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Photography: Thinking Outside the House

Surroundings…yea


Home searchers are looking for the perfect house based on unique needs, and recently I realized how diverse those needs can be. I was (very casually) browsing for a place in Austin to get a feel… as a relo buyer. My number one criteria was not a spacious living room, whirlpool tub, or even a lot “nestled” in a quiet cul-de-sac… those features are nice, but they were not driving my home search.

I wanted to live in a place somewhat close to a natural setting, park, or water. Working from home, I need a place to walk my dog, go running, and maybe catch a glimpse of some mature trees in my neighborhood. I wanted to see the area surrounding the home. Here is my beef: Why could I not find one listing with pictures “outside” of the house. Not only the view facing toward the front door… I wanted more.

I wanted to see what it looks like standing on the front porch facing the street, and the view from the back porch. Even better, what does the street scape look like? If there is a nearby park, I’d love to see it. Local mall? Cool coffee shop nearby? Can I get a neighborhood entry monument at least?

I realize that the last thing you would want to do is showcase an ugly neighborhood… but I’m sure they were not all in ugly neighborhoods. I found no photos featuring what I am describing. I would think that I am not the only one out there that is concerned about the surroundings of a home. For relo buyers, photos of the surroundings tell a great story for some homes. I know it is not the case for every house, but I think it is a good idea to give an idea to a searcher about the local surroundings, and if anything, find a nice angle somewhere. It’s better than nothing.

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Writer for national real estate opinion column AgentGenius.com, focusing on the improvement of the real estate industry by educating peers about technology, real estate legislation, ethics, practices and brokerage with the end result being that consumers have a better experience.

11 Comments

11 Comments

  1. Elaine Reese

    May 7, 2008 at 8:20 am

    In our area, the local MLS does not permit inclusion of photos of property that is not for sale. Thus, neighborhood photos violate the rules. Of course, we CAN include such neighborhood photos on our own sites or blogs. But any downloads (i.e. to Realtor.com) from our MLS will not include the photos you are wanting to see.

  2. Lani Anglin-Rosales

    May 7, 2008 at 9:07 am

    Carson, because I know that you used our new search tool on gosinglepointe.com I know what you got to see and you’re right, agents don’t often include pictures of surroundings. You’ll get the community pool but not much more and I suspect it’s because the amount of photos is limited. What agent forget though is that linking to a virtual tour is another opportunity to have a LOT more photos.

    Some of us are using the new diverse solutions IDS (link seen under “What’s Hot” at the top of the page) which has built in Google Street View which we encourage people to use. On that same map at the bottom, you can search for “coffee” “pizza” or “bookstores.” But sometimes, Google Street View isn’t enough, or the photos were taken in the dead of the winter and you’re moving int he summer.

    So while diverse solutions has the best IDX search with Google Street Views, you are absolutely right- agents should think outside the house and make sure relos know what’s what in the area! GREAT POINT, CARSON!

    (P.S: just take your weekend trip to Austin already and all this internet searching ends by spending a day with Benn. I’m just sayin’….)

  3. Brian Copeland

    May 7, 2008 at 10:18 pm

    I recently saw an MLS listing here in Nashville where there were pictures of everything EXCEPT the homes exterior. Needless to say, it still hasn’t sold.

    https://www.nashvilleandbeyond.com/crsboardstinkinblogs.gif

  4. Carson Coots

    May 8, 2008 at 5:38 pm

    What??? That new gosinglepointe.com search tool is hot! I love it. Kudos to diversesolutions for a sweet product.

  5. Greg Cremia

    May 9, 2008 at 5:35 am

    What you are discovering is there is no substitute for personal interaction. The internet will never satisfy the needs of home buyers the way driving around and touring does.

    I just hope you did not eliminate the perfect home because you did not see it due to some bad pictures.

  6. Jennifer Rathbun

    May 10, 2008 at 9:26 pm

    I just added taking photos of subdivison to my marketing summary. Thanks! I knew to do this, but your post gave me an idea of where to put it so I would not forget.

  7. Karen Rice

    May 11, 2008 at 5:35 am

    I will do that for my buyers if they email me and ask for more info about the neighborhood. I do not want to put neighboring houses on the internet – I don’t want to think about the liability!

    I have to echo Greg’s comment: “What you are discovering is there is no substitute for personal interaction. The internet will never satisfy the needs of home buyers the way driving around and touring does.”

    Pictures can and do lie. Poorly taken photos can make a place look unpleasant, unfriendly, unwelcoming. Very well done photos can make a place look much nicer than it really is. There really is no substitution for actually visiting the neighborhood and getting a feel for it in real life.

  8. Cool Springs Real Estate

    February 6, 2010 at 12:16 am

    The outside pictures definitely make a big difference when trying to sell a house. I saw a listing the other day for a beautiful home in Cool Springs with only one picture of the front of the home. Nineteen photos of the inside, basement and garage and only one for the outside!

  9. Steve Taylor

    February 6, 2010 at 6:01 pm

    You can always use Google Maps Street View to have a tour around the area

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