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“My Listing Isn’t Good Enough for Pictures”

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I thought we all agreed

As I sit here, working on some training material, I am listening to my wife go through the ritual of scheduling showings.  I’ve never been a fan of being a Selling Agent and typically stuck to strictly Listings.  It’s coming back to me why – the poorly written and maintained listings just sit me off every time.  Tonight the biggest issue in her stack of listings, is that there are very few with photos.  The buyer’s desired price range yields a number of REO listings.

I made the mistake of mouthing off on Twitter about my desire to sit for a few minutes, with agents who have no photos in their listings…I may have mentioned a wiffle bat, too.  I usually take for granted that many of us think similarly in RE.net.  Not always, but often.  I thought that we all agreed that you simply were not providing good service to a Seller, if you didn’t have a photo.

Several twits came across and said that their MLS requires at least one photo to enter the listing.  Sadly, our MLS does not make such requriements.

One follower commented “is it possible the houses are so trashed that photos would be a disservice?”

I suppose that I had never had a listing that was so undesirable that I couldn’t find at least 10-15 good photos, none-the-less one. If I did, I must have listed it as land and put up a graphic of the survey, or something.

Now, I’m thinking…

Knowing what I know about consumer behavior and the overwhelming percentage of people who won’t even look at a listing without photos; is there ever a reason to not post photos? (not rhetorical, I’m really asking)

What say you?

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20 Comments

20 Comments

  1. Matt Wilkins

    April 26, 2009 at 8:52 am

    I personally take the attitude “the buyers wants to see a preview of the home before viewing it whether its good, bad, or ugly”.

    I am seing REOs where the photos used are from the most recent interior BPO inpection. At least this is better than no photos at all or letting the MLS pull a past listing photo (which in my local system could be from as far back as 1997).

    Another issue that goes hand in hand with lack of photos and is as if not more frustrating: more and more listings in my local area that have completely inacurate data (bedroom/bathroom count, # of levels, showing instructions, etc.). OK enough about that.

    I think this post brings up a subject that has been talked about more and more lately: Do listing agents/brokers seem to change the level of the bar based on the type of client and sale?

  2. Thomas Johnson

    April 26, 2009 at 11:53 am

    This is part of the grand scheme. Turbo Tax Tim at US Treasury is now in control of the housing market. He has banks stuffed full of toxic assets which if they were accounted for would cause severe discomfort to his Goldman Sachs masters. The scheme is to slow down housing activity as he shucks and jives the global bank balance sheets. Banks are not shedding their foreclosures as they would if this were any kind of real market. To wit: tried to close a short sale recently? If they let the house sit, they don’t have to own it. If they don’t own it, they don’t have to realize the loss. The pitiful marketing of foreclosures with their goofy prices also prevents bonafide sellers from selling, as buyers see all these shorties and reo’s with artificial prices and are unwilling to buy anything at the real price. So they make 3, 4 5 offers on bogus listings and that buys Turbo Tax Tim more time. The only buyers cleaning up in all this are cash buyers. Cash will not be ignored, as it sponges up some of the trillions that have been pumped into the system.

  3. Benjamin Ficker

    April 26, 2009 at 12:30 pm

    I think if your listing is not “pretty enough” for photos, then your target audience is different. If its a fixer, your market is probably investors who would want to see everything wrong with it. Or if it is not necessarily a fixer, just cosmetics, your first time buyer who wants to put a little elbow grease in to something, would be ecstatic to see that this fits perfectly in to their plan. There is a market for every type of home, and photos that sell to that market.

  4. Matthew Rathbun

    April 26, 2009 at 12:31 pm

    Matt: As usual, we agree. I do think this is one sign of the broader issue. Does the type of listing change the level of service? OK, I know it does; but should it.

    Thomas: Uh, ok… I’m not sure how to respond.

  5. Matthew Rathbun

    April 26, 2009 at 12:32 pm

    Benjamin: So, you’re saying that a photo of a bad listing may still make it attractive to a certain niche of buyers? I agree…

  6. Steve Beam

    April 26, 2009 at 10:14 pm

    TRUE- Photos sell homes. REO, short sale or normal sale photos save time. It saves un needed showings, it saves other Realtors huge amounts of extra searching time and it saves buyers time. One photo isn’t that tough, is it?

  7. Ruthmarie Hicks

    April 26, 2009 at 10:18 pm

    I haven’t had a listing that was so bad I couldn’t take a decent photo of it. I agree that people want pictures. It’s sometimes hard to find 30 photos…which is what our MLS allows – but if worst comes to worst, I do a few of the neighborhood.

  8. Missy Caulk

    April 27, 2009 at 7:38 am

    Consumers like photos.
    Consumers pass over listing w/0 photos.
    Consumers find a home on our IDX site that has no photos and call us for more photos.

    Is that our job if it is not our listing to go take photos?

    Frustrating to have to tell them that is all the listing agent provided.

  9. Lisa Sanderson

    April 27, 2009 at 8:28 am

    Sometimes I think that these listing agents feel that if they just get people to come through the door, somehow they will overlook the bad condition. Silliness. It is what it is, post as many photos as possible to attract the *right* buyer.

    I, too, have wondered about the different level of service given to foreclosure listings, and have also wondered if the marketing of these was turned up a notch would the sale prices be different? But I guess the agents handling these listings are doing such a huge volume of them that it is difficult if not impossible to do them right. Also, the cut rate fees being paid probably affect the level of service too.

  10. Alan May

    April 27, 2009 at 12:13 pm

    There’s always an image of the property that could be published, even if it is a dump. (a close-up of the entry… the yard… the view from the deck.)

    I’m sorry, there’s just no excuse for a listing going ‘live’ without a bevy of descriptive photos.

    Matt is right, buyers want to see pictures of the property… TO DETERMINE whether or not they’re going to even bother viewing it.

  11. Carrie

    April 27, 2009 at 2:15 pm

    Well, what about a listing that looks GREAT from the outside, but the inside is full of junk? Not trashed at all, but if you take pictures of the inside, it’s going to look trashed unless its seen in person.

    Obviously you’d post a pic of the outside, but do you post pics of the inside hoping that people will schedule a showing in spite of all the stuff, or not post a pic hoping they’ll just think you’re a lousy agent who won’t post more pics?

    We have a listing in this situation – it’s a rental, so it’s not a problem of convincing the owner to clean it up… We have to work around the tenants.

  12. ines

    April 27, 2009 at 10:59 pm

    I have plenty of examples where photos could actually hurt a listing. And I’m one who is very thorough about photos, staging, moving stuff and making sure spaces show their best possible angle.

    I have one listing right now that is tenant occupied and full of boxes and a total mess and the house is gorgeous. I’m waiting for her to move her mess before I photograph – for now only have a couple of photos of the facade.

    I have another listing occupied by an older lady who refuses to let me move stuff to photograph and it is beyond cluttered – only gets a facade photo.

    They are not REO’s and they represent me – I give my clients instructions when I take the listings and if they don’t cooperate, then I usually try to make the most of it and sometimes even cancel. Those listings represent our team and the way we market properties.

    Am I making any sense here?

    I do keep a library of photos though in case someone insists on seeing the unfinished product and at that point I e-mail them.

  13. Melina Tomson

    April 28, 2009 at 2:48 pm

    If a home is so trashed, that is a different buyer anyway, and there is no harm in putting up trashed photos. Those buyers are looking for trashed so they don’t care.

    It’s those nice homes with clutter or crappy home decorating, but the home itself is nice that are the difficult ones. I probably wouldn’t take the listing unless they cleaned it up, or if it was a short term problem like in the scenario Ines talked about.

    I personally think there are very few situations in which no/few photos makes sense.

  14. Nannette Saunders

    May 17, 2009 at 2:55 pm

    It is so easy to take the pictures and even videos. Including a video of the neighborhood is a great way to market the ugliest house in the neighborhood for the buyer looking for a great opportunity for instant equity. Many of the REO’s on the market today offer this opportunity. Not finding a way to market a property is no excuse especially when there are so many resources out there to help.

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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.

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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, Change.org, 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…

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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.

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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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