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Follow Me on My Quest – Say No to Bad Photos & Virtual Tours

My Quest:

This is my quest, to rid the real estate world of bad photos and awful virtual tours! Recently taught for MABA, an exclusive buyers agent group and we had an animated discussion on virtual tours and photos.

From Maba, Rona Fischman, a blogger for Boston Globe’s “Boston Real Estate Now”, and
Sam Schneiderman offered these thoughts.

Clients hate bad virtual tours

Rona said, “My clients hate bad virtual tours. There is nothing to be learned from dark, distorted or wavy pictures of empty rooms. A bad virtual tour is worse than bad pictures. Many of my buyers gave up on seeing decent ones and don’t even open them.”

“Buyers that look at these tours want to see the important parts of the house: the kitchen, the bathrooms. They want to get a sense of the flow, so a tour that shows the walk from the entry to the kitchen, from the garage into the house, from the living room out to the yard. Isolated rooms are a waste of bandwidth.”

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Another client of mine had a study done by an independent consultant. They research what buyers look for in a real estate multimedia presentation (also known as virtual tours). What they found was that many agents forget that what a seller wants to see is not what a buyer wants to see. Sellers don’t buy homes buyers do.

Buyers most desirable multimedia content

• Photos of different kinds and angles
• Photos that show character of the property
• Photos of closet spaces, flooring, garage and other details
• Neighborhood photos and information
• Detailed photo description that described amenities and dimensions of the room

The best-of-breed multimedia presentation will feature:

•Large, clear photos
•Photo description next to the photo
•Written descriptions of important facts about the property
•Floor plan or layout map
•Panoramic views of the property’s surroundings/neighborhood

Rona also asked buyers for me in a recent blog post of hers and some of the comments are in this post. PLEASE help me on my quest! Dulcinea? Where are you? Help!!!

Written By

Amy is a national technology speaker who can inspire, train and help people implement technology strategies into their business. To find out about her training, coaching or webinars visit her website at



  1. Jennifer Fivelsdal

    February 28, 2009 at 9:56 pm

    Good information, buyers certainly want to see the things that are not as important sellers. I suppose I will need to tell my sellers that virtual tour is not for them. I will never be able to put a vitual tour together again without thinking about this post.

  2. Missy Caulk

    February 28, 2009 at 10:33 pm

    Amy, I like that comment about not JUST doing the same photos’ in the VT as the still shots. Applies to video too.

    What’s the point. I recently offered to blog agents in my office listings if they wanted me too.

    Several did and I am horrified at some of the photo’s. Horrified.

  3. Sandra Mathewson

    March 1, 2009 at 10:29 am

    I have started a collection of “stupid photos” such as bathrooms featuring a toilet with the lid. Recently I tried to get an expired listings & sent the seller my marketing plan, a CMA, my advertising and he picks the agent that originally sold him the house. What did she do? Instead of going out and taking her photos, she “lifted” the photos from the expired listing. How sleazy and unprofessional. The photos were of the lawn chairs in the family room and odd pieces since the house is vacant. Is the new “Staging”? Oh, her office is less than one mile from the listing. I only have to give 10% effort to beat her.

  4. Barry Wolfert

    March 1, 2009 at 1:59 pm

    Good points made here. I am amazed at how many agents can’t use a point and shoot camera or flash.

    I typically like to get 25-30 shots for a virtual tour so I shoot more and select the best. I don’t need to see a close of granite or backsplash. In my opinion, the purpose of a VT is to generate enough interest for an actual visit.

    I don’t think you can really communicate the feel of a house only from pictures. And, I don’t need 10 shots of the house from the curb, driveway, front door. I need all of the critical space and special features. After that, the buyer or agent advising the buyer should have enough info to include or exclude it from the list of possible homes.

  5. Claudia Gonella

    March 1, 2009 at 5:37 pm

    FOREM just reported that WellcomeMat, the online video host, is banning video slide shows from being hosted on their site. Look like they are also moving towards best-of-breed multimedia presentation formats.

  6. Steve@Amazing_Video_Tours

    March 1, 2009 at 11:20 pm

    Your quest is an ambitious one! I am trying to do the same thing by raising the bar regarding how homes are marketed via photos and full motion video tours.

    I think the public will be the driver. As the public becomes more aware of the quality that is possible in marketing their homes, they will start to demand higher quality photos and video from the agents that list their homes.

  7. teresa boardman

    March 2, 2009 at 5:42 am

    I wrote something similar to this last fall for Inman news. I do a virtual tour but I also lay out all the photos so that they can be seen in a glance. People like to hop around the internet and stop on what catches their eye. I give them as much eye candy at a glance as I can so that they will linger and look at the photos. Videos also slow web surfers down.

  8. Chris Fyvie

    March 2, 2009 at 4:42 pm

    Pick a good song and a good 6 photo’s and you can’t go wrong with!

  9. Brad Claghorn

    June 22, 2009 at 5:55 pm

    Say No to Bad Photos & Virtual Tours – Spend on on quality photo gear. Big, Clear Pictures.

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