Selling a Pig, A Farmer’s Futile Chore

Home Stager

In this Inman news article “Multitude of websites and apps exist to take visual real estate marketing to a new level” Bernice Ross delivers new, insightful information about the advances in marketing technology and shares a barn load of great relevant tools for marketing and showcasing property.

What’s so unfortunate is that many Realtors often deal with less than approachable or cooperative Sellers every day.  It’s like, “what’s the point? A pig is a pig, is a pig”.  No matter what platform, what site, what app you put it on, it’s still a pig.

A Realtor can invest lots of time and tons of their marketing budget on creating great neighborhood videos and current blog content, but when they are faced with a “pig pen” listing, no matter how beautiful the farm is the pig is still a pig.

As technology gives Realtors new ways to showcase houses for sale (including 3d technology), it becomes increasingly vital that homes are prepared well for showing.  They need to be at minimum, in decent online showing condition. Sellers must accept the responsibility of getting their home ready for online listing photos in this new level of ‘visual Real Estate marketing’.

So many homes on the internet look like crap and owners are losing wheel barrows of money as their homes sit on the market unsold month after month because Buyers don't like what they see in their online listing photos. Consequently, those homes get few in-person showings and the Seller suffers the agonizing result, failure to sell the pig.  

It's really sad to see the extent of this problem on the internet and imagine what impact it’s having on families who really need to sell and need the most money from the sale of their house.

I think to myself ‘its common sense’.  But then I reflect and acknowledge that I have a different perspective. A lot of Sellers just don’t know what they need to do.  How can we educate and inform the Sellers who fall into the proverbial “pig pen” category so we can help them accept the responsibility that they have to prepare their home for selling? And help them understand what the impact is if they don’t?

Teri Allen,

Listing Cover Photo

On Dining Room Wall of $750k listing



Comments (27)

Laura Cerrano
Feng Shui Manhattan Long Island - Locust Valley, NY
Certified Feng Shui Expert, Speaker & Researcher

It would be cool to hybrid all these platforms in open source. I wonder what might happen! :)

Aug 06, 2014 03:04 PM
Chris Griffith
Downing-Frye Realty, Bonita Springs, FL - Bonita Springs, FL
Bonita Springs Listing Specialist - Agent

I'm working with a seller right now who needs to get tile scrubbed and a professional cleaning before an agent or buyer breaches the doorway.  They don't understand that it will pay for itself.

Aug 06, 2014 08:11 PM
Dr. Paula McDonald
Beam & Branch Realty - Granbury, TX
Granbury, TX 936-203-0279

Wowzer!  Can't believe that would be the main picture for a listing!  Can't imagine how the place must have smelled!

Aug 06, 2014 09:21 PM
Andrew Mooers | 207.532.6573
Northern Maine Real Estate-Aroostook County Broker

Videos for the show and tell are not new and so so powerful in the connection. The agent if the seller is not up for the task can whip, stage the place if it is priced right and wants the images, video clips to take it up a notch.

To shine without looking like just lipstick was added to that "pig". Oink. The low price and tell them dirty but nice, structurally sound but look out. Looks a little like a Stephen King movie set when the director with the tall leather riding boots, crop and slightly cocked beret screams "that's a wrap, print, get them in the can man."

Aug 06, 2014 09:52 PM
Richie Alan Naggar
people first...then business Ran Right Realty - Riverside, CA
agent & author

Chris Griffith makes good sense when she says..."it will pay for itself". Prep for sale is a prep for success

Aug 06, 2014 11:41 PM
Suzanne McLaughlin
Sabinske & Associates, Inc. (Albertville, St. Michael) - Saint Michael, MN
Sabinske & Associates, Realtor

That photo looked like some of the foreclosures I have handled, and I never would have put a photo like that in a listing on the MLS, let alone as a main listing photo.  What were they thinking?

Aug 07, 2014 02:57 AM
Pamela Seley
West Coast Realty Division - Murrieta, CA
Residential Real Estate Agent serving SW RivCo CA

It depends on the seller to clean up and stage, or not. Many pigs have been sold, just not at top market price. 

Aug 07, 2014 06:26 AM
Teri L
Palm Desert, CA

Sylvia, I KNOW!!! worst part about that listing is there were more pictures at the end showing the house cleaned up.  The agent posted new photos on MLS but didn't delete the bad ones from the public sites... go figure.

Randy, Really? that's so not PC.

Joan, I'd love to see that photo if it's accessible online.

Praful, No you're not, it just takes time which is always hard to find.

Chris, that's the hard part, getting sellers to understand the value

Paula, eeeewwww 

Andrew, "lipstick on the pig, oink" and the rest... too funny!

Richie, well said, yes indeed. I like your quote.

Suzanne, exactly, I don't know what they were thinking, that listing has a dozen more photos that are about as bad...


Aug 07, 2014 06:49 AM
Ann Zieve
Keller Williams Success Realty - Eden, UT
Unmatched Ownership Experience

Great post Teri. No matter how great you present your property online but still messy inside,  buyers won't get it as they view the house.

Aug 07, 2014 07:36 AM
Norma Toering Broker for Palos Verdes and Beach Cities
Charlemagne International Properties - Rancho Palos Verdes, CA
Palos Verdes Luxury Homes in L.A.

I guess the moral of the story is you pay a price for marketing pigsty style. There is a buyer for every property but as Pamela Seley points out a poorly presented pig rarely fetches top price.  A little lipstick, please!  And take that offensive poster off the wall for starters

Aug 07, 2014 07:41 AM
Teri L
Palm Desert, CA

Norma, Do you think as part of the price you pay 'marketing pigsty style' hurts an agents reputation?  Meaning, if an agent takes a 'pig' and does ALL the right things, but the Seller still doesn't clean up their act, does it hurt an agents reputation to take pig listings? 

Aug 07, 2014 08:17 AM
HomeSmart Real Estate - Phoenix, AZ

well I agree with. all the comments here…and particularly that anybody would post that dirty closet as their main listing photo. My clients even make fun of listings that don't have photos or decent photos. I know that sometimes you can end up with a seller who has a dirty place and getting them to clean it up even 50% is a challenge. I had a friend who listed a the short sale and took photos of the place and then wrote "See through all the crap and imagine what it could be!" I laughed when I read it and mentioned it to him and he felt he was being honest because it was a nice, newer home but not very clean. They did get an offer but the price was also very favorable. 



Aug 07, 2014 11:40 AM
Carla Muss-Jacobs, RETIRED
RETIRED / State License is Inactive - Portland, OR

Hey, I'll call that truth in advertising.  Suppose this is how the place really looks, well then . . . no one is going to be surprised when touring.

Aug 07, 2014 02:55 PM
Than Maynard
Coldwell Banker Heart of Oklahoma - Purcell, OK
Broker - Licensed to List & Sell - 405-990-8862

So many sellers refuse to listen...Buyer's can see past the clutter, Buyer's will understand the room is really big because of all the furniture I have in here, Buyer's can see past the repairs and they are small and simply and easily done, etc etc

Aug 07, 2014 11:53 PM
Myrl Jeffcoat
Sacramento, CA
Greater Sacramento Realtor - Retired

I actually saw a MLS listing that had a picture of a kitchen sink filled a mile high with dirty dishes!  There had to of been an ulterior motive for that!

Aug 08, 2014 12:34 AM
Jonathan Crompton
Keller Williams Realty - Mount Pleasant, SC
Helping you establish your roots in the lowcountry

Thanks for the laugh.  It always amazes me what some people put on the MLS for pictures!

Aug 08, 2014 04:15 AM
Jeff Jensen
The Federal Savings Bank/Lending in 50 states - Greenwich, CT

Wow you really have found some dusie out there.

Aug 08, 2014 07:55 AM
Teri L
Palm Desert, CA

I just don't get it Jeff, I truly feel bad for the Seller's who don't know better. Now the "wetsuit" house is in the hands of the bank, but I feel bad for them too as I imagine they haven't seen their public listing.... 

Aug 08, 2014 08:10 AM
Claude Labbe
RLAH / @properties - Washington, DC
Realty for Your Busy Life

I can't believe either of those 2 photos.  And yet, I've seen enough to know those have happened.  Of course, for the buyer, that sure screams "opportunity".  If that's what the listing agent is doing, then maybe they aren't all that interested and careful with this home and that can be used to the buyer's advantage.

Aug 08, 2014 12:50 PM
Teri L
Palm Desert, CA

Claude Labbe the part that I have trouble with is how can some listing agents be so irresponsible? The majority of the listings I see need work, either the photos are poor quality or size, or they're in random order showing no flow to the house, or there are not enough photos.  So combine a house in poor condition with poor quality/quantity photos and you've got a poor listing, sad for the Seller. 

Aug 09, 2014 12:13 AM