MLS photos make the industry look badly
I’m aware that writing this could fall on deaf ears because no one here has possibly ever uploaded terrible pictures to the MLS, but the few ears I’d like to reach today are the local Association Executives, most notably those on the MLS committees. A call for minimum standards for all MLS photography starts with one MLS at a time.
We’ve been writing about and discussing this topic for years, and yes, it’s like beating a dead horse, but nothing has really changed, so we’ll bring it up again, this time with actionable standards.
This isn’t a pipe dream, this is a possibility. Some boards have begun implementing minimum standards but the industry has a long way to go. For example, the MLS in Austin, Texas requires that photos be uploaded within a specific time frame whereas other cities have listings that never even have photos uploaded and there is no consequence.
While policing the MLS is already a massive undertaking for boards, having minimum standards for photography is a natural minimum standard for the industry.
What standards should be the bare minimum?
I’d personally like for boards to be able to punish any listing with bad lighting or too few images, but that’s too harsh and unrealistic. There are some minimum requirements, however, that are reasonable and realistic:
- Photos must be uploaded within 48 hours of being listed as Active. If a listing isn’t fully ready to be marketed, it shouldn’t be. Period. 48 hours is generous.
- Photos must be at least 500 x 500 pixels as most MLS feeds are syndicated to third party aggregators that cater to consumers who have become accustomed to viewing large professional images in other industries when shopping for products.
- All photos must be a minimum resolution and no pixelation must occur. This should curb people taking pictures with their 1992 brick phones.
- We must implement minimum requirements of coverage. All listings must have a photo of the front of the home, the kitchen, the living room, at least one bedroom and bathroom, and the back yard. With this standard, listings with a shot of the corner of an empty square room as the only image should be eliminated.
What other minimum standards do you believe MLSs should enforce? Currently, the majority of MLSs have no minimum standards which is nothing short of sad. What does it say about our industry? Not much, if you ask me. Many, many AEs read AG, so speak up, they’re reading!