Do You Own Your Real Estate Photos?

When a home’s been listed for sale and arrangements have been made for a photoshoot, who owns the property photos once they’ve been taken?

On the one hand, you have the professional real estate photographer who pushes the camera shutter button and takes the shots.

On the other hand, you have the listing agent who’s licensed by the state to handle real estate transactions and is ultimately responsible for the images.

A professional photographer may be beholden to her artistic integrity and feel strongly about intellectual property laws and copyright ownership.

But real estate agents owe a fiduciary obligation to the homeowners and brokerage companies they work with. Not only that, but the agent is most likely the one footing the bill for the property photos.

So, the question as to who owns property photos is a polarizing one, to say the least, and many industry professionals have weighed in their opinions.

There are legal complications to consider, too, but to present arguments for both the agent and the photographer, we’d rather stick to the guidelines that dictate how property photos get used before, during, and after a real estate sale.

Who Owns Property Photos?

Answer: it depends on the photo.

Some photographers will negotiate the rights to property photos because of their resale values.

But just as a car loses value the moment it gets driven off the dealership lot, property photos lose value as soon as the home is sold.

For instance, MLS guidelines state that property photos mustn’t be reused to market the same home for a future sale.

In other words, images that are uploaded to the MLS need to be fresh and current and portray how the home looks today.

This governing principle alone already throws a wrench in the photographer’s case to own the property photos she takes.

Moreover, uploading reused photos can be flagged as fraudulent by the MLS system, especially because aspects of the home may have changed over time.

Depicting homes in their current state makes the listing more transparent and authentic.

Not only is this an ethical way to do business, but it also helps speed up the sale of the home and protects the listing against “unruly activity” notices from MLS or other marketing platforms.

HDR Photo of ocean view in beach home

Privacy

Consider this: property photos depict someone’s private home.

The personal property depicted in the photos belongs to the homeowner.

Thus, selling or distributing these photos outside of the sale of the home — unless the photographer has signed an agreement directly with the homeowner — infringes on the homeowner’s privacy rights.

This is yet another reason why real estate agents and homeowners should own the rights to property photos.

Once the home is sold, it’s up to the homeowner to decide how the photos will be used going forward.

More often than not, homeowners will want pictures of their homes’ interiors and exteriors taken down once the sale is completed.

Every week, homeowners contact HomeJab and ask us to take down images of their homes for privacy reasons. And we happily comply.

The Photographer’s Portfolio

Some photographers argue that owning property photos strengthens their portfolios and helps them attract new customers.

This perspective further muddles the question as to who owns property photos.

As we mentioned above, due to listings guidelines that devalue property photos once the home is sold and privacy concerns from the homeowner, owning the rights to property photos creates more liabilities for real estate agents and homeowners than it does for the photographer.

So, does this mean that photographers can’t use any of the photos they take during the shoot?

Not necessarily!

Copyrights of images in the public domain (ie. neighborhood photos, points of interest, landmarks, historical buildings, statues, etc.) should absolutely remain with the photographer.

For example, if a photographer captures a beautiful shot of a historic landmark from the balcony of the property, he could rightfully request ownership of that photo for reuse in other mediums.

What’s more, these types of photos could really beef up the photographer’s portfolio and do wonders for procuring new clientele.

austin

It’s become a common practice among real estate agents to demand ownership of all photos taken by the photographer.

The agent may even request that the photographer sign away rights to all of their photos.

But when it comes to images in the public domain, the photographer shouldn’t have to sign off or give away the rights to them, especially because these images have a strong resale value.

The photographer could even generate passive income through the reuse of these types of photos.

Finally, if real estate agents want to own the rights to these kinds of photos, they should expect to pay a premium.

For more info on real estate photography services and pricing, or to schedule a shoot, check us out here!

HomeJabDo You Own Your Real Estate Photos?

Win Clients With Real Estate Photography and These 6 Features on Facebook and Instagram

In real estate, buyers and sellers hope that the perfect home is out there—ideally, it’s within an arm’s reach. In 2020, 76 percent of home buyers initially viewed the homes they purchased online, using a mobile device. Surprised?

You shouldn’t be. Pew Research says 7 in 10 Americans consider using Facebook as a part of their daily routine. Knowing this, it’s no wonder real estate agents cited social media as the best source for high-quality leads, followed by multiple listing service (MLS) websites.

Now the question is no longer “should” you use social media for your real estate listings. Instead, it’s, “How do you use social media to portray your experience and personality in one shot?”

For most real estate agents, the secret to a professional social media presence is using extraordinary photography.

Done right, it gets high-value clients to envision working with you by bringing their thumbs to a screeching halt. From there, your job is to move the conversation into the real world.

In this post, you’ll learn how to use features of Facebook and Instagram to captivate serious buyers and sellers.

It’s a good idea to save this page now, so you can refer back to it as you learn the ropes of social media. 

Why are Facebook and Instagram the best platforms for real estate agents?

Facebook and Instagram are two of the most widely-used social media platforms. There’s a good reason for this: Here, content creation is user-friendly, versatile, and appeals to multiple generations of buyers and sellers.

Research shows that people on both platforms, young and old, are more likely to interact with visual content like photos and videos.

More importantly, people remember information better when it’s paired with relevant images. That means people will remember the way a stunning house listing made them feel—days after the first impression.

Facebook and Instagram both use multiple computer learning models, or algorithms, to personalize what people see on their news feeds. In other words, these social media platforms distribute your content based on how viewers interact with it—or, don’t.

Social media success doesn’t always come easy, but using professional real estate photography can help you conquer algorithms and delight homebuyers. For social media to be a worthwhile investment, you must know who your ideal client is, and what they’re looking for as a buyer or seller. The visual component simply gives your hard work the credibility it deserves.

3 Features for Success With Real Estate Photos on Facebook

Facebook is an enormous network—only second in the country to YouTube—with a user base of mostly adults between 30 and over 65 according to Pew Research. It’s the most popular social network for older folks, and its steady growth means it’s not going away any time soon.

As a real estate agent, you need to create a Facebook Business Page. This is separate from the personal profile you might use to share family pictures, vacation photos, and information unrelated to your work.

What People Like to See on Facebook

People like Facebook for its informative approach to community development. There is more room for text, links, and smaller images. You should use Facebook to influence existing communities where your potential buyers and sellers are already active.

According to the social media pros at Buffer, Facebook users want to see content that is immediately relevant to them, so it makes sense that the current algorithm for posts looks like this for most people:

  1. Family and friends
  2. Subscribed pages and groups
  3. Suggested pages and groups
  4. Paid advertising

When using Facebook to promote property listings and other content, keep these features in mind:

  1. Facebook Reactions: Post Extraordinary Photos to Influence Emotions
  2. Facebook Groups: Connect With Local Enthusiasts
  3. Share Links, Multimedia: Create Your Business Page Experience

1. Facebook Reactions: Post Extraordinary Photos to Influence Emotions

Scrolling through Facebook updates can be an emotional roller coaster. People enjoy aimlessly scrolling because the ups and downs of emotional reactions are seriously entertaining. Facebook users can react to posts and comments with a full slate of emotions — Like, Love, Care, Haha, Wow, Sad, and Angry.

The more emotional reactions you get, the more favorably your content is sorted by the algorithm. Few things evoke emotion like stand-out photography!

Aim to flaunt the “stunning curb appeal” of your listings by opting for professional real estate photos that stand out with color, perspective, and a dynamic composition. The concept of Facebook emotions seems silly, but it drives decision-making in the real world. It only takes one ‘Wow’ or ‘Love’ reaction to influence the high-quality leads of serious buyers.

Other ways to get more emotional reactions with real estate photos:

  • Write your brand story: Share advice, industry tips, and lessons learned as a real estate agent.
  • Use photos from previous listings, or re-share posts from years past to celebrate new milestones, memorable properties, and advice for best practices

2. Facebook Groups: Connect With Local Enthusiasts

When you manage a Facebook Business Page, all of your home listings and regular updates about work should be posted there.

You can take your Page a step further by using it to join Groups of people with shared interests, locations, and careers—to name a few. The example shared here is from “Fairfax County Realtor Forum,” a public Group with 5.4k members interested in what real estate agents have to say about the housing market there.

Regular Facebook users can join these groups too. You should use your Business Page—not your personal profile—to join or start professional groups. This way, people interested in working with you have an appropriate place to contact you.

In using social media, a little good judgement goes a long way.

Some Facebook Groups are specifically made for networking, and others have strict rules against soliciting or self-advertising.  You can still build a positive reputation and gain followers by joining conversations that aren’t directly about buying and selling homes. This is a great way to ensure your page following keeps expanding.

Learning more about your community can also give you good insight on what people are looking for in a home. You can learn to anticipate who’s moving in, who’s moving out, and the problems folks encounter along the way.

One common problem for sellers doesn’t appear until their items are long gone from the property. It’s harder to generate interest in homes that aren’t staged with furniture. It’s easy to see why a buyer would hesitate to pass on an online listing where the function and feel of a space just aren’t there.

You can use virtual staging to show buyers how the rooms in a property will effectively end their search. A couple of Florida-bound retirees will be looking for a completely different layout from a young professional who needs a home office.

At HomeJab, our team can take the lead on virtual staging, or real estate agents can choose some particular pieces or styles of furniture and decor from an online catalog.

More tips for interacting with Groups:

  • Use photo posts as conversation starters: Asking open-ended questions gets your followers sharing their ideas with you, and chatting with one another.
  • Start a new group where one doesn’t exist yet, if you see the need and the opportunity.
  • Tag the people, businesses, and locations where relevant and appropriate: This can help grow your network of followers. Your clients get the satisfaction of sharing official updates for things like buying or selling a home, while you get an instant referral for like-minded friends, family members, and acquaintances that are seeking a good realty experience.

3. Share Links, Multimedia: Create Your Business Page Experience

Stunning aerial views of this unique property are worth a double-take. The real estate agent here includes multiple photos, and links to different resources with information that Facebook users will appreciate.

Another great way to expand your Facebook Business Page audience is to spend as much time sharing useful information and posts from other relevant accounts as you spend creating your own content.

Link sharing is one BIG advantage Facebook has over Instagram. When you share links on Facebook, it is formatted with the information, pictures, and headlines you want to share.

Sharing links directly to your Page gives people a reason to keep following you. It diversifies the type of content people see from you, making your Page more useful to your followers, and more favorable for the algorithm.

That’s why HomeJab introduced Property Pages to help real estate agents drive traffic to one convenient branded profile. Sharing this link on your Page gives your followers a way to share home listing information with their network—without the hassle, distractions, and tediously retracing steps.

One of the best perks of having a Business Page on Facebook is the Insights tools, where you can get a clear picture of your social media performance. At the same time, you can keep an eye on the Facebook Business Pages of competitors to quickly compare your data with theirs. And it’s not a bad idea to occasionally share the news updates and personable posts from your competitors. Doing this can actually boost your reach—the number of people who engage with your content.

Plus, watching and learning from other successful Pages—especially ones that are successful in your niche—is a great way to inspire and re-shape what you do. It’s an easy way to assess your audience’s interest without completely straying from your social media strategy.

More on sharing likable links:

  • Multimedia content is key – A healthy mix of text posts, images, and interactive content is best for a better algorithm. That means sharing a blend of links to your home listings, albums of home walkthroughs, and video content will keep you cycling in more feeds.
  • Experiment with the built-in features like Facebook Marketplace and Targeted Ads when your strategy allows.
  • Video Engages Audiences: When you upload videos of home listings directly to Facebook, your engagement can skyrocket. Videos should be between 3-5 minutes for a favorable algorithm treatment.

Remember that Facebook is all about effectively sharing information worth revisiting later.  Managing a Facebook business page should enable your clients to keep you in the loop, and contact you as seamlessly as possible.

3 Features for Success With Real Estate Photos on Instagram

The Instagram user base is largely made up of younger adults aged 18-29, and older adults are significantly less active on this platform in general. It’s considered more of a niche platform, but don’t underestimate the value of it—millions of people are on Instagram at any given moment.

What People Like to See on Instagram

Importantly, the Instagram algorithm does not favor timeliness, so creating relationships is as important as creating content. The Instagram algorithm is determined by these factors:

  1. Interest – General topics, themes, and lifestyle trends that users follow.
  2. Recency – How often a user is on Instagram, relative to the accounts they follow.
  3. Relationship: This is measured by the number of comments, tags, and shares between accounts. Less frequent users will simply get a brief “greatest hits” feed with just a few posts that are relative to the factors above.

Use Instagram to share your all-time favorite photos, and aim to foster an intimate audience connection. On this platform, you can share photography with minimal distractions.

The interface is best suited for mobile devices, where graphics take up the majority of the screen.

Here are some features to keep in mind when posting real estate listings to Instagram: 

  1. Explore Feed: Color Welcomes Viewers to Your Listings
  2. Carousels: More Images, More Fun
  3. Link in Bio: Inspire With Your Call-to-Action

1. Explore Feed: Color Welcomes Viewers to Your Listings

Each user on Instagram has an Explore feed. Find yours by tapping the magnifying glass icon at the bottom of your home feed. This feature looks like a digital quilt of posts from other accounts you may be interested in following.

Here, it’s the sunny blue skies or hazy purple at twilight that will lure curious homebuyers to your posts. The professional photographers at HomeJab can take care of the color grading for you with a virtual dusk treatment that highlights the property, and maintains its real-life features.

HomeJab has digital photo processing down to a science, so you’ll receive a package of photos ready for posting. Consistently using professional photography in your real estate listings means you don’t need to worry about getting the filter right.

More ideas for showing up in the Explore feed:

  • Follow and interact with accounts like yours, and the clients you want to attract. Pay attention to the hashtags folks in your niche are using, and cycle through them with your own posts. The Instagram algorithm favors posts that use hashtags relevant to the text in the post
  • Celebrate Social Media Holidays: It’s the best place to make vibrant, thematic posts celebrating social media holidays like #NationalHomeownersDay

2. Carousels: More Images, More Fun

When you post multiple images—up to 10 at once—you can encourage users to thumb through them with the carousel feature.

Seeing a home online is always going to be different than seeing it in person, but convincing people to take that step is vital! You can get creative with the strategy behind using a carousel to inspire action.

One of the most difficult things to do on Instagram is to entice people to interact with you beyond the platform. Imagine seeing the first few images of a stunning virtual tour or an upcoming open house—swiping through a carousel of photos that show just the outside of a beautiful home could be what convinces someone to seek a full walkthrough.

Here are more ways to play up the interactive elements of Carousels:

  • When you make Carousel posts, re-share them in the app with Stories. This is another great way to link your followers directly from their home feed to your profile.
  • If you have a wide-angle photograph that doesn’t quite fit into one Instagram slide alone, split it up into multiple images for one carousel post. The easiest way to do this is by going into your photos and saving the original image to your phone 3 or 4 times. Make a Carousel to progressively show the wide angle photo. Oddly satisfying—right?
  • Add minimal graphics that give details about the listing. The ‘Just Listed’ digital sticker here subtly adds to the impact of the photo. Canva is a free and simple graphic design tool.

3. Link in Bio: Inspire With Your Call-to-Action

If you don’t see the level of engagement that you want from Instagram, consider rewording your messages to ask for it. It can be tough to convince people to navigate away from Instagram because there aren’t many ways to share direct links. That’s why having a consistently updated and relevant link in your Instagram profile—your *link in bio*— message is so important.

If you’re ever worried about the ephemeral nature of social media, you’re not alone. But that investment of time and resources doesn’t have to be wasted just because a home listing goes off the market. From there, it becomes useful for your branding and portfolio as a real estate agent.

That’s why it’s important to—as often as possible—plan and create ‘evergreen’ content in bulk. This kind of content is always going to be relevant to your audience’s needs, and it’s always going to be worth sharing as a part of your brand story.

Good evergreen social media content can include photos from your successful sales, like the example used here. This is an effective way to throw in a personal anecdote, a quote, or experience that represents your philosophy on the industry.

Here are more ways to make the most of your bio link:

  • You can make the bio link more dynamic with other free services like Linktree. This is an effective way to link relevant new listings, news and market data, links to your contact information, and your other social media profiles.
  • Or, skip the separate link service, and routinely update the link in your bio with a limited-time feature. Of course, this means planning out the details behind posting and removing a link when it’s time, but it’s one way of pressing the urgency of clicking the link to a limited-time offer, like an event page for an open house.

These are just a few of the features on Instagram that naturally attract high-value homebuyers and sellers seeking representation. You can use Instagram to help others envision what a dream home looks like.

Remember: Time + Consistency = Success

How long will it take to be successful with Facebook and Instagram? Your success depends on the quality of posts on your platform, and how closely you tailor a strategy to use it.

Use professional real estate photos consistently to build your following from the ground up, whether you’re revamping an old business profile or starting from zero followers. You will always benefit from learning the ropes of real estate and communication in the online market.

Choose a social media platform, and explore all of the built-in features to make your profile stronger. Over time, you’ll enjoy the free or low-cost marketing opportunities social media brings.

Contact HomeJab for Picture-Perfect Real Estate Listings

At HomeJab, we know that one snapshot can completely change the first impression you make on clients. Social media is a free or low-cost tool you can use to exponentially grow your marketing audience. Hardly anything compares to the reach and convenience of a strong social media presence.

Our team will set you up for success in representing buyers and sellers by raising the bar for professionalism in real estate. Contact HomeJab to learn more about what captivates serious homebuyers who are searching for that picture-perfect home.

HomeJabWin Clients With Real Estate Photography and These 6 Features on Facebook and Instagram

5 Trending Features You Should Highlight While Selling Your Home

The home buying process and the real estate market alike have seen some major transformations in light of the recent pandemic. Buyers, sellers, and real estate agents have had to make adjustments to their traditional methods in order to abide by health guidelines and successfully carry out transactions. But most importantly, these dynamic times have changed what people prioritize in a potential home. Big city dwellers are migrating to suburban areas and mass numbers of people are working from home. For those selling their homes, it’s time to think about some of the trending features that will reel in prospective buyers. For real estate agents,  how can you highlight those characteristics in photos and on a real estate search platform for an efficient home sale?

Outdoor space

As individuals spend more time at home, whether they’re working or simply practicing caution, outdoor spaces designed for leisure have become increasingly valuable to buyers. Well kept backyards with patio space where people can safely and comfortably gather are a necessity for many searching for a home. In fact, 87% of buyers desire a patio in a new home in 2021. Staging outdoor furniture, grills, and decor on patios amongst a carefully groomed landscape can emphasize the gathering capabilities of the home, and appeal to a larger number of buyers looking for a house for sale.

Laundry room

Did you know that a laundry room is included in 91% of house hunters’ dream homes? A designated space for your washer, dryer, and all your family’s dirty laundry is extremely important to the majority of buyers. Sellers who have this feature should keep it clean and tidy, poised with organizational baskets and bins, and highlight any devices like ironing boards. For those homes lacking an allotted laundry room, agents and sellers can work together to feature a multi-purpose space like an extra bedroom or a section of the basement that can function as a laundry room, a craft room, or a home office all in one.

Eco-friendly attributes

89% of buyers also look for energy efficiency throughout the house hunt. Whether that means solar panels on the roof, a smart thermostat that controls energy and power usage, or eco-conscious kitchen appliances with an ENERGY STAR label, any of these environmentally-friendly characteristics need to be a focal point while staging and photographing. Install and display LED lights and point out any sustainable gardening space as well in order to attract the number of buyers who are keeping their carbon footprint at the forefront of their minds.

 

Home office

With so many working from home over the past year or so, it has become a dominating factor for those choosing a career and choosing a future home. Plus, with the separation of work and regular life being so difficult to achieve while working from home, a designated workspace has become extremely critical for remote employees. The ideal home office has ample natural lighting, is secluded from other high-traffic areas of the home, provides the foundation for organization, and is suitable for virtual meetings. While putting the finishing touches on a staged home, be sure that a buyer can see the potential of an at-home workspace both in photos and in person.

Hardwood floors

Many older homes have hardwood flooring, but they aren’t in particularly great shape. However, hardwoods are seen as a treasure to buyers. They’re durable for families with young children or pets and they provide a blank slate in terms of interior design. Before selling a home, getting hardwoods refinished can be instrumental. Though it is an added expense, sellers can often recoup all or more of what they paid to revamp the floors when they sell the home. When showing a home, be sure that the floors are properly refinished and clean. Keep in mind, too, that it’s most beneficial to refinish as close as possible to the time you sell the home in order to decrease the chances of them getting damaged before the session with the real estate photographer.

Staging and photographing a home is a complex process, which makes hiring a professional real estate photographer so influential. Learn what buyers are looking for, take a good look at your home, and decide how you can poise it best for a quick and easy transaction.

HomeJab5 Trending Features You Should Highlight While Selling Your Home

Why Real Estate Photography Is Important In A Seller’s Market

Real estate photography

It’s a hot seller’s market!

Real estate listings are scarce. Meanwhile, buyers are lining up around the corner, ready to make an offer on their dream homes.

With homes flying off the shelves, real estate agents may be tempted to forego professional real estate photography altogether.

They figure that the home will sell itself.

“I can skip a few steps,” the agent says. “I don’t need photos.”

But just because homes are selling like hotcakes doesn’t mean that agents should ignore a crucial marketing step:

To include high-quality real estate photography in their listings.

To prove our point, below are five solid reasons why real estate photos are super important, even in an aggressive seller’s market.

The Stats

According to Realtor.org, 92% of homebuyers surfed the internet while searching for a home.

Not only that, but a 2017 study by the National Association of Realtors found that among buyers who used the internet to search for homes, 89% thought that clicking through property photos was useful.

Moreover, listings that featured just one photo averaged 70 days on the market compared to the 32-day average of listings with over 20 images.

These stats show that professional real estate photography can help sell homes faster no matter the state of the market — whether it favors the buyer or the seller.

Get More Listings

A listing without professional photos is like a waffle cone without ice cream. One feels incomplete without the other.

So, to set yourself apart from other agents, ensure that your listings are loaded with high-quality real estate photos.

Not only will this bode well for your brand image, but it could also expand your sphere of influence among prospective buyers and help you score more listings!

After all, when sellers research you online (and they will), they’ll expect to see quality media.

If the listing is between you and another agent, you can emerge victorious by making sure that your listings are packed with superb real estate photography.

But don’t stop there: if you really want to sweep the seller off her feet, you can include real estate video content, 3D tours, and exciting aerial drone footage in your listings.

Take that, Other Agent!

real estate photography

Get More Leads

Want to rank higher in Google?

You’ll need to host exclusive, high-quality, and eye-grabbing media that’ll generate more clicks and drive more traffic to your site.

To optimize your presence in Google search results, you’ll also need to apply some SEO best practices.

For starters, edit the image filename so that it’s searchable and SEO-friendly. Be descriptive without going overboard.

For example, instead of a filename titled “IMG_001.jpg,” try “2-story-townhouse-Boise-Idaho,” if that’s what you’re going for.

The latter has a nice (clickable) ring to it, don’t you think?

Also, make sure that your Alt Tags are optimized for SEO so that the image can define itself to web crawlers and appear more relevant against search queries:

Classic townhouse with modern gourmet kitchen Boise Idaho.

Lastly, why spend money on paid social and Google Ads when you can generate organic traffic using impeccable real estate photos that convert leads into customers?

Virtual Open Houses

In today’s tech-driven world, hosting a virtual open house, or offering 3D real estate tours, can help sell the property even faster.

Better yet, a virtual tour can take the legwork out of showing the property in person, especially when a potential buyer sends you a last-minute request to view it.

Thus, the advent of the virtual tour allows you to work more efficiently.

For example, you can send the prospective homebuyer a link to the tour to sustain their interest in the property while sorting out your schedule behind the scenes.

What’s more, some sellers may not be comfortable with the thought of others visiting their homes post-pandemic, which is why a virtual tour comes in extra handy.

At HomeJab, our virtual tour services can offer seamless 3D real estate experiences for your customers.

real estate photo

Homeowners Deserve The Best

When asked why he hustled on plays that had little effect on a game’s outcome or on his team’s standing, baseball legend Joe DiMaggio said, “Because there’s always some kid who may be seeing me for the first time…

“I owe him my best.”

At HomeJab, we believe that homeowners also deserve the best, no matter the size of their homes.

Although a lower-end home might be a small deal for the agent, it’s nonetheless a big financial investment for the homeowner.

Therefore, it deserves as much energy and hard work as one would pour into a higher-end home.

And there you have it — five solid reasons why professional real estate photography matters in a seller’s market.

Ready to schedule your shoot?

HomeJabWhy Real Estate Photography Is Important In A Seller’s Market

Top Finishing Touches Agents Should Make Before Listing

real estate photography

The days and hours leading up to listing your client’s home are crucial. From making sure the home is both photo-ready and walk-through ready, to sprucing up the landscape and any other aesthetic features, you’re sure to feel that your job is never done as a real estate professional.

If you’ve got a lot on your plate and you want to simplify the process of preparing to put your client’s home on the market, we’ve put together a list of a few crucial finishing touches you should make before putting your listing on the market.

Give The Interior One Final Clean-Up

Prior to listing, it is up to the homeowner to handle the deep cleaning of the entire home, either by hiring a professional cleaning service to do the heavy lifting or doing it themselves. However, you may find that a bit of dust has collected, or maybe there’s a spot on a countertop or other surface that needs a quick wipe-down, or even an area of the floor that could use a quick sweep before listing the home for buyers to view.

If you’re in a pinch and need to get those remaining messes cleaned up quickly, simply get the necessary products delivered from a household items store within minutes. This way, while you’re busy giving the home a final walk through and moving furniture into place for the best staging placement, those last-minute supplies will be on the way to the client’s home. You can easily multitask and perfect the home in the final moments before making the listing public.

Living Room

Make Final Tweaks To Home Staging

Once the home is in its cleanest state, take a walk through to ensure that the staging of the furniture and the decor is perfect. Maybe you realize there’s a piece of furniture placed in front of a window, which blocks the appeal of the fixture. Now is the time to move that furniture elsewhere in the space to really highlight valuable home features like updated, energy-efficient windows and real hardwood floors.

As you well-know, the goal of staging a home is to make the details of the space look their most appealing, while also displaying the potential of the home. Creating a space that feels like a home makes it easier for buyers to envision themselves living there, and in turn, they may be more likely to put in an offer.

Have Professional Photos Taken

Photos of the property you are trying to sell are a potential buyers’ first look into what could be their new home. It only makes sense that if you want to attract as many interested buyers as possible, you should invest in high-quality, professional real estate photography to capture your listing from all the best angles. From highlighting a room’s best features to an aerial view of the home’s exterior, real estate photography can help capture the home in a way no other photography could.

Not only do you save additional time by not having to take the photos yourself, you can rest assured that the property you’re selling will look its best and it’s most appealing features will be highlighted. When the photos are done well, they are enough to sell the home for you.

Getting a home ready to put on the market is no easy feat. As a real estate agent, it’s your job to show your client’s home in its best light. When in doubt, an exceptionally clean space with all of the best features on display will help you attract interested buyers and sell your client’s home quickly.

HomeJabTop Finishing Touches Agents Should Make Before Listing

A Review of the Zillow 3D App

Recently, one of HomeJab’s real estate photographers had an eye-opening experience using the Zillow 3D app.

The events that unfolded during the photographer’s interactions with the app and Zillow’s customer support team led to this review.

From lack of content control to flaws with the 3D view, read on to determine whether or not the Zillow 3D app is best for your real estate business needs.

Source Files Are Not Yours 

Last week, we held a photoshoot in Olympia, WA, near Zillow’s headquarters in Seattle.

The photographer accidentally used the Zillow 3D app to capture 360 images instead of using the app that the customer requested.

Upon realizing his mistake, the photographer contacted Zillow asking for the 360 files (these aren’t saved to the camera when using Zillow’s 3D app.) He wanted to use the files on another software platform.

But Zillow denied his request, refusing to send him the source files.

As a result, we had to reschedule the photoshoot, and the photographer then had to drive an extra 100 miles out of his way.

3D Virtual Tour

Content Control

Because Zillow feeds off of content to survive, they’ll want to control it every time an agent uses their 3D app.

Therefore, while using the Zillow 3D app, the real estate agent or photographer should know that there’s a point of no return:

Once files are sent to Zillow, whether accidentally or not, Zillow owns them.

What’s more, Zillow has primed their website to be the only place where content submitted to them can be viewed.

As a real estate agent or photographer, surrendering control of your content can be detrimental to your business.

For instance, to gain a better sense of the agent’s listings portfolio, customers might want to browse the agent’s transaction history, real estate photos, virtual tours, etc.

If these are not readily available on the agent’s website, the customer might want to browse elsewhere.

3D Flaws

Allow us to point out that “Zillow 3D” is a misnomer. That’s to say, there’s no 3D view (whoops!)

Indeed, no 3D models will see the light of day from Zillow’s app.

Instead, Zillow 3D organizes panoramic images into a “virtual tour.”

On a different note, Zillow’s newest iBuyer platform, “Zillow Offers,” is yet another service that claims ownership of your content.

And by marketing directly to the consumer, Zillow Offers positions itself more like a competitor than a support system.

That said, at HomeJab we agree that’s there’s nothing wrong with publishing the basic listing data on Zillow through MLS.

But if buyers wish to access an agent’s virtual tour, which is critical these days when time is money, then they should be able to access it on the listing agent’s website.

This is why it’s crucial to keep exclusive control of your content rather than handing it over to Zillow 3D or other top competitors in the business.

A Solution To The iBuyer Problem

Despite these bad tidings, there’s a practical solution to the Zillow 3D app and the larger iBuyer problem:

You should use a platform of independent content creators where you, the real estate agent and business professional, keep exclusive ownership and control over your content.

Out of the myriad virtual tour providers out there, many offer free software and hosting services (emphasis on the word “FREE.”)

At HomeJab, our customers hire (and trust) us to capture the images and produce a seamless 3D real estate tour.

When all’s said and done, every single file belongs to the listing agent. The agent can then download the individual source files and use them on any other software platform of their choosing.

Not only that, but the agent can control where the tour is hosted and viewed, which, in turn, will maximize their leads!

Last but not least, there’s free lifetime hosting to boot! (Check out our FAQs section for more on our services.)

Growing your business freely and exponentially while thwarting Big Tech’s hostile takeover of the real estate industry means that you’ll have to keep outwitting Zillow 3D and other iBuyer models that aren’t keeping your best interests at heart.

This might seem like a great feat to accomplish, but fret not — HomeJab’s got you covered!

HomeJabA Review of the Zillow 3D App

5 Reasons Why Agents Should Avoid Using Matterport

3d real estate virtual tour

The reasons to avoid using Matterport’s 3D real estate tours are quite compelling, from unreasonable hosting fees and tedious navigation to average reviews and lack of content control.

At HomeJab, we’ve analyzed the user experience with Matterport and would like to share our objective review.

You’ll soon find out that, to make the most of their real estate practice, there are at least five solid reasons why agents should avoid using Matterport altogether.

Avoid Monthly Hosting Fees

Did you know that the average 360 file (jpg) is only ~5mb, which means that the cost to host a virtual tour is practically… nothing?

This basic truth begs the question: Why is Matterport charging ongoing, monthly hosting fees to keep your 3D real estate tours active?

Turns out, charging hundreds of dollars for something that costs pennies, is a pretty good business model for Matterport.  But, it’s not good for real estate agents.

At HomeJab, we believe that hosting 3D virtual tours should be free, especially when server costs are minimal. After our customers pay a one-time processing fee, hosting is free. Forever. (Yay!)

Also, paying another company to advertise your own listings is like buying milk when you’ve got a perfectly good cow in the barn: it just doesn’t make sense!

To add insult to injury, Matterport owns the files on their servers, which means that they control everything.

Worse still is that to avoid ongoing monthly fees, Matterport tours need to be archived or unpublished after the property’s sold. 

This is counterproductive for the agent who’s looking to maximize their lead generation. One way to do this is to keep their content (ie. listings, photos, 3D real estate tours, etc.) live on their website. That way, prospects can search and view previous listings, but also gain a better understanding of the agent’s portfolio.

Avoid Tedious Tours

Virtual tours should be seamless and effortless. They should also solve your pain points rather than exacerbate them.

That’s to say, you should be able to glide quickly through a 3D real estate tour. What’s more, you shouldn’t have to constantly click just to get from one room to the other.

But that’s the thing — to create their model, Matterport scans have to be taken every four feet.

As a result, Matterport tours are long and tedious — the user finds herself clicking to kingdom come just to navigate through a space that should be easy to explore.

It makes you wonder, what gives? You should be able to virtually navigate a 3D real estate tour without feeling like you’re sending morse code.

And this is just the desktop navigation part. On smaller mobile screens, Matterport’s virtual tours provide for an even more awkward and aggravating experience.

Avoid Average Quality

The savvy real estate agent understands the value of high-quality virtual tours to represent their listings.

They know that when it comes to real estate photography, an impeccable virtual experience can be the difference between a quick sale and a home that stays on the market for more than thirty days (gulp!)

More to the point, Matterport brands itself as the highest quality 3D tour in town, but actual reviews from professional real estate photographers beg to differ: they come back as average, with a rating score of 7 out of 10.

Not only that, four software companies rank higher based on price, features, ease of use, interface and graphics, photo playback, and end result.

Avoid Lack Of Flexibility

In our previous article, “How to Beat Zillow, Opendoor and Win More Listings!”,  we discussed the importance of keeping exclusive control over your content.

Why?

Well, the answer’s simple: you own your content. Therefore, you should own the right to modify it as you see fit.

With Matterport, once the image is sent to its cloud software, you might as well kiss your photo-editing privileges goodbye, because once this happens, the opportunity to adjust, edit or correct any issues from the shoot gets eliminated.

And worse yet, you can’t even add new images once it’s in their cloud.

This means that you can’t add virtual staging. You can’t remove objects left behind by the homeowner. You can’t even remove the gray clouds above the home, for example, and edit in a clear blue sky.

Indeed, Matterport’s system is cloudy with a chance of 100% no flexibility. You should move to brighter skies. (PS. Thank you for indulging our “cloud” metaphor.)

Avoid Lack Of Control

For companies like Zillow and Matterport to remain competitive, they must keep subverting your basic rights as a consumer: to control the data you wish to access, or the data you submit to them.

This is exactly what Silicon Valley wants: the more data a technocrat owns and controls, the more the consumer will have to go through them to access it, and the more shots they get to call.

That said, do you really think that these corporations are keeping your best interests at heart?

At the end of the day, these are public corporations looking out for themselves, raising millions of dollars to control the real estate industry.

You know who should also be looking out for themselves?

You: the agent; the consumer; the rightful owner of the content that you create.

In other words, Big Tech isn’t a good thing for the independent agent and entrepreneur who wishes to grow their business unencumbered by Silicon Valley technocrats.

As an independent agent, you’ll need to keep a good head on your shoulders and avoid falling for iBuyer traps and the Matterport business model.

Otherwise, you might end up losing a great chunk of your “independence.”

HomeJab5 Reasons Why Agents Should Avoid Using Matterport

How To Prep Your Home for a Photo Shoot

At HomeJab, we’ve prepared a comprehensive guide to get your home camera-ready and one step closer to selling!

In this article, we cover three key sections to the home prep process — Exterior Shots, Interior Shots & Virtual Staging — and it’s all you’ll ever need to prepare your home before your real estate photographer’s scheduled to arrive.

How To Prep Your Home Exterior

Ever heard of the phrase, “it’s not about what’s on the outside but what’s on the inside that counts?”

Yeah. No.

When it comes to real estate photography, the outside counts just as much as the inside.

And with the bulk of your life taking place indoors, it’s no wonder that a home’s exterior is often overlooked during the prep process.

That said, below are 5 areas to consider when prepping the exterior sections of your home. Keep in mind that an impeccable exterior can help your property score a great first impression! 

1. Yards & Landscaping

A well-groomed front yard, ideally with some flowers and plants that pop, can certainly set the mood for the rest of the home-viewing experience.

What’s more, a home’s exterior and front lawn are usually the featured image in show sheets, so you’ll want to make sure that the outside sections of your home are as photogenic as possible, starting with your grass.

Grass should be trimmed uniformly for a clean and consistent look. There should be no unruly patches of grass or overgrown shrubs that distract from a uniform look. On the other hand, if your front lawn is comprised of Astroturf or synthetic grass, be sure to spot-clean any stains that may have set into the grass over time.

2. Pathways & Driveways

Are there tire streaks on the driveway leading up to the garage? Are there trash and recycling bins lined up against the curb waiting to be collected by the utility company? Are there any other obstructions that might further distract from the main focus of the image (ie. your home?)

When it comes to real estate photography, these are important questions to consider! So make sure that these areas are unobstructed before the photographer arrives.

And lastly, we know that you’re super proud of your sweet ride, whether it’s a ‘95 Corolla or a ‘21 Maserati, but homebuyers aren’t very keen on viewing pictures of your car (so maybe save that for “Car and Driver” Mag?)

3. Unsightly Elements

Piggybacking off Step #2, you should check for unsightly elements that could derail your real estate photography efforts, such as tricycles parked on freshly mowed lawns, water hoses coiled over rusty pipes, and stray garden shovels staked into the soil.

Seriously, not even the adorable child swing hanging from a branch of your olive tree is safe.

In real estate photography, less is certainly more.

4. Windows & Doors

If you’re already prepping the front and back exteriors of your home, we’d like you to take a moment and glance at each exterior section. 

(Go ahead. We’ll wait.)

Alright, so now that you’re back, may we ask, Where did your eye go? What exactly did you see?

A basic interior design trick is to design around a conversation piece in every room. This conversation piece could be a blush wingback chair or an exquisite marble top coffee table that your eye will be immediately drawn to. And then, as you survey the rest of the area, everything else centered around the design will sort of just make sense.

You can apply the same technique to your home exterior and really up the ante in your real estate photography game.

For example, you might not know the house number for your neighbor down the street, but you know that her door is painted in a “school bus yellow” that you can’t help but notice as you drive past.

Before you splash a gallon of yellow paint on your front door, ask yourself if there could be a “conversation piece” to your home exterior that your real estate photographer can capture during the photo shoot. This should be something eye-grabbing, such as an ornate door knocker or a comfy seating area.

At the very least, you should aim to keep your front and back doors clean and presentable. That goes for window panes, too.

5. Outdoor Entertaining

Does your home boast an appealing deck, patio area, or gazebo?

If your home is rich in outdoor amenities, use them!

Good real estate photography showcases exterior areas in your home where the prospective buyer can imagine themselves spending time. This can be a BBQ grill area, swimming pool, or zen garden.

Remember, your goal is to entice the homebuyer to set up a viewing of your property right away, and a flawless photoshoot (highlighting exteriors as much as interiors) is the quickest way to accomplish this.

(For more on Exterior Home Prep, check out this article!)

How To Prep Your Home Interior

At HomeJab, our photographers are instructed not to rearrange items in your home when they arrive to snap pictures. This is why the below 3 steps to prepping your home’s interior are crucial. 

Before we dive in, note that a home is best captured when empty, so no photobombing with your pets and guests in the background, please.

Also, our photographers don’t photoshop items out of the pictures they take free of charge, so if you don’t want that lava lamp on your nightstand to be featured, please do your best to remove it.

1. Declutter

In real estate photography, knickknacks are no bueno, that goes for the spice jars on the kitchen counter and the piles of bills on the dinner table.

To ensure that all interior rooms are camera-ready, please put away all personal care items including laundry bags, toys, pet beds, food, and water bowls. 

It’s also recommended that you remove personal photos, such as framed pictures or photo albums that are otherwise on display.

And lastly, if you care to leave towel linens hanging on rods in the bathroom, opt for colors like white and beige to offer a neutral palette to the viewer.

2. Lighting

Light is an important element to consider when prepping your home for the real estate photographer.

Make sure that all light bulbs are working properly and that they’re switched on. 

Also, leaving all doors open in each room can help brighten up your spaces even more and aid the real estate photographer in capturing more depth to your spaces.

3. Cleanliness

To prepare for the perfect interior shots, your home should be sparkly clean and uber tidy.

To that end, ensure that all beds are neatly made, vacuum and clean all carpets and rugs, empty out all sinks, showers and bathtubs, lower all toilet seats, wipe all counters, surfaces and mirrors, and put away all waste bins.

We can’t stress enough that when it comes to real estate photography, visual details matter, which is why you should strive to conceal electric wires (if possible) and to arrange furniture items in an aesthetically pleasing way.

For instance, you can fluff up the pillows on your couch and arrange them through color coordination.

(To access HomeJab’s bulleted Prep List, click here!)

How To Prep For Virtual Staging

But what if there’s nothing inside of your home to prep? Not a single chair, table, or desk to sit at?

Worst of all, what if the items in your home aren’t photogenic at all? What if they’re bonafide eyesores like that jungle-themed wallpaper in the bathroom or the red leather sofa in the living room?

At HomeJab, we can agree that, for the most part, beauty is in the eye of the beholder.

But when it comes to real estate photography, you’ll want to err on the side of caution, and that includes subduing loud, jarring elements by replacing them with warm, neutral colors.

The good news is that our virtual staging services can either fill in those empty spaces or remove unsightly items from the picture, swapping them out for modern furniture and decor instead!

When planning a virtually staged home, be mindful of best practices and rules to avoid misrepresenting your property.

Some MLSs think that virtual staging presents an ethical issue based on misrepresentation, which is why there should be a disclaimer in your listing stating that your home is virtually staged. If so, the disclaimer should note that items depicted in the room are meant to help the prospective homebuyer envision what the home can look like and not what it actually looks like at the time the pictures were taken.

We also recommend including pictures in your listing showing the current state of the room. This way you can help clear any confusion or misrepresentations on your listing.

Finally, don’t let the photoshoot prep process overwhelm you! At HomeJab, we make it incredibly easy to start with your best foot forward. Just follow this guide and book your real estate photographer when your home’s ready for its closeup!

HomeJabHow To Prep Your Home for a Photo Shoot

4 Reasons Why Waiting On Your Real Estate Photographer Is A Bad Idea

real estate photographer

Is waiting on your real estate photographer’s schedule keeping you from growing your business?

At HomeJab, we’d like to help you prevent this tragedy!

Below are four definitive reasons why waiting on your real estate photographer is a bad idea, and why booking with us can help you win more listings and sell more homes on the fly.

1. Efficiency

With so many business directives to check off their list, from generating leads to closing deals, the busy real estate agent simply can’t afford to be at the whim of a photographer’s schedule.

In fact, it’s quite the opposite: their day needs to be less stressful, better managed, and more productive.

So, rather than wait for your go-to photographer to reply to your texts, emails, and even social media DMs, why not skip these time-consuming attempts at communication and schedule a professional real estate photographer with HomeJab in no time?

real estate photographer

2. Time Is Money

When it comes to running the gamut of a successful real estate business, speed is the name of the game. Period.

A savvy real estate agent understands this wholeheartedly, which is why the faster you list your property, the faster you can say, “cha-ching!” on your way to the bank.

What’s more, booking your real estate photographer with HomeJab can keep you ahead of the curve by outsmarting ibuyers like Zillow and Opendoor, who are aggressively pitching homeowners with a quick close.

3. Flexibility

Let’s be honest: your go-to real estate photographer also moonlights at weddings, snapping pics of happy brides and grooms, amirite?

Look, there’s nothing wrong with that, but you’ll want a reliable service that offers you complete flexibility when it comes to hiring a real estate photographer.

Not only that, there’s the homeowner’s schedule to consider, too. Between virtual Zoom meetings, kids’ playdates, and other home engagements, you’ll need to hash out scheduling details with the homeowner accordingly and ensure that photo shoots are timed precisely. 

This is where HomeJab’s on-demand scheduling comes in handy.

By booking with us, you can make sure that your professional real estate photographer arrives at the optimal time, to a tidy, picture-perfect home. Our scheduling process is so flexible, you can even book around the landscaper’s schedule and show off that awesome curb appeal!

real estate photographer

4. Win More Listings

Imagine speaking with a prospective seller. They’re looking to work with a dedicated agent who can list their home and sell it yesterday.

Now, imagine telling that seller that you have the wherewithal to schedule a professional real estate photographer to snap exquisite photos of their home as soon as tomorrow!

That’s the beauty of HomeJab: we provide a swift solution to a pain point that simply can’t wait.  

Besides scoring some major brownie points by impressing the seller with your speed, once you’re able to schedule photos right away, the homeowner’s committing to working with you. 

Boom! You’ve just won another listing, and all you had to do was use HomeJab to connect with and schedule a professional real estate photographer within 24 hours.

By the way, this makes us the fastest and most efficient media production service in the real estate industry, but who’s bragging?

(To view our amazing portfolio of impeccable real estate photography, click here!)

HomeJab4 Reasons Why Waiting On Your Real Estate Photographer Is A Bad Idea

How to Beat Zillow, Opendoor and Win More Listings!

At HomeJab, we believe in impeccable real estate photography to optimize your listings and generate more qualified leads.

When looking for a new home, buyers will seek out the highest quality visuals available to them. 

In this article, we’ll show you how to beat Zillow, Opendoor, and other iBuyer models by controlling your exclusive content, speeding to the market, and setting up virtual open houses.

Control Exclusive Content

Rather than handing your IP to Silicon Valley on a platter, or entangling yourself in Zillow’s 3D app and Matterport — two platforms that won’t let you access source files — you should opt for the exclusive control of your content.

Listing videos, virtual tours, and drone footage are surefire ways to engage viewers and generate more interest for your listings.  And HomeJab’s real estate photography services can help you achieve these goals!

Virtual twilight real estate photo

You can also showcase your listings with high-quality, value-add neighborhood guides in both video and blog format. Use this opportunity to introduce yourself to prospective buyers and convey your unique personality and brand.

What’s more, web crawlers love to index sites that feature exclusive, quality content. In other words, owning and controlling your listing media will help you outrank Opendoor and Zillow for local keywords. 

With exclusive content under your control, who knows? You could even start a bidding war for your listing, something that the iBuyer model, for example, simply can’t offer.

Speed to the Market

Speaking of the iBuyer model, although this can be an attractive option for buyers who are looking to close fast on their homes (averaging 2-3 days from the offer date), this model won’t yield a higher sales price because of its AVM (automated valuation model) algorithm.

To beat the iBuyer model, you must act swiftly once you have an exclusive agreement to sell from a new client.  If you can list the home right away and generate offers within days, the appeal of the iBuyer gets severely diminished. 

One of the next few steps will be to get your real estate photography game on, and HomeJab’s arsenal of top real estate photographers can deliver on-demand high-quality photos, videos, and aerial shots to optimize your listing within 24 hours. 

real estate 3D virtual tour

Virtual Open Houses

Another way to beat Zillow, Opendoor, and win more listings is to offer the buyer a glimpse of their dream home before inviting them for a tour.

With virtual access to homes and floor plans on the rise, you’ll want to remain ahead of the competition by optimizing your listings to include these, and ensure that your real estate photography efforts are second to none. This will also show off your real estate chops by positioning yourself as a formidable player in the field. 

HomeJab’s 3D virtual tours will capture your customer’s imagination and engage their interest by offering an effective, affordable, and high-quality virtual experience.

Virtual tours can also cut down on foot traffic through the home, sparing the homeowner from “window shoppers,” and procuring more qualified traffic through the front door.

real estate photography by HomeJab

Furthermore, keeping open houses virtual will lead to more competition among buyers and drive up prices with minimal aggravation for the seller. In today’s growing remote environment, video conferencing technology also allows for shared and streamlined virtual tour viewings.

Finally, exquisite real estate photography is a must-have in all three areas above. At HomeJab, we’ll make sure that you put your best foot forward when it comes to optimizing your real estate listings and elevating your game to brand new heights.

HomeJabHow to Beat Zillow, Opendoor and Win More Listings!