On the one hand I’m pissed because their laziness adds to my workload 3 fold.
But then on the other hand their suckatude (level of suckiness) makes me look better I guess.
Ok, what am I ranting about?
Here is one example: I just got a reply email from a listing agent selling a $1.5M home in Virginia. I have a client looking to buy a home that is specifically on a golf course backing to one of the holes. Max price is $4M (yes I dropped that irrelevant piece of information just to impress you).
You would think it would be easy for me to find with all my tools. Just do a Matrix search (back end Realtor search) for View= Golf Course. Problem is, if the listing agent doesn’t check that box, then it won’t magically appear in my search. That agent was either too lazy or too inexperienced (did I say the listing was $1.5M!) and doesn’t know how to fill out a simple MLS listing.
And it doesn’t end there.
He had only one photo on the listing! You are selling a $1.5M place? I even got ticked off enough that couldn’t hold back and I had to ask him directly:
- “I gotta say, that a house like that with no photo on the MLS, you are doing a TON of harm to your clients. I almost didn’t write because of the lack of photos. Can you help me understand why some agents don’t use photos? I don’t get it. It only costs $12 through keystone [our MLS].”
His reply was:
- “I do not understand your e-mail. There is a picture on MLS listing and further information on our website.”
Um. Thank you for lowering the bar so much that I look like Javier Sotomayor (the world record holding high jumper, A Cuban like me). Yes there was one photo, I meant why did you have only one photo! Not only was it a pain to go to his website and find the listing (that is why the MLS was invented so that all the info could be in one place), it still only had one photo. that is what you call “more information?”
I once had to hire somebody to drive 2 hours to take photos of a $5m mansion because the listing agent only had like 4 photos. He took 100. Actually I do that for every home that I see with a client, I take about 100 photos and I make an online mini album for them to remember each listing. Does your buyer agent do that? And I digress… Back to sucky listing agents…
The secret about MLS photos
If a Realtor is too lazy to take one photo, for free they can have the MLS take one. This entails the MLS paying a high school photographer to literally do a drive by shooting. They slow down the car and grab a shot and hurry on to the next house, a drive by shooting. You can tell if your Realtor opted for that if the full MLS listing says “Photo Option: VIC Exterior Only”
And then to upload 6 photos it costs a whooping $6, and the super rich will splurge and pay $12 for 20 photos!
That isn’t the end.
How frequently does this occur? I did a sample search in my building.
8 active listings:
* 4 had no photo at all, not even the free drive by.
* 3 had the free one drive by photo
* 1, only 1 spent $12 and uploaded 6 photos
(full disclosure: The stats aren’t ever this bad, this is unusual. I’ll get you full stats later)
No wonder some were over 260 days on the market. Yeah the market is slow, but having no photos doesn’t help. And one even offered a special $5,000 extra bonus for the agent? Why not have your client save $5,000 and market it well, no, that would be asking too much, how about just not suck.
SOON I WILL POST HERE THE % of homes in ALL of Arlington with and without photos.
What about Virtual Tours? I guess they are ok, but I don’t like them personally. They tend to crash my computer and some annoyingly force you to watch the “tour” with romantic zooming in and rainbow transitions with Celine Dion in the background, to add to the mood. Just give me 20 photos, so I can click on the next listing. I’m busy, lets get on with it. Is it that so tough?
When picking an agent, ignore the 4 inch binder that costs $250 to produce and is standard issue from their office (including a group shot of 100 agents, as if that somehow will help sell your house) to win your business. That binder won’t sell your listing. Ask him right there in real time to pull up their last 2 listings. See if he ordered the free drive by photographer service. See how many photos they have posted (and he better not trick you into showing you photos on their website or firm website, that is hogwash, nobody will see it, make sure it was on the MLS and that they paid the $12). And then take that binder and keep it in your car trunk. They work great when you need something heavy to put under your tire after parking on a steep hill in the winter.
Oh and if any of my competition is listening, when you put up a listing, you might want to have your photos ready and upload them that night. Why? Well the following morning will be your most important listing day? Why? Because your new listing is sent automatically (not spammed) to a ton of people that specifically signed up for email alerts in your listing’s area. If you put in your photos a day or two later, guess what? Your NEW and exciting new listing will have “photo coming soon” and will oftentimes be trashed.
Also did you know that a listing with multiple photos gets seen exactly 6 times more frequently online? I hate stats, but I believe these. Who wants to waste hours at work surfing and looking at houses if there are any photos?
So my main issue is a lack of photos on the MLS, secondly I have issues with an agent that won’t fill out important details on the MLS. Those two might not seem like major things, but they are early indicators to future problems and other laziness.
How hard is that agent going to fight to get you that last $10,000 if they can’t do something as simple as market your property with multiple photos?
Update: You need to see Norm Fisher’s blog about “The Unbelievably Bad Real Estate Photography Hall of Fame and the virtual tour!
– Written by Frank Borges LL0SA-