The challenge of differentiation and capturing a buyer’s attention is monumental, for even the most skilled agents. In this agent’s case, “man’s best friend” is also an agent’s best friend.

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The challenge of differentiation and capturing a buyer’s attention is monumental, for even the most skilled agents. In our case, “man’s best friend” is also an agent’s best friend.

Meet Chloe and Suggs. Our beloved Rhodesian Ridgebacks have not only become the stars of our listing photos, but over half of the people who come to see homes that feature them will ask how the dogs are. Not only are they a great way to connect with prospects, but they add warmth to any staged home.  

Adding a pet to listing photos takes time and effort, and there are some tips that you need to follow to make it work:

1. Stage the home to complement the property – and the pet. They need to stand out and be noticed, without clashing. Since our dogs are a rich caramel tone, we tend to use neutrals, which also work in most properties. They also don’t need to be in every photo. Any photo that features a pet should make sense.

2. Be patient and have plenty of treats. I’ve spent the better part of an hour (with a patient photographer) getting the “money shot.”  Convincing your pet to look at the camera in a natural pose can be a challenge. But when you get the right shot, you know it.

Chloe is easily bribed with treats into position. Suggs not so much, and once I finally get him into place, he tends to look stressed out. It can be a bit of a juggling act to get them both where they need to be with the right expressions.

3. Get your sellers’ buy-in. Chloe and Suggs are part of our listing presentation as a “value add,” but not everyone wants dogs in their home. Be sure to let your clients know in advance that you’ll be using a pet in your photos.

4. Make sure your pet fits the property. Even though the dogs are part of our branding, sometimes we’ll have a listing where it doesn’t make sense to use them. At the end of the day, you want them to help sell the property.

Most recently, the dogs graced the photos of one of our current listings — a captivating Hollywood home — 1919 Pinehurst Road. The vibe of the house is “earthy-chic” with an elevated farmhouse feel, and there is a private-keyed dog park for locals right across the street. It was truly the perfect house to feature them.

Both dogs were key in establishing the perfect “sophisticated-yet-homey” feel as they lounged on various couches and beds.

The living/kitchen walls of glass can disappear leaving the entire side of the house open to the pool area. We were able to get a great photo of Chloe lounging on a chaise just outside the living room, near the pool.

The house and its entrance are private, we wanted to show the front gate to the house to convey the privacy of the entrance. Luck was on our side this day and we got these two sitting somewhat patiently outside the gate.

If you think adding your pet makes sense for your business be sure to have lots of treats on hand, mitigate distractions and make sure your pet(s) can focus on you as their alpha. Here’s a picture of us working with them.

Using Chloe and Suggs in our photos instantly identifies the properties as a Craig and David Homes listing, and I’m proud to say they are as much a part of our brand as we are.

Craig W. Spano is a Los Angeles real estate luxury agent with AKG | Christie’s International Real Estate and co-owner of Craig and David Homes. Follow him on Instagram and LinkedIn.

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