Survey of New Listings...

Real Estate Agent with Century 21 Results Realty

I just ran a survey of the newly listed properties from the last 30 days.  I have to say that I am quite surprised by what I found...

I was looking specifically for how the listings were presented.  We know from every bit of research done on buyer behavior that photos and virtual tours are among the most important things to the VAST majority of buyers.  Homes with few or no pictures are most often passed over... regardless of how nice the property might be.  Buyers want to see LOTS of pictures.  They want virtual tours, and they want both the pictures AND the virtual tours to be high quality.

So, with that in mind I took a trip through the last 30 days of listings for Lilburn in FMLS.  In that period, there were 56 new listings entered.  I sorted them by how recent they were.  I was looking to see how well presented the listings were.  I did NOT judge the quality of the photos, because that owuld be subjective.  I just judged on quantity.

Of the 56 newest listings:

  • 8 had 0 pictures, 14.3%
  • 7 had 1 picture, 12.5%
  • 6 has 2-8 pictures , 10.7%
  • 13 had 9-11 pictures, 23.2%
  • 22 had 12 pictures , 39.3%
  • 6 had virtual tours, 10.7%

I have to admit that I was stunned that over 60% of the listings did not have the maximum number of pictures allowed... and almost 90% had no virtual tour.  I'm not talking about bad tours... I am talking about ANY virtual tour.  Virtual tours are available for as little as $99...  I don't think those are great, but at least they are something.  And for the desperate, they can be done for less if the agent or seller provides the pictures.  Personally, I use a high quality tour and it is more expensive, but I also think EVERY listing needs a virtual tour.

If I recall correctly, it has been almost a year since FMLS changed to allow 12 pictures on the listing.  I have to say that I am stunned when I still see less than eight pictures on a listing (the old limit).  And when I see no pictures... or even the drive-by curb-shot... I wonder what the problem is.  Ugly property?  But even then, I would want a prospective buyer to know before they visit that it won't be a showplace.  I value their time, and don't want them to waste it looking at a property that won't suit their needs.  I nkow that when I take buyers out and the house isn't as advertised, my buyers are annoyed.

The Bottom Line...

With digital camera technology, the ease of uploading pictures, affordable virtual tours and the knowledge that images are what buyers want to see, there is no excuse for not maxing out the pictures AND providing a virtual tour for EVERY listing.

Agents and sellers that think that they are creating "mystery" by not showing pictures of their listings are just flat out mistaken.  There are too many options...  Instead of mystery, they just provide an excuse to move to the next listing.


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Terry & Bonnie Westbrook
Westbrook Realty Broker-Owner - Grand Rapids, MI
Westbrook Realty - Grand Rapids Forest Hills MI Re

So many buyer Italk to say they won't even look a properties with no  photos. I wonder how agents justify the lack of phot0s?

Dec 30, 2008 11:47 PM #1
Cindy Jones
Integrity Real Estate Group - Woodbridge, VA
Pentagon, Fort Belvoir & Quantico Real Estate News

I posted a new listing Tuesday with a bunch of photos.  Just up the street is a property that came on the market on the same day.  ZERO photos!  In this day and age it just doesn't make sense.

Dec 30, 2008 11:56 PM #2
Matt Stigliano
Kimberly Howell Properties (210) 646-HOME - San Antonio, TX

Lane - Dare I say "Amen brother, amen."  I just went through looking for some properties for a potential client to see what was available with what we have to work with.  I got 25 listings most with one photo, the rest with well under the 16 available to us in our MLS.  Its sad to see.

Dec 31, 2008 06:33 AM #3
Jenifer Shorrosh
Jenifer Laurie - Mobile, AL
HSR Certified Home Stager, - Mobile and Baldwin Counties, AL


We are lucky to be able to post 23 photos on our MLS, but few, very few Realtors take advantage of this.  What they don't realize is that once buyers have narrowed down their search to how many beds/baths they want and in what price range, and area of town, it becomes an emotional decision.  They have to connect with what they see online.  If you can't get them in the door, you can't sell them the house.

Dec 31, 2008 08:13 AM #4
Bob Southard
Atlas Realty Service, LLC - Kennesaw, GA
e-Pro - Cobb, Cherokee, North Fulton



Inspired by your post, I just pulled up new listings for Powder Springs.  The percentages are very similar.  The most expensive home in Powder Springs is over $2million and it has 11 pics but no virtual tour.  Unbelievable.

Dec 31, 2008 02:46 PM #5
Lane Bailey
Century 21 Results Realty - Suwanee, GA
Realtor & Car Guy

Terry - I don't understand how it can happen anymore, either... 

Cindy - And sellers wonder why I want a little time to put it together...

Matt - I would call it irresponsible. 

Jenifer - I have a listing with over 100 pictures on its website...  Of just the house. 

Bob - The price didn't seem to be the big determinant here, either.  In fact, even some of the REOs were maxing pictures.

Jan 01, 2009 01:51 AM #6
Holly Weatherwax
Associate Broker, Momentum Realty - Reston, VA
A Great Real Estate Experience

Lane,  I did a post earlier today about ways to sell your house in 2009.  One of the three things I mentioned was the importance of photographs/video.  I agree that it is INEXCUSABLE for an agent to skimp on photographs or videos. I also think that listings that go live without pictures are a disgrace--even if you are waiting for professional photos, you can temporarily put up your own digitals. Is is laziness or lack of awareness?

Jan 01, 2009 02:34 AM #7
Lane Bailey
Century 21 Results Realty - Suwanee, GA
Realtor & Car Guy

Holly - All of us here in the choir already know... I am just amazed that all of the other agents out there are sliding by on this. 

Jan 04, 2009 02:44 PM #8
Rick Frissell
HomeXpress Realty - Valrico, FL
aka "The Red Baron of Real Estate"

This is unbelievable in this day and age. You need every advantage in marketing a home. Interesting observation.

Feb 19, 2009 08:41 AM #9
Lane Bailey
Century 21 Results Realty - Suwanee, GA
Realtor & Car Guy

Rick - I was out looking at listings today and ran across a dozen homes in the $1M+ range... and they had one or less pictures.  Amazing!

Feb 20, 2009 03:24 PM #10
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