photos are your first impression to the market, your seller needs to be really bought into that is a super important part of the process that we can’t rush and take photos just because you want to sell it’s better to wait the week and clean it up. And you know, you as an agent, if you’re not very visual like I am things stick out to me. I’m going to know what the toilet lids open. I’m going to know if the curtain is askew. I’m going to know if the dining room chair isn’t at a 90 degree angle. Am I Oh, yes, my photographer knows that I need to judge like I had to move hand towels in this last one, right? And he was like, I would hang this hand towel. But I know that you’re going to do it. You’re and I’m like you’re correct. That’s why I’m here. That’s why I’m here. So let me do it. But if you’re the type of person, I don’t expect every agent to be me. I just happen to be a visual person.

So good point here. I just had a situation where I was the second listing agent. I said he said do you want to come do a consultation? I said yes. But first I want to go through your photos. Yeah, and I’m going to tell you what I see. Right and I went through each photo and wrote notes under him I made like a Word document and just made notes under each photo and he was like, I see what you’re talking about. Oh good. And he was like I didn’t even think about this right? And he was like give me a week I’ll make it better I’ll make it better and then I went and I was like this looks amazing and he could not believe

the difference. Okay y’all but that’s the thing if you’re not visual there’s no dig to that previous agent maybe they really didn’t notice and

this was he’s a single guy and he had a lot of masculine thing Okay, and I said look, if I was at your house for dinner this would bother me not right in the photo it’s all I see right? No this iron decor thing right you know or it was a lot of like dark a lot of iron just things that are distracting right and so once removed, it was like oh, no, I see. Yeah, the house

right, but you’ve got to consult if you can’t see it, then get a state like a stager or another agent or somebody else to come and look at it for you

and once pointed out he was like I can’t even believe it. Like even he’s like even as a buyer that just bought a house. Yeah. Now I see what the buyers were seeing looking at my

face. You have to open your client’s eyes. They’ve been living in it. There’s never anything wrong with the way someone decorates or lives in their home. It’s their home.

I would probably have to help someone See my house? I think that’s fair things that have just always been there that I ever bothered me, right. Yeah, right.

Okay. I do have one last question. Okay. I probably didn’t answer. But do you do professional photos regardless of the price range? Yes. The same for me. And I wanted to make sure we made that point. professional photos are a service to every seller I have, whether they’re selling a $50,000 condo, or a $2 million. You know, mansion it like it doesn’t matter what it is. They need professional photos. The only time and you mentioned it that maybe I would skip as if, like I’ve sold a fixer upper that we literally like was like a gut. Right? Like, we don’t need a professional photo to show you this room is covered in mold. Sure, not or that this is mold. Yes, the wall is like a tear down. Like some cellphone photos are probably best for that because all we’re selling you is you got to fix this then. Okay. Also, in one of our don’ts. Don’t repeat the same photo three times to meet the requirements of your MLS like our MLS requires what five photos right? Sometimes people will put the same photo five times just to meet the requirement. It’s so no, this is not okay. That is very lazy. I don’t care if it is the ugliest house ever find five angles of whatever you’re taking a picture of

sort of like how I’ve always said one of my passions is bringing professionalism and credibility back to the realtor brand. We do that by how we market our products. Please don’t be one of the agents that ends up on one of these websites that doesn’t like real job.

Don’t end up on a bad photo website. Go look at your listings right now. critique your own like photos. See what you can do better next time. You can always improve. Are you ready for a toast? Yeah, okay, great. Today’s toast is from Alyssa Morales in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. Okay, okay, she’s toasting. She said, I would like to toast to Cindy Cobb, for telling me about this podcast. I have had trouble finding one that I feel isn’t a waste of my time. When it comes to education in my real estate career. Finally, you all speak my language and share my views about what our profession needs to do better, and you teach us how to do that. Thank you. Thank you both. And cheers to Cindy for telling me about you. Well, that was perfect. Yeah. couldn’t have planned that better. Thanks, Alyssa. That was absolutely perfect. Yep. We’re just here to give you the education so that we can all be better.

Do you want to tell them where they can get our email templates? Since we kind of talked about that a few times? I’m sure

email templates. One Oh, one.com. Also, you can go to hustle humbly podcast.com and find any resource free resource, the templates all of

its there. Yes. We have all the freebies there. We just revamped our website. So there it is so right,

good, right, whatever you need. So helpful. Whatever you need. Okay, and I decorate it for spring today. I see. I know because this comes out on like March 20. So it’ll be hopefully where you are. It’s very springy. Spring Cleaning will be well into summer by then. Oh yeah. So hot. So okay, thank you all for taking photos by but don’t bring bring a photographer

and do put your toilet seat lid down. Thank you so much for tuning in to the hustle humbly podcast. Let us know who we should toast to for the next episode. Be sure

to follow us on Facebook and Instagram at hustle humbly podcast. If you have an episode topic or question please email us at hustle humbly podcast@gmail.com

Be sure to subscribe to the podcast and leave a review. See you next week. Bye. This is the good lie.

Two Realtors fostering community over competition through light-hearted conversations.



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