Author: Bill Schlosser


Wow! 10 Million Photographs

All of us at TruPlace are proud to have achieved an amazing milestone. We have processed our 10 millionth photograph. Yes, 10 million! To our national network of photographers, to our incredible staff, and especially to our amazing clients, we say thank you – 10 million thank you’s.

We have no idea how many other photography companies have achieved this milestone, but we want to think there aren’t that many. What it says is that we must be doing something right – providing great quality photography and interactive floor plan tours at a great value.

Now it’s on to 20 million. Our shutter fingers are growing blisters just thinking about it.


CHPA Event and Outreach

TruPlace was thrilled to be a part of the Corporate Housing Providers Association (CHPA) Regional Conference held Monday and Tuesday of this week at the Gleacher Center in Chicago. TruPlace Vice President Suzi Cusack was in attendance and also participated in the Monday volunteer activity at the Cornerstone Community Outreach.

This amazing organization helps to raise the quality of life for low-income residents in the Uptown area of Chicago. Over the last 24 years, CCO’s programs have expanded to serve nearly 500 men, women and children every day.

Suzi and the others in the group (shown here) helped prepare and serve meals as well as pack and organize donations. It was both a challenging and rewarding experience for all.


Don’t You Love That New Tour Smell?

It’s hot off the production line and coming to a screen near you – the BIGGER, BETTER, BOLDER TruPlace Tour. We made the photos BIGGER so that they fill your desktop and mobile screens. With more and more people using their smart phones to access everything, a BIGGER mobile view is really important.

We made the tours BETTER by making the floor plan fade out and movable, giving the viewer more control over what they see. And the slide show is more intuitive and BETTER than ever.

All of this makes for a BOLDER experience for people viewing a property. And did we mention that there’s no extra charge for this update? That’s the new smell we all love!

You can check it out HERE.


5 Reasons Professional Property Photography Is Better Than Amateur Property Photography

1. Professionals use better camera equipment.
Yes, your iPhone takes good photos of your kids and pets, but it just can’t compare to today’s advanced DSLR cameras. DSLRs have larger sensors with more pixels, better controls and interchangeable lenses. With a DSLR, you’re going to get better white balance that is more visually appealing. And the 3:2 aspect ratio of a DSLR makes for better compositions. But then, you can’t order a pizza using your DSLR.

2. Professionals know how to capture the best angles.
Amateurs typically just walk into a room and shoot. Professionals take into account the entire frame – from left to right, front to back, top to bottom. Does the angle of the bed look appealing? Is the entry to the bathroom in the frame? Is the camera height sufficient to capture the entire counter top? Does the selected lens capture the entire room without distorting the image? Professionals see all of this and more, plus know when to shoot multiple angles when necessary to capture everything a room has to offer.

3. Professionals understand lighting.
An amateur will usually close the drapes so that the sunlight coming in doesn’t “blow out” the detail in the room. This typically results in a shot that is too dark or too light.

A professional with the right equipment can capture the image in a room the way your eye sees it – with details inside the room, and window views of the outside. With today’s modern equipment in the hands of a professional, more detail is captured, colors are more vibrant, and lighting is perfectly balanced.

4. Professionals can enhance the image after the shot.
Images on TVs, fires in fireplaces and anything else that is moving do not photograph very well. This is why most professionals will turn those things off when shooting. But using post-production technology, images can be added to TVs, fires can be added to fireplaces, pool water can be made more inviting, grass greener, and the sky can be transformed to blue, even though it was cloudy the day of the shoot. While not appropriate for cosmetic enhancements that “fool” the viewer, this technology is very useful (and ethical) for enhancing things that come and go.

5. Professional photographs outperform amateur photographs.
Home buyers spend 60% of their time looking at photos and only 20% on descriptions (Wall Street Journal). Pro photos produce 7% more demand for vacation rentals than amateur photos (Airbnb). Homes with professionally photographed pictures can sell for up to $19,000 more (marketleader.com). Homes with high quality photos receive 47% higher asking price per square foot (cbsnews.com). With so much riding on photos, why go the amateur route?

 


What Does Punxsutawney Phil Know About Real Estate Sales?

Today, the most famous rodent in the country, Punxsutawney Phil, announced to the world that he DID see his shadow, which means 6 more weeks of winter. If the little fuzz ball is right, that’s not good news, at least for those of us who don’t live in San Diego. But given his dismal 50% record, I don’t think it’s wise to bet on the rat.

If he’s wrong and Spring comes early, that would mean more buyers will be out shopping for properties, and more sellers will want to list their properties.

Groundhog shadows aside, there are other reasons to be optimistic (check out this Forbes article). Interest rates and home prices are both expected to climb, which should give a lot of buyers the incentive to move sooner rather than later in order to take advantage of current conditions. Add to that the increase in disposable income enjoyed by the majority of Americans due to the recently enacted tax reform legislation and there is the potential for very strong demand.

So, in spite of what Phil says, now is the time to start preparing for more listings. At the top of your list(ing) should be photography and virtual tours. To help you get a property ready for photography, we’ve developed a comprehensive Pre-Photography Checklist, which you can access HERE. In it, you will find some great tips for making sure the property looks its absolute best for the photographer. We’re sure even Phil would approve.


Homebuilding On The Rise

Residential housing starts for November rose 3.3% to 1.3m annualized rate which is higher than the estimate of 1.25m and above the 1.26m of the prior month.

Single-family starts jumped 5.3% to 930,000, highest since Sep 2007.

Single-family permits have increased for three straight months, also indicating a sustained pipeline of work for developers.

Homebuilder’s confidence jumped in December to the highest level since July 1999.

All of this means more work and lost opportunities if you’re not ready. One of the things you should not undertake yourself is photography. Leave it to the professionals. Let TruPlace take that off your plate with our fast appointments and fast turnaround. Our real estate photography is second to none and very affordable – as low as $199 for our Photo30 package.


When One Angle Isn’t Enough

When photographing a really beautiful room, sometimes one angle just isn’t enough. Take this photo group. If you only showed your customers the top photo, they wouldn’t see how the bathroom connects. If you just showed the 2nd photo, they wouldn’t see the amazing views. When something important cannot be captured in a single shot, don’t be afraid to photograph multiple angles of the same room.


Food For The Hungry

TruPlace was proud to participate in the Capital Area Food Bank program on November 8 in Washington DC. The volunteer event was a kickoff activity prior to the Eastern Summit meeting of CHPA, and was designed to help those in need in the surrounding community. Andy Francis, vice president of sales and marketing at TruPlace, spent the day helping the group sort food donations. Visit the Capital Area Food Bank Site for more information.



Go Fish

Those of you who stopped by the TruPlace booth at VRMA were treated to a strange sight you probably hadn’t seen at a trade show before – a goldfish. We named him Gary. Don’t know if Gary was a he or she, but Gary probably doesn’t know either. We played up the theme everywhere we could, with t-shirts, balloons, and of course, a sign for Gary.

We were trying to call attention to the fact that humans have a shorter attention span than the goldfish, which is why a TruPlace interactive floor plan tour is the better choice. It’s faster, so people can tour a home quickly without getting bored or losing interest.

Gary played his role very well during the show. But we wanted to make sure he had a good home to go to after the show that didn’t involve anything porcelain – if you get my drift. So, a very nice man, Tom Fjord with dvdnow, who lives in the Orlando area said he would give Gary a good home, and he sent us a photo of Gary’s new digs. I circled Gary since he is rather hard to see in his spacious new surroundings. Our thanks to Tom and Gary!

Gary made out pretty well, going from pet store, to bowl, to retiring at a Florida “lake”.

Go Fish!