Comment of the Day: Just Visit the Place Already

COMMENT OF THE DAY: JUST VISIT THE PLACE ALREADY “This is why, IMO, photos (or at least worrying about the quantity or quality) are not that important. People search for a price range, size, area, etc. After that, they’ll take their list of properties that fit and view them in person. Unless the pictures are TERRIBLE then the property will be viewed. And if they’re OUTSTANDING then the property will have to be viewed anyway (unless you’re going after someone buying sight unseen, which is rare). Photos do, IMO, almost nothing to sell a house. Then again, I could be saying this as I suck at taking photos so normally just snap off a few pics with my cell phone and call it a day . . .” [Cody, commenting on Houston Home Listing Photo of the Day: In the Box]

18 Comment

  • Cellphones have made worse what were already horrible photos being taken every day by realtors. Ooh a picture of the floor because you couldn’t step far enough back, I’ll take it!

    If Realtors weren’t lazy they would invest in a cheap DSLR and a wide angle lens to actually capture rooms properly.

    Instead half of the listings I look at have tiny little postage stamp photos.

    Let’s not forget the realtors who add in photos of things in the vicinity. Look a photo of Target! Wow, where do I sign?

  • …or you could just pay a professional to take the pictures. $125/per listing which is nothing compared to what a Realtor is paid.

  • We visited the house we eventually purchased due to the high quality photography that was used in the listing. We could clearly see all the rooms and finishes before even visiting. There is no excuse for bad images for home listings. It makes the realtor appear lazy.

  • Neither comment above challenges Cody’s assertion. Do professional photos really sell a property?

  • Interesting viewpoint. My husband and I bought our first house last year, and the pictures on HAR were the #1 factor in whittling down 100+ potential options to the dozen or so we looked at in person. We definitely saw some “creatively photographed” gems that were much smaller/darker/weirder than the pictures implied, and I agree that strategy gets you nothing but increased foot traffic from people who won’t make an offer. But I don’t think the reverse is true—if the photos are crappy, then the listing doesn’t pop, and some potentially interested buyers may never bother to come see it in person. I’m a busy person, and I don’t have time to go look at every house in my price range. If there are only three pictures or they’re small/blurry, I’m going to assume there’s a good reason for that and click over to the next listing.

  • I sold my Midtown town home in the time before InnerWeb pictures. Put down the dang iPad and use some perspective.

  • @ Craig – and my grandmother used to take a thousand mile train trip to come visit us. Newer tools are here (and eventually will be themselves replaced) – one might as well take advantage of them.

  • Craig, did you also use a travel agent to go on vacation this year?

    Get with the times.

  • Good photos make a difference. When people are house shopping on HAR, they aren’t so much building a list up as they are tearing one down. They are ruling out houses long before seeing them. People are very visual and if you don’t look good on line, which is where people start, you may never get them in the door. Real estate can be a numbers game and if you have fewer people through the door to look, the longer it will take to sell and the lower the price may be.
    Sloppy pictures on HAR is not some wiser plan on the part of agents, it is, however, a sure sign of agents that are too cheap and/or sloppy to do their job properly. Why deny your client ANY potential advantage, especially when it is not expensive to do it right?

  • For the most part Google Street View and Asking Price are all you really need to know.

    Those are the REAL tools to use.

    It’s as much about “the neighbors” as it is the house you are looking at.

  • Whether pictures sell a house or not, bad pictures make it pretty clear that you’ll be dealing with a lazy, not very professional realtor on the seller’s side, and that could become a headache later.

  • As a seasoned residential real estate marketer, I don’t think professional photography SELLS a home but it is definitely a motivator. Most people would not buy a home from looking at photos only. In fact, when my husband and I were house hunting, we discovered that even good photos were often misleading, especially as it pertains to actual size and condition of the rooms. (I agree with LaurenK’s comments.) But a home with poor photography will draw less attention and interest from prospective and qualified homebuyers. My cousin recently sold her family’s longtime home in The Heights and she got no inquiries or showings until I reshot her Realtor’s subpar photos with a cheesy Kodak digital and ‘restyled’ the photos by eliminating clutter (mop, broom, dog bowls, unmade beds, etc.) Less is more. It sold two weeks later.

  • Good photos are very valuable. They won’t sell a house all by themselves, but they are very powerful tool for creating interest. You have to get people through the door first. You need interest before you can get an offer. And you need two offers before you can get a bidding war. If pictures don’t matter, then no one would take them. They DO matter, and good pics are better than bad pics.

  • If someone is searching HAR, they are going to use the photos of the house to rule out non-contenders, photos that don’t show the house in the best light will rule out some properties.

    I’m sure this is really only true in a very competitive market, where there are lots of listings. If someone wants to buy in a specific neighborhood and there are only 3 listings that meet their criteria, they’ll probably visit all 3 in person. On the other hand, if there are 100 houses that meet their criteria, they’ll probably use the photos online to rule out most of the houses available.

  • Good comments above. What most of you are alluding to is the difference between sales and marketing. Marketing is used to “position” a product in a potential customer’s mind. Good photos do just that. Good photos are about getting people to put down the laptop and actually go out and view a property for themselves. Then the job of selling can begin. Experienced, smart realtors will use marketing tools to enable them to make the sale that provides their income.

  • You only have to find one buyer. Right?

  • At least make sure no one is sleeping in the bedroom you are photographing. Is that too much to ask?

  • “If pictures don’t matter, then no one would take them.”
    Not really true. HAR will send you a nasty note if you post less than 6 photos. I know since I’ve posted fewer for some small apartments. I mean, how many photos can you take of a studio apartment? It’s a square room. “Here is the toilet”. “Here is the kitchen area”. “Here is the livingroom/bedroom”. “Here is the.. uh.. building”. “Here is the.. umm.. picture of me and my buddy fishing in Alaska last summer”…