Agent2Agent in 33701>Question Details

Caroline York…, Real Estate Pro in St Petersburg, FL

Does anyone else cringe when they are reviewing properties for clients and come across photos that do more harm to the property than good?

Asked by Caroline York Mortell, St Petersburg, FL Sat Feb 2, 2013

I know homes in a certain area are excellent properties for my buyers but I cannot get beyond the unprofessional photos used by the agents. kitchens so cluttered you can't see the countertop, magnets covering the fridge, clutter, doggie beds and cat boxes actually in pictures. unmade beds and dirty bathrooms. How can we assist agents (or can we) to better assist their sellers. These photos are absolute turnoffs for buyers.

Help the community by answering this question:


Use the photos as a IQ test of the listing agent.
2 votes Thank Flag Link Sat Feb 9, 2013
Yes, but I'm not one of them.

I don't even bother with looking at the photos any more. There's not that much inventory to keep up on here, and if it's in a price range where I have buyers or sellers, I'll just go to check it out.

Here's a secret tip for buyers: the worse it looks on line, the fewer competitors, and the better opportunity to make a sweet deal. Think about it - everyone wants the beauty contest winner . . . but if all a house really needs is to be cleaned out?
2 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Feb 3, 2013
I've been there..on the other side.
The owners 'don't see' the stuff. IT's the way they live. In their mind, "it's not that bad."
As an agent you have three options.
1. Dear buyer, "I can't sell a pig pen." that results in "You're fired." (a valid option)
2. Take the pics and let the offers fall where they may.
3. Put on the rubber gloves and go to work. Pack boxes with floor clutter and stack on top of the hoarder boxes in the garage. Wash the dishes. Stuff the underwear into the washer, make beds and close those dresser drawers and let us not overlook that bathroom vanity. I've done it. This results in a buyer visiting four weeks later saying, "It sure didn't look like this in the pictures!! Why are real estate people so deceptive?"
Of course, we should understand, there will be no way to satisfy everyone. I recently sold a modest pool home in Clearwater that had everything new.... in 1973, (seriously, the owners used, "just replaced" about 17 times) Although my photographer put lip stick on this house, the real issue was the needed 'Hazard' sign required warning of the 40 years of accumulated nicotine. Even I couldn't stand to be in the house. It was always my last appoint for obvious reasons. Every response was about the nicotine. The respiratory impaired buyer didn't see a real problem.
Although there seems to be a tendency to blame the real estate professional, it may not be appropriate in all situations. Now, as a highly paid professional, who pays thousands and thousands of dollars to append letters to your name, promotes your brand, and parades the evidence of your success, are you going to do what needs to be done, or justifiably accept that you are being hired to help sell what the owner has and in the condition that it is in? Do you impose our standard on the home seller? Do we push them aside, clean and polish, take the pics and know that in three weeks the evidence will be gone. As you can see, it's an economic decision....for the agent.
There should be no argument that every agent prefers to help sell the "Prom Queen" house. Some agents have a business model that I call 'no touchy.' The owner is required to do everything even take pics of their own house. That is what is so great about real estate, There are a gazillion business models and the home buyer or seller has a gazillion choices. Unless you know what the consumer deliberately elected regarding what is best for them, we must refrain from throwing each other under the bus.

Best of success to you,
Annette Lawrence. Broker/Associate
Remax Realtec Group
Palm Harbor, FL
1 vote Thank Flag Link Sun Feb 3, 2013
Photos of our property listings are just one of our selling tools. When I see amateur photographs of any property I know that the agent is not committed to selling the property but rather they are only committed to "taking the listing." To me there is no connection between the two. Buyers today begin their search on the Internet. Photos are the first introduction to the house. I pay for professional photos of every property I list. No matter the list price. When I sign a listing agreement it is exactly that. The sellers and I agree to do the best we can to prepare, market and sell the property. Photos must be perfect.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Oct 9, 2014
Some pictures should not ever be put on the MLS unless house is pointed out to be in total disrepair
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Feb 10, 2013
Liking that secret tip that Mack posted. Never thought of it that way, but makes sense! I do show my clients those messy ones too...... I warn them ahead of time to "see through the dirt".
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Feb 10, 2013
It is not the photographer who is to blame it is the homeowner & their listing agent. A home should not be photographed until it is clutter free & sparkly clean to show it at its best. If a seller is unwilling to do so then I think it is best to just have exterior shots of the home. Messy looking pictures just deter would be buyers from looking at the home. The result less showings, longer time on the market & they usually wind up selling at a much lower than anticipated price.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sat Feb 9, 2013
The only way to assist the Seller in this case is to sit them down and explain what a difference in price it will make to properly "stage" their home.

Ask the Seller before taking photos to clean the house, make the beds, do a little picking up, mow the lawn, schedule a garbage pick up, replace missing bulbs, etc, little things go a long way and these are cost effective even on lower income neighborhoods.

It is our duty as Realtors to work in the best interest of our Client, rushing to list a property and not advising the Seller how to properly and more effectively market their asset its a shame to our profession.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Feb 3, 2013
Absolutely--with 92%+ buyers starting their search on the internet photos are critical as they will most often determine whether a potential buyer will take the time to view a house or not.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Feb 3, 2013
I'm really not sure there's anything we can do. Some sellers will continue to choose agents who can't take a picture to save their lives. It's annoying with the low end properties, but frankly downright offensive with the expensive ones. If you're getting commission on a $1 million home, hire a professional photographer. It will be worth the money.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Feb 3, 2013
I haven't meet a buyer who is looking for a home, who will want to look at a house with bad photos. My advice to realtors and fsbo is take a lot of pictures and make sure you get someone who knows what they are doing.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Feb 3, 2013
Pride in your work shows and has rewards. While providing REO services we have helped Realtors get the photos needed for listing. When I see the listing we can be proud we helped produce these photos for publishing. Image is everything!!

Wayne Collier
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Feb 3, 2013
Since 95% of all buyers start their search on line it is critical to provide stellar photos and descriptions of the property. I am appauled when an agent has dark lighting and terrible descriptions.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Feb 3, 2013
I myself take photos of my listings. Often get the contract sign, then walk around telling the owner what needs to be removed, hidden and organize before "i come back in 3 days to take photos and video of your home". And when that day come, there is always stuff being shuffled around between pictures being taken. It simply has to be done.

Take with you and MLS of a home with perfect photos and one of a home in completely abandon and show them to the seller, then ask "which you think will get more people to see it, sell faster and for the most money?"....they will gladly clean up before you return.

Tony Vega
La Rosa Realty of Kissimmee
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Feb 3, 2013
Good are not alone on this.....

Yes, and then there are those that post only one picture and incomplete/incorrect information on the property....biggest offenders are bank foreclosures!

0 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Feb 3, 2013
They are doing you a favor. It allows you to bring them there in person. One step closer to a contract. Or you can always go take your own.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Feb 3, 2013
My main question is not how do buyers get around it but how do sellers put up with it? I have seen many great listings where agents have put up the worst pics, whether so dark that you can see them or so small that you can't make out the details or have left out the view on a waterview property. I do not understand how sellers don't make these agents do their job, for which they are being paid. I believe a good picture is worth a thousand words and a bad one...well, you get the picture.

Elaine Villafane, PA, MS
Sand Key Realty Sales and Rentals
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sat Feb 2, 2013
OMG...Absolutely. Can't tell you the number of times that bad photos have nixed what otherwise might have been a prospect. Have seen it all... unmade beds, laundry on the floors, dishes on the granite counters, beer bottles on the floors, torn shades, dirty windows.... well you have see the pictures. My own pet peeve is a prominent photo of a toilet with the seat up!!! Yikes. We all know that a house has to have at least one so if the best shot you can get of a small bath is the crapper...DON'T.

Professional photos are a must and clients should expect nothing less. They are surprisingly inexpensive if you shop around and develop a good relationship with a photographer. In today's online, visual marketplace, you are not in the game with out them.

Great question and I hope it makes some out there step up their game.

Rusty A. Payton, Broker
iMove Chicago
1225 W Morse
Chicago, Illinois 60626

773-856-6200 [Office]
773-856-6201 [Fax]
773-682-5210 [Mobile]


0 votes Thank Flag Link Sat Feb 2, 2013
Bad photos are just plain unprofessional. I, too, am shocked at how many are out there. Some are quite humorous. ;) It does, however, present a real opportunity for the brave buyer who looks at the house anyway & can see past all the clutter. Sometimes they end up scoring a great deal just for having a bit of vision.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sat Feb 2, 2013
Well this is one way of letting agents know that the photos DO matter. Especially with out of state buyers who can't walk through themselves. Thanks for pointing it out
Tara May Webster Realtor
Your Neighborhood Realty Inc
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sat Feb 2, 2013
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