Lazy, ignorant or just plain incompetent...which is it?

Real Estate Agent with RE/MAX Access

Lazy, ignorant or just plain incompetent...which is it?

photo courtesy of:

I am usually a pretty easy going, laid back kinda gal.  While I have been accused of being hyper and talkative, I am not one to anger easily or roll my eyes in frustration at the mistakes of others. 


I must take a moment to rant.  I have seen many folks complain about this exact thing here on Active Rain and I apologize for adding yet another blog complaining about it.  That being said....I just don't get this one, I just don't understand why on earth an agent would engage in this practice and be allowed to survive in the business. 

What is this egregious act???

Well in short it is the failure to take pictures of your dang listing!  I was browsing some listings today on behalf of a new client who has some fairly specific requests and low and behold, for the umpteenth time I came across a multitude of listings with very few pictures and crappy ones at that!  Our MLS allows us to add 25 of charge mind you.  Most of that information gets sent out to various other websites dedicated to selling your listing.  So why would an agent be so lazy as to not take as many opportunities to showcase their listing as possible?

Well its a fixer upper, you say.  I don't want to take pictures of a gutted kitchen or the missing fixtures.  Guess what??? If I am looking at properties as fixer uppers, I am not going to expect granite counter tops and stainless steel appliances.  It is actually helpful for me to see that all the sheet rock is missing and there is no flooring to be found.  What is not helpful is your description of "needs a little TLC" or "sold as is, repairs needed" combined with one crappy picture of the front.  I can't tell from that how extensive the repairs might be. 

For the rest of the folks selling homes not in need of extensive repairs, there is just no reason I can possible fathom as to why you would not want as many pictures of your listing out there as possible.  I am by no means a professional photographer and I am quite certain that there are lots of people out there who do a better job than me, but I always take my time to make sure my pictures highlight the best qualities of the property inside, outside, front, back and side to side!  I usually take a minimum of 30-40 pictures then take time and care to pick out the 25 that best represent my listing.  Then I take the time to upload the 25 to our mls, go create a Postlet with the best 6 pictures then send that Postlet to Active Rain, Craigslist, Zillow, Trulia, etc.  It really isn't rocket science and doesn't take that much time....and by the way...IT HELPS SELL MY LISTINGS!!

Photos sell houses folks...its as simple as that.  When I send homes to my buyers many times they will not even care to make an appointment to see a home that has bad and/or few pictures.  If anyone out there has some thought on a good reason to limit pictures, please share because I can not think of one!

On a side note: I do know that there is the occasional seller that instructs the listing agent to put only limited photos or minimum photos required, that is not what I am talking about here.     

Just my two cents!


Comments (52)

Anna Tolstoy
Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage - Natick, MA

Jeanna, this is so true! - and look, there are agents from different states, who either commented on your post, or wrote one themselves, it's happening everywhere...

How hard it is to take a picture? If they can take one picture, why can't they take another? I've also seen listings with several pictures, every one of them being horribly out of focus, ( probably taken with shaking hand?), turned sideways, and all of the same room. How about several pictures of a chandelier that is excluded, or living room set that doesn't give the buyer any idea how THE ROOM looks...

Oh, another one - how about a crappy picture of a HIGH PRICED property? If listing price is upper 600... I mean, EVERY listing, in ANY price range deserves best pictures one can take, but how can you show potential buyers that this listing IS worth 600K and more, unless you have pictures?.. 

I could rant with you on and on about it... 

Aug 13, 2010 03:24 AM
Matt Stigliano
Kimberly Howell Properties (210) 646-HOME - San Antonio, TX

As usual Jeanna - I love when you get a little feisty!  Haha.  We've talked about this one a million times together in our office, so you definitely know how I feel about this one.

Aug 13, 2010 03:38 AM
Tom Branch
RE/MAX Dallas Suburbs - Plano, TX
Broker, CDPE, SFR, ACRE, Plano TX Ambassador


As a listing broker I love those agents!  They make me look so good.


Aug 13, 2010 03:46 AM
Ralph Janisch ABR CRS Broker
Janisch & Co. - Conroe, TX
Selling Northwest Houston to good people like you!

It just frustrates us to the point of insanity when we read MLS sheets and the info is sketchy at best and definitely missing key information.  Isn't giving correct information part of our jobs?  I think so.  And, no photos, that's a whole different matter.  How do some folks get by with it.  Our MLS is on you like a duck on an junebug if you don't supply at least 6 distinct and different photos of each home.  But some lazy people still try to skate by.  I don't understand.  It's much easier to sell a home if you show it.

Aug 13, 2010 03:51 AM
Joe Pryor
The Virtual Real Estate Team - Oklahoma City, OK
REALTOR® - Oklahoma Investment Properties

It's a start but our MLS is now requiring at least one picture to qualify as a listing to be displayed. We also increased the number of pictures to 20. In consumer surveys about real estate, static picutres that can be enlarged is the number one marketing item they like followed by video. 

Aug 13, 2010 03:51 AM
Michael J. Perry
KW Elite - Lancaster, PA
Lancaster, PA Relo Specialist

Another category could be uncommitted ! They already have one foot outside the door of a real estate career !!!

Aug 13, 2010 03:53 AM
Catherine Ulrey
Keller Williams Capital City - Salem, OR
Equestrian and Acreage Property Specialist

Couldn't agree more!  We also get 25 photos in our MLS, why not use EVERY one of them?  Clients are always commenting on how they appreciate being able to see the interior photos as well.

Aug 13, 2010 03:59 AM
Bob Haywood
McGraw Realtors - Owasso, OK

When they do take pics, often the pictures are terrible!  I use a professional with a big dog digital camera.  He is very affordable and the pictures blow away the competition!

Aug 13, 2010 04:20 AM
Susan Lehmkuhl
Buy and Sell Smart Realty, LLC - Phoenix, AZ
Associate Broker

It's frustrating.  I am also amazed at the poor quality pictures that get posted....blurry and out of focus & those are the good ones! 

We get a fine if we don't have a picture on MLS within 48 hours and still there are countless listings that have no pictures.  Don't get it!

Aug 13, 2010 04:26 AM
Terry Chenier
Homelife Glenayre Realty - Mission, BC


I hire a person who takes the maximum shots.

Aug 13, 2010 04:37 AM
Amy Law
Alliance Properties - Crosby, TX

Amen, Sister!! I couldn't agree with you more. Show an HONEST depliction of the property for goodness sake! Many people beside home shoppers USE listings. Just think of those folks doing BPOs trying to find good comps...


Aug 13, 2010 05:05 AM
Ken Patterson
TPR Properties - Rocklin, CA
Roseville Real Estate, TOP Rocklin Realtor

Nice post!  I would settle for a single photo requirement.  I think it is ridiculous to not have anything there.  Many times I wonder if the REO Asset Manager would feel that was a good thing or the Short Sale Negotiator would care at all.  Hmmm...

I don't feel like you need a picture of every room and detail of the home.  If everything can be seen, then why go see it?  Just stick it on eBay with a million pics and let'er rip.  My philosophy is to give them enough to want more so they will make the trip. 

Just my 2 Cents...  You will not see any of my listings with zero or 1 single picture.

Aug 13, 2010 05:14 AM
Denny and Denise Rockwell
Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices California Properties - Brea, CA
Real Estate Professionals, Staging & Design

All I can say is "due diligence".  Is it? Really?

Aug 13, 2010 05:23 AM
Mike Miguelez
Keller Williams Realty - DTC - Superior, CO

It's the difference between reading the book and seeing the movie. When you read something your imagination conjures up an image. When you see something it sets a level of expectation.

Pictures help buyers not waste their time with something that won't work; which in turn will save the listing agent time by attracting buyers that want more information after getting a better idea of the property from the picture.

I would even add that since it's so easy and affordable to develop virtual tours, why wouldn't you include one for every listing and let the buyer get an even better representation of the property?

Good post!

Aug 13, 2010 05:41 AM
Gregory Bain
Mezzina Real Estate & Insurance - Little Egg Harbor, NJ
For Homes on the Jersey Shore


While I post many pictures on my listings, it is sometimes hard to think of 25 shots that will do a (less than) 1000 square foot home reason to wet the buyer's appetite. But, I do try and sometimes resort to area photos as well.

Having said that, the one GOOD reason for having NO PICTURES (IMHO) is because "curiosity kills the cat", or, got the buyer to get away from the computer screen. Kind of like not posting a price on a brochure that is hanging in the box next to the lawn sign. You want them to call don't you?

Besides, wouldn't it be great that YOU the "buyer's agent" went out to the house and took some pictures or video tape of your own to send your YOUR buyer?

Aug 13, 2010 06:15 AM
Vince McEveety
Gilleran Griffin Realty - Sherman Oaks, CA

i think some agents do it to help them double end


some certainly are lazy


and some .... well, some... we cannot speak their names

Aug 13, 2010 06:26 AM
June Haeske

Here's another one....I live in a cold climate where we usually have snow for at least 3 months of the year....I see photos of the listing taken in the winter, still on the MLS in August with snow in the picture!  How much time would it take to drive by the home and take a picture showing green grass and the trees filled out?

Aug 13, 2010 09:22 AM
Eric Michael
Remerica Integrity, Realtors®, Northville, MI - Livonia, MI
Metro Detroit Real Estate Professional 734.564.1519

Scream it from the top of the AR mountain. Yes, it's been said before, and yes, it'll need to be said agiain, until everyone understands that being a professional is Being a Professional. Just do your job, people, and we'll all have fun.

Aug 13, 2010 01:39 PM
Rick Sterling
Pointe East Realty - Virginia Beach, VA
Coastal Virginia Homes for Sale

Jeanna,  I agree with Tom …rant all you want … but use it to your competitive advantage. Those listings make great targets for working expired's …. also great to use those as examples in your listing presentation,  to show how you go the extra mile, and how few agents do.  This issue won't change for 2 reasons …..

1.) it's too easy and inexpensive to get a real estate license and set up shop  and   2.)  you have brokers that obviously don't care and hire these agents, and keep 'em on board.  It is a free country  ….. (sorta) and competitors like this just make you shine. 

Don't know about Texas  .. but in Virginia …. couple hours of study on line and less than $500 and your in business. Then you get to stay in business for less than $1,000 a year in fee's  and another couple hours of rinky-dink continuing education classes …. ever know any one to fail continuing education?  I've never heard of it. Just pay your fee and sit in the class and your in like flint for another 2 yrs. ( again … less than $150 )  Only way to fail it is  …. to not do it.

Until we upgrade the whole system … your bound to have unprofessional … lack luster agents in business.  Be thankful they all aren't as good as you ….. otherwise you would have a lot more competition out there!

Aug 14, 2010 04:54 AM
Kimber Montgomery
Keller Williams Realty - Cedar Park, TX

I agree. My newest complaint is photo's of agent's children playing in the yard or at the area park??????????? Just wondering is your child so cute you must share or are you suggesting we sell the house so you can feed the child?  Agents please, sell the home!

Aug 16, 2010 09:58 AM