Sometimes You Just Have to Get Out of Your Computer and Look at Houses

Real Estate Agent with Keller Williams Capital Properties DC AB15253

It is great to look at properties on line - think of all the time we save by looking at those pictures of listings in the computers! But.... Do those pictures really capture the listing?  How many times do you see miserable pictures and pass up the listing because of bad pictures or no pictures.  As a Realtor, I admit to getting a little snippy - and thinking things like -

Well if the pictures are this bad, then the agent is probably an idiot and hard to work with.

My life is busy enough without having to deal with a stupid or ignorant agent.

I have my own job - I don't need to do that agent's job too.

Right? Don't we all think snarky stuff like that? 

Still....Even the good pictures don't tell the whole story of the house. After all in the DC metro area, we can only put up 30 pictures. Do those 30 pictures really tell everything about the property? The neighbors? The light in the house at noon or dusk? The feel of the house when you first pull up to it? It is hard enough for us as Realtors to get an idea of the house, but imagine what it is like for our clients! 

I recently had a new client who had just moved to DC decide to rent because they couldn't find anything for sale that they wanted to look at. By relying on the on line photos alone,  they eliminated the entire DC metro area.  I completely undertand that it is hard for a newcomer to DC to immediately decide on a neighborhood, a style, and a price range and jump into the housing market as a complete novice. (Of course, my job is to educate them on all those things, but honestly - some people need a few months to get to know the lay of the land.) When you don't have children that need to start school in a month, I think renting for a few months or a year actually makes sense.  But that isn't why they decided to rent.  They decided to rent because - based on a bunch of photos on line- they decided that there was nothing in the DC metro area that they would consider buying.  

When you move to a new area like DC, you need to try on a bunch of neighborhoods. You need to see what the restaurants are like or where the grocery stores are.  You need to see if your heart sings in that neighborhood or it leaves you cold. You need to try on condos and townhouses - big buildings and small. A new city has new things to consider - and you can't make those decisions from the comfort of your computer.  You have to get out and look at the listings and make some decisions based on real knowledge! Put your computer away and put your tennies on - start looking! You will find lots of surprises out there! 

If you are looking for a new home, give the Lise Howe Group of Keller Williams Capital Properties a call at 240-401-5577 or 301-251-1221. We specialize in working with relocating buyers! As DC natives, we love showing off our hometown to newcomers. Let us help you too!


Re-Blogged 1 time:

Re-Blogged By Re-Blogged At
  1. Barbara Hensley 06/20/2013 10:43 PM
Home Buying
dc real estate
home buying
relocating buyers

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Karen Johnson, Realtor, ABR
Addison Wolfe Real Estate - Doylestown, PA
"Bucks County PA Homes"

Thank you for a great post!  I agree with you.  I have seen some terrible pictures on MLS and I thought, "Did that agent even look at the pictures before posting them or are they just lazy!"  If you cannot take good pictures, you should hire a photographer.  Thanks for sharing!

Jun 20, 2013 10:29 AM #11
Wayne Johnson
Coldwell Banker D'Ann Harper REALTORS® - San Antonio, TX
San Antonio REALTOR, San Antonio Homes For Sale
One can do some triage on the computer but oftentimes seeing in person is believing.
Jun 20, 2013 11:23 AM #12
Carla Muss-Jacobs, RETIRED
RETIRED / State License is Inactive - Portland, OR

There are awful photos and even when I know the area, neighborhood, location, I don't even want to show them.  So yes, the photos are one thing and we have to get out to see the place.  I'm just amazed that agents, apparently, can't tell their photos are lousy. 

Jun 20, 2013 11:23 AM #13
Jimmy Faulkner
Florida. Homes Realty & Mortgage - Wantagh, NY
The Best Of St. Augustine

How you present yourself to a customer in appearance and attitude is very important and can make or break a transaction & relationships. The same applies to how you look on the computer. Do you do videos?

Jun 20, 2013 11:25 AM #14
Wayne and Jean Marie Zuhl
Samsel & Associates - Clark, NJ
The Last Names You'll Ever Need in Real Estate

Hi Lisa - pictures are a great way to weed out the homes that definitely don't fit your life, but no picture or virtual tour or video will ever give you a real feel for the home, at least not in my experience!

Jun 20, 2013 11:27 AM #15
Joan Whitebook
BHG The Masiello Group - Nashua, NH
Consumer Focused Real Estate Services

Let's face it.. an agent isn't going to take a photo which does not depict something positive about the house.  Some agents even go so far that if a house has a steep driveway, they have a truck with a camera on top so it will not expose the steep driveway.  I'm not sure how this really works out because when the buyer get to the home, they feel They have been deceived.  Not once, has a buyer ignored the negative item (e.g. power lines, rot, no back yard etc.) and just fallen in love with the house!

Jun 20, 2013 12:48 PM #16
Bill Reddington
Re/max By The Sea - Destin, FL
Destin Florida Real Estate

Cameras can certainly hide lots of imperfections. But still nothing like walking thru the door. A buyer that eliminates the world because of pictures is not a buyer.

Jun 20, 2013 01:18 PM #17
Kathleen Daniels
KD Realty - 408.972.1822 - San Jose, CA
San Jose Homes for Sale-Probate & Trust Specialist

Lise,  People moving into any area that they are unfamiliar with have a very difficult decision to make. They need extra special care and attention to educate about the area, schools, commute, transportation, etc.  It would be difficult to know where to live.  My sense is that the MLS photos had little to do with the decision to rent.  They may really want to get the lay of the land before they buy.

Jun 20, 2013 01:29 PM #18
Fred Griffin Tallahassee Real Estate
Fred Griffin Real Estate - Tallahassee, FL
Licensed Florida Real Estate Broker

Which is worse - crummy MLS photos, or photos that have been so photo-shopped they border on misrepresentation?

Jun 20, 2013 01:43 PM #19
Kathy Schowe
California Lifestyle Realty - La Quinta, CA
La Quinta, California 760-333-8886

I will be starting a new territory, with a new broker next week... and I have lots of homes to go look at.  Luckily... I love looking at homes!  K

Jun 20, 2013 02:29 PM #20
Edward & Celia Maddox
The Celtic Connection Realty - Queen Creek, AZ

Yes, it is very easy to get locked into being on the computer all the time, and not actually going out.

Jun 20, 2013 06:29 PM #21
Gita Bantwal
RE/MAX Centre Realtors - Warwick, PA
REALTOR,ABR,CRS,SRES,GRI - Bucks County & Philadel

I believe buyers should first drive by neighborhoods to decide where they would like to live based on commute to work, and amenities near by etc. Then they can look online at houses in those enighborhoods and choose which homes they want to preview.Good post.

Jun 20, 2013 08:31 PM #22
Jeana Cowie
RE/MAX Real Estate Limited - Paramus, NJ
Broker Associate, ABR, CRS, GRI, SRES


It's true that sometimes the house photographs really well, but is not so good in person, and sometimes bad photographs do not do it justice. So it is good to see the home as long as the buyer likes the location. Sometimes google maps places the home in the wrong place too.  Nothing beats the actual visual of home viewing.

Jun 20, 2013 08:45 PM #23
Brenda Mayette
Miranda Real Estate Group, Inc. - Glenville, NY
Getting results w/ knowledge & know-how!

Fantastic post! I was just speaking with a new buyer the other day about the benefits of actually going INTO the home vs. seeing it online.  Online does help avoid wasting a bunch of time though.  I do feel bad for the sellers whose agents promote their home with lousy pictures... Makes me wonder if they ever share the listing report with them...? Interesting the level of service (or not!!) someone will pay for.  Congrats on the feature!

Jun 20, 2013 10:12 PM #24
Suzanne Otto
Six Twenty Designs - Lansdale, PA
Your Montgomery County PA home stager

It's true, a photo can only tell so much about the property. There's always a certain feeling a buyer gets when you walk through a property that you can't get from looking at a photo. I think as good agents, you would try to show your buyer a home that they discounted because of online pictures. You are the educators of homes, who knows what they might find out about the property that will cause them to fall in love with it?

Jun 20, 2013 10:56 PM #25
Richie Alan Naggar
people first...then business Ran Right Realty - Riverside, CA
agent & author

In my world, I take good photos and then wait for someone to have done their home work...then, we go live showing after we pre-qual

Jun 20, 2013 11:04 PM #26
Andrew Mooers | 207.532.6573
Northern Maine Real Estate-Aroostook County Broker

Whole different approach...the office is online now and one of our platforms takes an hour to stock the shelves on each property listing. But at 10:30 at night when the buyer is ready five states away, the 53 images, the real full motion video embed, the tons of information, helpful time and gas saving links with aerial map all do the heavy lifting. Video removes the barrier about how the property goes together, fits. And the details on the area, local community become crystal clear with sight and sound.

Jun 21, 2013 01:10 AM #27
Ymeki Stevens
Keller Williams Realty Partners - Woodstock, GA

Great post and sometimes is picture is not worth a thousand words.

Jun 21, 2013 02:42 AM #28
Helen and Larry Prier- Re-Max Gateway - Residential Real Estate
RE-MAX Gateway- Residential Real Estate Sales - Anacortes, WA
Anacortes & surrounding Skagit & Island Counties

Lise, This is true advice for Buyers and Agents. I decided just yesterday that I need to get out more to preview homes just on the market.

Jun 21, 2013 02:54 AM #29
Patricia Kennedy
RLAH Real Estate - Washington, DC
Home in the Capital

Lise, I have buyers coming in from out of town looking in Northern Virginia, and yeah.  I'm going to have to do some previewing.  Help break in the new knees!

Jun 21, 2013 11:09 AM #30
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Lise Howe

Assoc. Broker in DC, MD, VA and attorney in DC
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