At last week's class on "How to be a Smart Home Seller" at Isothermal Community College, one of the topics was how to choose a REALTOR**. I don't remember exactly where the thought came from, but off the top of my head I blurted that I would look on line at the listings of the people I was considering to see how well they were presented. The thought of using pictures of a REALTOR's listings as a kind of report card hadn't occurred to me before, but the more I consider it, the more it makes sense.
In fairness to REALTORs, there are always sellers who won't listen to reason when given sound advice. However, if every single one of a REALTOR's listings has been photographed "as is" and looks dreadful, the unfortunate clients are living in the house instead of selling it.
The likely reason is that this REALTOR isn't willing or able to give proper guidance, nor are they recommending a consultation with a professional stager. As a prospective client, I would be concerned about working with this REALTOR because no matter how much I liked him or her, I couldn't be confident that my listing would look any better. Since compelling on-line photographs are my most important marketing tool, I would be putting the sale of my house in questionable hands, particularly in this highly competitive environment.
For my own information, I looked on line at the listings of several local REALTORs, and sad to say, the results were pretty dismal. Their report cards put every single one of them in the "D" or "F" category in terms of how well prepared their listings looked, and whether or not they would be appealing to the average buyer. I wish I could show you those dramatically bad pictures because you'd see exactly what I mean, but I want to protect the identity of everyone involved.
This failure to emphasize the importance of creating cosmetic appeal isn't a new story. Far too many REALTORs still don't realize that it's all about the pictures, and unfortunately the results are all over the internet. With over 95% of today's buyers shopping on line at home before contacting a REALTOR to see the house in person, this is a significant problem.
When you're choosing a REALTOR, be sure to look at their on line "report card" and ask questions about their approach to marketing your house. To sell on the best terms, you need to work with someone who gets it, and who is as concerned as you are about having compelling pictures.
**The answer is on the basis of merit and compatibility.