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Hey Man, Want to Buy a Picture of My Sister Listing?


I just finished a search for a potential client.

They are looking for a 3 bedroom, 1 bath home that is pet friendly and have a wide geographic scope of where they would live and a fairly high price ceiling for the marketplace.

So, I started in my legacy, local, required MLS service on the space windows computer that I keep at my desk. (Note: I am a Mac user with an iPhone and I don’t do windows.  And yes, I do have Fusion with XP but why slow my Mac down. My MLS is still a server with an active-X link, so only available on an IE browser).

After pulling up 29 properties that fit the criteria, I was astonished to see (or for that matter not see) listings of over 90 days with NO PICTURES.  You think that’s a good one, how about the listing with NO DESCRIPTION.

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Now, let me start with my usual skeptical side.  These agents know that they don’t have pictures because they want potential renters to call.  They think that way, they can block out other agents and do a double bubble!

My nice side would say that they forgot or their camera is broken or the seller won’t let them take pictures.  Yea right!  I don’t think my nice side wins this argument!

The MLS in the Southeastern Pennsylvania, Southern new Jersey, Northern Delaware ( does not have a rule that makes a picture within 24-48 a necessity.

I think getting that changed would be harder than passing ObamaCare through an all-Tea party Republican Congress.

But, it must.  It’s all about being on a level playing field. This is just a business trick (to quote a current commercial) and if we real estate agents really want to get our public image out of the gutter, we have to petition our MLS (and yours if they do the same) to get this as a rule.

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Yes, there are 20,000 other things that need to get done, but this can be a good start.

Above is the transcript to the video below. Enjoy:

Written By

Realty Reality! That describes Fred, a sharp witted and outspoken realist for the mortgage and real estate world who has appeared on CNBC and NPR's Marketplace along with being quoted in the New York Times, The Wall Street Journal and other media outlets. Fred is the CEO of U S Spaces, Inc/Arrivva (a real estate brokerage firm in PA, NJ, DE and CA) and U S Loans Mortgage Inc (mortgage brokerage in PA, CA, FL and VA), and serves on the Board of Directors and is the Federal Legislative Director for the UpFront Mortgage Brokers. Fred is also the co-creator of real estate startup, a mathematically driven rental search engine. See everything Fred at



  1. Benn Rosales

    February 3, 2010 at 5:17 pm

    lol dude, you had me at space windows!

  2. Craig Frooninckx

    February 3, 2010 at 5:31 pm

    Hey Fred, we were able to pass a rule at ARMLS that there must exist at least one exterior picture of the home within 72 hours. It’s a start, next time I will go for a requirement of at least 5 interior photos. Good luck.

  3. Matt Wilkins

    February 3, 2010 at 6:40 pm


    I too am in favor orf requiring interior photos in all MLS listings. However, I know there is going to be opposition from both sellers who don’t want the inside of thei home on public display 24/7 (and others just too embarrassed to show of their home) and RE professionals who still feel that a home will sell itsself without the need (and extra work involved) in taking/upoading photos both exterior and interior.

  4. Aaron Charlton

    February 3, 2010 at 8:07 pm

    We have a huge lack of photos and description, too. It’s mainly caused by a glut of bank-owned properties on the market. It seems like you don’t really have to do a good job of marketing foreclosures because they just sort of sell themselves.

  5. John Badalamenti, Prudential Fox & Roach

    February 3, 2010 at 8:10 pm

    My personal favorite is pics with snow on the lawn – and its now July…makes we want to put on my ski boots, yippie!

  6. Ross Therrien, Prudential Verani

    February 3, 2010 at 9:15 pm

    The Northern New England Real Estate Network-www.nnern,com, regulates our mls and we are required to submit at least 1 photo within 48hours, or else we can be fined. We’re allowed 24 photos to really highlight the properties “best” features. Best is often in the eye of the beholder though! Then you have the listings with 6 pictures of the front of the house, perhaps one of the backyard–focusing in on the 20′ drop off the nowhere……..and yes snow pictures in July, we need reminder of that magical time of year. When I don’t see interior photos my imagination fills in the blanks and it often isn’t pretty. Works for bank properties though, expect the worst and be surprised. A lack of description just reflects the lack of interest the listing agent has in marketing the property.
    Thanks for letting me vent on an issue thats been an itch for years. Happy Selling.

  7. MIssy Caulk

    February 3, 2010 at 9:49 pm

    I think getting that changed would be harder than passing ObamaCare through an all-Tea party Republican Congress.

    I needed a good laugh…thanks.

    Who is on the MLS Committee? Well not who but that is a good place to start in getting involved to see the rule change. Our MLS committee brings up new rules and then they go the board to get ratified.

  8. Ken Montville

    February 3, 2010 at 10:04 pm

    This is a great post because I have a questions around this issue. My camera works, I can get in the house, there is no impediment…..except the interior of the house is trashed. I’m talking gutted kitchen with no cabinet doors, no cooktop where one should be, peeling wallpaper, seriously damaged hardwood floors, plumbing issues too numerous to mention and more, more, more.

    Now. Would it be OK if I just put as detailed description as possible within the character count limit of my MLS and do a couple of exterior shots? Or should I really put the trashed house photos on the MLS and, by extension, the entire Internet? I mean, I really don’t want the pictures to show up on someone’s “worst of” blog post somewhere. Or create any liability exposure for me or my Broker.

    Whaddya think?

  9. Fred Glick

    February 3, 2010 at 11:13 pm

    Put yourself in the shoes of the other agent.

    If the description says it’s trashed and they don’t read it, shame on them.

    As long as you describe it in detail, you’re good.

    I have actually posted an MLS heading “Buy Your Very Own POS”. It was a total shell and the pictures (even from the outside) showed that. It gets attention!

  10. Mike

    February 4, 2010 at 6:02 am

    I posted something a week or so ago about just this topic. A rep from our local MLS came out to our office to demonstrate some new features, as well as some description of what is coming soon. When she was done, I asked her why the MLS does not MANDATE a minimum of 6 interior photos. I even said that an “opt out” could be included in the one page MLS listing addednum that already exists, if there were sellers that actually did not want interior photos. I told her that, not only is there a huge marketing benefit, of multiple photos, but the MLS is creating a historical archive for agents, appraisers and the public alike. Hey, it’s their MLS, they can mandate photos if they want.
    I received the response yesterday. The upper management of the MLS responded that, SOME buyers don’t want interior photos, (Hello, my “opt out” idea!?) so we only mandate one. (Which they don’t). I guess I need to take it to the top myself.
    Nothing irritates me more than lazy 1 photo agents. If they won’t add photos to a listing, what else won’t they do?

  11. Fred Glick

    February 4, 2010 at 12:58 pm

    What if I were to charge the agent for my time because their description was not in any way related to the property and there were no pictures.

    Is this fraud? Misrepresentation and a NAR ethics violation?


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