Interesting Study Reveals How Home Buyers Look At Listings Online

Reblogger Lenn Harley
Real Estate Agent with Lenn Harley,, MD & VA Homes and Real Estate 303829;0225082372


Even more to the point, what buyers want to see is photos, photos and more photos of homes. 

I've been saying it for years, no decades - "All home buyers want to see is photos of homes."

Text, graphs, statistics, etc. may appeal to agents, but home buying consumers want to see photos of homes and homes for sale.




                                                               Examples of homes in Lovettsville, Virginia.

Courtesy, Lenn Harley, Broker,, 800-711-7988, serving home buyers in Loudoun County, MD.



Original content by Sharon Tara

Interesting Study Reveals How Buyers Look At Listings Online


Nearly all home buyers begin their search online.  This is not new information.

 What is new information is HOW buyers are looking at listings online.  Knowing exactly how buyers scan listings can be very useful information in real estate marketing.  What part of a listing do buyers go to first and where do they spend the most time?

Prof. Michael Seiler, Old Dominion University at Norfolk, Virginia tracked the eye movement of people viewing online home listings in his study "Toward an Understanding of Real Estate Home Buyer Internet Search Behavior: An Application of Ocular Tracking Technology."

Do you know which part of a listing gets the most attention and which part is most overlooked?


According to Prof. Seiler's study

" Home buyers focus primarily on the photo of the home and 

secondarily on the quantitative description of the property.  Real estate agent remarks are 

substantially lower on the list of priorities. Just over 40% of participants did not view the real 

estate agent remarks."

I was surprised to learn that 41.5% of home buyers didn't even view the agent remarks section.


The power is in the pictures.  This study shows viewers spending 60% of their time on photos. 

  As a New Hampshire Home Stager I know the importance of mls photos and I agree with Prof. Seiler..."if you don't have an eye catching photo of the home, the battle is lost before it begins."





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Lyn Sims
RE/MAX Suburban - Schaumburg, IL
Schaumburg IL Real Estate

The study goes to show that the main photo is the main pull in for the buyer. Good info but actually just reinforces what we already know.

Mar 28, 2013 10:30 PM #4
Joanna Cohlan
Fresh Eyes For Your Home - Chappaqua, NY
Designing, Decorating & Staging Westchester Homes

All the more reason for great visual presentation-so clean those homes and declutter them!  However, I think the remarks are also important and should always be available.

Mar 28, 2013 10:55 PM #5
Lenn Harley
Lenn Harley,, MD & VA Homes and Real Estate - Leesburg, VA
Real Estate Broker - Virginia & Maryland

Edward.  That's been my guide since I've had a real estate license. 

Silvia.  PUblic remarks are in our consumer listings.

Debbie.  In my MLS, if the agent doesn't insert one photo, the frong of the house, the MLS sends a phtographer to do it.  UNLESS the agent states in the listing that the "agent will provide" photos.

Lyn.  Indeed, and have known forever.

Joanna.  I agree and they are here.

Mar 28, 2013 11:02 PM #6
Charles Stallions
Charles Stallions Real Estate Services - Pensacola, FL
800-309-3414 - Pensacola, Pace or Gulf Breeze, Fl.

Just proves what I have said all along.... I need to go to Photography school.

Mar 28, 2013 11:04 PM #7
Wayne and Jean Marie Zuhl
Samsel & Associates - Clark, NJ
The Last Names You'll Ever Need in Real Estate

Totally agree with you, Lenn. And the price we've paid to use a professional photographer has been worth every nickel.

Mar 28, 2013 11:04 PM #8
Richard Iarossi
Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage - Crofton, MD
Crofton MD Real Estate, Annapolis MD Real Estate


Interesting corrolarry, when I'm working with some buyers and they don't see pictures of every room...they comment: "I wonder what they're trying to hide." 


Mar 28, 2013 11:09 PM #9
Roy Kelley
Realty Group Referrals - Gaithersburg, MD

Buyers want to see high quality photographs.  Poor photographs can quickly eliminate a home from a prospect list. A recent study shows that buyers pay more attention to the photographs than the agent's description notes.

Mar 28, 2013 11:09 PM #10
Michael J. Gallo
Florida Luxury Realty - New Port Richey, FL
Florida Luxury Realty - Gulf Home Sales Team

Lenn, This is a big pet peeve of mine: lacking photos. I understand that sometimes they are left out so we go see the house, BUT at the same time we waste precious time lookng at homes that the buyer doesn't want because we did not get a full picture of what the home looked like.  

Show me the Avocado Green Tub and Toilet!!

Mar 28, 2013 11:48 PM #11
Toni Weidman
Sailwinds Realty - Trinity, FL
20+ Years Selling Homes in New Port Richey, FL

Lenn - high quality photos are important. The brighter and prettier, the better. Showing room flow is important too.

Mar 28, 2013 11:48 PM #12
Gary Woltal
Keller Williams Realty - Flower Mound, TX
Assoc. Broker Realtor SFR Dallas Ft. Worth

Lenn, I so agree that the photos are the ultimate virtual tour to look at the home prior to visiting it in person as a screening tool. THAT is the #1 reason for the online presentation!!

Mar 28, 2013 11:57 PM #13
Debbie Reynolds
Platinum Properties - Clarksville, TN
Your Dedicated Clarksville TN Real Estate Agent

Lenn, And the photos need to be clear and of good quality or we are not getting the most bang for the buck so to speak.

Mar 29, 2013 12:04 AM #14
Lenn Harley
Lenn Harley,, MD & VA Homes and Real Estate - Leesburg, VA
Real Estate Broker - Virginia & Maryland

Charles.  A simple point and shoot digital with low resolution will do it.  They still have to be resized but they're fine.

Wayne & Jean.  I take my own photos but I'm not a listing agent.

Richard.  They probably think the boogy man is coming.  Most folks aren't that suspicious.

Roy.  We don't have to be professional photographers although with some agents, they should hire one.

Michael.  Buyers want to surf photos.  The agent that gives no photos just makes the house hard to sell.

Toni.  I can't show room flow but I can show rooms.

Gary.  Let's face it.  Photos sell homes.

Debbie.  The photo albums on our MLS are very popular.  I've had buyers eliminate homes from a tour because the only photo was the outside.  HA!  If the home describes well, I'll add it anyway.  I'm not going to pass on a good house because the agent didn't add multiple photos.  However, I know how to read the listings and know the neighborhoods, builders. etc.

Mar 29, 2013 12:31 AM #15
Kathleen Daniels
KD Realty - 408.972.1822 - San Jose, CA
San Jose Homes for Sale-Probate & Trust Specialist

Lenn,  I was taking marketing photos for a new listing the other day.  The seller asked why I was taking so many photos.  I explained that I likely won't use all of them - some times the picture just does not "translate" but that I generally use 20-30 photos to create a photo tour.  The photos will get people in to see the home. If I could find a way to get Agents to read the remarks ... I'll bottle it and sell it!

Mar 29, 2013 01:06 AM #16
Kathy Streib
Room Service Home Staging - Delray Beach, FL
Home Stager - Palm Beach County,FL -561-914-6224
LENN- a good "bingo" from you! I am always surprised when I come upon listings with few photos or ones that are of poor quality.
Mar 29, 2013 04:26 AM #17
Sharon Tara
Sharon Tara Transformations - Portsmouth, NH
New Hampshire Home Stager

I love a good Bingo!  Glad you found the post worthy to share, Lenn.  Thanks!

Mar 29, 2013 07:55 AM #18
Lenn Harley
Lenn Harley,, MD & VA Homes and Real Estate - Leesburg, VA
Real Estate Broker - Virginia & Maryland

Kathleen.  Of course we take many photos.  I you just take one of the front of a home that that one gets lost or isn't very good, you're stuck with going back.

Kathy.  Doesn't bother me.  I don't really need photos but if I were a listing agent, I'd sure want them.  Shucks, you can buy a good digital for less money than my Feragamo loafers.

Sharan.  Absolutely.  Good info for agents who don't work on their photo skills.

Mar 29, 2013 08:55 AM #19
Lou Ludwig
Ludwig & Associates - Boca Raton, FL
Designations Earned CRB, CRS, CIPS, GRI, SRES, TRC


A nice choice for a re-post, thanks for sharing Sharon Tara blog.

Good luck and success.

Lou Ludwig

Mar 29, 2013 11:09 AM #20
Carla Muss-Jacobs, RETIRED
RETIRED / State License is Inactive - Portland, OR

Yes, and I love it when a client has their favorite, favorite only to see it in person and . . . not anymore.  I call that job security ;-)

Mar 29, 2013 12:39 PM #21
Conrad Allen
Re/Max Professional Associates - Webster, MA
Webster, Ma, Realtor

Hi Lenn.  It is mandatory that the listing have one photo in our MLS.  It is so sad to see only one poor photo.

Mar 30, 2013 10:03 PM #22
Lenn Harley
Lenn Harley,, MD & VA Homes and Real Estate - Leesburg, VA
Real Estate Broker - Virginia & Maryland

Lou.  My pleasure.

Carla.  I've seen it many times.  A picture is worth 1,000 words but it's often what can't be seen where we enter that picture.

Conrad.  Sellers should vet listing agents about that.

Mar 30, 2013 10:50 PM #23
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