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I get emailed this question today…

Mr. Kay 
 
I’ve come across your website recently, and it inspired me. Your site is a good read and I check on it quite often. I agree that good photos go a long way in attracting possible buyers, and I’m going to start a side business taking photos of houses for agents and their listings.
 
I see you charge agents $60/house. I think that’s fair, but I’m curious as to how many agents are willing to pay that to someone for a service they think they can do just fine themselves for free. Especially in this “slow” market, where many agents are going back to the drawing board and pinching pennies.
 
The thing that intrigues me the most about the idea is that there is very little overhead or initial investment. It would only take me about 10 or so houses to pay for a new camera and equipment. Otherwise, I’m by no means a professional or experienced photographer, but I like to think that I have a good eye, and have always wanted to pick up photography as a hobby. Being a licensed agent in Athens, Ga. already, this business idea gives me a very good reason to jump into it.
 
If you have any initial advice or comments, I would love to hear from you.

 

For me this is a whole branding thing. I’m not just “taking photos on the side”, I am “Photo Guy”. It’s on my website, my business cards, my mailers yada yada yada. It’s my unique selling point as an agent. I’ve spent about six months just building up my photography skills shooting as many homes as I can. I’ve just formed as a company, with a major push to get stuff up on the website in the last month, so details on how much business I’ve done is pretty light at the moment.
 
I’ve had a mix of excitement and resistance to my services from the other agents. My office manager is very excited by it though.
 
My feeling is that precisely because this is a slow market, that is what makes photos an even more vital piece in the selling puzzle. In a hot market you can’t even get the photos up before offers pour in, in a slow market you need every advantage possible.
 
At this point just skill up as much as possible. Basically if you’re good, the photos do a good job of selling themselves. If you’re bad, nothing you can do will make people want to use you. I also found the Shutterfly.com printed books really good as sales pieces.
 
Also good photography just works. I shot a home two weeks back that had been on the market for nine months. It got a contract four days after we put my photos up. Agents bitching about $60 are just crazy.
 
Hope that helps, stay in touch.
 
Athol

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And for the record…

…Mr. Kay is my father.

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3 Comments

3 Comments

  1. Benn Rosales

    November 20, 2007 at 11:04 pm

    Okay Photo Guy, congrats on the new biz, but what gives with no photo in your blog post? Show off, show us some goods! You show us the bad stuff, then some practice stuff- show us some ideal stuff! I mean, unless it will give away your style or secrets… I swear, we won’t show anyone else!

  2. Mariana

    November 20, 2007 at 11:35 pm

    Mr Athol, Best of luck with your business venture. I used to charge agents $100+ per house and they would get photos, and a description for the home … because some descriptions are seriously lacking as well. Once I presented them with the “goods” my fee was never questioned.

  3. Carson Coots

    November 21, 2007 at 1:42 pm

    I think good real estate photos are worth a lot more than $100. At least it’s not $100 worth the work for me. A lot of cash went into my equipment set-up and a successful shoot isn’t easy… and POST editing is no fun after doing it 20 times. I think $400 is fair for a good twilight shoot(Although I get a lot of gasps). As long as I throw in a few perks (slideshow, etc), it works out. Real estate photography takes real talent worth paying for.

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