Who pays the photographer, the Realtor or Seller?

Discussion in 'Business of Photography' started by burke, Jun 11, 2015.

  1. I've always been paid by the realtor. But I was invited to and attended a realtor's sales meeting recently and in the discussion one agent had the idea of getting the seller to pay for my photography services. All of a sudden the other agents seemed to think that was a great idea too! The one that brought this up even said "That way if the check bounces it's not my problem". The broker didn't help either, he stated the seller would then 'own' the photos and could go to another agent/office if they wanted. Huh?
    I work for and get paid by owners that rent their homes but this caught me off guard, I've never had a realtor ask or even suggest this before. I see (unforeseen) problems from the seller micro-managing to the realtor making promises I can't deliver... to what?
    I don't like the idea (maybe because it's new?). I wonder if it's even worth considering a way to do it. Charge more, offer less, or business as usual as long as I get paid? I just think there's going to be problems down the road.
    If anyone has ideas or comments I'd love to hear it.
  2. William Michael

    William Michael Moderator Staff Member

    I work in AUS.
    Here, it is most usual when the home owner engages a Real Estate Agent that the advertising costs are paid for by the Real Estate Agent, but in most situations that cost is inbuilt to their charges to the Vendor either implicitly or explicitly.
    This is the case for either a property "For Sale" (i.e. A Sale by offer and acceptance - issue of contracts then receipt of deposit) or a property "Auction Sale" (public bidding - lodgement of deposit upon fall of hammer).
    It is not compulsory for a Property Owner to engage an Agent to act on their behalf, to sell the property, but if they do it is the Agent who arranges and writes the cheque to the Photographer, and it is the Agent who is assigned the rights to use the images for advertising purposes; however the Agent will have a contract with the Property Owner and in that contract there is permission given for entry to the property and the photography by third party (the Photographer), on behalf of the Agent.
    We haven’t done Real Estate work for a few years, but it wasn’t uncommon for the Home Owner to ask for some copies of the Photos – I don’t think they wanted to use them to give to other Agents (there’s usually an exclusivity clause in the Real Estate Sale Contract anyway), but I think that some Home Owners wanted them for nostalgic reasons. We’d get the Agent’s OK to do that and it was never a problem – it was good advertising for us to give them a few prints.
    I don’t think that Real Estate Agents (here) would want Home Owners organizing the Photography once their Agency was engaged (by contract) to Promote, Market, Advertise and sell the Property, and the reasons for that would be way beyond the Home Owner using the Photos to give to another Agent, it just would not be a smooth workflow and best practice to turn out high quality Advertising and Promotional material for the Sale.
    But maybe the contractual relationship between ‘Realtors’ and Home owners in the USA is a different, but even so it seems, on the face of it, a silly idea to me, just because it seems to be so convoluted and an inefficient procedure.
  3. The person or firm giving you directions is your client.
  4. Yeah. The seller is compensating the realtor (with commission) to make that sale happen. The realtors knows how to get it done, and know which vendors to turn to. If the realtors are worried that they can't make money while carrying the overhead of handling the relationship with photographers, graphics artists, advertising outlets, etc., then they're doing it wrong. If the seller doesn't want to part with enough of the proceeds to pay a professional realtor to handle all of that as a one-stop shop, then they need to re-evaluate what they're expecting out of the sale (or decide to handle the whole thing themselves).
  5. I would point out to the Realtor that if the seller is paying then you have to do what they want, which may not result in the sort of images the Realtor needs to get their job done.
  6. Good points and I agree with all of you! I hope this isn't a new trend. This area is well below the state average in home value and behind in terms of when prices started to rise, which has only been the past year or so. So I don't know if I'll hear more of this from other agents or not...
    I might be better off focusing my efforts elsewhere rather than an office that doesn't care if the photographer gets paid or not.
  7. the seller has contracted w the realtor to 'sell the house' and the realtor does whatever it needs to do to complete that task.
    Would you go to an auto mechanic that told you you needed to pay each of his suppliers (brake pads, filters, etc) separately? No. That's the job of the mechanic and you pay a bit of premium for that.
  8. The realtors are just trying to pass off costs the are normally borne by them. Tell the seller that you appreciate their payment, but remind them that they should seek a reimbursement from the realtor.
  9. Realtors, car dealers and mattress salesmen - put on your thickest hide when you have to do business with them.
  10. Spearhead

    Spearhead Moderator

    Realtors, car dealers and mattress salesmen - put on your thickest hide when you have to do business with them.​
    Nothing makes one feel better than some unpleasant stereotyping. I've known tons of realtors and never had a problem doing business with any of them. Quite a few of them were "aged out" of their day jobs and real estate was one of the few career options open. They work long hours, weekends, nights, and deal with unpleasant clients. I'd rather deal with almost any realtor than a judgmental photographer.
    FWIW, I did one real estate shoot where I was paid directly by the owner. However, it was the second time I had shot the property - the owner had abruptly pulled it off the market after the first time to do some remodel, leaving the brokers with nothing. The second time, I got paid up front directly by the seller. I was fine with it.
  11. I was a realtor for 7 years, and can say that Jeff is 100 percent right. I worked on and off with some clients for 8 months at a time. Driving them all over, paying the parking, meters, and so much more. In the end to get nothing in return. Realtors where I live have to go by ethics laws, and if broken, best of luck to you. you loose your license and get fined thousands of dollars. The state hires government testers to call you acting as a client, trying to make you say something wrong. The testers will even make appointments to have you take them out, trying to make you do, or say something wrong. A family member who is still a realtor went to court for telling the tester (client) that yes that neighborhood is a good one, I live there as well.
    Not sure what laws car salesman have, but I'm sure its not the same category as a realtor.
    Yes, there are bad realtors, and hard sale realtors out there, but you have no clue on what realtors pay out of there pockets to work.

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