You don’t know me, but I may or may not be a potential customer looking at one of your current listings. I’m in the process of moving from Chicago to Phoenix, and have pored over listings day after day in search of that next place I will call home.
I’m not picky; in fact I only had one must have. A pool, in my backyard. Since I’m coming from Chicago and we are all extra “insulated” to keep that subzero weather at bay, and I will be house hunting just as you are about to move into the hottest time of the year in Arizona. I know that without a pool steps from my air conditioned home, I just might melt. Literally. At least until my “insulation” acclimates to the desert.
This brings about one of the reasons that I am addressing you today. Having worked in Communications, Marketing and Social Media in Chicago… with a good chunk of my time working in Real Estate in one form or another (and having taught many classes to help Realtors better market their properties) I wanted to impart a few suggestions to keep in mind while you are inputting your listings.
1. Use Quality Pictures
Some of the listings I receive from my Realtor have upwards of 70-80 pictures. Sometimes it an agent error, where there are two sets of duplicates within the slideshow. Sometimes, it’s a result of an overzealous photographer.
Here’s a tip from someone who right now at this very moment is looking at your listings. Less is more. Quality over Quantity
I want to see rooms, I want to see the front of the house, the back of the house, and if there are special features- such a lovely granite countertops or built in cabinetry in the garage, by all means, load those in too. What I don’t need to see, is a close up of the owner’s curtains/pillows/wall sconces/floor tiles etc. Most likely those decorations are going with the former owners when they leave, and therefore have little bearing on whether or not I will buy a house.
When you are taking pictures, take them with the buyer in mind, and consider whether or not that close up of the flower bush in the front yard is beneficial to someone skimming through pictures or if that would better be appreciated when a potential buyer views the property in person.
This leads me to a second thing that should also be considered.
2. Provide Accurate Information
Imagine your buyer is someone like me. A busy professional, trying to manage packing up a house and getting it ready to put on the market, trying to juggle the many tasks that we all get through day to day. Imagine you receive an update from your agent via email and decide to take ten minutes to take a look at the seven listings that come over.
Remember what I said earlier about the pool? Keep that in mind.
Now, imagine that you select a house that from the front looks intriguing enough that you scroll through the seventy-six pictures included in the listing –on your phone because you’re at work and taking a quick break—only to discover that the listing you had become hopeful over, does not, in fact, have a pool. And, upon searching through the other six listings in your email, only three of the seven actually have pools in their backyards.
Some have pools in the community; others I have literally have no idea how they ended up in my search.
If your listing has a community pool, please select “community pool” as a feature and not “pool” when inputting your listings, unless your listing actually has a private pool. You will appreciate this when you are on the buyer’s side of a transaction, setting your buyer up in client connect—and now wont need to worry about previewing every listing for your client because of unreliable search criteria.
3. Let Your Photos Tell a Story
Also, a third thing to consider. The first picture in your slideshow should be the front of the house. Here in Chicago, this is a requirement set by MRED. Here, you can be fined if the front of the house is not the first picture in a listing. The rules obviously are different there, but it’s still a good practice to have.
In this day and age, most people are looking at houses from their phones or iPads. They are scrolling through a list of seven or eight per page quickly to see any that jump out at them. Give your clients the best opportunity to be noticed in that five-second scroll.
I’ve noticed a lot of kitchens as the first picture. And yes, totally updated kitchens are a huge selling factor. I drool over some of the kitchens I have seen. But when a picture is a two inch by two-inch square even the most gorgeous kitchens are going to get lost in the shuffle.
I wrote this post a long time ago for one of my previous employers. It may be worth reading over, as a lot of the points I make there are also good things to keep in mind when marketing your clients’ homes.
Are Your Pictures Hurting Your Listings?
In closing, while you are representing a seller with a listing, you should really have the buyer in mind as you are compiling data sheets, listing information and highlight packets. Ask yourselves, “Will this be beneficial to the buyer looking at this property?” If you aren’t a hundred percent sure, most likely the answer is no. Keep things simple and clear, and use due diligence to ensure that your listings are accurately representative of the house you are marketing.