Question Details

Linda, Home Buyer in 98019

Why (oh why) would a realtor ever post a listing without interior photos?

Asked by Linda, 98019 Sat Jan 23, 2010

I mean, how much time does it take? So, each buyer is supposed to hop on a plane/in a car and take a look for themselves? Seriously? We are looking for homes in Vero or Celebration... as a 3-year-plan buyer, my husband and I would never go with a realtor that didn't take the time and effort to include pictures with the listing. Please, realtors who don't list with pictures, step up your game. I would be livid if I were the seller.

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That is a good question Linda. The only answer I have come up with over the years is laziness. I would never think of not uploading the maximum photos the system allows. With over 80% of buyers starting their search on the internet it is just crazy! I have a ton of out of area buyers and it is very important for them to see photos to start the elimination process of all the homes in the MLS. If I were a seller I would be livid too. Sometimes I wonder why sellers are not going online checking this stuff out. With digital cameras and the software available you can load 15 pictures in about an hour. Yep, you got it - LAZY!
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0 votes Thank Flag Link Sat Jan 23, 2010
Many agents are lazy and never take more than one or two shots. There is one that listed this week in our MLS and you can see the car's mirror in the shot. The agent never got out of the car. It also is true that in poorly kept or cluttered houses, many agents won't post interior shots.
1 vote Thank Flag Link Sun Jan 24, 2010
Honesty is the best angle. Not some sales jive! Post those pictures and let the cards fall where they may. If you don't have the technology, get an assistant.
1 vote Thank Flag Link Sun Jan 24, 2010
It may not always be laziness. Some old school realtors don't have the technology and knowledge to take the pictures and upload them to the internet.

Some houses really shouldn't have interior pictures out there just because the house doesn't show well or the the home owner is design handicapped.
1 vote Thank Flag Link Sun Jan 24, 2010
Hi Linda,
A Realtor could be in the situation to post a listing without interior photos if asked by the seller.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Jan 24, 2010
Funny answer, Mark! Hop in a car?

Since we live in Western WA, and we are looking for a home in FL, hopping in a car to check it out is simply ridiculous. During the intial information gathering stage, I am looking mostly at location (no surprise, I'm sure), THEN property taxes, and finally how much interior work would we need to do to make it livable to our standards. We'll have possibly 5 days to look at houses when we're in town. Why (oh why) would I waste time with a house that is a mystery? If there is ONE exterior shot, and no interiors, that house doesn't even go on the list. The good news is I have a running list of 50+ homes we can see when we do get to FL, so clearly many realtors are doing a good job of "full disclosure".

I'm no rocket scientist, but my sense is Realtors and Brokers have discerned this market is not "business as usual", and they will have to add value if they're to survive this difficult market. I like Dan's answer of "don't understand the technology, hire an assistant".

Remember, I'm speaking as a buyer. Hopefully this helps the sellers and realtors out there who think
they're drawing traffic with the "let's not show 'em" angle.

0 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Jan 24, 2010
Don, thank you for enumerating the reasons agents shouldn't take their own pictures!

Tim, thank you for helping me explain how photos may not help get people in the door.

You look at any resale property, especially an older one with a chain of several owners. Most of them bought the house having seen only one photo, if that.

I would bet Mirror Ponds to Miller High Lifes that most owners wouldn't go to see their own homes, based on the photographs. Why do we expect photos to attract new buyers, then?
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Jan 24, 2010
Good answer, Rich. If you can't make it look good, don't shoot it.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Jan 24, 2010
Some Realtors are just plain lazy.
Some sellers don't want you to take pictures. They don't want people online to see their possesions and use that info to stage a break in.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Jan 24, 2010
Hrm, never counted the actual number of photos. But green shag would have attracted me. In fact the house I have under contract has deep purple and aqua-green shag and had, prior to our initial walk through, some cream color carpet in the living room, all that were in excellent shape. But hard wood floors are more attractive to the general buyer and he ripped out the living/dining room carpet, much to my disappointment.

But I must admit that what attracted me to this house was the vintage 1970’s kitchen that is still relatively good shape. The listing agent did an excellent job with the photo which made the moderate size kitchen look huge.

Debbie, I saw the listing with the hot water heater, as well as quite a few with newer furnaces. I just figured the listing agent was just trying to entice me with new appliances. Being the buyer I am, I went ‘next listing please.’
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Jan 24, 2010
Just s "PS" to my earlier response..............there are those rare times, when I just can't get any decent interior shots of a home due to poor those cases, the lack of photos speaks for itself, as more photos would to hurt the home, not help it., and I just can't resort to taking a photo of the new hot water heater! :)
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Jan 24, 2010
Dear Linda,

You have some great answers already and I agree with most. When working with buyers, I can tell you that most of them will not even want me to set an appointment on a home that has no interior pics. I understand that if a home is in need of repair why you wouldn't want to put them in there. However, some of my buyers are looking for fixer-uppers that they can make their own if it is reasonably priced. Personally, I say there is ALMOST never a good reason not to have interior pics.

One last minute thought. There are agents who get paid on a scale. By that I mean, when they list a home they charge a reduced fee depending on how much advertising they are planning to do. The little bit of money that the seller is saving on this type of discounted service is not worth the value their losing.

I put as many pics as the site will allow and in Wisconsin, I can put up to 29 pics. The more pics the better feel the buyer has prior to viewing the home. I have seen some pics taken that make rooms look much bigger than they are to lure in the buyers, but I'm here to tell you that does not work! In fact, my buyers get extremely frustrated and disappointed when we walk in and they see the true size. It's a huge turnoff.

Be accurate in your pics and your descriptions. Puff if you will, but don't over do.

Just my thoughts.

0 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Jan 24, 2010
Depending on the condition of the house there maybe good reason not to show it.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Jan 24, 2010
I agree that 95% of the time, photos should be posted. However, Mack makes a valid point that the real goal is to get you to see the house.

I used to get frustrated (before I was a Realtor) that lots of those information tubes with listing sheets outside of homes didn't list a price. (I still get frustrated at that!) The strategy is to get people to actually call the agent. So such strategies are really a balancing act: Some agents want to encourage/force buyers to contact an agent or physically see a property . . . but not discourage any significant number of potential buyers.

One other point, though: Most photos online are cr*p. Most are poorly exposed. The camera was poorly positioned. The lens isn't wide-angle. The pictures prominently feature furniture, rather than the room. (How many pictures of a bedroom have you seen where you can actually tell much about the bedroom, other than it has a bed in it? Not many.)

On top of that, the photos aren't likely to show anything that's a real turn-off. For example: Some people won't buy homes underneath high power lines. But take a look at photos of homes near or under high power lines. You may see plenty of photos, but none with the power lines right above the home. Another example: Some homes are right next to busy streets. Or they're separated by a 20' sound barrier from an 8-lane superhighway. Not a one of those pictures will show the busy street or the ugly sound barrier.

Or if the photos show something that might be a turn-off, can the buyer put it into perspective? Example: A house with green shag carpeting. People may view the pictures and say, "Oh, yuck. Green shag carpeting. I'd never want to live THERE." Well, if a home is priced $30,000 under the market and it'll take all of $3,000 to replace that green shag carpeting, it's still a deal. And an agent showing the home can point that out to the buyers.

It used to be (and still often is) that sellers used the generally irrelevant test of "How often will the agent hold open houses?" to determine whether to go with a specific agent.

It now seems to be the case that buyers use the often-irrelevant test of "How many photos has the agent posted on the web site?" to determine whether a house is worth seeing.

Again, I'm not arguing against the use of photos. I'm just concerned that we've gotten so wrapped up in quantity that we're forgetting what their real value can be.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Jan 24, 2010
Don Tepper, Real Estate Pro in Fairfax, VA
Off the top off my head, I come up with these reasons. The agent doesn't have access. It is some sort of rediculous sales technique. The agent is a dinosaur and should retire asap. I agree with you Linda, give me a break and step up your game!
Web Reference:
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Jan 24, 2010
Actually, Linda, we kind of want each buyer to hop in a car and check the place out for themselves, and not to trust the photographer's vision of the house, let alone have you prequal the property based on our snapshots with our little point-and-shoots.

I know it seems counter-intuitive, but overall, it probably does not serve the nation's homesellers to give you reasons to disqualify the property from the comfort of your living room (or office). Certainly, a lot of visits to houses are a waste of time . . . for the buyers.

Home sales are down, compared to years past, and while that probably has more to do with the economy than anything else, there are also more photos available than ever before. There may not be causation, but there is certainly a correlation between more photos and fewer sales. Isn't that interesting? (I knew you'd say, "No.")
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sat Jan 23, 2010
Linda - as an agent, I share your frustration.

I, too, glance at photos of new listings before I get a chance to preview them. I am appalled at not only the lack of photos, but the quality of them, as well.
I have seen some shots that were so dark, I couldn't make out what room it was...............I saw one photo of the hot water heater! - I kid you not...........I think to myself..what in the world were they thinking?

My company "rewards" us for placing 18 photos of our listings on our company website (our mls allows only 10)....we get a free domain name/address for the listing.......I would put up the photos even without a reward, but sometimes it takes a nudge to get agents to do what they should already be doing.

I agree with Tim.............when I see only 1 photo of a home, my first reaction is..............must be a mess inside.
That's not always the case when I actually go in the home. Some agents just can't be bothered....or, even in this day and age, really don't know how to take photos, and don't want to pay someone else to do it.

Sellers need to be proactive, check out their listing on the internet, and hold their agents accountable.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sat Jan 23, 2010
I looked at many houses that had only exterior shots. From that limited experience I drew only one conclusion, any shot of the interior would have caused most potential buyer to say ‘next house please.’ And trust me; in the opening rounds of our search I was looking for a house that was to be a gut renovation.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sat Jan 23, 2010
Hi Linda!

I understand your frustration and can only say that there are some occasions when a Realtor will wait to post interior pictures such as if the sellers are making repairs, painting etc. but still want to get the house listed in the MLS right away. If the exterior pictures of the house look interesting to you it may be worthwhile to check back in a few days to see if interior pictures have been added. Also, sometimes the agent's website will have more pictures on it than the MLS can show. For example, here in Charlotte, NC I can only upload 8 pictures to the MLS but my Allen Tate company website allows me to post 21 pictures. If buyers inquire about about my properties in the MLS I always direct them to my website for additional pictures & virtual tours.

I wish you the best of luck in your new home search!

Danielle Spuler
Allen Tate Realtors
Charlotte, NC
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sat Jan 23, 2010
For the same reason a realtor would list a 40 acre farm and not show the land or the plat.

They are not smart enough to do it or are to lazy to complete the job.

ok, occasionally, you have some realtors who just can not do the computer stuff. mostly, they do not do anything that takes extra work on their part.

Being fair, it is also possible that some sellers asked specifically not to have any pictures shown.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sat Jan 23, 2010
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