Change those Exterior Listing Photos!!! Pronto!

Home Stager with Revealing Assets - Home Staging Services

Obviously, ALL of my clients are currently "sellers", but what is often ignored is that they are also "buyers" on the flip side. They have made the decision to list for sale, so obviously they have to start their search for their new home. So, they also fit the demographic of "buyer" when I am working with them. So, I have a first-hand chance to always be researching and asking them questions. This information I get from my clients is invaluable, as it represents what the BUYER, in the current market is looking for.

Whenever the seasons have noticeably changed in Alberta, and the topographical landscape has been visibly altered for a period of time, I start hearing the same themed comments from my clients.

A common question I ask of my clients goes like this: "So, as you have been doing your search for your new home, what are some of the things that prevent you from being at all interested in a particular listing?"

Lately (and this is a normal response when seasons change), my clients have been offering a very helpful answer. And, keep in mind, this answer is common from client to client. They mention other items, but always focus on this one:

"We notice MLS listings, and the listings on many Realtors'® sites, do not have the official listing-date posted. So, as a buyer, because the length of time a listing has been sitting without selling is of interest to us, we are left guessing. When we see green grass in the exterior photos, yet we are into December, all we can do is assume that it is an old listing. We immediately wonder why it has not yet sold, and have to assume that something is wrong with it. Is it way over-priced? Are there pricey structural issues? So, we simply ignore those listings, and keep searching. We don't have the time to dig deeper into any potential issues."

Exterior Photo of House for Sale in Edmonton, AB - Seasonally Inappropriate when Snow now covers the ground everywhere

So, the key point here is that the exterior photo on listings automatically tells the savvy buyers today WHEN the property was listed.

I am writing today because, here we are on December 05, with our permanent snow-blanket on the ground in Edmonton and area. I just looked back in my day-timer, as I know exactly where I was on THE day of the first snow this year. I was cleaning a foreclosure condo. The day was OCTOBER 25!!! And, I know that since that day, we have not been quite warm enough for all of it to melt.

  Season-appropriate Photo of House-exterior - Listed for Sale

So, the problem with this is that any listings out there on the internet (MLS and your Site) with bare grass showing are now quite dated in the buyer's eyes. This exterior photo tells the buyer that the listing is 41 Days old.

The moral of this story is that because buyers make their decisions on their "short-list" based on emotions and because they are very visually driven throughout the purchase process, by simply changing out the exterior photo on your listings to ones with snow on the ground right now, you can re-capture the attention of these same buyers. This is almost visual trickery, but VERY effective. People with photographic memory will simply scan pages of listings, waiting for a listing that is not familiar. So, changing up the exterior photo grabs their attention enough for them to at least click on it and read further.

I have had Realtors® react to this suggestion saying how the almost immediate influx of new calls on these listings almost seemed miraculous.

This may be something for you to try, provided you have the time to run over to your properties to take that new exterior photo. I almost guarantee you will see a difference!


Posted by

Rhonda Wilson - CCSPTM
Owner/Operator of
Revealing Assets
Home Staging and Decluttering Services
We transform properties into highly
sought-after products that sell in half
the time and for 7-10% more money.
Through personal experience, extensive
research and training, and a compassionate
approach, we De-clutter living/work spaces for
up-lifting and positive life changes.

Edmonton, Alberta, Canada


Comments (55)

Denny and Denise Rockwell
Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices California Properties - Brea, CA
Real Estate Professionals, Staging & Design

Rhonda,  this is a great reminder.  We are in California, so we don't have such an extreem change of seasons, but a snow covered home, to us is pretty attractive!

Dec 07, 2010 05:36 AM
Ricky Beach
Keller Williams Realty Group One Inc. - Reno, NV
Reno Broker/Salesperson/Realtor

Very interesting post. I've heard it both ways from clients. Some don't like the fact that the landscaping is covered with snow as most of the distressed properties in Reno have dead grass. They think the listing agent and seller are hiding things.

Dec 07, 2010 06:13 AM
Gene Riemenschneider
Home Point Real Estate - Brentwood, CA
Turning Houses into Homes

Really good post and I have never thought of it in those terms.  We are required to put in a List Date here.

Dec 07, 2010 06:23 AM
Pat Vredevoogd Combs
Great insight. As buyers use the Internet more and more to even screen what they will see - it is up to us as listing agents to know what buttons we need to push to get buyers interested. Thanks.
Dec 07, 2010 07:28 AM
Marjorie Ann Watson
If you are in an area where the seasons do drastically change, having two exterior photos such as Winter and Summer (1 as the main and the other with the remaining listing photos) it helps buyers see what the place will look like during each season of the year.
Dec 07, 2010 07:30 AM
Marte Cliff
Marte Cliff Copywriting - Priest River, ID
Your real estate writer

Even when the seasons haven't yet changed, if things are slow taking a picture from a different angle or different side of the house can "freshen up" a listing and get people to notice it again.

I think if agents want to add photos from other seasons they need an introduction, such as: "From the Seller's Photo Album."

Dec 07, 2010 08:14 AM
Carrie Sampron
Home Smart Realty Group - Highlands Ranch, CO
ABR SFR & Kathy Sampron (303) 931-3629 Highlands R

Rhonda:  We agree. Seeing snow in a listing photo in June just doesn't do it for me. Get your camera, get in the car and take a new photo!  Carrie

Dec 07, 2010 10:02 AM
Denver Johnson
West USA Realty, Mesa AZ - Gilbert, AZ

Great idea for the wintry places, Rhonda-- here in the Phwenix Metro area, a photo make in August looks pretty much like one made in January, so no extra effort for me!...

Dec 07, 2010 10:57 AM
Virginia Kail
Investments, starter houses, luxury homes,farms, acreage - Cookeville, TN
True Blue Realty, Homes and Land for Sale

Excellent point Rhonda.  I have to say, after reading all these comments from agents who live in "always warm" locations, I'm jealous!  I'd never even thought about that advantage.


Dec 07, 2010 11:59 AM
RhondaHeaslip NanaimoRealEstate
RE/MAX of Nanaimo - Nanaimo, BC

Rhonda, A good reminder....Thanks! Here in Nanaimo we change from sunny summer to rainy winter....snow is a bit of a novelty! But, having said all that, a change always makes things look new again!

Dec 07, 2010 12:15 PM
Bill Dandridge
MKB, Realtors - Roanoke, VA
GREEN, ABR, GRI, EcoBroker

Great article. On my first listing, I made sure to change the photo in the spring when I was able to take a beautiful shot with irises prominently displayed, and not too long after that, multiple offers came in. Now that was serendipitous, but a recent display certainly assists in a homes sale.

Dec 07, 2010 01:24 PM
Karen Feltman
Cedar Rapids/Iowa City, IA KW Legacy Group - Cedar Rapids, IA
Relocation Specialist in Cedar Rapids, Iowa

You are absolutely right!  I have planned 2 hours of my day tomorrow to do just that on my 12 listings!  Thank you for the positive reinforcement.

Dec 07, 2010 02:04 PM
Tom Waite
Thomas Waite Real Estate Broker - Cypress, CA
So Cal-Apartment Bldg Investments

Well, in Southern California we only have two types of weather...




Sorry, no reason to change pix here...unless we have an earthquake and the house falls down!

Dec 07, 2010 02:45 PM
DeeDee Riley
Lyon Real Estate - El Dorado Hills CA - El Dorado Hills, CA
Realtor - El Dorado Hills & the Surrounding Areas

Great input Rhonda, and so true!  Thanks for the tip!

Dec 07, 2010 03:50 PM
Deb Harshman
Long and Foster - Christie's International Real Estate & Owner of Staged Home Decor - Potomac, MD
REALTOR & ASPMaster Stager, The Selling Advantage

So right on. We know the first impression is the only one we get.  Surely, we need to show as fresh as possible if the lisiting has passed from Spring to Winter.  I ask my clients and Realtors show the beauty of living at the property through seasons if the sellers have them, in any case.  But this reason is a great time to change up the listing and create new interest.  When a listing VT shows different season exterior shots, they become more interesting and can keep them looking at it for longer and longer is going to get a showing booked.

Wonderful thoughts!



Dec 07, 2010 11:40 PM
Kathleen Koulouris
Re/Max Associates - Sewell, NJ

I think that is a great idea.  Iintend to use it.  Real estate is slow here in New Jersey.  We need all the help we can get in order to market our listings successfully.

Dec 08, 2010 06:01 AM
Rhonda Wilson
Revealing Assets - Home Staging Services - Edmonton, AB

Virginia, #44, you read my mind.

This is why I LOVE Active Rain. Years ago, we would never have been this connected to other professionals all over the place. So, it is really neat to see others' responses when they say, like Tom #48, things such as,

"Well, in Southern California we only have two types of weather...




Sorry, no reason to change pix here...unless we have an earthquake and the house falls down!".

I Love reading about different areas of our continent, yet I then wonder why I still choose to live up here in 4-season, snowy cold-land.

Thank you so much for all of your responses, and Happy Holidays!!

Dec 08, 2010 06:07 AM
Jacqueline Drake CRS
Jacqueline Drake Realty - Saint David, AZ
Southeast Arizona land, farms & horse properties

I primarily list vacant large acreage parcels of land and I would not dream of only showing winter photos of the properties. With my listings I have both green summer photos as well as photos with wheat colored grass that we have in the winter. Representing the seasons is a good thing and gives the buyer a better idea of what they might expect. Since this is a high desert area in southern Arizona many people have no idea that the area becomes incredibly green in the summer with wild flowers. I do add captions saying what season they represent. Perhaps it is different with houses where you have snow.

Jacqueline Drake CRS

Dec 09, 2010 08:37 AM
Sandy McAlpine
Search Lake Norman Homes For Sale - Lake Norman NC

This is a good post because now that properties are sitting on the market well over 6 months to over a year, the seasons have been changing and prospective buyers are trying to "assume" by the pictures of days on market!!

Dec 10, 2010 09:24 AM
Margaret C. Taylor
Century 21 New Millennium MD - Mechanicsville, MD
St Marys/Calvert/Charles MD Real Estate Agent

We do have DOM posted but changing up photos is a good way to renew attention.  Margaret C

Dec 10, 2010 02:08 PM