The Value of Taking Great Pictures

July 27, 2011 in Building Your Business, Investing In Real Estate

 

A while back I talked about the importance of using a Property Information Form each and every time you talk to a seller about their property. It is crucial to get all of the information you need to make a good offer.

If you missed that post and you would like a copy of the Property Information Form that I use, you can find it here at:

http://bit.ly/PropertyInformationForm.

It’s equally important that you are using some type of standard Property Inspection Form and taking great pictures when you look at a house. It’s so easy to forget some of the details of a property especially if you look at more than one in a particular day.

 

Why should I take pictures?

There are so many reasons why you should take pictures at that first visit to the property.

  • One of the main reasons is that it helps you sell houses more quickly.
  • Another important reason is that it helps you to remember details about the property that might otherwise be forgotten. I usually take pictures from different angles of the main living area and important spaces like kitchens and baths. They will be very helpful when you are figuring repairs for the property.
  • If the seller doesn’t take your offer immediately, you will have these pictures to jog your memory in a few weeks or months when they are more motivated to take your original offer.
  • You can also use these pictures later when are marketing the property to another investor buyer. Real estate investors always want to know if you have pictures, so I always send them out with my email blast to my buyers list.

 

Taking pictures of defects

It’s important to take pictures of serious defects in the property. I also take pictures of the major systems. For example:

  • If you take a picture of a crack in the basement wall while you are in the basement, when you look at the pictures after you are back at the office you will be reminded if you forgot to look for the same crack on the exterior.
  • I get close ups of things like termite damage or seriously deteriorated wood, and I will document on paper important details of what I am looking at. It can be hard to remember the extent of things like wood damage as time passes.
  • Whenever I find mold in a house, I always get good pictures of these areas. This is also a reminder to try to find the source of the moisture and the mold. Your buyer will be much more willing to deal with this problem if you can tell him the cause of the mold is an easy fix such as a leaky pipe.
  • Be sure to take pictures of the furnace, panel box and AC unit. If you are wholesaling the house, investor buyers always want to know if the panel box has been updated so I always include that picture. And, if I find a tiny panel box with fuses, I will be sure to remember to put that upgrade into my repair estimates.

I had an experience recently where the seller wanted to take the existing brand new furnace out of the house I was buying and replace it with one in his personal residence that was much older. He had started rehabbing the house when he threw in the towel and decided to sell it. His reasoning was that “I wasn’t going to live in the house anyway”. I told him I had based my offer on having this new furnace. I also made a point to let him see that I took a picture of the unit and a close up of the green inspection sticker. I have had folks switch out light fixtures, remove landscaping and all sorts of things. Most of the time it’s not worth making an issue of it, but every now and then these pictures will come in handy.

 

Should I make a video?

I like to make a video of the property with my flip camera to use when I am marketing the house to my investor buyers, but I usually don’t make it until I have the property under contract. Typically I will make the video when I go back to the property to put the lockbox on. Although I have to say, the last few properties I was wholesaling have sold so quickly I didn’t even use the video.

It can be a lot of fun walking through a distressed property poking fun at the “smelly” house and all of the work that needs to be done. It’s also a perfect time to point out what’s good about the house or the neighborhood. If the houses on either side of your house look great, do a shot of those properties when you are walking up to your house. If the bathroom is in great condition, be sure to point this out. With video, you can give a true picture of the property and the work that needs to be done, while having a little fun and making an entertaining video.

Taking great pictures helps your business in so many ways. If you’re not already making a point to use them to your advantage, be sure to get started.

Coming next…“Why You Should Use a Property Inspection Form” each time you look at a property.