Realtors: Don't take those MLS photos!!!

Home Stager with Ambiance Staging

....until after we've finished staging the property!  We just finished staging a home out in Longmont last week for a super sweet couple that is being re-located back to California.  They were some of the most organized people I'd met, but they still had the normal 'clutter' that is LIFE! 

We met with them for 2 hours initially, then prepared the staging report which contains the recommendations for them to implement in the coming week, and scheduled to come back a week later to spend a 1/2 day staging to complete the finishing touches.  We rented them a few items: a coffee and 2 side tables, a few lamps and lots of artwork silks, and florals. 

My partner Mary and I had a lot of fun working on this home, getting all of the final touches 'just so'! The transformation was nothing short of amazing!

So today I was excited to go online to check up on the home.  One reason is because I often send other Realtor's the MLS numbers of our 'current listings' to show our volume and range of styles.  But I was shocked to see that the photos had been taken BEFORE we had the chance to stage!!


This is what I saw...
home staging longmont

This is what I should have seen!home staging boulder











staging louisville


staged kitchen













after staged bedroom












 before staging bathroom

after staging bathroom













before staging guest bedroom












I was relieved to find that the "Visual Tour" of the home was taken after the staging was complete! 

Lesson learned?  Always take photos for the MLS and internet AFTER the staging is complete.  As we say in the staging business, "You never get a second chance to make a First Impression!"  How many potential buyers might have overlooked this property because it did not appeal to them?  With the number of buyers searching the internet before viewing properties (over 90% in Colorado according to the latest stats), it is more critical than ever to make that first impression count. 

Thinking of selling your home?  Call Ambiance Staging to make your First Impression counts! "We Don't Sell Homes, We Make Homes Sell!"  Proudly serving Boulder County.  Call (303) 544-6005 or visit our website at  Need Real Estate photography Listing Tour services?  Call us!  All of the "after photos" you see above are provided by Ambiance Staging!


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Kimberly Grant
Exit Leon Crawford Realty - Huntsville, AL
Real Estate Agent - Huntsville Alabama
Jessica these pictures are fabulous!!!  Just looking at them you can see such an attention to detail and there was a major transformation in both rooms.  Great job!
Jul 20, 2007 02:22 PM #1
Maureen Maureen
Orangeburg, NY
Jessica - that really stinks.  The house looks so tiny in the mls photos.  In your photos and the tour the home is huge.  Can't the realtor change the photos?  Are you going to mention it to the homeowner or reator.  It is such a touchy situation.  I like it best when realtors just use my photos.  
Jul 20, 2007 02:49 PM #2
Jessica Hughes
Ambiance Staging - Boulder, CO

Maureen~  I e-mailed the listing agent with the photos I'd taken and hopefully she'll replace the ones on the MLS in the next day or two.  At first she tried to use my photography services, but when she found out I could not make "visual tours" for her, but rather "real estate shows" she opted not to pay extra for my photos and for someone to come in to do the tour.  At least the tour shows the home as it 'should' be!

But if I was searching online I'd be confused to see the photos and the tour look so different; it almost looks like a different home!

Jul 20, 2007 03:08 PM #3
Dena Stevens
Rocky Mountain Realty - Canon City, CO
Putting The Real Into Realtor Since 2004
It's just lazy agents, no they aren't that busy they are lazy. I pulled up a listing today, the pictures were horrible. Shot into the sun, blurry and just bad. I'd bet they know how bad they are but don't want to make another trip to the property.
Jul 20, 2007 03:18 PM #4
Jessica Hughes
Ambiance Staging - Boulder, CO

I know what you mean Dena!  I think that this agent actually paid someone to take the photos, and I'm really surprised at the poor quality of the photos as well as the poor timing!

I'm hoping that the ones I saw were just a temporary measure until she got the ones from the visual tour people, or at least now all she has to do is load up the ones I took and we're golden!

Jul 20, 2007 04:10 PM #5
Vicki Watzlawick
Broker (The Watz Team) Exit Real Estate Partners - Algonquin, IL
Illinois Foreclosure Expert, The Watz Team

Dena you are right!  Today I saw a townhome with snow in the picture..snow hasn't been here for 5 months!

Jessica..great job!

Jul 20, 2007 04:24 PM #6
Kathy Alexander
GreatStages Home Staging and Redesign - Vancouver, WA
Home Stager Camas WA, Home Staging Southwest WA
Beautiful photos and staging, Jessica! I have had agents take the photos before staging, too. I make a big point of telling the client that any pictures taken before staging MUST be retaken. I send the agent my new photos and let them know that the client expects them to change the pictures.
Jul 20, 2007 05:28 PM #7
Kathleen Garvey
Cherry Creek Properties - Denver - Denver, CO
Denver's Neighborhood Expert - Listings & Sales
Thank you for the heads up.  One question-do you charge extra for giving the REA the photos you take?  (I am particular about the finished can make or break the scene.) Or is that service included in your fee? I too I do not like when people even see a project have completed....drives me batty!!  Good job with the details!!  Regards-Kathleen
Jul 22, 2007 02:03 AM #8
Juliet Johnson
Vizzitopia - St Johns, FL
Jacksonville Social Media Marketing
Beautiful job. Well done.
Jul 22, 2007 04:22 AM #9
Lori Hakeem Oxley
Charles Rutenberg Realty, Inc. - Tampa, FL
Huge difference!  The kitchen just looks like it needed to be decluttered and straightened up.  As an agent, I always try to get this's basic.  The agent should be able to change the photos (at least we can in FL).
Jul 22, 2007 01:59 PM #10
Heather Chotard
In Style - Edmonton, AB

Honestly, I can Not believe the amount of "crap" I see on MLS and in our weekly Real Estate paper. I think the worst one lately, was a picture of a ceiling fan. YEP the ONE and ONLY picture, a fan. I emailed the listing Realtor my newsletter immediately.

I feel sorry for the clients that have slacking Realtors.

Jul 26, 2007 03:31 AM #11
Cindy Lin
Staged4more Home Staging & Designs // EcoJoe - South San Francisco, CA

wow, proper lighting really makes the sofa pops! de-cluttering makes a huge difference in the kitchen. also removing the plates also helps to be less distracting.



Jul 26, 2007 04:07 PM #12
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