$1M Listing with Mediocre Photography....Really?!

Real Estate Agent with Nest Ahead

Sellers:  Interview Your Prospective REALTORS®


     So, Thursday and Friday morning my husband and I were posting across various social media channels to let everyone know about our Grand Open House this afternoon in Houston, Texas for our latest listing. One particular Facebook group that allows you to publish open house posts had a home that caught my eye.  

     This home was in our general market area and priced around $1 million dollars.  What grabbed my attention was that there was a direct link for the listing to the Houston Association of REALTORS® (HAR) and the cover photo with the link was, well, how do I say this diplomatically...sub-par.  (For those of you that are out of our market area, HAR is our local MLS.)  

     Curiosity got the better of me and I clicked to see the rest of the photos.  It was a stunning home indeed, but the photos did not do it justice. There were fuzzy photos, crooked photos, and dimly lit photos. The way I look at it, we are allowed to upload 32 photos to our MLS which gives us 32 separate marketing opportunities to impress and "wow" the buyers who are scrolling through.  I'm scratching my head in disbelief as to 1) how the seller is ok with this, and 2) how did the agent get hired to sell this listing that averages $1 million dollars without providing satisfactory performance expectations on something as basic as professional photos?

     The truth is, I will probably never know, or understand.  Perhaps there were circumstances that created the need to throw up some quick photos and there was not time to schedule a professional photographer. Perhaps they talked the agent into dropping their commission on the sale and the agent was forced to cut corners on marketing.  Regardless of the details, high quality photos sell a home, and especially when you have a house in that price point, buyers expect to be romanced.

     As my father used to tell me when I was a little girl, "if you are going to do something, do it right the first time and give it all you've got."  To be honest, this was dad's nicest way of phrasing his opinion on the topic of one's effort, as his alternative phrases were strikingly more blunt. The point being; people put their homes on the market to sell them.  No one that I have ever met lists their home out of boredom or for sport.  An agent's good name and reputation are always on the line and at the end of the day, each and every real estate agent out there should be earning their paycheck.  Note the term "earning" implies hard work, effort, and the attempt to exceed their client's expectations for every facet of the time-line within the seller's contract.

     So, to everyone out there thinking of hiring an agent (which I do recommend) and putting  your home on the market, pick your top few choices in agents and schedule an appointment for an interview.  Ask questions about the marketing plan they are going to implement.  Will professional photos be taken?  Will all 32 spaces for photos be used on the MLS system?  Will social media be utilized in spreading the word about their home for sale?  Will the agent be able to list the home globally, on international MLS networks? Are professional brochures or booklets going to be printed?  These are just a few questions that you may want to ask to ensure that you are hiring the right REALTOR® for the job.

     Now if you are an agent reading this post and are fortunate enough to have wonderful clients like ours that took the time and effort to write us a review like the one pictured above, you will know without a doubt that you exceeded your clients' expectations and earned your wages.  That being said, as REALTORS® we should make it a point to never become complacent with our own performance and always strive to go above and beyond for every client throughout our contracts and careers. Each and every one of us as real estate agents can always find room for improvement.  Your clients are sure to recognize it when you are standing "Above the Crowd!®".


~ Sherry McNabb


Posted by

Sherry McNabb, REALTOR®

RE/MAX Grand
713.632.4276 Direct

If you plan on selling your home and/or buying a new one, I can help. Just send me an email or give me a call. Please remember, the greatest compliment you can give me is a referral to your friends, family or co-workers. I am never too busy for your referrals.

Disclaimer: E-mails sent or received shall neither constitute acceptance of conducting transactions via electronic means nor create a binding contract until and unless a written contract is signed by all parties.

CONFIDENTIALITY NOTICE: The information contained in this message may be privileged and confidential. It may also be protected from disclosure or be a privileged work product or proprietary information. This information is intended for the exclusive use of the addressee(s). If you are not the intended recipient, please notify the sender immediately by replying to this message and you are hereby notified that any use, disclosure, dissemination, distribution (other than to the addressee(s), copying or taking of any action because of this information is strictly prohibited.

Comments (6)

Dorie Dillard Austin TX
Coldwell Banker Realty ~ 512.750.6899 - Austin, TX
NW Austin ~ Canyon Creek and Spicewood/Balcones

Good morning Sherry McNabb ,

It never ceases to amaze me when I see sub par photos in the MLS and marketing pieces that are so average. Sellers do not have to accept this level of marketing for their home. Asking those important questions about the level of marketing they will be doing when interviewing agents is paramount!

Jun 17, 2017 05:06 AM
Sherry McNabb
I agree 100% Dorie! Also, if you are like us, we are very competitive. That makes it pretty hard for us to see a listing close to home that doesn't have our sign outside when the listing agent has very obviously passed up so many marketeting opportunities on such a "golden egg."
Jun 17, 2017 08:00 AM
Nathan Gesner
American West Realty and Management - Cody, WY
Broker / Property Manager

Sherry McNabb I often wonder if these sellers even look at the marketing? I have seen million-dollar homes with on exterior photo and they've sat on the market for a year! It's also common to see expensive homes with descriptions that talk about the fantastic views but they don't even include pictures of the outside. Unbelievable.

Jun 17, 2017 05:57 AM
Sherry McNabb
Hi Nathan. I think most sellers do look at marketing, but only AFTER they are under contract. If they are not happy, it seems like they just ride it out until the contract expires if there are fees associated w/breaking the contract. Obviously some sellers just don't look at the marketing, perhaps because they are not tech savvy or just mistakenly believe that all agents are created equal!
Jun 17, 2017 07:52 AM
Joan Cox
House to Home, Inc. - Denver Real Estate - 720-231-6373 - Denver, CO
Denver Real Estate - Selling One Home at a Time

Sherry, I am always shocked to see the lack of quality photos on listings, at any price range.  Dark photos, and photos of furniture that does not convey.  

Jun 17, 2017 06:06 AM
Sherry McNabb
Joan, yes! I agree. I think EVERY home and EVERY client deserves great photographs, regardless of the price. Another issue I have seen is 6-8 photos of one room (even the same angle sometimes) and only 20 total pictures up. That always leaves me scratching my head wondering what the rest of the home looks like, are they hiding something, and what was the agent thinking? Yikes!
Jun 17, 2017 07:44 AM
Sandy Padula and Norm Padula, JD, GRI
HomeSmart Realty West & Lend Smart Mortgage, Llc. - Carlsbad, CA
Presence, Persistence & Perseverance

This is a good post and we need to approach our photographs just as one would when standing at the curb of a prospective home with a buyer. If no 'curb appeal', we have missed an opportunity that will be lost forever. Now the other side of the coin is perhaps the listing agent is trying to sell it themselves.

Jun 17, 2017 07:03 AM
Sherry McNabb
Thank you Sandy and Norm! This gorgeous home had so many missed opportunities, it just left me with a feeling of sinking disbelief. I suppose the listing agent could have been trying to sell their own home, but if I were selling my own home and put up pictures like that, I would probably fire myself! Haha.
Jun 17, 2017 07:29 AM
Patricia Feager, MBA, CRS, GRI,MRP
Selling Homes Changing Lives

Sherry McNabb - Your questions are of genuine concern to me and many others too. Your sage advice is packed with powerful thought provoking ideas and incentives for a Seller to get their home sold. When it comes to Listing Agents, Sellers have choices. Seller's need to know their beautiful home could easily be passed over by savvy consumers who wouldn't give them the time of day to even look at their home if it doesn't look good in HAR and/or MLS.

Photos do matter and so do you. I would gladly refer others to you!

Jun 17, 2017 01:16 PM
Sherry McNabb

Patricia, thank you profoundly for such a wonderful complement. My husband and I would also be happy to refer others to a REALTOR® like you as well!  

Jun 17, 2017 04:19 PM
Roy Kelley
Realty Group Referrals - Gaithersburg, MD

This is excellent advice to share with prospective home sellers.

Jun 18, 2017 07:40 AM
Sherry McNabb

Thank you Roy!  We do have a professional camera for some community photos and photos for marketing but we try to leave the rest to the pros like you!  I always love viewing your photos.


Jun 18, 2017 10:17 AM