Fannie Mae has announced a partnership with real estate photography and image management services company VHT Studios to provide professional photography and virtual staging for listings of foreclosed properties being sold through Fannie Mae’s HomePath program.
“Taking this on is a benefit to agents and to us,” said Fannie Mae sales director Brandon Lawler in an interview with Realtor Mag. “Obviously, for the agents who were already doing this, it’s a huge cost savings. And for us, it’s a benefit because we get consistent photographs of the repaired properties, no matter where they’re located.”
Due to legalities, neither Fannie Mae nor VHT Studios were at liberty to answer Inman’s query regarding specific costs.
“We’ve spent a lot of time and effort repairing our properties, and those things lend themselves to be highlighted with professional photography,” he added.
Fannie Mae will handle the entire process for agents — from scheduling the photo shoot to covering the cost of services.
When a VHT photographer is assigned to a property, the listing agent will receive a notification letting them know the photographer will be there within two days. Agents don’t need to be present for the photo shoot unless the photographer cannot gain access to the property without them.
Each property will receive a standard package of 25 photos, and virtual staging will be offered on a case-by-case basis with a turnaround time of one week.
“It’s a no-brainer,” said Fannie Mae director of loss mitigation John Thibaudeau in a statement. “Properties with professional photos get more views than those without. And buyers are more likely to move past the first picture.”
VHT Studios CEO Brian Balfour said he’s “excited” about the partnership, and echoed Thibaudeau’s sentiments about the impact of professional photography, especially for foreclosed homes.
“First impressions are so critical, and historically, foreclosed homes haven’t gotten the attention that homes, where the homeowner is living there, have gotten,” Balfour told Inman.
“[Photography] gets people over the preconceived notion of what a foreclosed home is or looks like,” he added. “Being able to have those pictures shows buyers that the home is beautiful, that it’s been decorated and that it’s move-in quality.”