Zillow’s New “Video Walkthrough”

If you have been looking to buy a home, chances are you’ve been to Zillow.com.  Zillow is the most popular Real Estate Website on the web today. It is where potential buyers go to look for their next home.  If you are a Seller or a Realtor, this is the one site you want to be on.  And if you can get to the top of their search engine… that’s GOLD!  Zillow has a feature exclusive to them called, “Video Walkthrough.”  A Video Walkthrough is a simple, soundless, 2 minute video shot directly from Zillow’s App and uploaded immediately to their site.

OK, so what are the benefits:

For the Buyer, a Video Walkthrough is just another way to view the home.  It provides a potential home buyer with an additional sense of the floor plan beyond the still images. Thus simplifying what can be a time consuming and complicated process for buying a home.

For the Seller or Realtor, a Video Walkthrough will move you at the top of Zillow’s search engine — That’s huge!  It will get you 3 times… let me say that again — 3 times the views than homes without one.  I’ve seen this first hand.  I shot a Video Walkthrough of a home that went from page 6 to the 3rd property on page 1…. not too shabby!   A Video Walkthrough gives home sellers an opportunity to highlight a home’s layout and key features with the goal of giving a potential buyer the feeling of being in the home.

The Video Walkthrough is exclusive to Zillow and can only be uploaded through their App.  It CAN NOT be downloaded to your phone, computer, or used on any other Real Estate website.  It can’t be edited either.  However, it can be shot in segments to create a smooth 2 minute video tour of the home.  We are trained, use image stabilizing technology, and are “Zillow Certified.”

Video Walkthroughs are the most recent way Zillow is modernizing the Real Estate Industry through the use of technology.  Photos are great, however, in 2017 when most buyers search for homes, they want more than still images.  They want to know how those images fit together to create the space they might buy.  Buyers love seeing a video.  If you don’t have one — they will go to properties that do!  I have Realtors that swear by the Zillow Video Walkthough. They have seen great results and will no longer list a home without one.  If you can get 3x’s the views, get more buyers to see the home, sell it quicker and for more money — why wouldn’t you consider a Zillow Video Walkthrough?

NOTE: A Video Walkthrough is not meant to take the place of professional photos, virtual tours or HD video.  It is meant to catch a buyer’s attention and get them to the home.  And since it raises you to the top of Zillow’s search engine, you will get more views… and more views mean more people will come to see your home.

Call or email me for more information, I am happy to answer any questions you may have.  A Zillow Video Walkthrough is only $50 with any Photography Package at Tom Biondi Real Estate Photography.

*** Tom Biondi is a Professional Real Estate Photographer located in Toms River, NJ.  He services Ocean & Monmouth Counties and regularly speaks to Real Estate Professionals about the benefits of Professional Real Estate Photography.  http://tombiondi.com/re.html

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5 Tips & Tricks To Sell Your Home!

One of the great things about real estate is that it is always changing. Whether you are an Agent or Real Estate Photographer, you have to adapt and learn new tips and tricks.

Photography is playing a fundamental roll in the sale of Real Estate like never before. Not only are Realtors changing the way they sell homes, Photographers are changing the way they photograph them!

We all want an edge.  Good photography can give a seller an edge. Most Real Estate markets have a huge inventory of homes.  You need to do whatever you can to “stand out from the crowd.” To me, one of the best ways to do that is with Professional Photography.

Here are my Top 5 Tips to sell you home:

1. Submit the maximum number of photos.  Most every Real Estate & MLS site let you submit at least 25 pics.  Among those pics you will have to choose one photo as the primary photo.  I recommend you spend a little extra time choosing that photo.  Why? Because Buyers will decide whether or not they want to look at the rest of them based upon that one photo.  It is the hook that will get buyers to look at the rest of the photos.

2. The other photos should feature the homes strongest features.  There is no need for mediocre images of a toilet, pantry or closet.  The photos main job is to get buyers out to see the home.  Note:  Landscape (horizontal) shots will always look better than portrait (vertical) shots.

3. Time of day matters. Early in the morning or at twilight can be best for exterior shots (depending on which direction the front of the home is facing). However, interior shots will suffer because the sun is lower in the sky in the morning and will shine in through the windows.  I like mid-day (between 10pm-2pm).  The sun is higher in the sky and makes for better interior shots. In this way I get the rest of the day to edit my photo shoots and get Realtors their pics the same day I shoot the property.

4. Get your shots straight. The number one mistake that Realtors and real estate photographers make is that their verticals are not completely vertical. It’s called “converging verticals” and it looks like the room is going to fall in. If you use a wide-angle lens and tilt your camera up or down, it can look like the walls are converging instead of parallel.  It is not a flattering look… especially for Real Estate Photography.

5. Price it right. Great photography is no substitute for a great price. Everyone thinks their home is worth what it was in 2006 at the peak of the market.  If the home is overpriced, it doesn’t matter what kind of photography you have… No one is coming!

*** Tom Biondi is a Real Estate Photographer located in Toms River, NJ & services Ocean & Monmouth Counties.  He regularly speaks to Real Estate Professionals about the benefits of Professional Real Estate Photography.  http://tombiondi.com/re.html

Why Professional Real Estate Photos?

The information and statistics are from Realtor.com

Looking to sell your home quick? The photos you post online will make ALL the difference.  Using a professional photographer to help you sell your home is a must.

A Real Estate Photography Company compared 350 listings using their professional photographs against 350 similar listings in the same ZIP code.

Listings using professional photography sold 50% faster and 39% closer to the original listing price than similar homes without professional photos.  The study also found listings using professional photography were viewed 118% more than comparable listings.

And while professional photography may help you sell your house faster – and closer to list price – it all depends on who you hire and how you use the photos.

Tips To Find The Right Photographer

For real estate, you’ll need a specialized photographer.  You must use a photographer who specializes in Real Estate Photography.  You can’t use a landscape photographer, event or portrait photographer.  It’s a completely different style of Photography.  The lenses are different.  The editing software is different.  The entire process is different.  Plus the photographer must have an “eye” for it.

Many professional photographers seek to create artistic renditions of a property.  This is not what you want.  You want photos done from the perspective of marketing and selling the house.

The Right Stuff

To find the right photographer, look through their online portfolio.  See if the images are done in the style you like.  Also, see samples of their Virtual Tours.  Virtual Tours are a wonderful addition to the photos.

Once you find a potential photographer, make sure they are using a DSLR camera with non-distorting wide angle lenses.  They should not be using fish-eye lenses.  They should also NOT be using on-camera Flash.  Real Estate Photography, in my humble opinion, should be done using a bracketing technique and then blending the 5 or 7 photos in a post production software.

The Photographer must also have “mad” editing skills.  Post-Production is where the magic happens.  A good photographer should know what software to use to create the best looking photos.

The Photos You Need

You will need both interior and exterior photos.  Make sure you get nice shots of the Living Room, Kitchen, Master Bedroom, Master Bathroom and any unique or custom feature of the home.

What you do not need are photos of a not-so-special pantry, laundry room, or closet.  Just get the highlights, do not include anything that will keep the perspective buyer from coming out to see the home.  Click here for some helpful tips on how a homeowner can stage their home for a photo shoot.

Format

You will want to make sure you get images that are formatted for your local MLS, Email & The Web… these are normally Low-Res scaled down photos. If you will be doing any print advertising, you will need Hi-Res images.  Make sure your photographer can get you these images within a reasonable time.

*** Tom Biondi is a Real Estate Photographer located in Toms River, NJ & services Ocean & Monmouth Counties.  He regularly speaks to Real Estate Professionals about the benefits of Professional Real Estate Photography.  http://tombiondi.com/re.html

Capture Listings in Their Best Light

Staging is important in improving a home’s presentation, however, quality photos are the most important thing you can do to get buyers through the front door. Why?  Because 90% of home buyers begin their search online and they often use photos to decide which homes to view and which ones to skip.  Here are some tips:

Find the best time of day to shoot:  If the sun pours in a room in the morning, then you’ll likely want to shoot photos in the afternoon so the view outside doesn’t look like a bright glow. Overcast days or dusk are often the best time to shoot interior photos.

Use the right equipment:  I recommend using a DSLR camera with a wide-angle lens (11-18 mm) and a tripod.  Take it off “Auto” and put it on “Aperture-Priority.” If your camera has a Bracketing function, use it!  Bracketing allows you to take multiple photos at different exposures.  You then merge the photos in post-production software to get one well exposed image.

Go wide:  Capturing rooms straight-on can sometimes make them look narrow and small. By standing in a corner and shooting at an angle, you’ll make the room look larger.  Try to get 2 corners of the room to show it’s true depth.  Note: Some of my best images have been straight-on, however, you have to know when-to and when-not-to.

Turn off the flash:  Using flash can make a room feel one-dimensional.  Using the Bracketing technique instead of flash will help you get the best exposure possible.

Tweak: You will need a photo-editing program to enhance your photos, but don’t cross an ethical line and  change the home in any way or try to fool anyone. You can use programs such as Photoshop, Photomatix and Lightroom.  They can help you capture a room in it’s best light… literally. For example, have you ever taken a photo of a bedroom and light was pouring in so much that viewers couldn’t see the views outside the window. By changing the camera’s shutter speed, you are able to capture the views outside the window, but then the rest of the room is too dark. I take 5 different exposures on a tripod.  Then, using a photo-editing program, merge them together revealing the views outside the window and the bedroom inside.  Presto!  (click on my website below for sample photos)

Tell a story with your photos: Organize the photos so that they flow logically and in the order you would show a home to a potential buyer. Avoid redundant images or photos that don’t add value… such as a not-so-special laundry room, pantry or toilets.  Are you missing photos of major rooms in the house?  Buyers will assume the worst.  Put buyers fears to rest and display the maximum images permitted.  Also, to complete your listing’s photo story, you may want to add photos of a neighborhood sign, community pool, tennis courts or the surrounding area.

*** Tom Biondi is a Real Estate Photographer located in Toms River, NJ & services Ocean & Monmouth Counties.  He regularly speaks to Real Estate Professionals about the benefits of Professional Real Estate Photography.  http://tombiondi.com/re.html

Location, Location, Location!… Or is it?

“Location, location, location!”  It’s one of the most overused statements in Real Estate.  Three times for emphases, it stresses the importance ‘location’ has on the value of a property.  And while you can’t do anything about your location, there are 3 things you CAN do to insure your home sells before other homes in your price range.

1) Staging,  2) Professional Photography,  3) Price.  These 3 things will give you the best advantage over other similarly priced homes.

Staging is important in improving a home’s presentation and Price is probably the most important, but quality photos are important for getting buyers to leave the comfort of their home to come and see your home.  90% of home buyers begin their search online and they overwhelmingly use photos to decide which homes to view and which to skip.

Here are some photo tips to make sure your home Photographs well:

Clean & Declutter:  Go here for tips on how to get your home ready for a photo shoot:  Click Here

Have the “right stuff:”  There are no 2 ways about it…  You need a DSLR camera.  Take it off Auto mode (I use Aperture Priority).  ISO 200 & f/8.  Get a non-distorting wide angle lens (not a fish-eye, please!) and a quality tripod with a Ball Head.

Back up!:  Capturing rooms straight on can sometimes make a room look narrow and small. By backing up, standing in a corner and shooting at an angle, you’ll make the room look larger.

Keep the camera ‘level’:  Keep it waist or chest high and don’t tilt the camera up or down.  I once had a Realtor tell me, “I’m not tall enough to photograph my listings.”  I wondered to myself, “Just how short is this woman?”  It turns out she was of normal height.  However, for some reason she brought a step ladder with her and tilted the camera down for all her shots.  Not good!  We want to keep the camera level to avoid converging angles.

Turn off the flash: A flash can make a room feel one dimensional and not using a flash can make the photos look dark and cold.  What is a Photographer to do?!  Consider bracketing 3-5 images at different exposures on a tripod and then merging them in post production.  Post production is where the magic happens.

Post Production: You will need photo editing programs such as Photomatix, Lightroom and Photoshop/Elements.  Please don’t cross the ethical line and change the home in any way.  You wouldn’t want to mask cracks in the wall with Photoshop, for example.  Instead, use post production to help capture a room at the perfect exposure.  A camera cannot capture what our eyes can see and we sometimes need to tweak things in post production like the exposure so we can see out of a window.  We also may need to color correct and crop.

Tell a story with your photos: Organize them so that they flow logically and in the order you would show a home to a potential buyer. Avoid redundant images or those that don’t add value like a closet, laundry room or toilet.  All bathrooms have toilets, we don’t need to showcase one.  Display the maximum images permitted (REALTOR.com allows up to 25 images and Trulia allows 32 per listing). Also, to complete your listing’s photo story, you might also want to add photos of the neighborhood or community amenities like a pool or tennis courts.

97% of home buyers who searched for a home on the internet found photos to be among the most useful features, according to the 2014 NAR Profile of Home Buyers & Sellers. Digital photography and Virtual Tours allow Realtors to serve their clients like never before. There’s a fundamental shift happening in the Real Estate Industry and professional photos are playing a key part in the success of many Realtors…  it’s happening… are you embracing it?

Why not showcase your property at it’s best?  Today’s technologically savvy clients not only appreciate nice photos… they expect them.  Buyers will compare one house to another by the photos.  Add a Virtual Tour and you hit a home run with most every buyer looking for a home in today’s market.

*** Tom Biondi is a Real Estate Photographer located in Toms River, NJ.  He also regularly speaks to Real Estate Professionals about the benefits of Professional Real Estate Photography. http://tombiondi.com/re.html

In Real Estate, a Picture is worth $1000… and often times much more!

Selling your home?  Desperate… but don’t want to lower the price? Consider better photos. Real Estate listings that use Professional Photography tend to do better than those that use photos from cheaper point-and-shoot cameras, according to Redfin Corp., a Seattle-based brokerage.  That study sited that listings with professional looking photographs had a 47 percent higher asking price per square foot and receive an average of 61% more views than properties that did not.

Not surprisingly, listings with better photos command higher asking prices.  If you believe your home is worth the price you are asking, then invest in good photographs so it shows well. At the closing table, listings with nicer photos sell for between $934 and $116,076 (as measured by the difference between asking and final price) over listings using photos from point-and-shoot cameras.

SLR or single-lens-reflex cameras give users more control over what they capture and tend to produce higher quality images. SLR’s cost more than point-and-shoot cameras, but considering the data, may be worth the investment for a home seller. However, a good camera is just the beginning.  The camera lens is even more important than the camera.  Most professional lenses cost more than the camera does.  Point-and-shoot camera lenses are far inferior and can’t get wide enough to produce quality interior photographs.  And even if they did, most of the magic with Real Estate Photography happens in post-production —  after the images have been taken.  Bracketing photos, blending them together in specialized software is not only expensive but time consuming.  Plus, we tweak, crop, color correct and more… Here’s an idea:

Ask your Realtor to bring in a Professional Photographer.

More than 88% of home buyers start out looking for homes online.  Homes with quality photos get more online attention. When selling your home, stand out from the crowd with Professional Photos!  But know this… Not all Photographers have experience in Real Estate Photography.  I have clients that are Professional Photographers but don’t know the nuances of Real Estate Photography.  They call me.  And when I need a Wedding Photographer, I call them.

For as little as $100, you can have your home Professionally Photographed as part of your comprehensive marketing plan.  If you think hiring a Professional Photographer is expensive, think about what your amateur photos are costing you?…

*** Tom Biondi is a Real Estate Photographer located in Toms River, NJ
http://tombiondi.com/re.html