Listing Photos Create Expectations But What Are They Saying?

Real Estate Agent with Solutions Real Estate CA DRE #01490977

Your Photos Create Expectations...

But What Are They Saying?


We all know the value of photos in real estate marketing. They are particularly important in today’s real estate world given the high percentage of buyers looking online at listings in their home search.


Listing photos create expectations for buyers.


But what are those expectations upon seeing your seller’s listing photos?


First and foremost there is, hopefully, the desire to see the home, based on the visuals in the marketing. High quality, professional photos, and even well done photos by the agent – yes there ARE some – will encourage potential buyers to email or call their agent for a look. And perhaps with the expectation that THIS is the right house!


Beautiful photo of a home for sale

The photos will hopefully also set an expectation the home is well-maintained and clean, and the sellers have cared about their home. Oh joy, we could move right in!


I believe great photos also set an expectation the sellers are serious about selling, since they appear to be doing all the right things from a marketing perspective and getting the home show ready.


Lastly, there is the expectation the house in person will reflect what is seen in the photos – what you see is what you get. Hopefully that IS the case.


But let’s travel over to the dark side…


What about those ugly photos? You know, photos of cluttered or messy rooms, obvious maintenance issues, or things that are just plain odd?


ugly houseOr the contrast, where buyers see either very limited or poor quality photos, and the listing is missing key rooms often important to buyers – like kitchens, living rooms and the master. Or there are no photos of the back yard.


So imagine the expectations set by those types of photos!


The buyer simply chooses to move on, fully expecting the home that will not work for them for a host of reasons, is simply not appealing, or requires a ton of work because, well, imagine what else we are NOT seeing?!


Or the buyer chooses to take a chance, meanwhile expecting their worst fears to be confirmed…and they so often are.


The problem is that even if the buyer does decide to take a look, and expects all sorts of other issues, that then gets mentally converted to a negative impression and probably a low offer perhaps before they’ve even stepped through the door.


ugly backyardThe expectation from that ugly set of photos? That home is not worth what they are asking.


Bad photos can also create an expectation about the seller as well as the agent. They don’t care, they’re not motivated or serious, they are hiding other issues, they’ve let the house go.


All of which could also mean the buyer may expect difficult times with their purchase.


Or that they can get a killer deal because of the home's condition.


And if the agent is sloppy about their listing, and photos, what else might the buyers, and their agent, expect in negotiations and the process of getting through the transaction.


All that said, you are not going to have beautiful photos if the home is not looking show ready to begin with. But poor photos will really do a disservice to a home that's in nice shape.


So be real careful about those listing photos, the message being conveyed, and setting  expectations that work counter to getting the home sold quickly and for a great price.


Re-Blogged 1 time:

Re-Blogged By Re-Blogged At
  1. Debbie Reynolds 06/21/2018 05:00 AM
Home Selling
Certified Residential Specialists
SAN DIEGO Real Estate Agents & Loan Officers
Advice for Sellers
San Diego Realtors®
listing photos
setting expectations
why good listing photos are important

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Ron Aguilar
Continental Mortgage - Saint George, UT
Mortgage & Real Estate Advisor since 1995

Good point to illustrate today. The Agents 1st goal is to get the listing. The rest of it becomes circumstantial which includes pics, condition and the seller...

Jun 19, 2018 06:36 AM #53
John Wiley
Right Move Real Estate Group- EXP Realty - Fort Myers, FL
Lee County, FL, ECO Broker, GRI, SRES,GREEN,PSA

Jeff, this is a great post that should be taken seriously.

What story does our photos tell? We should carefully consider that question before we post each photo.

We want to present the home in the best way possible that shows the buyer what to expect.

I get frustrated with listings that have so few photos and leave out main areas.

Thanks for a great share.

Jun 19, 2018 07:52 AM #54
Nick Vandekar, 610-203-4543
Long & Foster Real Estate Inc 610-225-7400 - Devon, PA
Tredyffrin Easttown Realtor, Philly Main Line

Great post, photos with good lighting, showing both the house, the rooms, they yards and neighborhood give the buyer an opportunity to grasp what they are potentially buying. As you also say they tell the potential buyer and neighbours a lot about the seller and their agent as well, something worth remembering if you are hoping to find other listings in the area.

Jun 19, 2018 08:18 AM #55
Elaine VonCannon
Coldwell Banker Traditions - Williamsburg, VA

This is a great post! Listing photos are so important, and they say so much!

Jun 19, 2018 08:54 AM #56
Greg Mona
Faira Homes Corp - Scottsdale, AZ
Real Estate in the 21st Century!

Hi Jeff Dowler, CRS. Many of the points I wanted to make have been made in previous posts.

IMO, the bottom line is to show the home in the best way possible; both visually AND descriptively. I personally see nothing wrong with HD photography nor wide angle shots, provided they don't distort the truth. Photoshopping in a green lawn into a dirt backyard, or blue water into a green pool is a violation, plain and simple unless you disclose the photo has been altered. If we all want to be taken seriously as "professionals", then for goodness sake, don't post up blurry cell phone photos for your listings!

Jun 19, 2018 09:29 AM #57
L. Scott Ferguson
Ask4Ferguson - Your House-SOLD Name in Real Estate - West Palm Beach, FL
Sunny Florida Real Estate Professional

Jeff great post!

I just like my pics to tell the true story and not try to 'exagerate' the home, such as make things look bigger.  Awesome read!



Coach Fergie

Jun 19, 2018 09:44 AM #58
Monique Ting
INET Realty Honolulu, HI - Honolulu, HI
Your agent under the sun

Good photos are definitively an essential tool for marketing a property for sale, but you will be surprised by the number of bad pictures that make it to our locsl MLS... yet, some of those properties still attract a horde of attention if they are well priced and in a desirable location!

Jun 19, 2018 11:24 AM #59
Georgie Hunter R(S) 58089
Hawai'i Life Real Estate Brokers - Haiku, HI
Maui Real Estate sales and lifestyle info

Congrats on the featured post. Love those examples of bad photos you used. Sometimes we have little to work with but there's no excuse for pictures that bad.

Jun 19, 2018 11:26 AM #60
Anne Edwards Johnson
JP and Associates - Austin, TX
Austin Realtor | HookemhomesATX (512)917-5260

I had a buyer's agent  scold  me because "the pictures made my listing look too good".  Hmmm!

Jun 19, 2018 12:16 PM #61
Elizabeth Weintraub Sacramento Realtor Top 1%
RE/MAX Gold - Sacramento, CA
Put 40 years of experience to work for you

I sell million-dollar homes and hole-in-the-wall dumps, and I afford each professional photography. I am a top-notch photographer myself, but you know what, my professional photogapher who does nothing but shoot real estate photos day in and day out and has perfected Photoshop skills far exceeding mine -- is better than me. I am not arrogant enough to think I can shoot better photos than he.

However, I especially enjoy marketing the hole-in-the-wall dumps because I showcase every nook and cranny, every ugly thing about that home because a) I know my audience for this home very well, and there are a ton of would-be flippers in Sacramento and b) because I want buyers to know precisely what they are buying. I build bidding wars for it. I can say things like "if the stink of the half empy fish tank doesn't gag you, the melting pumpkin that is rotting in the middle of the living room floor will." And it works!

Jun 19, 2018 01:09 PM #62
Lynn B. Friedman
Atlanta Homes ODAT Realty Call/Text 404-939-2727 Buckhead - Midtown - Westside -- and more ... - Atlanta, GA
Concierge Service for Our Atlanta Sellers & Buyers

Jeff Dowler, CRS 
You said this in as nice a way as possible. That Kitchen photo is a disgrace. We found one with a person sleeping the the bed!! Hopefully, one day, those who post photos like that will realize it reflects on them!
All the best-Lynn

Jun 19, 2018 06:41 PM #63
Janelle Ancillotti
Seneca Home Staging - Syracuse, NY
HSR Certified Home Stager, Syracuse, NY

You make a great point that sloppy photos lead buyers to expect a sloppy buying process. I believe this is a true assumption and not just a false perception. Sellers and agents who don't show care in their listings won't show care in the selling process either. 

Jun 20, 2018 05:45 AM #64
Tim Maitski
Atlanta Communities Real Estate Brokerage - Atlanta, GA
Truth, Excellence and a Good Deal

I agree with everything you said.

Jun 20, 2018 07:44 AM #65
Christina Steinhaus
Coldwell Banker Residential Property - West Palm Beach, FL
Real Estate Agent serving the Palm Beaches

Great post, Jeff! I would like to add one little thing. Please label the photos in the MLS. It’s easy to do and gives everyone an accurate vision of the property.

Jun 20, 2018 09:12 AM #66
Mary Hutchison, SRES, ABR
Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate-Kansas City Homes - Kansas City, MO
Experienced Agent in Kansas City Metro area

You are on target with this post!  I understand how important photos are,and sometimes they do not show items that reflect poorly on the home (for example, knicked woodwork, dirty windows, flooring that needs replacement, etc).  The way a home shows and is kept is a direct reflection on the seller.

Jun 20, 2018 05:15 PM #67
Dorie Dillard CRS GRI ABR
Coldwell Banker United Realtors® ~ 512.750.6899 - Austin, TX
Serving Buyers & Sellers in NW Austin Real Estate

Good morning Jeff Dowler, CRS,

I don't know how I missed this post but caught it when Debbie Reynolds re-blog. Excellent are right on with your recommendations. I love my photographer that takes HD photos and they are always crisp, clear and do my listing justice. I always make sure my listings are picture perfect before they come. I would be doing a disservice to my sellers if I did'nt have excellent photos taken especially after all the preparation they have done to be ready for the photo shoot!

Jun 21, 2018 05:42 AM #68
Barbara Todaro
RE/MAX Executive Realty - Franklin, MA
Marketing Agent for The Todaro Team

Good morning, Jeff Dowler, CRS listing photos need to tell the story....the true story....and always remember "the eye buys".....

Jun 21, 2018 06:05 AM #69
Margaret Rome, Baltimore Maryland
HomeRome Realty 410-530-2400 - Pikesville, MD
Sell Your Home With Margaret Rome


Would have missed this post if not reblogged by Debbie Reynolds 

Jun 21, 2018 06:56 PM #70
Ben DeHaven
Haven Realty & Investments - Winter Haven, FL
Proudly serving Winter Haven & Lakeland, Florida

A picture is worth a thousand words, and some of those pictures are worth deleting!

Jun 22, 2018 08:10 AM #71
Jovita Kafton

Preparation of the home before photos attracts more buyers if priced right will sell faster than the competition translating into more profit for the seller and higher commission for the agent.

Jul 13, 2018 09:17 AM #73
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