10 Things You Should NOT Do With MLS Photos
Real estate photos for marketing a listing effectively are a huge deal – we all know that, as does the buying public.
Buyers expect to see lots of photos, and will, in some cases, make decisions about not seeing a house based on the photos they see. Sadly, some agents don’t take the issue of having quality photos very seriously. In this age of digital photography, or the reasonable cost of a professional photographer, there is no excuse to not have top quality photos to showcase a seller's home!
But having good photos requires the cooperation of sellers, too. It’s hard to take great photos when there is stuff everywhere and the curb appeal is lacking. Some sellers don’t seem to be concerned about it either, perhaps assuming buyers can look beyond all the junk.
Maybe. Maybe not!
So here are my 10 Photo Commandments, sellers and agents. Are you listening?
Thou shalt include multiple photos - the maximum allowed on listing sites and the MLS (our San Diego MLS allows 25 and many websites allow more). Why on earth would you include only 1 or 2 photos? Maybe if there is a tenant and they refuse access (which leads to other problems), or the house is such a disaster you just don’t dare show more. But in most cases 1 or 2 isn’t going to cut it and it can chase buyers away.
Thou shalt take photos of the interior and the exterior. I don’t get why listings may brag about the beautiful yard but there are no photos. Buyers live indoors and out, they want to see both. If it’s that ugly you have a much bigger issue ahead of you. And if there is no exterior photo buyers wonder if something is being hidden? I saw a listing recently of a very nice looking house without exterior photos. Turns out there were 2 large high-tension wire towers 100 feet away from the back yard.
Thou shalt not include photos of an open toilet, EVER! Why oh why do agents do this, over and over? Just shut the darn thing. Or forget about a picture of the toilet anyway – no one really needs to see it unless it’s pretty special, like it’s gold plated or is one of those fish tank models.
Thou shalt take multiple photos of each room from different angles to enable the best pictures to be selected. Even a professional will take multiple photos to get the best shots. And if despite that the photos still suck, it’s better to not use them.
Thou shalt not take photos of blank walls, corners of an empty room, the floor, or the ceiling, or OF YOURSELF IN THE MIRROR TAKING A PHOTO, unless there is something pretty darn special, like a wall or ceiling mural, extravagant moldings or unusual flooring. Honestly, who wants to see a photo of the bright green shag rug, or a blank white wall? If it’s vacant room then consider not taking a photo.
Thou shalt not include photos of driveways with cars and trucks. First of all they block the view of the house. And they don’t likely come with the property. It’s not that hard to move them and put them on the street on photo day is it?
Thou shalt not take exterior photos of the home on trash collection day. We know trash gets picked up, and we don’t need to see your trash bins. Somehow trash bins don’t do much for the curb appeal. This includes not taking photos of all the crap you are throwing out that is still in the driveway. Buyers will be pleased you cleaned up, but probably don’t care to see all that junk you carted away.
Thou shalt not include photos of dirty dishes in the sink or on the counters. If the seller has not taken care of this on photo day, you might use other photos. Hopefully you won't have to hint to the homeowners that things would look much better if this stuff were put away
Thou shalt NOT take photos of dirty laundry on the floor, or anywhere for that matter, and unmade beds. No, I am not picking it up for you before taking photos, you need to be responsible for getting this stuff in order yourself. We all have dirty laundry – buyers, too – they don’t want to look at it. And for heaven’s sake pick it up before showings. Who wants to walk around dirty underwear (and I've seen it!)
Thou shalt not include photos in the MLS which are crooked, upside-down, out-of-focus, or too dark to see what they are. It’s pretty surprising how bad some photos are, or that agents would actually take the time to upload them. This does not help showcase the home, unless the home is crooked, upside-down, out-of-focus or too dark. And it certainly does not reflect well on you as the listing agent about how attentive you are to details when you do this. Not!!
There’s a saying a picture is worth a thousand words. What words are YOUR photos screaming about your client’s home?
Rest assured if we work together to sell your home, these ARE the 10 commandments I follow, and then some.