Why I'm Not Showing Your Home Tomorrow ...

Real Estate Agent with Realty ONE Group

It's nothing personal, I assure you. The problem is this, really:

This is the only photo that your agent has entered into the MLS. And while your home appears to have what we call "curb appeal," that's just not enough.

Earlier today I spent a few hours with a lovely couple look for a home like yours, at least in the broad strokes. After looking at several, we were able to focus on more of the particular aspects they want in their next home.

For instance, they're pretty particular about the kitchen so as I'm searching through the MLS for homes this afternoon, I'm being pretty particular about the kitchen. And this is what I see, thanks to your agent ...

They've decided they want a fairly open floor plan for entertaining. Your agent provided the builder name but not the model number, which shouldn't be an issue. I just need to look at the photographs to judge how your family and living rooms are laid out. This is what I see ...

Upgraded flooring and counters, cabinets in decent condition irrespective of color, a master bathroom somewhat beyond the basic ... these also are things that my buyer is looking for, so I'm also looking for them as I cruise through the MLS. Here's what I see when I look at your home for these items:

The husband would love more than anything to have an easy maintenance back yard so he can sell his lawn mower once and for all, so I'm looking for that as well. When I look at your home in the MLS, this is what I see ...

I suppose I could preview your home myself in the 110-degree heat to see if it matches what my client needs, just in case. Unfortunately, there are several other homes that meet my clients' criteria.

I know this because the listing agent provided photographs of more than just the front of the house to help not just me in my search, but any buyer or agent who happens to be looking through the MLS for properties.

In short, I don't need to preview your home nor do I need to show your home. If your agent had provided photographs, it might have made the list. Without them, I'm going to move on to the next one being listed and marketed by an agent interested in seeing the home sold.

Sorry about that, Mr. Seller.

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Comments (60)

Robert Hammerstein -
Christie's International Real Estate - Hillsdale, NJ
Bergen County NJ Real Estate

Jonathan - You hit it on the head with this post. Amazing that any agent in this day and age of technology with a digital camera would not take additional pictures... It's mind boggling... Loving this post... Oh and your doggy looks just like my old Beagle as well.... So you got me with your profile pic as well I might add....

Jul 27, 2011 10:32 AM
Shirin Sarikhani
Seattle Staged To Sell www.seattlestagedtosell.com - Seattle, WA

What a wonderful way to demonstrate the point. 

I always felt that listings that show only the exterior of the homes have really awful interiors and just lose interest very quickly. This agent should understand that most people are looking on the web, before deciding to come and take a look.

A wonderful post and thanks for sharing.

Jul 27, 2011 10:41 AM
Jeff Pearl
RE/MAX Distinctive / LIC in VA - Lovettsville, VA
Full Service Full Time Realtor

I would show it if we were in the area, or at least do a drive by. I would leave that decision up to the customer.

 Many agents take such bad photos, we can't always go by that. I'd rather see one high quality photo than 20 dark, blurry, low quality photos. This one picture would indicate to me that the house looks to be in decent shape and cared for. I would guess there is an HOA?, and the landscaping and driveway appear to be neat and clean. Nothing indicates that this house would be a dump inside, but you never know until you see it. The other night on tv I saw some show where criminals were scanning a homesite viewing virtual tours. They were checking out locations of back doors, any fences, places to hide, outdoor lights, any pet doors they could crawl through, how close were the neighbors, any street lights, best window or door to gain entry, etc, etc. They got tons of information from virtual tours, and planned their burglaries accordingly. They could also check for valubles inside the house, like jewlry boxes, statues, computers, etc, so they knew right where to go to collect valuables when they got inside the house.

Jul 27, 2011 10:43 AM
Delores Campbell
Keller Williams Realty - Chesterfield - Wildwood, MO
Your St. Louis Real Estate Resource

Great post and couldn't agree with you more.  It is very frustrating to see a listing with one or two pictures.  I have a client that said don't even bother sending her listings that don't have several pictures of the property. 

Jul 27, 2011 10:53 AM
Eric Michael
Remerica Integrity, Realtors®, Northville, MI - Livonia, MI
Metro Detroit Real Estate Professional 734.564.1519

Jonathan, you couldn't be more correct on this. Even a few more pictures can tell a whole lot more about the house. At least there wasn't garbage cans in front of the house in the picture.

Jul 27, 2011 11:30 AM
Iris Stuart
none - Santa Rosa, CA

This is a great article shared with humor.  So often I see a single exterior photo used in short sale listings.  To my way of thinking this is a horrible disservice to the distressed owners.  The single photo of the exterior isn't doing anything to invite buyers to look the property which the owners are so desperate to sell.

Jul 27, 2011 12:41 PM
Deb Brooks
Brooks Prime Properties Wichita Falls Texas - Wichita Falls, TX

Jonathan, this is perfect.


Jul 27, 2011 12:43 PM
Arpad Racz
Altas Realty - San Jose, CA
408-252-0976 - www.aracz.com - Cupertino and Bay A

A good set of pictures really saves the showing agent a lot of time, since we have a better idea if meets our buyers expectations. I would caution against ruling something in our out just based on pictures, since I have a client that is particular about good lighting, but some pictures do not give the full reality.


All the best,






Jul 27, 2011 01:47 PM
Valerie Crowell
Keller Williams - Walnut Creek, CA
Broker Associate

I have one on the MLS right now with only one picture.  In the property notes I make it very clear that the property is a tear down.  The area is going through a renaissance!  Build some lofts! I almost sounded chirpy.  And I get asked for more pictures.  This thing is a mess, it's priced for land only.  It's in a redevelopment area.  You don't have to see the house, I even mention the years of deferred maintenance.  Just let me know if your project will fit on a 5116 square foot lot.  I told you what to build, I told you why to build it.  You really don't want to see pictures of the owner's laundry laying around.  Or her sick mother.  Or her kid's toys, and neither does your architect. The value is in the land.

Jul 27, 2011 02:28 PM
Carri Schoeller
Dalton Wade Real Estate Group - Bradenton, FL
Realtor ABR, e-PRO,Your Personal Realtor

I love this post.  If this does not get the attention of sellers, I don't know what will.  It's all about visual impact and if it's not there with multiple pictures it will be overlooked.  Listing agents, take lots of pictures plus a video or virtual tour.  This will catapult your showings and viewings to potential buyers.

Jul 27, 2011 03:58 PM
Mel Ahrens, MBA, Kelly Right Real Estate
Kelly Right Real Estate - Hood River, OR
Customized Choices for your Real Estate Needs

Very clever way of illustrating your point. I just can't imagine what a real estate agent is thinking by not taking lots of photos. Good photos go a long, long way.


Jul 27, 2011 04:18 PM
Barbara Altieri
Better Homes and Gardens RE Shore and Country Properties - Shelton, CT
REALTOR-Fairfield County CT Homes/Condos For Sale

Jonathan- Excellent post. I can't tell you how many buyers tell me 'there must be something wrong with that house' if there's only one pic or just a few exteriors only.  That's NOT the way to sell a house!

Jul 27, 2011 04:52 PM
Jenny McCarty
JTR Property Network at Keller Williams Realty Red River - Barksdale AFB, LA
"Jenny The Realtor"
A lot of posts like this one today.... Too bad the agents doing these things are not on here to see how ridiculous they are!
Jul 27, 2011 05:29 PM
Bryan Robertson
Los Altos, CA

This is so typical of REO and short sale agents who are too lazy or stupid to do anything beyond the minimum.  Our MLS has homes with up to 50 photos and there are many listings with 15-25.  Why anyone would bother listing with an agent like this is beyond me.

Jul 27, 2011 06:09 PM
Fernando Herboso - Associate Broker MD, & VA
Maxus Realty Group of Samson Properties - Clarksburg, MD
301-246-0001 Serving Maryland, DC and Northern VA

I can think of many reasons why there could be only one single picture only. . but ultimately I tell my clients that  if a house is in the perfect location at a good price. . they can make it to be their perfect home.

Obviously, I would not discourage to show homes with only one picture. . .That is the fun part of the business. ..to discover the perfect  home when everyone else is passing it.

Jul 27, 2011 11:36 PM
Lynn Ganster
Morris Williams Realty - Orlando, FL

I can say that for the most part my experience has been, one photo for a reason....not much else to photograph that could/would "showcase" well.  However.....every now and again I've run into an exception.  The hidden gem.  Did the listing agent not have a camera the day he/she took the listing, did the sellers not want photographs of their home pasted all over the internet.....why only one photo?  Don't care, glad we came to preview it anyway because it was right where my buyers wanted to be, priced right in their budget and perfect interior.  No one else came calling that day, probably because there were no photos.  Glad we did!  Buyers got their dream home with no competition.  Yes, I am often disappointed when I preview a home with only one photo.....but not always:-).

Jul 28, 2011 12:29 AM
Michelle Francis
Tim Francis Realty LLC - Atlanta, GA
Realtor, Buckhead Atlanta Homes for Sale & Lease


Agents who do one or less or bad photos should be asked to leave the profession.  SERIOUSLY!

All the best, Michelle

Jul 28, 2011 02:40 AM
John Davison
Coldwell Banker - Cary, NC
Raleigh-Cary-Triangle NC


Once again, another Realtor who isn't servicing his client the way they deserve to be serviced.  Keep an eye on this listing and when the agency relationship is severed and the listing expires, swoop in and pick it up.  At least you have a pretty good idea why it isn't being shown.  Good luck!

Jul 28, 2011 04:30 AM
Loreena and Michael Yeo
3:16 team REALTY ~ Locally-owned Prosper TX Real Estate Co. - Prosper, TX
Real Estate Agents

Jonathan - great reason why houses don't have any traffic. Its incredible that the client let their agent to do that.

Jul 28, 2011 10:43 AM
Loren Green
Greens Home Design L.L.C. - Buckeye, AZ
Phoenix Home Inspector & Designer

Jonathan - nice post.  That was a good way to drive home the point.  I had a good laugh.

Jul 30, 2011 02:04 AM