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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.”

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!!!

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  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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Business Marketing

10 must-listen-to podcasts for business owners

(MARKETING) If you’re a business owner and want to learn something…anything…give one (or all) these podcasts a listen.



headphones listen podcasts

As podcasts grow more and more popular, it has become increasingly difficult to sort through the sea of excellent options out there.

From interviews with business leaders to industry-specific advice from experts, podcasts are an incredible free and convenient way to get a small dose of inspiration and knowledge.

This short list offers just a taste of the myriad of business podcasts available. Whether you’re an aspiring entrepreneur looking for some tips on breaking into a new industry or a seasoned vet hoping to get some new inspiration, we hope you’ll find something here worth listening to.

How I Built This, hosted by Guy Raz.

Podcast fans will recognize Guy Raz’s name (and voice) from TED Radio Hour. While that show can be a great source of inspiration for businesses, one of the most consistently inspiring shows is his new project that shares stories and insight from some of the biggest business leaders in the world. In just four months, Guy has talked to everyone from Richard Branson and Mark Cuban to L.A. Reid and Suroosh Alvi. While there are plenty of excellent interview-driven shows with entrepreneurs, if you want to hear about the world’s best known companies, this is your best bet.

The Art of Charm, hosted by Jordan and AJ Harbinger.

The Art of Charm is a business podcast by definition, but the advice it provides will definitely help you in other parts of your day-to-day life as well. With over three million listens a month, the incredibly popular show provides advice, strategies and insight into how to network effectively and advance your career and personal life.

StartUp, hosted by Alex Blumberg and Lisa Chow.

If you’re an entrepreneur, there is no excuse not to be listening to StartUp, the award-winning business podcast from Gimlet Media. The show’s talented hosts come from incredible radio shows like Planet Money and This American Life and bring a top-notch level of storytelling to the show, which provides behind the scenes looks at what it is actually like to start a company. Now on the fourth season, StartUp is one of those business podcasts that even people not interested in business will get a kick out of.

The Whole Whale Podcast, hosted by George Weiner.

One of the best things about podcasts is the wide variety of niche shows available that go in-depth into fascinating topics. One of those shows is the Whole Whale Podcast, which shares stories about data and technology in the non-profit sector. You’ll get detailed analysis, expert knowledge and can hear from a long list of social impact leaders from Greenpeace,, Kiva, Teach For America, and more.

Social Pros Podcast, hosted by Jay Baer and Adam Brown.

Navigating the surplus of social media guides online can be a nightmare, so look no further than Social Pros. Recent episodes talk about reaching college students on social media, the rise of messaging apps, and making better video content for Facebook. Plus, there are great case-studies with companies doing social right, like Kellogg’s, Coca Cola and Lenscrafters.

Entrepreneur on Fire, hosted by John Lee Dumas.

One of the original entrepreneurship shows, Entrepreneur on Fire has logged over 1,500 episodes with successful business leaders sharing tips, lessons and advice learned from their worst entrepreneurial moments. Sometimes humorous, sometimes heartbreaking, always inspiring, this show is sure to have at least one interview with someone you can learn from.

The $100 MBA, hosted by Omar Zenhom.

Think of The $100 MBA as a full-fledged business program in snack-sized portions. The daily ten minute business lessons are based on real-world applications and cover everything from marketing to technology and more. Cue this show up on your commute to or from work and watch your knowledge grow.

This Week in Startups, hosted by Jason Calacanis.

This is your audio version of TechCrunch, Gizmodo, or dare we say The American Genius. Each week, a guest entrepreneur joins the show to talk about what is happening in tech right now. You’ll get news about companies with buzz, updates on big tech news and even some insider gossip.

The Side Hustle Show, hosted by Nick Loper.

This is the show if you want answers for the big question so many entrepreneurs face. How do I turn my part-time hustle into a real job? Featuring topics such as passive income ideas, niche sites, and self-publishing, host Nick Loper is upfront and honest about the tough world of side hustles. The show features actionable tips and an engaging energy, and may just be that final push you need to grow your gig.

Back To Work, hosted by Merlin Mann and Dan Benjamin.
Focused on the basics that you don’t think about, Back To Work looks deep into our working lives by analyzing things like workflow, email habits and personal motivation. Somewhere between self-help, and business advice, Back To Work takes on a new topic relating to productivity each week.

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Business Marketing

Why your coworkers are not your ‘family’ [unpopular opinion]

(MARKETING) “I just want you to think of us as family,” they say. If this were true, I could fire my uncle for always bringing up “that” topic on Thanksgiving…



family coworkers

The well-known season 10 opener of “Undercover Boss” featured Walk-On’s Bistreaux & Bar. Brandon Landry, owner, went to the Lafayette location where he worked undercover with Jessica Comeaux, an assistant manager. Comeaux came across as a dedicated employee of the company, and she was given a well-deserved reward for her work. But I rolled my eyes as the show described the team as a “family.” I take offense at combining business and family, unless you’re really family. Why shouldn’t this work dynamic be used?

Employers don’t have loyalty to employees.

One of the biggest reasons work isn’t family is that loyalty doesn’t go both ways. Employers who act as though employees are family wouldn’t hesitate to fire someone if it came down to it. In most families, you support each other during tough times, but that wouldn’t be the case in a business. If you’ve ever thought that you can’t ask for a raise or vacation, you’ve probably bought into the theory that “work is a family.” No, work is a contract.

Would the roles be okay if the genders were reversed?

At Walks-Ons, Comeaux is referred to as “Mama Jess,” by “some of the girls.” I have to wonder how that would come across if Comeaux were a man being called “Daddy Jess” by younger team members? See any problem with that? What happens when the boss is a 30-year-old and the employee is senior? Using family terminology to describe work relationships is just wrong.

Families’ roles are complex.

You’ll spend over 2,000 hours with your co-workers every year. It’s human nature to want to belong. But when you think of your job like a family, you may bring dysfunction into the workplace.

What if you never had a mom, or if your dad was abusive? Professional relationships don’t need the added complexity of “family” norms. Seeing your boss as “mom” or “dad” completely skews the roles of boss/employee. When your mom asks you to do more, it’s hard to say no. If your “work mom or dad” wants you to stay late, it’s going to be hard to set boundaries when you buy into the bogus theory that work is family. Stop thinking of work this way.

Check your business culture to make sure that your team has healthy boundaries and teamwork. Having a great work culture doesn’t have to mean you think of your team as family. It means that you appreciate your team, let them have good work-life balance and understand professionalism.

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Business Marketing

Market your side hustle with these 6 tips

(BUSINESS MARKETING) It can be hard to stand out from the crowd when you’re starting a new side hustle. Here are some easy ways to make your marketing efforts more effective.



side hustle paperwork and technology

Side hustles have become the name of the game, and especially during these turbulent times, we have to get extra creative when it comes to making money. With so many of us making moves and so much noise, it can be hard to get the word out and stand out when sharing your side hustle.

Reuben Jackson of Big Think shared five ways that you can market your side hustle (we added a sixth tip for good measure), and comment with your thoughts and ideas on the subject:

  1. Referrals: Don’t Be Afraid to Ask!
    If you’re going to make a splash, you have to be willing to ask for favors. Reach out to your network and ask them to help spread the word on your new venture. This can be as simple as asking your friends to share a Facebook post with information that refers them to your page or website. Word of mouth is still important and incredibly effective.
  2. Start Where You Are
    Immediately running an expensive ad right out of the gate may not be the most effective use of your (likely) limited funds. Use the resources you do have to your advantage – especially if you’re just testing things out to see how the side hustle goes in the real world. You can do this by creating a simple, informational landing page for a small fee. Or, if you’re not looking to put any money into it right away, create an enticing email signature that explains what you do in a concise and eye-catching way. Check out these tools to create a kickin’ email signature.
  3. Gather Positive Reviews
    If you’ve performed a service or sold a product, ask your customers to write a review on the experience. Never underestimate how many potential customers read reviews before choosing where to spend their money, so this is an incredibly important asset. Once a service is completed or a product is sold, send a thank you note to your customer and kindly ask them to write a review. Be sure to provide them with links to easily drop a line on Yelp or your company’s Facebook page.
  4. Be Strategic With Social
    It’s common to think that you have to have a presence on all channels right away. Start smaller. Think about your demographic and do some research on which platforms reach that demographic most effectively. From there, put your time and energy into building a presence on one or two channels. Post consistently and engage with followers. After you’ve developed a solid following, you can then expand to other platforms.
  5. Give Paid Marketing A Shot
    Once you’ve made a dollar or two, try experimenting with some Facebook or Twitter ads. They’re relatively cheap to run and can attract people you may not have otherwise had a chance to reach out to. Again, the key is to start small and don’t get discouraged if these don’t have people knocking your door down; it may take trial and error to create the perfect ad for your hustle.
  6. Go Local
    Local newspapers and magazines are always looking for news on what local residents are doing. Send an email to your town/city’s journal or local Patch affiliate. Let them know what you’re up to, offer yourself for an interview, and give enticing information. The key is doing this in a way that your hustle is seen as beneficial to the public, and is not just an ad.

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