I never turn down the occasion of looking at photos of homes or MLS pictures, for me it is a productive means of keeping the eye trained and spotting the positive and negative attributes of a home.
I'm always flabbergasted of how many home sellers don't bother to prepare their home before the Realtor takes photos to share in marketing material and include on the MLS. What surprises me the most is that the agent takes the picture of the home "as is" and never recommended the seller stage the home prior to photos being taken. I quickly move on to the next listing if the home looks dirty, cluttered or dated (hey isn't that what the buyers do?).
This isn't rocket science, staging has been preached for a long time now. The photos that are taken for online marketing and flyers are one of the most important tasks that you can do to sell your home in any real estate market. It's a buyers market these days so it is crucial that a seller sets their house apart from the competition, connect with buyers on a positive emotional level. Sometimes it's as easy as rearranging the furniture or repurposing the dining room that was converted into an office, back into its intended purpose (a dining room), geez if it is advertised as a dining room and the photo shows an office that might be just a little confusing for buyers, that holds true for repurposing bedrooms too.
We're fishing for the broadest range of fish; the bait we put on the end of the hook needs to attract the most fish. Not everybody likes wallpaper, not everybody likes bold color, they don't like removing wallpaper and they don't like painting, which is why it probably wasn't done in the first place. Mental note to self buyers like homes that are move in ready (unless it is a fixer upper, of course)
An outdated home has to do a few extra things, update lighting, update hardware on cabinets and drawers, maybe flooring and counters if the competition has done so, to name a few. It kicks up the marketing and gives the potential buyer something to brag about to friends and family. Yes, homeownership is still one of the American dreams, goals and accomplishments in life.
If you are a Realtor you have heard it before, this staging a home stuff is not a big secret (maybe for sellers it is if they don't watch staging shows on HGTV) which is why I'm confused
why so many of the listings still have photos of dirty, cluttered or outdated homes! Potential buyers are the consumer, getting them to buy is the goal. Do it right the first time, before the photos are taken and you only have to be inconvenienced and live differently for a while. It might mean less furniture, no home office in the dining room, putting things away when you're done with them, no photos of family on every wall, it might mean painting a neutral-color to elicit the feeling of practicality, timelessness, and quality.
But what staging will do is get your home sold while your dirty, cluttered, outdated competition lingers on the market with little or no activity month after month, reducing their sales price and the neighbors getting ticked about property values. And you, you will have long since moved in to your new home and designing it for you and your family.