As published in the Conroe Courier, these articles written by Claudia Hohlt address various real estate topics in and around Montgomery County.
My next door neighbors’ Maltese and Shit-Tzu dogs recently had a litter of pups. The hybrid pups, called Mal-Shi’s or Malti Tzu’s, were perhaps the cutest pups I had ever seen. Needless to say, I am now the proud owner of Brody, one of the cutest pups ever. Soon after he came home, we took a number of pictures and a video of him under the Christmas tree amidst a group of small stuffed animals titled “Where’s Brody?”. Because one of our daughters couldn’t open up the video file on her Mac laptop, I uploaded it to YouTube so she could view it. Imagine my surprise the next day when I received an email from the ABC affiliate in Phoenix requesting permission to broadthe video on their news program. But then again, he is perhaps the cutest puppy ever.
At first I was somewhat surprised about this, but then I thought of the pictures, virtual tours and videos of homes that I upload onto the internet that are also seen all over the world immediately after I key them in. I have dealt directly with home buyers from all over the U.S., Mexico, Europe, the Mid East, South America, Canada and Australia, to name a few. Of course, it’s nothing unique to me, it’s just the nature of the real estate business today. Still, the power of the internet instantly transmitting video around the world still amazes me.
Of course, I didn’t have to do much to attract the Phoenix station to the YouTube video of Brody. Puppies pretty much sell themselves. But home photography requires a little more experience and care. To catch buyers’ interest, pictures have to depict a compelling story. Poor quality pictures or a lack of pictures can cause buyers to just pass a listing by and move on to others.
Although professional real estate photographers are available, most agents still do their own photography. Those that do should have good quality equipment along with the knowledge to effectively use it. It doesn’t take an investment of thousands of dollars in camera equipment to make good quality pictures these days. Basic equipment would include a digital camera, a wide-angle lens, external flash and tripod. All of those items can be purchased at a very reasonable cost. Training can be acquired rather easily too. There’s a plethora of books, on-line articles and classes that cover all the basics and more. And finally, expertise requires lots of experimentation and practice, practice and more practice.
A seller’s minimum expectation from a Realtor from a photography shoot is a set of pictures that are well framed, properly lit, and sharp. But the best real estate photographers go well beyond that if they possess some key attributes. First of all, a love of selling real estate is a huge advantage in being a good home photographer. The photographer needs to understand a home’s selling strengths, put together a story line and then capture that story with pictures. Patience is also a virtue as the photographer might have to wait a bit for the lighting to be right, or perhaps catch a boat sailing by. Creativity is also helpful. For example, capturing a rose bud in the foreground in a picture of a lit fireplace can make an ordinary picture appear extraordinary.
Since the real estate industry has invaded the internet, home photography has never been more important in selling real estate. Agents should acquire this skill or hire someone who is capable. I’m fortunate in that my husband has a passion for home photography. When I get a new listing, I love to see his eyes light up as he starts to envision a picture storyboard. Many agents have a similar passion or utilize someone who does.
Meanwhile, I think we’re going to try to get another video of Brody under the Christmas tree. He’s been uploading puppy chow so I had better finish his photo shoot before he executes a download.