According to Inman, real estate agents who consistently bring in third-party photographers to shoot properties ultimately earn twice as much as their competitors. Keeping in mind that the size of your commission advance directly relates to the number of sales you close makes that statistic even more exciting. So, what’s a go-getting agent to do?

If you’re tempted to reach for your smartphone and start snapping away, stop, drop and rethink that strategy. Professional photography and videography are essential, and you literally can’t afford to skimp.

Focus on Your Commission Advance, Not Your Photography Skills

You might be an expert-level selfie taker, but proficiency with Instagram filters does not a professional photographer or videographer make. A pro offers a whole host of benefits you may not have even considered:

  • Their eyes will capture details you could easily miss.
  • Photographers own multiple lenses and a wealth of lighting equipment to help set up that perfect shot.
  • A pro edits on the fly; your editing could take hours.
  • Need an image in multiple formats? That’s something a pro can do with ease.
  • Pros free you up to concentrate on the tasks only you can do.
  • When your competition posts their own DIY shots, your artist’s images will stand out.

Choosing the Right Company

The first step is to decide whether you want someone to work with long-term or if you need someone with a specialized eye to suit a specific property. For instance, if you’re highlighting a palatial estate with extensive acreage, you might need a photographer or videographer with drone access. On the other hand, a contemporary home could benefit from someone who knows how to capture sharp angles and clean lines while still conveying the home’s warmth and appeal. Also ask about availability, turnaround time for edited footage, experience, a link to a portfolio so you can see the talent in action and client referrals.

What’s It All Going to Cost? Protecting Your Listing Advance

Before you even get to the financially nitty-gritty, remind yourself of the following: Marketing is an investment, and visual media very much falls under that marketing umbrella. Shelling out now for better marketing could actually get you a higher commission later (which, in turn, can mean a more impressive listing advance as well) thanks to a more robust sales price for the home itself.

Now that we’ve got that out of the way, here’s an introduction to professional pricing for real estate photographers and videographers (visit FitSmallBusiness for a more thorough breakdown). As you can see, prices can fluctuate dramatically from market to market:

  • Ten-photo package in Houston, Texas – $95
  • Thirty-photo package (interior and exterior) of a two-bedroom home in Chicago, Illinois – $145
  • Six-photo package and one hour on-site in NYC – $299
  • Twenty-photo package of a max 2,000-square-foot property in Los Angeles – $325
  • Standard photo shoot of a max 3,000-square-foot home in Bay Area, California – $225
  • Standard 3D Matterport Tour of a max 2,000-square-foot home in Houston, Texas – $225
  • Standard 3D Matterport Tour of a max 3,000-square-foot home in Bay Area, California – $295
  • Standard 3D Matterport Tour in Los Angeles – $100/1,000 square feet with a $300 minimum
  • Aerial drone photography in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania – $125

Real estate agents frequently have to strike a balance between thrilling clients and protecting their own eventual commission advance. While it may be tempting to cut corners, sinking part of your marketing budget into top-tier photography and videography will translate into an all-round win more often than not.