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Bad Property Photos

Every agent logs on to the MLS(Multiple Listing Service), every day- week days at least- to view inventory. Millions of buyers look online for their new home. “A picture is worth 1,000 words”.
So why is it that agents take bad  horrible pictures of properties, and only take one nonetheless, and showcase their listings that way? If you’re going to make the effort to take one of the front of the house, can’t you at least make it a good one? Example:

Bad Property Photo

Photo from our MLS

What is this? This home is in a nice North La Mesa neighborhood, and a buyer would never assume so from this photo. It looks like an awkward cramped and potentially cluttered house with no appeal. All I see is a white truck, brown roof, possibly an RV to the left, and a brown umbrella poking out the top of the truck… in the driveway- um? This home has been on the market for 146 day- just sitting there. With the one horrible photo. Do the sellers know, or care that it’s probably a big factor why it’s still sitting and not selling? I checked back and expectedly, the listing expired after 200+ days on the market. And by the way, give me 20 minutes and I can pull up easily another handful of much worse photos than this one. Whoever took this photo could have easily- if clearing the driveway out was not an option- backed up a few more feet to include a larger angle view of this home.

Our local MLS recently enforced… the requirement that agents must submit at least one property photo to their listings within 48hours of inputting the listing. (Crazy right? That this even needs to be a rule) Before this regulation; some agents would just input listings without photos. No idea why, but it was a terrible disservice. So now our MLS enforces the rule or else there will be a fine to the agent, which shouldn’t even be necessary if your job title is a real estate agent. But nonetheless, it’s necessary, and lately something even more crazy but I suppose may be a product of the agents who before didn’t even input at least one photo- I have seen a good handful of listing photos in the few dozen or hundred listings I browse through daily- showing a Google map screen shot of the front of the property… Google map screen shots- you know when you google an address and can see the property via aerial view, street view, etc? Some agents are now saving those images and using them as their listing photos. It’s really sad to say the least.

Case in point:

San Diego Home for Sale

Photo from our MLS

This is a photo from an actual Active listing in our MLS right now in the 92114 zip code. I put the black border around it to show the uncropped white space around the photo. By the way, this is a traditional sale that’s now been on the market 40+ days.

Enough with the rant; SELLERS- Typically when you have more pictures of your property it gives buyers a better idea of the property, and makes them more curious to see it in person- put it on their list, or scratch it off! When you hire your agent, ask them how they are going to market your home? Ask them to show you the photos they take/are going to use, and for them to show you the MLS listing for your home once you put it on the market. Now consider this- If your house looks not so nice, needs some TLC, or even even looks terrible inside- great, photograph it and market the house to investors wanting to be handy and fix it up! If it is nice inside- also great, change your descriptive wording and include all of the best photos and show it off! On the other hand, if you can’t access the interior of the home(perhaps due to problematic tenants, etc), take a street photo, side photo, and a photo perhaps of a nearby attraction. But if you fail to, and only showcase the one photo, many people will just click right past this listing and not give it a chance.
There are tens of thousands of tutorials and quick-tip websites out there to help with minimally sprucing up your home if you are worried about photographing it in the right light, what to move, show, etc. And your agent can give pointers also. Even if you’re in a tough situation and selling your home as ashort sale, use a little elbow grease and make your property as appealing as possible for photos… it will go a long way! One may protest that they are losing their home what’s the point? But if you’re a short sale in better condition/appearance, chances are you will go through less buyers, less showings(less stress), and the buyers that originally offer on your home will be more likely to stick with you instead of cancelling months down the line because they found another- better- house in the meantime.

*A no-cost fix up is simply staging your home by de-cluttering or re-arranging your furniture in an appealing way.*

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