Professional Photography and 3D Tours Sell Homes Faster and for More

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It might feel like a no-brainer to state that professional photos and 3D home tours help homes on the real estate market sell faster and for more. But that might surprise you is just how much more and just how much faster. I’ve been selling homes, licensed since 2003, and my team has completed over 2,000 home sales. Not only will I bring national studies to the table in this article, but I can speak from significant personal experience on the subject. Not all professional photography and not all 3D home tours are the same. I also hope to help bring some useful distinction to both. You might be surprised to learn there are 4 different categories of professional real estate photography to choose from, and three different categories of 3D home tours available.

According to extensive research conducted by Old Dominion University, photos are overwhelmingly the first thing home buyers look at online, not the price, location, description, or anything else listed.

According to the National Association of Realtors 2020 Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers, a record 97% of home buyers searched for their next home online.

After reading the below studies, I’m sure you will agree that both professional photography should be standard and 3D home tours should be standard for every listing represented by a modern real estate agent.

Professional Photography Sells Homes Faster

21 days faster according to an often cited study performed by Redfin in 2013.

32% faster according to a study done by VHT, a large photography company, in 2013.

50% faster according to a study done by IMOTO, a large photography company, in 2014.

3D Home Tours Sell Homes Faster

A recent report says 54% of buyers won’t look at listings of properties without virtual tours and listings with virtual tours get 87% more views. In the same report, surveyed buyers wanted to see 3D tours on home listings more than anything else, more than price, photos, or description.

According to a recent Zillow study, homes with 3D tours were viewed 50% more often and had 60% more buyer saves.

31% faster according to a study done by Matterport, a major 3D home company, in 2020.

Professional Photography Sells Homes for More

10,000 more according to the often cited study performed by Redfin in 2013.

According to an Inman study, real estate agents that pay a professional to take photos earn double commission vs. those agents that do not. This of course means, at least in part, that their homes are selling for more.

3D Home Tours Sells Homes for More

9% more according to a Matterport study.

2% more according to a study conducted by the University of Iowa.

The 4 Different Types of Professional Real Estate Photography

Example shot from one of our listings with a view.

Realtors can purchase professional photography for as little as $100 or as much as $10,000. Professional photography here means someone other than the Realtor or homeowner has been hired to take the home photos.

One indicator of cheap professional photography is the inability to see out the windows, or the view out the windows is blurry. More expensive photography will take a full exposure of the view outside the windows, a full exposure of the interior of the room, and then use software to marry the two together so that you can see a bright, crystal clear view of the interior and you can see the petals on a flower outside the window. Commercial photography is a different animal altogether and is defined by significant amounts of labor in post production. It is uncommonly rare to see true commercial photography paid for, for real estate listings as the cost can exceed the amount earned by real estate commission. In addition, the vast majority of real estate search portals online cannot adequately display the quality of photos produced.

  1. Cheap professional photography defined by an inability to see outside the windows and exaggerated color contrasts. Typically costs between $100-200.
  2. Standard professional photography defines by crystal clear views of the interior and outside the windows. Typically costs between $200-500.
  3. Commercial level photography defined by multiple days of post production work per photo. Typically costs $10,000 plus for a full home shoot, or about $500-1,000 a photo.
  4. Drone photography is often useful for homes with large lots or exceptional views. We don’t find it useful for most homes on small lots ( it ends up being a high-definition picture of the roof that doesn’t add value ). Drone real estate photography often ranges between $300-1,000.
Drone photography example on one of our listings with two homes on the same lot.

The 3 Different Types of 3D Home Tours

No matter what type of true 3D home tour you’ve ordered for your home, ensure that 3D tour is added to every home portal. Make sure it is prominently displayed on Zillow,,,, and (just to name of few of the highest visited home search sites). If you have a 3D home tour but no home buyer can find it on the website they use to search for homes, it will do you no good. Putting a 3D home tour on your home’s own website or on some Realty website, will have very little impact. The 3D home tour must be on Zillow and the other major sites where the home buyers are shopping.

Zillow alone has a 36% market share of all home buyers online, when you put together with, they make up over 50% of all home buyer traffic online. See our report on the 10 most visited real estate search sites here. Because Zillow is #1 by a far margin, my team uses the Zillow 3D software on every home with a high-definition 3D camera. When we do this, Zillow gives our client’s homes better placement on their site and puts that 3D tour set in the actual home’s photo set. Also we can connect the Zillow 3D tour to all the other major real estate portals, so the 3D home tour is widely available and easily accessible. It is true that Matterport has the best devices and software for 3D tours, but what they do not have is a Zillow connection. On occasion we order Matterport tours for our client’s homes (just ask us if interested), but as of right now we see the Zillow 3D option as the best choice for our clients and provide it at no extra charge with every listing.

  1. Virtual tours acting as fake 3D Home Tours that are universally hated by home buyers. Think of cheesy rotating picture slides of the home set to awful music. In my entire real estate career, I’ve never met a home buyer that liked these.
  2. 360 cameras creating walk-through tours using third party software. There are dozens of camera options and dozens of software options to choose from.
  3. Matterport 3D tours using uniquely designed and patented hardware and software, combining in a doll house view that you can enter and exit from.

We are a top 1% home selling team in the U.S.

We provide true professional photography and true 3D home tours for every client at no extra charge. This would be just the beginning of what we offer our clients that helps their homes sell faster and for more. Check out our full home selling program here. Whether you live in Oregon or Washington, we’d love to hear from you today!

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What My Clients Are Saying

Stephen made the experience of selling my first house seamless. I live in another state but he kept me informed and moved the process along without a hitch. The only thing another agent could have done differently was charge a much higher commission. I only wish he was able help me purchase in my state. Highly recommend his service and business model.