Hello Stocks and thanks for your post.
I do understand your frustration and, as you can see, it is shared by my colleagues below. However, I can relay to you some of the reasons, I've been told by other Realtors here in Santa Clara County, California, as to why they did not add photos to their listing.
1. Listing Came Before Realtor had Access to Home: Sometimes, for those Realtors working with asset managers on REO or foreclosure properties, they receive the listing assignment before they have a chance to look at, view or shoot pictures of the home. As a result, the property listing hits the MLS without pictures. In some cases, the home sells so fast that pictures are never added to the listing.
2. Short Sale Is So Contentious, Sellers Never Let Me Shoot Pictures: One of the most emotional things for any Seller to handle is the possible loss of his/her home and all of the money invested by foreclosure. Some sellers, while knowing that a short sale is their only way out beside foreclosure, will hesitate and even become hostile when the Realtor tries to sell the home. As a result, the Realtor is given some information about the home, but not enough time to shoot pictures or even finish the disclosures. In these cases, the seller is checking to see if the home is saleable rather than working with the agent to extricate themselves from an uncomfortable mortgage situation.
3. Short Sale on Investment Property and the Tenants Cannot Be Disturbed: After trying to sell a home for months, the sellers have resorted to putting tenants into the home, and now that the bank has resolved to foreclose on the home again, the Seller is trying to sell the home short. The listing goes up, but because of the tenants, there is no picture.
4. Home is in Such Terrible Condition, Pictures Would Only Make it Worse. Better to "whet" the Buyer's Appetite with a Home in a "Mystery" Condition than Confirm Its a Dump: Sometimes a home is in a great school district or a highly sought after neighborhood, but has been destroyed by the previous owners. In this case, the Realtor will clean up the home as best as can be done, and then put the home on market without pictures. This way, a buyer will look at the property for the attributes OTHER than the interior. In some cases, one might find a Buyer willing to take on the renovation job.
5. We Got the Home In a Terrible Condition and Had to List It Before We Could Make Repairs. Once Done, We'll Update Pictures: Much like Excuse No. 1, the Realtor got a listing and had to make repairs, but in the meantime was obligated to list the home. The Realtor knew the condition and knew pictures of the home without the sink, with the missing fiberglass installation, the holes in the door, and the water stains would probably turn off any buyers. As a result, the pictures are only uploaded when the home's interiors have been completed. Again, if the home sells before the pictures are uploaded, you might never see the home.
6. Why Post Pictures When You Have Google Earth? I once asked a fellow agent why there were no pictures on this or the other three listings he had. He said that he usually got REOs quite quickly from the Asset Manager, and never saw the reason for pictures. His reasoning was, if you really want to see what the home looks like, you'll visit it, and if you want to see how it looks from the front, any number of websites, including Google's Street Views will now provide a picture of the home. Despite the fact that I disagreed, he was essentially right since more than 50 people went to see his listing that day.
So, Stocks, this is just some of the reasons, I've found for NOT putting photos on the MLS. Like you, I prefer photos, but can see that in some cases, the reason for not posting photos is legitimate, and at other times, the reasons are more "marketing" than actual. Obviously, we'd all like photos on the website, but if you are really intrigued by a home, you should plan to look at the home despite the lack of pictures.
Grace Morioka, SRES, e-Pro
Area Pro Realty
Co-Host "Naked Real Estate" on http://www.blogtalkradio.com