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Erica Bass' Blog

By Erica Bass | Agent in 92103

Bad Property Photos... Why?

Every agent logs on to the MLS(Multiple Listing Service), every day- week days at least- to view inventory. Millions of buyers look online for their new home. A picture is worth 1,000 words...

So why is it that agents take bad(horrible) pictures of properties, and only take one nonetheless, and showcase their listings that way? If you're going to make the effort to take one of the front of the house, can't you at least make it a good one? Example:

Our local MLS recently enforced the requirement that agents must submit at least one property photo to their listings within 48hours of inputting the listing. (Crazy right? That this even needs to be a rule) Before this regulation; some agents would just input listings without photos. No idea why, but it was a terrible disservice. So now our MLS enforces the rule or else there will be a fine to the agent, which shouldn't even be necessary if your job title is a real estate agent. But nonetheless, it's necessary, and lately something even more crazy but I suppose may be a product of the agents who before didn't even input at least one photo- I have seen a good handful of listing photos in the few dozen or hundred listings I browse through daily- showing a Google map screen shot of the front of the property; Google map screen shots- you know when you google an address and can see the property via aerial view, street view, etc? Some agents are now saving those images and using them as their listing photos. It's really sad to say the least. Case in point:

San Diego Home for Sale

This is a photo from an actual Active listing in our MLS right now in the 92114 zip code. I put the black border around it to show the uncropped white space around the photo. By the way, this is a traditional sale that's now been on the market 40+ days.

Enough with the rant; SELLERS- Typically when you have more pictures of your property it gives buyers a better idea of the property, and makes them more curious to see it in person- put it on their list, or scratch it off! When you hire your agent, ask them how they are going to market your home? Ask them to show you the photos they take/are going to use, and for them to show you the MLS listing for your home once you put it on the market. Now consider this- If your house looks not so nice, needs some TLC, or even even looks terrible inside- great, photograph it and market the house to investors wanting to be handy and fix it up! If it is nice inside- also great, change your descriptive wording and include all of the best photos and show it off! On the other hand, if you can't access the interior of the home(perhaps due to problematic tenants, etc), take a street photo, side photo, and a photo perhaps of a nearby attraction. But if you fail to, and only showcase the one photo, many people will just click right past this listing and not give it a chance.

There are tens of thousands of tutorials and quick tip websites out there to help with minimally sprucing up your home if you are worried about photographing it in the right light, what to move, show, etc. And your agent can give pointers also. Even if you're in a tough situation and selling your home as a short sale, use a little elbow grease and make your property as appealing as possible for photos… it will go a long way! One may protest that they are losing their home what's the point? But if you're a short sale in better condition/appearance, chances are you will go through less buyers, less showings(less stress), and the buyers that originally offer on your home will be more likely to stick with you instead of cancelling months down the line because they found another- better- house in the meantime.

*A no-cost fix up is simply staging your home by de-cluttering or re-arranging your furniture in an appealing way.

For my blog directly, Visit: EricasCity.com


By Karen Parsons-Fiddler,  Fri Jul 8 2011, 08:19
One of my pet peeves....why? why show the bathroom with the toilet seat up? why?
By Brynn Mccaffrey,  Fri Jul 8 2011, 10:37
I love the fact that its July and i still see pics with snow everywhere. It's called LAZINESS!!!! ;-) I'm surprised the sellers are not speaking up more!
By Erica Bass,  Fri Jul 8 2011, 11:36
I know, laziness says it all, I just can't understand from the seller's point of view what they think? And Karen, I cringe every time I see a bathroom pic with the toilet seat up... even if it's the most spotless bathroom in the world I think no one wants to see the toilet seat up!!
By Tina Lam,  Fri Jul 8 2011, 15:17
I have seen a few MLS pictures taken at night. Why can't the agent come back the next morning and take the exterior shots at broad daylight. Real estate is not for lazy people.
By Wes Black,  Fri Jul 8 2011, 20:56
Bad photos show a real lack of interest on the part of the listing realtor. I, too , am surprised that the sellers tolerate such stuff.
By Helen Oliveri,  Sat Jul 9 2011, 13:26
Fantastic blog!
By Edyta Gryc - Broker Associate,  Sat Jul 9 2011, 13:45
Great post!
I recently showed an apartment to my client. Based on the photos (horibble ones) she told me she does not think she will like it. Since I am very familiar with this neigborhood, I insisted to show it to her. I was convinced she would love it, but first she needs to visit the complex. And she did love it and she made an offer. She was completely shocked and told me that she would never think that this could be such a great complex if she judges only based on photos. The complex has 2 pools (not even one photo of the pool), tennis courts etc (you can guess-no photos). There was a beautiful view on the lake from the patio-yes, you are right-no photos reflecting that fact. And I could go on and on... so my question is as well WHY?
By Frank Alvarez,  Sat Jul 9 2011, 18:12
I only wish it wasn't against the code of ethics to make a printout of an agent's listing with lousy photos or descriptions and show it to the seller to solicit a listing.It would really make agents think twice about their MLS presentations.
By Jake Scheeler,  Sat Jul 9 2011, 18:52
I am glad that you all share my frustrations with lazy REALTORS and their poor presentation. Now I understand that we are not professional photographers, but you know who is?! That's right; professional photographers! Hire one! For $150, you can get all the great wide-angle shots, panoramas, and virtual tours that not only catch the eyes of online prospective buyers, but gives you a more polished professional look to show off to your clients.

A bunch of poorly lit, fuzzy, half corners of bedrooms and bathrooms that you took with your 10-year old point-and-shoot or *cringe* cell phone camera make you look like a bumbling doofus, not an organized professional that takes pride in your work. Furthermore, not taking 10 minutes to add captions to your photos is pure laziness. With such incompetence running rampant in our ranks, it's no wonder we have to defend our reputations as real estate agents on such a consistent basis.
By Pat and Steve Pribisko,  Sun Jul 10 2011, 05:52
We always use a professional real estate photographer. We get showings from the wonderful photos.
By Erica Bass,  Sun Jul 10 2011, 12:47
Thanks for all of the great comments and input! I agree with everyone. @Jake & Pat- same here; just about all of my listings I hire a professional photographer. They showcase the property best and for the $100-$150 cost, it's SO worth it to have a property looking it's best and to attract as many buyers as possible.
By Jen adamo,  Mon Jul 11 2011, 06:08
As a potential buyer, searching the listings frequently, i was amazed to happen upon this blog.
It's outstanding... and also disturbing.
I'm not a professional and i know what you're talking about. Why don't ALL real estate agents? It can only be laziness.
I've seen photos of bedrooms that look like my teenaged son's just before i lose it and scream at him to clean up. But to feature that photo when you're trying to sell? WHAT???
Great post!
By Erica Bass,  Mon Jul 11 2011, 09:18
@Jen, thanks for the comment and input from a buyer's point of view! It's crazy right, seems like common sense? Good luck with your house hunt!
By Jeanean Gendron,  Mon Jul 11 2011, 10:17
I think we will never really understand the lack of awareness that this shows. Details in this business are so critical both on the legal side and also on the marketing side. I love telling the "story" of a property. It works wonders and I also love "falling in love" with the property just a bit.....makes it so much more rewarding and interesting. Celebrating good work and good spirit....obviously not about "a toilet seat being left up"! Thanks for the post....always a good topic!
By Deborah Griffin,  Tue Jul 12 2011, 06:29
Thanks for the great post! This drives me crazy and is nothing but laziness. I wonder if the seller of this home has seen how their home is being marketed.

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