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There are many reasons folks choose to sell their homes themselves. One of the biggest reasons is cost. If you’re prepared to put in the work, why pay someone else to list your home?

But wait; that does not mean you want to – or can – cut all of the costs of selling your home. You can’t. There are still things you’ll need to pay for. The cost to list your home on the MLS is one of those costs; lawyer fees are sure to be another line item on your budget. You’ll probably spend a few bucks on sprucing your home and staging it appropriately. And yes, you need to hire a professional photographer.

But, I have an awesome camera!

When you employ a photographer, you’re not just hiring a man (or woman) and a camera. You’re hiring years of training, professional lighting techniques, post-production software, and a whole host of knowledge that you don’t have.

Sorry. We’re not trying to be harsh. But, most homeowners just aren’t professional photographers. If you are, that’s great – go for it. If you’re not, there are some very compelling reasons to hire a pro: time and money.

Let’s deal with the money side of things first. A 2010 study concluded that professionally photographed homes sold for at least $934 more, but up to $18,819 more than amateur photography could muster. Professional photography costs about 0.09 percent of the median U.S. home price. Think about that for a second. If the median home price is around $186,000, photography should cost about $167 (though the specifics of your home will determine the price).

Would you pay $167 to ensure your home sells for your asking price? On that note, wouldn’t you pay $300 to get the sale you really want? If the answer isn’t yes, then you’ll probably have a difficult road ahead of you, no matter what you do.

At the very least you’ll need to put in the hours… and days on the market.

In the End, It’s Not Even about the Money

That’s because most buyers won’t even pull up the details of a listing that lacks photos. And they won’t look twice at houses with average (or terrible) photos. Buyers want to fall in love with the home they’re buying; and in today’s visual age, they’ll need to see proof before they consider driving around to see you. It’s the listings with gorgeous photos that draw the buyers in; you can even think of it as curb appeal for the digital age.

Homes with photos sell faster simply because more people are willing to walk through the door. The more pictures you have and the better those photos are, the more interest you will generate. It’s true for agency sales and true for FSBO sales. And really, the cost is negligible when you consider how much your home is worth.