Photos that tell you something

Further to Galen’s post on photos, I like shots that tell you something. We have a 15 photo max, so that usually leaves room for more than just the obvious. Photo number one MUST be an EXTERIOR shot, per mls rules. And NO PEOPLE allowed. They seem to be Ok with pets…until they get one of those Boing-Boing shots. That will make for a “New Rule”.

This one of Soze (So-zay) saved me from the many calls I usually get, asking if the condo association permitted dogs :-)[photopress:tr.jpg,full,alignleft]


This photo brought 20 people the first day, and two offers. At least half of the people who came to the first Open House said the free standing archway photo grabbed their attention and prompted them to come.

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ARDELL is a Managing Broker with Better Properties METRO King County. ARDELL was named one of the Most Influential Real Estate Bloggers in the U.S. by Inman News and has 33+ years experience in Real Estate up and down both Coasts, representing both buyers and sellers of homes in Seattle and on The Eastside. email: cell: 206-910-1000

14 thoughts on “Photos that tell you something

  1. – “We have a 15 photo max” –

    Not sure why MLS’s put this limit in place?
    Sure if you have an 800 sq. ft condo your selling 15 photos might do the trick, but what if the home is 33,000 sq. ft with 6 bedrooms and 7 bathrooms.

    Would 15 photos be enough?

    I don’t think so.

  2. Would 15 photos be enough for what?

    From an mls limit of 15 photos standpoint, the mls purpose is for other agents to know enough about a property to determine whether or not to show that property. Most mls systems maintain that the mls is not an “advertising venue”. To argue that 15 is not enough for agent purposes, someone would have to argue that an agent really needs to see all 7 toilets before deciding whether or not to show the property.

    The photos should give enough for someone to determine whether or not they want to go and SEE the property, not so many that they determine from the photos that they do not want to buy that property.

    When you think about it, anytime a buyer can decide not to buy a property based on the photos, the agent maybe put one too many, don’t you think?

  3. Or too few – when I was looking at houses online, it always seemed like a red flag if there was only a single picture. I visited a couple, trying to give them the benefit of the doubt, but they generally weren’t hiding pleasing interiors.

  4. Seattle Veggie,

    Your comment prompted me to check on an agent I know who takes no photos…ever.

    Perception vs. Reality time? In the last 6 months, he sold 18 properties with no photos. 17 he sold himself. Only 1 was sold by an agent from another company.

    So he made double times 17 by not having any photos. The only one of his that is not sold has 15 photos. Seems like no photos made more money for this particular agent. Buyers and agents ignored his no photo listings, and he got to “double pop” 17 out of 18 that way. Interesting reality check.

  5. Wow! I’m sure I’m not the only one wondering, “Who is that agent???” You story flips the logic around and makes it seem like it borders on being unethical to not include photos! 🙂

  6. Why is it “unethical” if he sold them all? Whatever he’s doing, his seller clients don’t seem to mind.

    Think about all of the prospective buyers sitting at their computers ruling OUT properties based on the photos… It’s quite amazing to watch them sometimes. I’ve seen people sit down and scan the photos so quickly, saying nope, nope, nope, nope…and pick one property out of a hundred to go and see. People use photos to decide what NOT to see, a whole lot more than they use photos to decide what to buy. Maybe the photos are a disservice to the seller, given so many people rule out going to see properties based on the photos.

    As to who he is…I wouldn’t name names. But when I had the thought to check on it, I could only think of one guy in the whole NWMLS who never, ever takes a photo…even the one “required” shot. Shouldn’t be too hard for agents to guess who it is. I wonder if he gets fined by the mls for having no photos?

  7. It IS a requirement now, to have at least one photo uploaded.

    I think if this guy is using the “no photo” ploy in order to diminish the number of showings, it goes against the spirit of the MLS, as we have all agreed to cooperate with each other and facilitate the showing and sale of properties.

    I also get a little upset at a certain agent who makes virtually ALL of her listings viewable only by appointment. There is never a keybox and all showings must go through her assistant. This makes it very difficult for anyone else to show. She has a market time of more than double the local average and anything that discourages the showing and selling of the home is doing a diservice to the client.

    I wonder how long “Mr. No Photos” market time is? It must take a lot longer than average to sell a house without even an exterior shot.

  8. Time on market didn’t seem to be affected. In fact most sold fairly quickly. He never did put photos, ever, from what I can tell. So does the fact that others started putting photos, turn his long standing practice into some kind of “ploy”?

    He just never bought into it. Used to be the mls took the one required shot. Now that they no longer do that, can they really MAKE him? Now that we have over 100 mls rules…maybe it’s time to burn them and start over.

    Think about it. The main job of a listing agent is to get buyers to come and see the house. If the photos are being used to rule out the house…get rid of em. Another way to look at it.

    Ask a buyer how many houses they ruled out because of the photos or the aerial map feature? Is that really “progress” from the seller’s perspective? Food for thought.

  9. There’s an agent up here that often includes no photo and I have always thought they were doing it to discourage showings.
    We were told last week that NWMLS would start enforcing the outside photo rule in the near future with a monetary fine and no warning.


  10. With the many variables in selling a house can we really determine that the “no photo” plan is what is selling this agent’s houses? Is he underpricing them? Are they in an area that is well known so sells quickly? Does he have some other marketing scheme that’s working for him? If there doesn’t seem to be a difference between market time of “photos” vs. “no photos” is it more apparant that they don’t matter, rather than that they attract vs. detract?

  11. The statistic of his selling 17 out of 18 himself is very high. Way outside the norm. He pretty much only sells that one neighborhood though, so I think the buyers come “word of mouth” or he just has a waiting list from the last one on market when the next one comes around. If they pass it by because there are no photos, or if buyers pass it buy becaue there are no photos, it clearly doesn’t hurt him any.

    He does put them in the mls, so other agents can show them. It’s possible that his buyers are always winning the properties…or 17 times out of 18 times, because he doesn’t charge full buyer agent fees on his own listings. He’s been selling that neighborhood for years. Long before there were photos of interiors. So I don’t think he does it on purpose…just an “if it ain’t broke why fix it” attitude.

  12. I agree many rule out a place due to, and because of, the photos and virtual tour…but, as a buyers agent, I question my buyers why they took a pass on a property I like and maybe get it back on the showing list.

    On the flip side, I will call the agent and ask why there are no photos before I take the client.

    And on the other flip side :-), mnay tell me they will pass a listing up if it doesn’t have a virtual tour!

    As a listing agent… no photos on the MLS is a tough sell to clients (ours requires an exterior, but some slip through). They will automatically think that’s why their home isn’t selling. Although as a listing agent, I fall on the side of losing a listing rather than take one at too high a price or from a seller that will not prepare their home to show as I strongly suggest. I’m tough on my sellers.

    I may try the no photo thing if the client was willing to price under the last best comparable and only because I procure a lot of my own buyers through open houses and craigslist etc…then take them to my lisitngs. But, I’d have to sell a sales trick/idea that, really, I have no data on.

    In closing, too many prospects I reach outside of the MLS want photos. Soooo, I think this agent you know must have a lock on this market the old school way and the photos are negligible… and it must be a nice place to live!

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