Photo courtesy of Home Snappers

At 19 years old, Lance Hames knew two things: college was not for him, and he was going to do something with a camera. In a Steve Jobs-ian tale of self-taught success, Hames is now the owner of Home Snappers and a rising star in Dallas real estate photography.

Driven and admittedly, just plain lucky, Hames has come a long way in a short time. But the journey wasn’t without a few bumps in the road. Like anyone who’s made their own path, Hames has learned some tough lessons along the way – lessons, he hopes, that have made him a better businessman and a better service provider to his Dallas real estate clients.

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Woodland Dr. Hip Pocket

Christine McKenny’s luxury listing on Woodland Drive benefits from having 11 extra photos on the listing, but not all homes need 36 photos. Photo: Courtesy Christine McKenny

Some buyers have the hardest time imagining how a home will work for their families, and in the digital age, Realtors are providing tools like virtual open houses and tours to help these buyers fall in love with their listings. So I wasn’t surprised when MetroTex Association of Realtors increased the number of  photos agents can upload for each listing from 25 to 36.

Of course, some Realtors and real estate professionals see this as a fantastic development. Others? Not so much.

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Real Estate Story

real estate photography

real estate photography

This house languished on the Orlando, Florida, market for 224 days, until professional real estate photographer Harry Lim re-shot the exterior and interior. It proceeded to sell in just eight days. Photos: Harry Lim

This month, there’s a story that’s gone viral by Orlando professional real estate photographer Harry Lim. His post, After Nearly 8 Months, Photos Help Sell Home in 8 Days, is remarkable because it shows the unmistakable difference professional photography makes in the marketing of a house (his before-and-after photos above make that clear!).

Here at CandysDirt, we could not agree more! In 2013, contributing writer Karen Eubank wrote an interesting series for us, Outside the Frame, which looked at the importance of professional real estate photography and offered the insights of Dallas’ leading real estate photographers (see parts one, two, three, and four).

Today’s real estate buyer is doing their home searches on the Internet, with 90 percent searching online and 89 percent using a mobile search engine. What they find first in their searches are photographs, and the quality of those can make or break a listing.

So today, we’ve made a list of five ways professional real estate photographers bring value to the marketing of a house.

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All that's needed is a chalk outline of the body

All that’s needed is a chalk outline of the body

When buyers peruse listings, they rely heavily on the pictures posted by the listing agent. Usually pictures entice, however sometimes they’re scary, wary, or pointless. I know when I look at homes, I expect the pictures to be a storyboard that escorts me through a property.

I want to see the exterior, the entryway, and onwards as though I’m walking through the home. I give extra points if pictures “connect.” By this I mean that if I see a chair in one picture, I want to see it from the next picture. It becomes a bridge that gives the viewer an idea of how the rooms flow.

We all know we’ve seen listing pictures uploaded to the MLS in a scattershot fashion – bathroom, basement, attic, master bedroom, backyard, etc. Viewers can’t get a feel for where anything is. And in the end, agents wind up visiting homes that a buyer would have axed had they been given a better storyboard.

Storyboards are all well and good, but if the pictures are bad, it won’t matter much.

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Real Estate Story

Harry Lim photography before

This house languished on the Orlando, Florida, market for 224 days, until professional real estate photographer Harry Lim re-shot the exterior and interior. It proceeded to sell in just eight days. Photos: Harry Lim

This month, there’s a story that’s gone viral by Orlando professional real estate photographer Harry Lim. His post, After Nearly 8 Months, Photos Help Sell Home in 8 Days, is remarkable because it shows the unmistakable difference professional photography makes in the marketing of a house (his before-and-after photos above make that clear!).

Here at Candy’s Dirt, we could not agree more! In 2013, contributing writer Karen Eubank wrote an interesting series for us, Outside the Frame, which looked at the importance of professional real estate photography and offered the insights of Dallas’ leading real estate photographers (see parts one, two, three, and four).

Today’s real estate buyer is doing their home searches on the Internet, with 90 percent searching online and 89 percent using a mobile search engine. What they find first in their searches are photographs, and the quality of those can make or break a listing.

So today, we’ve made a list of five ways professional real estate photographers bring value to the marketing of a house.

1. The pros know which shots offer value to potential buyers

In the average MLS listing, you’ve got around 25 shots to “sell” a buyer on your property. Poorly planned or executed photography might result in redundant shots (multiple angles of one room where no new visual information is presented), unnecessary photos (you don’t need a photo of the toilet—people know it’s in the bathroom), or just plain bad photos that make the property look boring at best.

A professional real estate photographer understands which shots matter and why, and can make judgment calls based on the features of each individual property.

“Normally I don’t waste a photo on a laundry room, but a condo unit that has a washer/dryer when the neighboring ones do not might be of great importance compared to the average property,” said Lance Selgo of Unique Exposure Photography.

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3831-turtle-creek-blvd-dallas-tx-6b-High-Res-14-1024x682

Can you believe it’s just been three years since Shoot2Sell began offering affordable, beautiful real estate photography to agents in Texas? I honestly thought this company had been around for much longer. And now, just three years into this company’s existence, Shoot2Sell is the nation’s largest architectural photography company.

Wow!

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5433 Falls Front

Homes of every size and price can benefit from a little staging help, and it doesn’t have to cost a fortune. That’s the motto of expert stager Karen Eubank, who has helped homeowners maximize profits through strategic design. While the bulk of her clients are selling homes between $200K and $600K, Karen is the go-to gal for Realtors looking to give their clients an edge in a competitive market.

Take this lovely estate for example. Karen consulted on this beautiful property, and while the architecture and finish-out is lovely and high-end, it had several stumbling-blocks that was keeping it from selling. And according to Karen, after a walk-through consultation and a detailed staging report (something she suggests for anyone putting a house on the market), the homeowner was able to do all the suggested changes herself! Brilliant and cost-effective!

5433 Falls Road backyard

“Staging a home prior to selling is always a good idea,” said Mark Cain of Dave Perry-Miller & Associates, the listing agent behind the gorgeous estate at 5433 Falls Road. “Editing or removing collections of things, minimizing furnishings to make rooms look larger, maximizing natural light to lighten and brighten rooms, and giving the house and open and fresh feeling is the ultimate goal of staging. I believe that every dollar spent for staging definitely pays dividends, and I rely on professional stagers for their keen insight.”

Living Room - Before copy Living Room - After copy

And that’s exactly what Karen suggested for this home, which is priced at close to $3.3 million and has five bedrooms, six full and one half baths, 7,151 square feet on more than an acre in Old Preston Hollow. The home, designed by Elby Martin and built by Tom Loposer, has four living areas and park-like grounds, perfect for entertaining. The home benefits from huge windows and mature trees, giving it a feeling of privacy. The finish-out in this home is incredible, with wide hardwood mouldings, gorgeous wood and Italian tile underfoot, a pool and spa that works perfectly with the expansive grounds, and windows in all the right places where you can soak in the view.

Bedroom - Before copy Bedroom - After copy

But some of the furniture was distracting from the home’s selling points, said Karen. “The room with the black headboard bed had a huge change,” she said. “It originally had the twin bed and some mix of teen and childhood items. It had extra bookcases which distracted from the beautiful built-in bookcases. The twin bed was dwarfed by the room, so I suggested it be turned into a guest room.”

It makes a stunning impact, don’t you think? Other rooms benefited from some simple furniture arrangement, such as the second-floor study. With the removal of the desk and a few comfy chairs, it makes a much better reading room. And thanks to a change in perspective with the photography, this shot now showcases the beautiful iron railings in this home, as well as the stunning light fixtures, Karen said.

 

Study - Before copy Study - After copy

“The large home office on the first floor looked awkward in the original photos. Lots of bookcases that were not built in so not relevant to the sale and the desk was not positioned for maximum appeal,” Karen added. “Other rooms, such as the living, dining, family rooms simply had excess furniture removed.

Keeping Room - Before copy Keeping Room - After copy

A large secretary was moved from the grand two-story entry so it did not compete with the chandelier, a gorgeous architectural feature that gives the home such drama. Moved to the family room, it now helps showcase what is intended to be a versatile communal space instead of making the foyer play double duty.

5433 Falls Bar 5433 Falls Road Kitchen

And there’s plenty of space in this home that will serve its purpose, such as the bar area with at 75-bottle SubZero wine chiller and wine storage vault. The kitchen features granite and butcher block counters with custom Christopher Peacock cabinetry, a walk-in pantry, and commercial grade appliances such as a Dacor six-burner range with double ovens, a built-in SubZero refrigerator as well as two each additional refrigerator and freezer drawers, a farm-style sink, all of which is open to the newly restyled keeping room.

Master - Before copy Master - After copy

This is a fantastic family home, with a gorgeous 23 x 23 master suite for those who need a place to recharge their batteries after a long day. The upstairs master is sizable and features a gorgeous bank of windows, a dramatic tray ceiling, and the most perfect chandelier that just breathes romance. There’s a second master downstairs, perfect for guests.

5433 Falls Raod Master Bath

 

In the upstairs master bath you’ll find beautiful custom tile, a luxurious jacuzzi, his-and-hers vanities, and a private water closet with bidet (a must these days! No joke!). It is so serene and relaxing that you’ll never want to leave, and thanks to the huge closets and ample features, you’ll never have to!

Not only is this home amazing, but the transformation helps it show off its many features that will attract the perfect buyer, and soon!

 

5802 Moticello Front

I had a really hard time finding a Friday Four Hundred (or even Friday Five Hundred, for that matter) because every single house I liked had one of these two problems:

1) It was already under contract, or …

2) the photography was abysmal.

I know a cute house when I see one, folks, but nothing gives me the hives faster than an adorable listing with absolutely atrocious amateur photography. It is the worst, especially in this price range. Really, it’s no time to slack on the listing photos! Hire a professional or learn a few tips of the trade and invest in a good camera. [End of rant]

5802 Moticello Living

Then I stumbled upon this adorable Tudor near the M Streets that has been recently reduced to $409,000. 5802 Monticello is a fantastic Tudor that has tons of charm and updates, including a second living area — a converted porch that is a fantastic sunroom with a tile floor and arched windows. It has three bedrooms, two baths, and more than 2,200 square feet.

5802 Moticello Sunroom

This home was built in 1926 and still has tons of period charm, including a spacious formal dining room that is connected to the kitchen. The fireplace is gorgeous, and I love the wide window trim as well as the fretted trim on the walls, perfect for your art collection. And check out the professional slideshow from Shoot2Sell.

The kitchen has been updated to include granite counters, fresh cabinetry with seeded glass door fronts, stainless steel appliances, and an additional butler’s pantry for extra storage. There is also an eat-in breakfast area that is perfect for those busy mornings.

5802 Moticello Kitchen

This home has two full baths  — a great feature for a family home. You’ll also appreciate the location, which is just off Greenville Avenue and inside the Robert E. Lee Elementary attendance zone. Recent improvements to this neighborhood mean that this area is increasingly more walkable, and if you’re looking for a more urban-oriented location with tons of space and suburban amenities, including parks and entertainment nearby, this is the home for you!

5802 Moticello Master 5802 Moticello Master bath

The master bedroom is 13 x 16 — modest buy far from cramped — and has plenty of windows to take advantage of the sunlight. It’s connected to the sunroom, too. The master bath is cramped and a little dated, but this is a prime area for investment.

The backyard is a great size, and the listing agent claims it is big enough for a pool, should your heart desire one. I love that the homeowners have left a little raised bed for a vegetable garden, too.

5802 Moticello Backyard

What is absolutely certain, though, is that this home definitely benefits from professional photography. Considering the location and size of the home, I think it shows so much better to potential buyers with great photographs. What do you think?