I know you’ve seen them. Heck, maybe even the photos of your house could win bad photo of the week! Not a good thing.
Actually, there’s a few different emotions I experience when I see exceptionally bad MLS photos. First, there’s the comic relief. Some of those photos are just down right hilarious! But also, I feel for the home sellers because I think they may not even know how bad those photos are. Then there’s the disappointment in the agent that actually took the photo.
When I say a bad MLS photo, I’m not talking about a professional’s opinion of right lighting, white balance, use of HDR, color saturation, contrast, focal length, etc.. When I say bad MLS photo, I mean…. “That agent should’ve NEVER taken a picture of that! What the heck were they thinking!” or that the agent could’ve at least slowed down before they stuck their arm out of the car window to snap the exterior pic of the house with their cellphone camera! The photos below are actual pictures from one of the MLS systems, they have not been altered or retouched other than resized:
According to The National Association of Realtors’ 2008 Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers, about 87% of home buyers use the internet in their search for that perfect home. Typically, the first thing they’ll notice about your house, fortunately (or unfortunately in many cases), are the photos. I say fortunately because having great photos is a good way to make your house stand out from the rest of the crowd.
It blows my mind that a Realtor can list a $400,000 $500,000 or $1,000,000 house and show up to take photos with an old 1.3 megapixel point and shoot camera they bought used for $50. The commission on an expensive home like that can be a considerable amount. You would think that the agent would spend some time at their new listing trying to take the best photos possible, instead of doing a “dash and shoot” – where they dash in, spend about 15 or 20 minutes shooting pictures, then dash back out.
Hey, the photos can make or break a house, really. Since the majority of home buyers are looking for homes on the internet, one thing they want to see are the photos. Got awful pictures? Your home’s appeal isn’t as good and the number of potential buyers for your house just got smaller. Unfortunately, when your ‘potential buyer pool’ decreases, many times your net proceeds from the sale of your house will also shrink.
Maybe a few years ago, especially on the West and East Coasts (also states like Arizona, Nevada, etc..), having great photos wasn’t as much of concern as it is now. Back in the housing heyday of a few years ago, the buyers were in a frenzy. It wasn’t uncommon for an agent to list a house in the MLS (without photos I might add) and wait, what like 7 hours(?), for multiple offers to come in. Well, it’s a new time, the frenzy is gone, the multiple offers are gettng a little more rare, and yes, Virginia, just throwing a house up on the MLS isn’t going to guarantee a sale.
Maybe it’s time for agents to think out of the box a little (more on that on another post for another time). That out-of-the-box thinking will require better photos of your house! Wow, it’s kind of disturbing that ‘better photos’ could be considered ‘out of the box’. Taking good (if not great) photos should be as common for real estate agents as getting the listing agreement signed by the seller.
The photos below, I actually took myself and were not on the MLS. Actually, the original photos of that house were pretty good; the original listing agent let me take some photos for myself so I could do a ‘comparison shoot’ (and let me get some practice). I also wanted to preview the house for a buyer I had coming to town. Now, I need to make a note that I’m NOT a professional photographer. Photography has become a new hobby for me. Anyway, for the ‘before’ pictures, I did a typical ‘dash and shoot’. I dashed in, snapped some quick photos, and dashed back out again. The dash and shoot took about 15 minutes; And I used a regular digital point and shoot camera. For the ‘after’ photos, I was there for 1 hour 45 minutes taking the photos, then another 2 or 2.5
Hopefully, the ‘after’ photos would make you want to see the house more if you viewed the listing online. By the way, as I’m writing this, that house is for sale. If you’d like more information about it, just give me a call.
If you have signed up to receive home listings via my “now” notification system, then you’re well aware at how bad some photos can actually be. Just so you know, all those listings that I send out are from the entire MLS system and NOT just my listings (or just listings from Bentwood Realty). When you recieve updated and new listings in your email, just know that the photos and information that you see are actually supplied by the listing agent.
Here are a couple of great websites that actually ‘showcase’ awful MLS photos. Might be good for a laugh:
One thing you should do as a seller – ask your agent to give you a print out of the MLS sheet concerning your property. You need to know how the photos look (if the agent even bothered to supply photos), but also to verify that it contains accurate information! You’d be surprised how many listings contain wrong information: Sales price, school district, bedrooms, square footage, etc…
With so many homes for sale on the internet, your property can become easily lost in the crowd. It’s important that your agent makes your house stand out as much as possible. Taking great photos is just the first step.
The old saying really does ring true: “You don’t get a second chance to make a first impression”.