I am often gallivanting around on real estate forums giving out sage advice to consumers. My mantra for about the past, I don’t know, five years or so to consumers has been…look at the photos taken by an agent online. When a seller is going to get a home ready for sale, they should take the time to see what kind of photos a real estate agent takes. Homes with cluttered images indicate the listing agent doesn’t know how to help a seller prepare the house for the market. Homes with dark images means the listing agent is unaware of something called a flash. Out of focus and crooked images? Well…that should be a deal-breaker right there.
Recently, I had a prospect ask me for a referral to a listing agent in Tuscon, AZ. I went to my handy dandy real estate agent network and asked for some names to start checking out on their behalf. While I waited for some names, I decided to put my money where my big mouth is and look at real estate agent marketing photos for listings. I started looking at images of homes in their potential price range for my potential client (’cause y’all know that luxury homes always have professional photographers, right?). I looked for clean, uncluttered images that have good to excellent quality that aren’t over-processed. We all know that over saturating a photo and making the grass neon green or cabinets orange…not so good looking. Overly sharp images just look strange and aren’t visually appealing.
As I flipped through photo after photo, I realized how hard it must be for consumers to find a good agent. It was mind-numbing to look through all of the bad images, and I was intrigued by the agent that thought a picture of a beach ball in the pool was a good marketing shot, as well as the picture of the dowel rod in the closet. I guess they were trying to do the ol’ Jedi mind trick telepathing (yeah, I just made up that word) all the great family memories you’d spend in the pool hitting the ball back and forth and how fun shopaholics would spend on clothes to hang in the closet? I know I wasn’t buying it. Apparently, I am immune to Jedi mind tricks. Cool.
After 45 excruciating minutes, my eyes rolled to the back of my head, drool started to roll down my chin…oh wait, I wasn’t supposed to share that part, I ended up with three names of agents that consistently did good marketing and a trip to my closet for a new t-shirt. Interestingly, all the agents were from the same company. What that tells me is that the owner of that company actually cares about the quality of the marketing put out by their agents, which generally means they care about their clients.
I found several that did a pretty good job, but if I was going to refer, I wanted to do it to someone that did excellent marketing. So dear sellers…as you start chatting with listing agents and thinking about listing your home take the time to go through photos. Luxury home listings typically look good, but you want is the agent that makes an effort for all listings. Not all homes are remodeled and easy to shoot and you want the same effort on less expensive homes too. Photos should be realistic, properly processed, and decluttered. Anything else…just keep on flipping through images until you find an agent that does that. Anyone can make a decked out house look good. It’s harder to make regular homes look their best.
All I know is that taking my advice was harder than I thought.