I just ran a survey of the newly listed properties from the last 30 days. I have to say that I am quite surprised by what I found...
I was looking specifically for how the listings were presented. We know from every bit of research done on buyer behavior that photos and virtual tours are among the most important things to the VAST majority of buyers. Homes with few or no pictures are most often passed over... regardless of how nice the property might be. Buyers want to see LOTS of pictures. They want virtual tours, and they want both the pictures AND the virtual tours to be high quality.
So, with that in mind I took a trip through the last 30 days of listings for Lilburn in FMLS. In that period, there were 56 new listings entered. I sorted them by how recent they were. I was looking to see how well presented the listings were. I did NOT judge the quality of the photos, because that owuld be subjective. I just judged on quantity.
Of the 56 newest listings:
- 8 had 0 pictures, 14.3%
- 7 had 1 picture, 12.5%
- 6 has 2-8 pictures , 10.7%
- 13 had 9-11 pictures, 23.2%
- 22 had 12 pictures , 39.3%
- 6 had virtual tours, 10.7%
I have to admit that I was stunned that over 60% of the listings did not have the maximum number of pictures allowed... and almost 90% had no virtual tour. I'm not talking about bad tours... I am talking about ANY virtual tour. Virtual tours are available for as little as $99... I don't think those are great, but at least they are something. And for the desperate, they can be done for less if the agent or seller provides the pictures. Personally, I use a high quality tour and it is more expensive, but I also think EVERY listing needs a virtual tour.
If I recall correctly, it has been almost a year since FMLS changed to allow 12 pictures on the listing. I have to say that I am stunned when I still see less than eight pictures on a listing (the old limit). And when I see no pictures... or even the drive-by curb-shot... I wonder what the problem is. Ugly property? But even then, I would want a prospective buyer to know before they visit that it won't be a showplace. I value their time, and don't want them to waste it looking at a property that won't suit their needs. I nkow that when I take buyers out and the house isn't as advertised, my buyers are annoyed.
The Bottom Line...
With digital camera technology, the ease of uploading pictures, affordable virtual tours and the knowledge that images are what buyers want to see, there is no excuse for not maxing out the pictures AND providing a virtual tour for EVERY listing.
Agents and sellers that think that they are creating "mystery" by not showing pictures of their listings are just flat out mistaken. There are too many options... Instead of mystery, they just provide an excuse to move to the next listing.