How Important are Pictures to a Real Estate Listing?
Recently there have been listings in my area that have pictures ranging from poor quality, poor subject and even poor aim to unrealistically positive. Pictures are so important for prospective buyers and other brokers to evaluate whether to visit a property that it really does an injustice for them to be flawed either way. They won't even get a second chance for the prospective Buyer or Broker to see it in person.
I viewed a listing of a condo today with pictures that make it look like a dorm room with clothes
and belongings strewn about. This is the actual picture from the mls. Yes the property is in West Los Angeles near UCLA but still I almost wondered whether the Sellers would be better off with no pictures which is almost never the case. We certainly can't be insensitive to current occupants, such as Renters who are not motivated to make enormous effort, but there should be some effort.
Later I saw the pictures of a classic home here in Woodland Hills in good shape but not updated for the last 30 years that had no picture of the kitchen. My first reaction was "It must be really bad or they wouldn't hide it".
At the other extreme is the Listing which showed and described the property as perfectly updated and move-in ready. The house had been on the market over 30 days but when I arrived the front yard of the house could use a good mow, trim and a few flowers. The sloped driveway had deep cracks. The Agent closing up as I drove up for my preview said her Buyer clients were "disheartened by the cracks and flooring repairs needed" as they raced out to their cars. It became clear what she meant. The back patio which was staged with a conversation set and outdoor rug looked cute in the pictures but in real life there were deep cracks throughout the concrete and chipped paint on the patio cover. The wood flooring in the master bedroom had a few warped boards from a shower overflow. They seemed like a repairs that should have been completed before listing to prevent potential Buyers from wondering "What else is wrong"?. The listing photos and description set a high expectation so when I arrived the house was a bit of a disappointment but it really is a good house.
The goal of a good listing is to show the property in its best light but believe that overstating or understating the condition through pictures or words does the property a disservice. The Seller and Realtor cannot squander a property's first splash on the market with either unsightly or unrealistic pictures and description and hope to get the best and highest offer.
What do you think about the importance of good but realistic pictures? What are some of the unusual unrealistic pictures you've seen?
Those outside the industry think our job is glamorous most of the time. If they only knew some of our challenges. :)
P.S. I love Seniors and Probate Sales because they need a little more effort and attention but the Seniors and Family really appreciate the extra care. If you know anyone in the Los Angeles area that needs extra help let me know.