A great primary photo?

Real Estate Agent

One of my pet-peaves is listings with no photos or poor photos.  Our MLS has begun enforcing the rule that requires a primary photo within 48 hours (still too long).  I believe that in almost every case, a quality real estate agent should have photos uploaded with the first few hours of submitting to the MLS. 

The primary photo should be one that grabs attention.  Sometimes that is difficult, but sometimes Realtors just take bad pictures.  Or they forget what their objective is. 

For instance, the photo below was taken at my house two days ago.  While I have had several people tell me what a great scene it is, a snow photo tells a buyer nothing about the house...It's all covered in white!

A Real Estate Agent's snow covered home in Olympia, WA

Please.  Do your clients a favor: Don't use snow photos unless you are in a location where you have no choice.

Comments (14)

Karen Monsour
Coldwell Banker Fort Lauderdale Beach - Fort Lauderdale, FL
REALTOR, SSRS - Sells FL Waterfront, Short Sale Expert!

Coldwell Banker requires 6 pictures with each listing...that's it...no pictures...no MLS listing...I think that is a great policy.

Dec 16, 2008 02:31 PM
Jean Groesbeck
Compass - Anacortes, WA
Broker, CRS, e-PRO, ABR, ASP, CNE, IMS

Yes the house is covered in snow, but this time of year it looks inviting.  It can help if you turn all of the lights on inside, but in the meantime, enjoy a white Christmas!

Dec 16, 2008 02:42 PM
Kathy Toth
Ann Arbor Market Center Keller Williams - Ann Arbor, MI
Ann Arbor Real Estate Experts - Kathy Toth Team

If you have to do snow pictures, what about getting a good holiday cheer going on the house first and then taking the photo?


Dec 16, 2008 02:56 PM
Pat Argo
Keller Williams Realty of Brevard - Titusville, FL

Mark, I understand that a good photo is worth 1000 words and I really do prefer to have one ASAP! However my southern MaMa taught me if you can't say something nice, it's is usually better to say nothing at all. Life (hurricanes, snow, thunderstorms, heavily overcast or foggy days, crisis etc) happens and so some times it is better to wait. 

Our MLS also requires photos, except for land and rentals. However the agents are often just using an aerial photo from mapping services, and then may never get around to updating them! I have even seen the same shot used several times just to conform to MLS. I looked at 3 Expireds this week in mls. One had been on for a year with only 2 very similar exterior shots and it sits on a corner lot! Another nice home only had 3, but a prior listing really showed off the improvements inside. Another was just plain ugly! Another I saw had 12 photos but at least 2 of them did nothing but likely scare prospects away.

Whenever possible, I take at least a few shots in advance or request recent photos the owners may have when the landscaping or interior was in better shape such as when they are already in the packing and moving stages or before winter. A few seasonal shots can also be effective. More is frequently better as long as they add to the value.

Dec 16, 2008 03:04 PM
Mark Duncan
Olympia, WA

Karen- I think anything that gets agents to submit photos immediately is a good thing.  Anyone who has sat with a buyer and browsed listings knows that they almost never stop on the one with no photo.

Jean- It looks inviting, yes.  However, it looks like just about any other house covered in snow.  Some lights inside would definitely create a feeling of warmth...It is looking like the snow will hang around.  This will be the whitest Christmas I remember.

Kathy- I agree.  If it must be done in order to get the listing on  the market, a nice holiday theme.

Dec 16, 2008 03:07 PM
Mark Duncan
Olympia, WA

Pat- I agree. If the photo is horrible, don't use it.  If I have a listing prospect, I will try to get there on a nice day for a curb shot.  If that's not possible, I also ask the seller for any recent photos.  John L. Scott allows us to upload unlimited pics to the web site, so when I get in the house it's not uncommon to fill a memory card (gotta love digital cameras).  Most of these won't be good, but I know I can add anything that might help attract a buyer.

Our MLS has also started cracking down on using photos that we don't own (online maps, other agent's old pics, etc)

Dec 16, 2008 03:18 PM
Raquel Allen Colorado & New Mexico
Trinidad, CO

Good message, Mark.

That is a darling picture of your house, none the less.

Dec 16, 2008 03:39 PM
Mark Duncan
Olympia, WA

Thanks Raquel.  It was just taken on a whim.  I was trying to get pics of my dogs & kids in one of the heaviest snowfalls we've had.  The snowflakes kept interfering with my lense, but i saw the house & wanted to get a picture since I may not see it like that again.  I just snapped the picture & tucked the camera into my coat.  It seems to have generated a lot of interest on the web.

Dec 16, 2008 03:50 PM
Jason & Amber Gardner
Hasson Company, Realtors - Sherwood, OR
We're Committed to Your Success!

I agree... However, you can do a virtual tour with ZingDing that has moving animations for your photos.  We use them and snow falling is one of them.  It adds life to your tours and I'd say that if you're not able to get around it, work with it.  Check them out!

Dec 18, 2008 04:21 AM
Mark Duncan
Olympia, WA

Jason&Amber ~ thanks for the tip...I'll check them out

Dec 18, 2008 04:52 AM
Alisha Harrison
John L. Scott, Belfair - Belfair, WA
Allyn, Belfair and Hood Canal real estate expert!

We make it a policy within my team to have photos taken and the gallery built prior to hitting the button to post it to the MLS. I want pictures there when an agent sees the listing on the hot sheet, because chances are, they aren't going back! Great post. ~A:)

Dec 20, 2008 03:52 AM
Mark Duncan
Olympia, WA

Alisha ~ So far our office is requiring the primary photo at a minimum at the time of listing, with VERY few exceptions.  There has been a lot of training within the office to educate the agents on the importance of QUALITY photos, as well as quantity.  As long as we are allowed unlimited photos on the John L Scott site, we might as well use that space if we can find enough things to photo.

Thanks for the comments,

Mark Duncan

Jan 05, 2009 02:09 PM
Teresa K. Nelson
Windermere Real Estate/HLC - Woodinville, WA

Nice picture of your house. I agree with retaking pictures once the snow is gone. Houses with snow can be unrecognizable. I was just looking at some new listings where the pictures show half melted, dirty snow on the deck - what's the point of those kinds of photo's???? I change my photos every 90 days - and sometimes the marketing remarks too! Keep it fresh!

Jan 09, 2009 02:54 AM
Lara O'Keefe
North Texas Home Finders - McKinney, TX

Mark, that would be a great photo for a Christmas card :-)

Jan 15, 2009 03:08 AM

What's the reason you're reporting this blog entry?

Are you sure you want to report this blog entry as spam?