Pretty Pictures Don't Replace Real Estate Agents!

Real Estate Agent with GreatWest Realty DRE# 00827565

Without a doubt, advancements in technology, and photography in a digital age, have advanced marketing techniques for selling real estate by leaps and bounds. At the touch of a keyboard linked to the internet, homebuyers and sellers have learned they are dramatically empowered in their quest to buy and sell real estate.

A wealth of websites provide many buyers (and sellers too) with the ability to conduct their own searches of homes, and explore home values, before contacting an agent.  They often continue the search, on their own, even while working with a real estate agent.

Internet consumer searches are done in much the same way, as real estate agents.  Search parameters (towns, price range, number of bedrooms and baths, square footage, lot size), can be entered into the criteria.  From the input populated in the search fields, listings are produced to match the criteria

Here is where having a Real Estate Professional working with you can make a tremendous difference. Usually in the marketing of properties, listings are presented in "their best light."  In other words, great pictures, marketing descriptions and comments can many times exaggerate the positive, while underplaying the negative - if not totally ignoring it. Real Estate Professionals use their market knowledge and expertise to allow them to filter out properties, which will not work for their clients

One agent remembered a personal friend, who lived in another state, who was ready to relocate to yet another state.  The friend was using one of the more popular Internet websites geared for real estate buyers and sellers.  The friend flew half way across the country to put in an offer on the house in the picture.  She had fallen in love with the huge oak tree in front of the quaint looking house in the "exceptional" picture.  

However, when she arrived at the property, she found the huge Oak tree, was mere inches from the front of the house, and its roots were actually busting out the slab in the dining room.  The branches were threatening the roof.

It was then, that the friend realized that a referral to a good real estate agent in the area was a great idea after all!



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Will Hamm
Hamm Homes - Aurora, CO
"Where There's a Will, There's a Way!"

Hello Myrl,  This is so true.  Picture are one thing but may not tell the real story.

Jul 31, 2019 10:09 AM #18
Rebecca Gaujot, Realtor®
Vision Quest Realty - Lewisburg, WV
Lewisburg WV, the go to agent for all real estate

Myrl, so true! Pictures don't show how close the neighbors are, how close are the trees to the house and how clean is the house. I had out-of-town clients ask me to go preview the house and call them while there.  They had a lot of questions that I could answer for them. Two of them were really not what the photos depicted.

Aug 01, 2019 11:32 AM #19
Michelle Carr Crowe,Altas Just Call...408-252-8900!
Get Results Team...Just Call (408) 252-8900! . DRE #00901962 . Licensed to Sell since 1985 . Altas Realty - San Jose, CA
Family Helping Families Buy & Sell Homes 40+ Years


Ah, yes, details, details. It's like online dating for houses sometimes.

Aug 01, 2019 12:58 PM #20
Kat Palmiotti
406-270-3667 (MT), 914-419-0270 (NY), Broker in NY with Grand Lux Realty and in MT with (coming soon!) - Kalispell, MT
The House Kat

Agents who know the inventory can certainly provide a lot of information to buyers or sellers that they'll never find from a picture or listing description.

There's a house in my town that I'm familiar with. It sits right on a corner on a very busy road. There is a small nearly straight driveway that runs along the front of the house to pull a car right in front of the front door house but no front lawn. The photos are all taken from an angle that doesn't show the road at all. And my thought when I saw them was that there would be a lot of very disappointed people who pulled in and saw what the location really was.

If buyers have an agent who knows the area, they'd already be aware before falling in love with the house from photos!


Aug 02, 2019 02:30 AM #21
Lise Howe
Keller Williams Capital Properties - Washington, DC
Assoc. Broker and Attorney Licensed in DC, MD, VA,

In one case it is a tree bursting through a front wall - in another it is a train track with freight trains running through the back yard - a good realtor will save you time! 

Aug 02, 2019 05:28 AM #22
Sharon Tara
Sharon Tara Transformations - Portsmouth, NH
New Hampshire Home Stager

I can't imagine ever buying a home from only a picture. From my personal experience of home shopping a year ago I can confirm what you say about mls pics being deceptive. It should be criminal just how deceptive they can be.

Aug 02, 2019 06:19 AM #23
Mike McCann - Nebraska Farm Land Broker
Mike McCann - Broker, Mach1 Realty Farmland Broker-Auctioneer Serving Rural Nebraska - Kearney, NE
Farm Land For Sale 308-627-3700 or 800-241-3940

Hi Myrl Jeffcoat   I agree totally.  It frustrates me to see so many pictures posted that make a home appear to be something it is not.  

Rooms stretched to appear larger or the perfect angle taken so you cannot see what is wrong in the photo that the eye would notice. 

If anything bugs me the is the stretching and manipulating the photos to make the room appear way larger than it really is.  To me that is false advertising.

Aug 02, 2019 06:36 AM #24
M.C. Dwyer
Century 21 Showcase REALTORs - Felton, CA
Santa Cruz Mountains Property Specialist

You're so right.   Just yesterday I drove to a house a buyer was interested in seeing.    When I sent him a picture I took for him, of a nearby neighboring house looming over the yard, he lost interest.    I saved him a couple of hours' driving time!

Aug 02, 2019 07:50 AM #25
Ron and Alexandra Seigel
Napa Consultants - Carpinteria, CA
Luxury Real Estate Branding, Marketing & Strategy


Well said, and like I have told many people over and over gain, use someone with feet on the ground.  This oak tree story really illustrates your point beautifully.  A

Aug 02, 2019 08:07 AM #26
Lottie Kendall
Compass - San Francisco, CA
Helping make your real estate dreams a reality

Hi Myrl, I second what Carol Williams says, "Sometimes what you don't see is more important than what you do see"

Aug 02, 2019 08:27 AM #27
Barbara Todaro
RE/MAX Executive Realty - Franklin, MA
Marketing Agent for The Todaro Team

Good morning, Myrl Jeffcoat the purpose of real estate photos is to attract those eyes that buy.... but to rely solely on photos is absurd.... real estate agents are responsible and liable for their presentations and representations.... hire an agent and receive the benefit of a real estate professional.....

Aug 03, 2019 03:39 AM #28
Georgie Hunter R(S) 58089
Hawai'i Life Real Estate Brokers - Haiku, HI
Maui Real Estate sales and lifestyle info

I think we've all see things like this happen.  Our old MLS used to have us show a picture of the properties next door, but nowadays I don't ever see a feature like this.  So many things can change once you see the property in person, and it not just visual things either.

Aug 03, 2019 11:57 AM #29
Patricia Feager, MBA, CRS, GRI,MRP
Selling Homes Changing Lives

Myrl Jeffcoat - Yours was an excellent FEATURE! Reeling buyers in for a lookie via pretty pictures don't fool anyone. Although technology keeps improving, I don't believe we'll ever get a Scratch & Sniff version of the MLS, or be able to peek inside the neighbor's yard to see what's behind the fence, nor do agents take photos of the surrounding homes to see and show potential issues like power lines, railroad tracks, the county jail, cemeteries, big trees on the property, or dilapidated sheds and fence. The Fair Housing Act was created to stop unlawful discrimination against a protected class but it has nothing to do with a homeowners surroundings or the neighborhood or what's negligent, in need of repairs, or other issues.

In sum, your Title for this post and everything you said in your blog post should be taken very seriously by every agent. Without a doubt, new technology is created to benefit consumers. Agents still need to be ethical and honest. Out of town buyers are at a disadvantage because of the distance. Your advice about getting the right referral for out-of-towners is the best way to solve many unnecessary problems. 

Congratulations on an excellent feature story! 


Aug 03, 2019 12:48 PM #30
Mary Hutchison, SRES, ABR
Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate-Kansas City Homes - Kansas City, MO
Experienced Agent in Kansas City Metro area

Our new next door neighbors bought the house...without seeing it in person.  They now realize they over paid for the house and there are many features they do not care for that they could not tell from the photos.  I have 'sold' homes via Facetime to out of town buyers but always, ALWAYS point out those issues that they can't see if they aren't in person!

Aug 03, 2019 01:31 PM #31
Jeff Dowler, CRS
Solutions Real Estate - Carlsbad, CA
The Southern California Relocation Dude

Hi Myrl:

This is such an excellent point in today's world of technology. Yes, the Internet can help with a host of issues and questions, but it sure does not substitute for hiring the right real estate professional. And listing agents need to be careful that they, and their sellers, are not being deceptive with the photos that are being used.


Aug 04, 2019 04:02 PM #32
Roy Kelley
Realty Group Referrals - Gaithersburg, MD

Good Sunday evening, Myrl. Have an outstanding week.

Aug 04, 2019 05:47 PM #33
Dorie Dillard CRS GRI ABR
Coldwell Banker United Realtors® ~ 512.750.6899 - Austin, TX
Serving Buyers & Sellers in NW Austin Real Estate

Good morning Myrl Jeffcoat ,

I'm so glad to see Carol Williams featured your post in her second chance Saturday series. Great title and you make a wonderful point. I just had repeat clients move back from Singapore and I previewed condos for them and narrowed them down. They lived in Austin before and still own a home here that is rented so knew the areas. I showed them 3 and they loved the last one and we made an offer and secured it. They had been on line looking and agreed with my assessments of properties we didn't go see. Saved a lot of time for both of us and they love the one they purchased!

Aug 05, 2019 05:15 AM #34
Ricki Eichler McCallum
CastNet Realty - Corpus Christi, TX
Broker,GRI,ABR, e-Pro, TAHS

Hi Myrl,  Great blog!  Pictures are great but don't always show everything like it really is.  You must see it in person.

Aug 07, 2019 07:50 PM #35
Kari Klaus
Realty Sage - Arlington, VA
Founder, Intelligent Real Estate

I agree! You should check out the blog I just posted about needing experienced and credentialed agents in addition to better platforms. 

Aug 08, 2019 12:25 PM #36
Michelle Carr Crowe,Altas Just Call...408-252-8900!
Get Results Team...Just Call (408) 252-8900! . DRE #00901962 . Licensed to Sell since 1985 . Altas Realty - San Jose, CA
Family Helping Families Buy & Sell Homes 40+ Years

So true,

more and more I hear buyers complain the photos look better than the house in real life.

Aug 13, 2019 05:43 PM #37
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Myrl Jeffcoat

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