Less Than Impressive Online Real Estate Experiences

Matt Bailey, founder of web marketing firm Sitelogic, has been spending some time on real estate websites lately, and let loose with a rant earlier today about his disappointment with the state of online RE sites. One of his main concerns: poor quality property photos:

Online Marketing in Real Estate – Fast Start to Stagnation

If I had my house on the market, I would be going ballistic on my Realtor, as there are no excuses for :

* Low res, pixilated photos
* Blurry pictures
* Pictures of toilets and mirrors
* Less than 3 pictures uploaded for any listing
* Cameras held at an angle, making everything look like it’s on a slope
* pictures of beds, which I am not buying
* No pictures of the items listed in the description. If there is a workshop – take a picture!

everything seems to be leaning to the right
* no labeling of photos that have been uploaded
* No interior pictures!?!?
* Snow on the ground – and it’s late May
* The same three photos – repeated 2-3 times.
* Misspelled adjectives – “Emaculate Condition!” (really?)

Matt, if that’s your biggest complains, you’re being generous, since many many properties still contain NO PHOTOS.

We’ve studied this at WhereToLive.com, and have found that online marketing performance of real estate agents is very polarized. Even when it comes to fundamental tasks like publishing property photos. They either get it and do a great job publishing a large number of high quality photos or they do next to nothing. We see very little participation between those extremes.

While it’s tremendously frustrating for home buyers, it does provide excellent, objective, information for home sellers: You can judge who understands online marketing based on how they market other listings.

Before contracting with an agent, take a look at their current listings. Do they have photos? None? Run. Some? Would they make it past Matt’s criteria outlined above?

An agent can do a lot more than this to market your property, but if they’re stumbling at fundamental steps like this, beware.

I think this is particularly valuable when considering working with a friend, family member, or close acquaintance. This is a very large financial transaction, so working with someone you know can be reassuring, but will they market your home in a competitive manner? Reviewing current (and when available, past) listings is a good measure of whether they’ll marketing your home in a professionally competitive manner. While it’s great to give someone close to you your business, if you were to lose a couple percent on your closing price due to poor marketing, you’d be better off buying them some very (very) nice dinners for your friend while choosing with a superior home marketer in your market for your real estate transaction.

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