Archive for listing photos

How to Take the WORST Possible Listing Photos

Worst Listing Photos

Many times we like to offer advice on how to succeed and do well. However, sometimes it’s extremely informative to look at how folks do it wrong.

In some cases, terribly, terribly wrong.

In that spirit, here’s a light-hearted look at how you can take the WORST possible photos for your client’s listing.


Focus on the Throne

When you photograph the bathroom, be sure to focus on the main point. Buyers don’t need to know what the appearance or size of a bathroom is. Instead, the need to see a solo shot of the most important element of the room – the porcelain throne.

You get bonus points for this one if the toilet has a fuzzy rug cover and a fuzzy rug foot mat. Nothing like a fuzzy rug set in the bathroom to scream cleanliness and style!

While you’re at it, be sure to impress buyers with the details of your client’s personal sanitation and grooming. They need to know what brand of makeup they use, the fact that they still need feminine supplies, and the fact that they stack toilet paper in the corner.

You know they’ll snoop during a showing, why not just lay it all out up front?

“Clean” By Any Other Name

Remember, everyone has the same definition of “clean” embedded since birth. So when you tell your client that the home needs to be “clean,” there’s no need to explain that term or make sure they understand what you’re talking about.

In fact, it’s more fun to just find out what happens. Does “clean” mean that your client’s home will look like a photo shoot, or just that the dog vomit was picked up and the clutter shoved to the corners? Like a blindfolded piñata game, just swing the stick and see what happens.

Besides, the client displaying their own version of clean helps the buyer see the seller’s unique personality!

Show Off All the Zany Collections

Speaking of personality, every buyer needs to know that this is your client’s home. So, keep all unique and unusual collections on full display. A collection of rubber bugs? Perfect! Dozens of creepy dolls? Amazing!

Clutter and collections show the unique style of every seller, and that’s what matters. Buyers need to see how the sellers enjoyed their home. Buyers care deeply about the unique idiosyncrasies of each seller, so don’t worry about showing off the home.

Besides, sellers are attached to their stuff, and mentioning that it should be moved can cause an argument. Instead, let them know how much buyers love seeing a variety of angles on that fly-fishing bait collection.

Seasonal Decorations Front and Center

Decorating for the holidays can bring out the best in a home, so encourage homeowners to have listing pictures taken during Christmas. So festive! So much cheer!

Who cares that the listing is in May?

When buyers see photos adorned with Christmas lights, cookies, decorations, and more, they will be warmed from the inside out. They’ll be reminded of the snow, cold, and grey that ruled just a few short months ago – and they’ll be that much more appreciative of the spring sunshine.

Everyone has great memories of Christmas. It’s not a hard season for anyone, and folks don’t struggle with holiday stress or difficult family members. Because the holidays are universally amazing and give such great photo opportunities, use those holiday listing photos at any time of year!

Go For the ‘Shop – Photoshop

Hey, even million-dollar fashion models have their assets enhanced. Why not a home? Photoshop is the perfect tool for any listing photo.

Got a dog in the picture in an unfortunate position? No problem – just cut it out! Do power lines mess up a home, or nearby traffic look uninviting? No sweat. The ‘shop can take care of it all.

The goal is to get people to the home, and they’re bound to fall in love. If you have to take a few creative liberties… well, so be it, right? Certainly not an ethical concern, after all.

While you’re at it, see what you can do with filters and magnification to improve the appearance of every room. People want a large master bedroom and a light, airy, feel – you’ll be amazed how much Photoshop can help you!

Have a Laugh, Then Do it Right

Ok, ok, you know I’m not advocating any of this – especially the ethics violations! However, we’ve seen them all multiple times in listings.

So, learn from these and do differently – and you’ll having listing photos you can be proud of!

What hilarious listing photo mistakes have you seen? Share in the comments!

Ready to put those beautiful listing photos to great use? Check out our Just Listed postcards today!

Six Ways to SCARE Away Home Buyers!

Scare off Buyers

As we approach Halloween, I thought I’d put together a list of how listings can scare away potential home buyers. While many Realtors® already know this information, this list can be very helpful to homeowners. Feel free to take these elements and remind your buyers not to scare away their prospects!!

Poor Pricing

As a Realtor®, you know that poor pricing is the first thing that will spook a buyer. If the listing is too expensive, they’ll obviously choose a better-priced option down the road. An overpriced listing means no sale until the price is brought back into reality.

However, underpricing is also scary – it sends the giant red flag that “something is wrong with this house!” Remind even very motivated sellers that not only does underpricing leave money on the table, it will scare away serious-minded buyers.

Clutter and Dirt

Everyone knows to wash a car before they sell it, but somehow forget that this translates into homes as well. If there is a lot of clutter or dirt in a listing, buyers will get freaked out – it basically sends a message that a home has been poorly maintained. No one wants those kinds of unexpected surprises!

A deep cleaning can seem overwhelming to some homeowners, so make sure you have a cleaning service on your vendor list. You may even be able to work out a deal with them where your listings get a percentage off of the full service.

Bad Photography or Video

Showcasing a home at its best is essential to getting top dollar.  If you have dim photos or murky video, you’re obviously not showing the best parts of a home – you’re just scaring people off!

Hiring a professional photographer can be expensive, and some homeowners are sure they can do it themselves. I recommend having a “scare file” of poor home photos, side by side with much better photos, and ask them which they would buy.

Poor Staging

Overly personal décor and poor staging are setting buyers up for a frightful experience. Many times sellers will say, “But I love this color!” I’m sure you do, but you’re selling – and your buyers don’t! Remind them that they can decorate their new home however they like.

In addition, old ratty furniture and oversized pieces can really dampen a buyer’s mood. Some home buyers don’t want to pay for staging and storage, but this is another opportunity to remind them that they will get top dollar if they spend a little up front.


I’m always amused by those Febreeze “nose-blind” commercials, because so many sellers are exactly like this! I’m glad they’re used to living with two dogs and three cats, but the smell is significant. Odors scare away buyers because they’re an indication of poor upkeep.\

Depending on the odor, it can be expensive to get rid of it, but it’s worth every dollar to a motivated seller. If a seller is completely unwilling to handle odor issues in the home, they may not be that motivated to sell. Certainly, the home will sit on the market a long time, if it sells at all.

Poor Landscaping

In another case of “If they let this go, what else is falling apart?” let me present landscaping. Homeowners are very focused on the inside of the home when it comes to selling, but outdoors is just as important. A ratty yard, dirty pool, or poor landscaping shows that the owners don’t care as much as they should.

No buyer wants to be surprised by something hiding behind the walls or under the roof of a home they just purchased, and poor landscaping is a major red flag that there could be something scary lurking inside.

It’s easy for buyers to get spooked – sometimes they all seem to be looking for a reason not to buy, instead of enjoying the home. When your sellers have addressed these six issues, though, your listing will be well on the way to selling quickly and at top dollar.

What issues have you seen scare a buyer away? Share in the comments!

How to Take Great Listing Photos that Sell Homes Fast

Real Estate Listing PhotosIn today’s internet-focused culture, how you post your real estate listings online can easily make the difference between a sale and not even getting a call. Most Realtors® know that a listing with photos will get many more calls than one without. Unfortunately, many Realtors® don’t have a great idea of how to best display their listings online. Following these simple tips will help you take great listing photos and sell your properties quickly.

Use a High Quality Camera
Consider a good camera to be a necessary investment in your real estate business. Using a cell phone or simple point-and-click camera will look unprofessional and result it unclear, grainy photos. You want to display both yourself and your listing in the best, most professional light possible.

A professional photographer setup isn’t necessary for a Realtors®, but a good resolution camera with a tripod will result in high quality, clear photographs that will really make your online listings stand out among the rest.

Make Sure You Have Good Light
In any photograph, the light sets the scene and makes it easy to see the details of what’s in the picture. A picture that’s dark sends a message that the home is dark itself, which is not feature buyers are looking for! In addition, real estate listing photosdarkness tends to make people think of dirtiness and hidden problems. Getting photos that are properly lit will help potential buyers have a chance to fall in love with a home.

To achieve proper lighting, take your pictures on a sunny day. Open windows to let in light. Consider bringing in lamps if a room doesn’t have enough natural light to frame it well. Take time to research lighting setups or take an introductory photography class if you have time. Remember, you’re investing in yourself and your success!

Choose your Listing’s Best Side
I’m not talking about the particular side of the house, of course. I’m talking about making sure that you frame everything you photograph in the best possible way. Make sure rooms are picked up and organized before photographing inside. When taking pictures outside, avoid unattractive features such as torn awnings or an ugly yard. Avoid dirt and stains, and really showcase what makes the house such a great purchase.

Potential buyers are looking to put themselves in the picture, and are trying to imagine what it would be like to live there. Use your photos to make that picture very easy to see, and very appealing! Use photos to show off the home’s best features, not the current owner’s collections or oddities.

Take a Lot of Photos
When taking photos, be sure to get a lot of shots. Try different angles – a house almost always looks better at an angle than straight on from the front. Photograph rooms from various locations. After you’ve taken all your pictures, you’ll have a wide variety to choose from in creating your online listing.

Buyers also enjoy when there are more photos on a listing, so don’t skimp in uploading the great shots. If there are only one or two pictures, it may make the listing seem amateur or imply that there’s something to hide. When you have a large number of photos, you can upload all of the best shots and display the house to its full potential.

90% of buyers start their home searches online. Online listing sites are becoming more and more popular. Buyers want to feel like they can see themselves living in the home. By following these simple listing photo tips, you can make your online listing stand out from others and generate more leads, more calls, more showings, and sales.

The Best Open House Marketing I’ve Ever Seen!

Open house marketing

Flag at neighborhood entrance

I had the pleasure of stopping off to see an open house today on a listing presented by Brian Cross…and I absolutely loved his open house marketing!  Brian understands what it takes to have a successful open house AND he understands that the neighbors coming by to visit leads to the possibility of more listings in the neighborhood.  After all, activity breeds more activity.

Let me share what I know of Brian’s marketing plan…it’s pretty extraordinary!

  • He starts by sending out Just Listed postcards to make sure the neighbors know the home has been listed for sale.
  • Prior to the open house, he sends invitations out to 200 of the neighboring homes for a “neighbors only” showing.  A time he sets aside when the home isn’t open the rest of the public, just the neighbors.  He hires teenagers to walk the neighborhood and get his flyers/invites out.
  • He has balloons on every one of his many open house signs leading to the open home.
  • There is a huge flag placed at the entrance to the neighborhood advertising the “event.”
  • The home has an “air dancer/sky puppet” in front so there is no possibility of missing it being “open.”
Open house marketing

Sky Dancer! Open House Here!!!!

That’s just getting people in the door.  Once arriving at the open house, I was greeted by one of his buyer agents Paulina, who walked me through the house, telling me of the home’s features.  While we walked through the house, she had the opportunity to qualify me.  Find out what made me stop by, am I in the market, do I have an agent I’m working with, what am I looking for, etc. etc.  It was executed perfectly from a standpoint of collecting a potential lead.

Agents who sit at the kitchen table and allow people to walk through the home and have a look are missing the point of holding a house open.  It isn’t just to sell the home that’s been listed, it’s all about collecting leads and meeting and greeting the people who are in the market for a new home.

Before leaving, I was introduced to Brian, my information was collected on a sign in sheet and I was given a gift for stopping by.  A custom imprinted pen/stylus for my tablet, which I really appreciated.  Who doesn’t need a pen!  The stylus was a huge bonus and a great gift.

Brian and his team have an amazing strategy for using their open houses to sell homes and collect leads to keep their pipeline of business full.  I hope his strategies give you some ideas of how you can capitalize on the opportunities of the people who walk through the front door of your next open house.

Visit PrinterBees for pricing on any of the above mentioned real estate marketing ideas for your next open house. We’ve got you covered!


How Using Just Listed/Just Sold Postcards Builds Huge Momentum In Your Real Estate Business

marketing-strategy-300x261One of the tactics many real estate agents use to market their real estate business is to send out just listed and just sold postcards following any activity with their listings.  This is a super effective method of real estate marketing, for two reasons.   The people who own homes in the neighborhood want to know what their own home is worth and those renting in the neighborhood usually want to figure out if buying is a possibility.

Neighbors always want to know what homes are listing and selling for in the area, especially during these times and in this market.

So, how can just listed and just sold postcards benefit you and your real estate business?  Well… “you need to list to last” in real estate, so if you plan to “last”, you must always be working to get more listings. Using just listed/sold postcards along with your for-sale signs will super charge your marketing effectiveness.  A great marketing plan is all about repetition and getting people to remember your name.  Your name will become familiar, comfortable and an obvious choice when the people receiving your marketing want to buy or sell real estate.  Sending out just listed/just sold postcards shows you’re active in the community, know the neighborhood and have the most up-to-date information for the area.

People do business with people they know, like and feel they can trust.   “If the neighbors liked and trusted you, then I should be able to trust you too”.  It’s an unspoken triangle of trust.

When mailing out your Just Sold Postcards, make sure to include something short and sweet about having a HOT list of buyers interested in the neighborhood because of your recent listing and the activity surrounding it.   If there were multiple offers, make sure to highlight it on your postcard marketing as well.  When you consider how many foreclosures are out there, many homeowners are shocked to learn the market has shifted so much.

The two things that usually stop Realtors® from doing this simple, yet effective type of marketing is time and money.  Here’s the trick to getting it done… The Realtors® who are most effective and consistent with sending out just listed/just sold postcards don’t handle it themselves, they get help from people who can do it better, faster and cheaper.  They realize that their time is valuable and any task that doesn’t require their expertise can be handed off to someone else.  You’re a Realtor®, not a mail clerk, leave those types of tasks to someone else so you can focus on what you do, selling real estate.

There are companies like PrinterBees which handle everything from designing the postcard to mailing it out.  You choose a template you like, provide the listing information, a few photos, approve your proof and your part is done.  PrinterBees designs, prints and mails Just Listed/Just Sold postcards for many Realtors® and can handle it for you as well, so you can do what you do…sell real estate.

Part 2 – In The Next Issue Of Real Estate Marketing Magazine.
The costs of mailing, the most expensive part of any postcard marketing plan.  Learn about how to lower postage costs SUBSTANTIALLY on your next mailing by subscribing to REMM.

The Proper Care And Feeding Of Your Listings

Marketing Real EstateHave you ever heard the saying “the best time to get a new job is when you already have a job?” Basic economics is all about supply and demand, and the same holds true for the job market. The person who is employed has more value, even if it’s only perceived value than a person who isn’t currently unemployed. A working and active Realtor® with active listings in the neighborhood is much more likely to get their next listing in that same neighborhood than a Realtor® whose real estate business appears inactive/dormant. The proper care and feeding of your current listing will help nurture your next listing, and so on. Marketing real estate with an active listing, is like marketing on steroids!

Put these ideas to work in conjunction with your next listing to breed more listing activity in the neighborhood. Your top notch marketing efforts should be reserved and limited for the neighborhoods you intend to focus on for more listings and long-term relationship building. Make sure it’s a neighborhood you like, the type of homes you enjoy selling and a community you really want to be a part of. Sales people have to feel good about the product they represent to be the best at selling that product, no matter what it is.

It’s my personal opinion you should always do your best when it comes to marketing a listing when you agree to represent a seller in a real estate transaction. These marketing tips are meant to be used above and beyond what you already do to market your listings to help grow your business long-term.

Think of yourself as someone running for public office. When you get a new listing, take the time to walk the neighborhood, shake hands, kiss some babies, pet some dogs, say “hi” to the kids playing outside and introduce yourself around the neighborhood. Let the neighbors know you’re stopping by as a courtesy to advise them of the home coming on the market, upcoming activity with open houses, broker tours and real estate agents stopping by with clients. Offer to answer their questions regarding the current market and personally invite them to your upcoming open house.  Make sure you leave a few business cards behind and encourage them to call if they have questions, see any suspicious activity or know of anyone looking in the area.

Send out just listed postcards announcing your new listing to the neighbors after you’ve been by to visit them. Make sure your picture is on your postcards so the neighbors recognize you as the Realtor® who stopped by.  Including your photo on your marketing will help neighbors put a face with the name, so they’re more likely to remember you.  Again, think of it from the perspective of running for public office or a seat on the local school board. People need to recognize you, feel like they know you and feel like they can trust you to assist them with something super important, likely the biggest investment decision of their life. The better your “campaigning“, the more familiar you’ll become, the more top of mind awareness you’ll gain, the more successful your business will be.  Active Realtors® play a big role in every community they are active in.  Don’t underestimate the effectiveness of approaching your marketing like a political campaign.

Use every available opportunity you can to market the property in the areas you want listings. When the property goes pending, send now pending postcards AND get out there and knock on doors again. Every neighbor wants to know the same thing, how much it sold for, how many offers there were, and how does it compares to their own home. You happen to be the one and only person with the most current information and expertise who can answer all their questions, even the questions with answers that can’t be disclosed until the transaction closes.

Keep a list; get the names emails and phone numbers for the people in the neighborhood with questions you aren’t allowed to disclose answers to until the transaction is complete.  Talking to people while your under contract and “can’t disclose” is the best time to collect and sort leads. If they are willing to provide you their contact information, they should be considered a hot lead with real questions deserving your attention and follow-up, those who aren’t serious, won’t. It’s a simple way of “lead weeding” and prioritizing your leads so you know your spending your time on top quality leads.

Make sure to follow up on your leads. This is where things usually fall apart for most, the intentions are good, but the follow-through, not so much and it appears to be completely normal. The good news is that because so few agents do follow-up and follow-through, your competition will be few when you do begin being the Realtor® who is not only present and active, but actually follows-up. TIP: If you aren’t good at follow-up, hire someone who is. If you’re too busy to follow-up, hire someone else to order signs and postcards and anything else that doesn’t REQUIRE your attention and expertise. You may very well be the bottle-neck that’s keeping your business from growing.

Putting these ideas to work will help your business blossom to new heights when you have an active listing.  Activity absolutely breeds activity and seizing the opportunity when you have an active listing can help you become recognizable and rememberable.

Listing photos: Do Yours Look Anything Like This?

When you put a listing on the market, it’s your job and your duty to “market the heck” out of that property. Listing photos are a really important part of the marketing process. Real estate related searches on the Internet are up an astounding 253% over the last few years. Studies show that 90% of people begin their search for real estate on the Internet and that most people visit three to four websites before committing to any one of them. The Internet is a standard first step for anyone who is looking to learn about the real estate market.

Real Estate Marketing: Bad Listing Photos

Actual Listing Photos From The MLS

I was inspired to write this article by a recent post in Active Rain, “Only one photo in the MLS and it’s not even a photo of the house”! This unfortunately is all too common and it’s not taken nearly as serious by many agents as it should be. As a Realtor representing a seller, agents have a fiduciary responsibility to provide the best representation possible, which includes marketing the property. Not including good quality, in focus, high resolution images of a listing in the MLS or other real listing services is, in my opinion bordering on malpractice.

You only get once chance to make a good first impression and the photos representing the property listed for sale ARE the first impression of the property AND the Realtor representing the property. For the last many years, it’s been standard to email a list of properties for prospective buyers to review before hitting the road with a short list of properties to actually stop at. If you’re not providing good quality photos of your listings, you’re missing out on a tremendous amount of traffic through your listing, you’re selling your client short and you’re making yourself look bad professionally.

Websites like Pinterest and Instagram have exploded over the last two years because people are generally speaking, visual and appreciate good photography. If you’re not including good photos of your listings, you’re establishing yourself as an agent who takes shortcuts and doesn’t care about the important details of marketing a listing. If you’re not good a taking photos, hire someone who is. You’re being paid to represent the client in getting the house sold, if you’re certain enough to take the listing in the first place, you should feel certain about seeing a paycheck and therefore have no problem investing in proper marketing to get the listing sold for top dollar. If you aren’t certain you can sell the house, and aren’t willing to invest in getting it sold, you possibly shouldn’t have taken the listing. It’s unfair to the client.

Remember, it’s not just about the client it’s about you, your real estate practice, your professionalism and your career as a Realtor.

The magic number of photos is AS MANY AS POSSIBLE. Please share your thoughts on listing photos, it seems to be a hot topic in proper real estate marketing these days.

Your Client Should FIRE YOU If You’re Not Including Photos When Marketing Their Listing

Real Estate Marketing - Listing PhotosHaving recently entered the housing market again, I really “get it” when it comes to including photos when your marketing real estate listings on the MLS, Craigslist, Zillow or otherwise.  I’ve been frequenting these sites dedicate to marketing real estate listings over the last few weeks with my upcoming move to the Phoenix area of Arizona.  I currently live in California and am literally shopping for a house on-line, it’s no easy task.

It’s been said time and time again that listings which have photos sell 8-10 times faster than those who don’t.  It’s also been said that the minimum number of photos needed is nine.  I don’t think nine is nearly enough!  How can someone who is trying to find a house and lives out of town get a real idea of what a home looks like inside and out with so few photos.

I hope you’ll consider the following the next time you’re marketing one of your properties.

  • The more photos the merrier!  My personal favorites have more than 20 photos.  Is it possible to have too many?
  • Make sure the photos are taken with good lighting.  Nothing makes a house look worse on-line than poorly lit photos, which means photos should only betaken during the middle of the day…when it is sunny out.
  • Read More…