Charlie's Chatter

Photo of Charlie Taylor, founder of Snap2Close Real Estate Photography


May 25, 2024


Mountains of research by, Zillow and others have two very constants about what homebuyers want to view during their search. The most important feature is photos, but the 2nd most important piece of visual media is FLOOR PLANS. I would like to focus on floor plans in this chat.

Every county in the U.S. maintains a record of the total square footage of a home and provides a drawing or sketch of the home’s exterior dimensions. These documents were created by and submitted by an Appraiser.

Figure 1: Appraiser Submitted Floor Plan to Maricopa County

The real issue with these measurements is how they were made. If you had 5 appraisers measure the home on the same day, they would each have different measurements. Actual studies have proven this fact. Part of the issue is how the measurements were made. Was it by a tape measure or a laser measuring device?

Was each measurement made by one person or two? In other words, who was holding the other end of the tape measure or a solid object for the laser to bounce off of? Was the measurement made on top of window shutters or beneath them. Hmm, does every inch count? Probably not because every appraiser uses their own technique for rounding off measurements. Some do it by the inch, some by a half foot and even a few by the foot.

Figure 2: Appraiser making measurements

By the way, don’t be fooled by laser measuring devices. Just watch a few YouTube videos on how appraisers measure a house with a laser. On just about every video you will find so many errors that it is actually somewhat humorous.

Regardless of the technique used, they will all have different answers on the total square footage. For example, I personally measured the dimensions shown in Figure 1 and I can assure you the measurements are way off. In this case the appraiser rounded the lower end to a foot.. For example, 35’ was given to a wall that was 35’ 9”. Plus, on two walls he was off by more than 3 feet.

What most people don’t truly know is that the total square footage is much less important than the total GLA or GROSS LIVING AREA measurement. While Appraisers will use their best judgments, there are so many variables here that affect the accuracy.

GLA or GROSS LIVING AREA, is the finished livable space above ground in a residential property. It is a space that can be lived in during the winter and summer months. In other words it is covered by an HVAC system. The trick here is how to recognize what is not covered in these measurements.

The Good

The most important measurement of a home is the TOTAL LIVING AREA or TLA. The total living area typically includes any finished basement space or possibly an accessory dwelling unit such as a guest house or casita, but typically excludes under stairway storage areas, closets for HVAC systems, etc.

Total Living Area (TLA) is the heated and cooled, finished living space of a residential property, including above and below-grade areas and separate structures. It's calculated by adding up the square footage of each room, which is the room's interior dimensions. For example, a bedroom that is 12 feet by 20 feet is 240 square feet (12 x 20 = 240). These measurements do NOT include any calculations about the thickness of a wall, etc. It is measured from inside the wall to the opposite’s interior wall.

We understand that many real estate agents and homebuyers are typically looking at the value of a home based upon the total square feet or exterior measurements of a home and comparing that number to the price of the home. But the real key for the homebuyer is the Total Living Area. Does that space meet their requirements? This is the driving force for homebuyers.

The Snap2Close Solutions

Snap2Close provides several floor plan services. Our STANDARD floor plan is of the Total Living Area and includes a floor plan without measurements (Figure 3) and with measurements (Figure 4). This plan does not show “fixed furniture”, which includes kitchen and bathroom cabinets, bathtubs, toilets, etc. These floor plans are delivered at no cost to you on our Bronze Photo Package.

Figure 3: Standard Floor Plan with No Measurements



Figure 4: Standard Floor Plan with Measurements

When we say interior space then we are describing distance from the interior wall’s edge to the opposite interior wall’s edge. We do not even consider the thickness of the wall. These measurements are calculated by CubiCasa Technology. When captured and measured with the built-in LiDAR on an iPhone Pro then they are highly reliable, but not guaranteed. Snap2Close estimates they are about 98% to 99% reliable. Remember, this is a free service and included in our Bronze Photoshoot Package

Snap2Close’s Silver, Gold and Platinum Packages deliver a Plus Floor Plan which includes fixed furniture. Again, we deliver this floor plan with and without room measurements (Figure 5). By the way, Bronze Package customers can upgrade their free floor plan to include fixed furniture for only $20 (Summer Sale Price of $10).

Figure 5: Standard Plus Floor Plans

The goal of these measurements are to provide the potential homebuyer a feel of how the home is laid out and the relative size of each room.

By the way, the primary reason we provide you with a plan with no measurements is so that those who want to make their own measurements but do not have to create a layout. In other words we give you the best of both worlds.

Our Silver, Gold and Platinum Packages also deliver a full 3D Floor Plan that includes virtual staging with very good wall color and floor matches with textures. This plan is available as an upgrade to our 2D Floor Plan for $80 (Summer Sale Price of $50).

Figure 6: 3D Floor Plan with Virtual Staging

When requested, then we can deliver the 3D Floor Plan without Virtual Staging so Snap2Close can be very flexible with this product.

If the home is vacant, then our Platinum Package also includes an Architectural Rendered 3D Video of this floor plan Figure 7). The illustration in Figure 8, displays the photo captured by Snap2Close of the kitchen on the left hand side, and an image extracted from the video. As you can see, the Architectural Rendered 3D Video does an amazing job with Virtual Staging and color matching. Click here to watch the video.


Figure 7: Architectural Rendered 3D Video Tour


Figure 8: Captured Photo in Comparison to Image Captured in Architectural Rendered 3D Video.

This Architectural Rendered Video is perfect for homes occupied by hoarders, unfriendly rental tenants, and construction sites (Figure 9).

Figure 9: Advantages of Architectural Rendered 3D Video Created from Floor Plan

If the home is furnished, then Snap2Close provides you with a Floor Plan Guided Video Slideshow matching the home’s photos with the floor plan. We have several samples on our website at For customers with the Bronze, Silver or Gold Packages then the price for this slideshow upgrade is $99.

Snap2Close also provides a GLA Floor Plans and its actual space calculations which meets all ANSI® Z765-2021 standards. The upgrade price for this plan is $50. Many appraisers are now using the CubiCasa GLA product because of its accuracy and dependability.

I would like to close this chat with a few important notes about why Floor Plan are so important. On average, Americans spend 62% of their time in their home. In Arizona, that number substantially escalates to 76.6% (18:39 hours) of our time at home.  Floor Plans increase the odds that your listing will be clicked on more that listings without a floor plan. As a matter of fact, surveys show that listings with Floor Plans receive 95% more calls and typically have a 9% higher sales price.

Regardless of which real estate photographer you choose, please be sure to add a floor plan to your listing. The results will be justified.


February 16, 2024


The real-estate tech revolution: Digits more than driving

In our ever-evolving landscape of real estate, the last three decades saw a hurricane of progress in the approach to buying homes.

We used to go through newspapers and drive around, where each wrong turn was a chance to discover something new. Now we look at our smart phones when we should be working. Home-buying has been revolutionized by technological advancements and changing human behaviors and expectations.

The era of information (1994-2004)

Rewind to the early 1990s when people would drive around looking for signs in neighborhoods they were interested in, or looked through newspapers. Eventually they would contact a real estate agent and start visiting properties. The agent would find a few more listings and when the right one came up, the client would buy.

Basically what was needed was a car, a local real estate agent, print advertisements and signs. There was bad coffee at open houses, grainy pictures in the paper and the smell of cigarettes in the agent’s car.

As the Internet started to develop in the late 1990s, it changed how people searched for homes. Websites with property listings emerged, offering buyers the chance to view homes from the comfort of their own home. However, these websites were often rudimentary, with limited photos and information. It was not great…yet.

The quantum leap (2005-2015)

This time redefined the digital landscape in the real estate market. With smartphones and the proliferation of high-speed Internet, real estate websites became more sophisticated. High-resolution pictures, detailed property descriptions and virtual tours started to become the norm. Power shifted from real estate agents to buyers, who now had unprecedented access to the market.

Buyers' expectations also began to change. They wanted all the information and they wanted it now. We had online mortgage calculators popping up everywhere and digital mortgage applications made an appearance.

Today's “swipe right” era (2016-present)

Things have really changed, artificial intelligence allows photographers to quickly and inexpensively capture floor plans, create interactive floor plans, and virtual reality tours now allow buyers to “walk through” properties without leaving their homes. Big data and artificial intelligence are being used to predict (or push) market trends and suggest properties to prospective buyers based on their preferences and past behavior.

Agents and sellers are using social media platforms for targeted advertising and engaging with potential buyers through live videos and interactive posts. With virtual tours and e-signatures, you can buy a home without leaving the one you’re in.

Keep in mind how most people find a property to buy. The reason all this is important is because in order to sell your home, you need to understand how people look for a home to buy.

Some still drive around neighborhoods and look for signs and open houses. But the overwhelming majority look online. Typically they do a search, including parameters such as how many bedrooms, bathrooms, square feet, etc they want. They want to tour the homes before leaving the comfort of their home!!

January 9, 2023

What is a Real Estate Virtual Tour and Why is it Important for Selling Properties

In the real estate industry, presenting properties in an engaging and immersive manner is crucial for attracting potential buyers. One of the most effective tools in achieving this is a real estate virtual tour. This article will explore what a real estate virtual tour entails and why it is becoming increasingly important for selling properties.

Understanding Real Estate Virtual Tours

A real estate virtual tour is a digital representation of a property that allows potential buyers to explore and experience the space virtually. It typically involves a series of high-quality images or videos that provide a comprehensive and interactive view of the property. Virtual tours can be accessed through various platforms, including websites, mobile applications, and virtual reality (VR) devices.

Virtual tours are designed to offer an immersive experience that goes beyond static images or conventional property descriptions. They allow potential buyers to navigate through different rooms, examine details, and get a sense of the property’s layout and ambiance. With the advancement of technology, virtual tours now also incorporate interactive elements such as hotspots, floor plans, and additional information about the property.

The Importance of Real Estate Virtual Tours for Selling Properties

Enhanced Engagement: Virtual tours provide a more engaging and interactive experience for potential buyers compared to static images or written descriptions. By allowing viewers to virtually walk through the property, they can visualize themselves in the space and develop an emotional connection to it.

  1. Increased Accessibility: Virtual tours overcome the limitations of physical distance and time constraints. Potential buyers can explore properties at their convenience from anywhere in the world, eliminating the need for in-person visits. This accessibility expands the reach of real estate listings and attracts a larger pool of potential buyers.

  2. Time and Cost Savings: Virtual tours streamline the property viewing process by allowing potential buyers to narrow down their options before scheduling physical visits. This saves time for both buyers and real estate agents, as they can focus on properties that genuinely interest the buyer. Additionally, virtual tours reduce the need for multiple property visits, resulting in cost savings for all parties involved.

  3. Accurate Property Representation: Real estate virtual tours provide a realistic and accurate representation of the property. Potential buyers can assess the property’s condition, layout, and features more effectively, reducing the chances of misinterpretation or disappointment during physical visits.

  4. Competitive Advantage: Incorporating virtual tours into property listings gives real estate agents and companies a competitive edge. It demonstrates a commitment to embracing innovative technologies and providing a modern and immersive experience to potential buyers. In a competitive market like India, real estate virtual tour companies play a crucial role in helping properties stand out among the crowd.

The real estate market in the U.S is experiencing rapid growth, with increasing demand for innovative and effective marketing solutions. Snap2Close caters to this demand by offering comprehensive virtual tour services to property developers, agents, and sellers.

We employ skilled photographers, videographers, and technicians who specialize in capturing and creating immersive virtual tours. We utilize state-of-the-art equipment and software to ensure high-quality visuals, smooth navigation, and interactive features. Snap2Close also provides customized solutions, including branding, integration with property listings, and analytics to track viewer engagement.


Real estate virtual tours have become an integral part of the property selling process, offering a compelling and immersive experience for potential buyers. With the convenience, engagement, and cost savings they provide, virtual tours have transformed the way properties are marketed and sold. In our competitive real estate market, virtual tour companies play a vital role in helping sellers.

September 23, 2022

As part of our new marketing campaign, Kaitlin asked me if I would start a monthly chat about our industry and its trends. That question in itself brings up many interesting questions about what industry we are in. We say that we are Real Estate Photographers, but is that the best term?

History tells us an interesting tale.

Before the Internet, MLS postings were published monthly in booklets, which did not include photos of the exterior or interior of the home. The birth of the Internet changed this, but not until technology moved beyond dial-up connections to higher speed connections with DSL rolling out in 2000.


MLS Printed Books used before the Internet


In 2005, the magic of the Internet and companies such as, Zillow, Trulia and others opened many tools allowing homebuyers the unique opportunity to view MLS listings from their homes.

This single point in time radically changed how the real estate industry worked. Homebuyers found a new freedom with home searches from the privacy of their own homes. Of course this changed the procedure of how agents listed homes on the MLS. Simple text descriptions were no longer sufficient. Now they needed to add photos to their listings. This marked the beginning of the Real Estate Photography Industry.

The term Real Estate Photography has been prominent ever since. However, changing times may suggest that we explore another term.

Let me explain why.

In early 2010, we truly began to see the launch of higher speed Internet, and by 2020 many locations could receive download speeds of close to 1 gigabit per second. This breakthrough in Internet speed allowed real estate photographers to explore other visual media formats to help their clients market listings.

The first breakthrough was video, as outlets such as YouTube allowed efficient playback of high quality High Definition (HD) or 4K videos. (Sample) Hmmm, do you think the term Real Estate Photography & Videography is a bit long?

The next evolution was three-dimensional tours. While Matterport is probably the only true 3D Tour, the term 3D Tour has been widely used by many companies offering linked 360° panoramic photos together. In the United States, Matterport and Zillow pretty much own this market.

So now we have Real Estate Photographers, Videographers & 3D Tour Creators.

But wait, now floor plans have become the 2nd most popular visual feature that homebuyers want to see. Thank you CubiCasa!!

So now our industry is Real Estate Photography, Videography, 3D Tours and Floor Plans. Oops, I left out that we provide single property websites as well!

So the question we ask ourselves today is whether we are a real estate photography company or a real estate media company???

Since our business cards and new brochures say we are a real estate photography company then we will ride that industry term for now. However, I am betting that you will soon see the new real estate media term picking up speed. Please feel free to share your thoughts by emailing Charlie at