Do Listing Photos Really Matter?

Do Professional Listing Photos Really Matter?

We’ve been doing real estate a long time.  Long enough to remember the days when we’d go down to the board office and pickup MLS books on Tuesdays where each MLS listing had black and white listing photos in a book.  It’s hard to believe real estate was done that way even back in the 90’s.

Oh sure, agents needed at least one good photo of the front of the home for print advertising.  Some agents didn’t bother taking more photos than the front.  Then along came the Internet in the mid to late 90’s.  MLS’s started accepting more photos of the home, and agents started posting the entire MLS on their website like we do at  In fact, we were the first agents to put the MLS on our website back then.


Professional Listing phtos by Ellis Team
New Listing Coming to Market in August by the Ellis Team

I was searching through listings the other day and I came across some really bad photos.  Some were obviously shot from and iPhone because they had that narrow elongated tiny vertical picture you see, almost like a screenshot photo.  Other photos had cluttered counter tops or garbage all over the place.

I don’t want to call out any local Realtors or sellers so I won’t display those photos here.  I was just amazed that they’d put these photos online knowing full well that sites like Zillow,,, Trulia, etc scrape that data and display these listings online, not to mention all the agents who display the MLS on their websites.

Listing Photos Example of Bad Photo of Listing
Bad Photo in MLS

Basically the world’s first and last impression of these homes is a series of crappy photos.  With more buyers starting their search online, why in the world would they expect a showing from these photos?

We since stumbled onto a website called  Believe it or not there is a website dedicated to calling out sellers and Realtors for displaying bad photos online.  Much thanks to Barry Bevis who runs this site for allowing us to use one of his photos.

The Ellis Team takes photography seriously.  It all starts with hiring photographers who take excellent pictures.  Some homes can be tricky with lighting, both interior and exterior.  Having a pro can make all the difference, so we hired someone on staff with experience.  In fact, we have two full-time employees on staff with photography experience.  We also have a Photoshop expert optimize our photos for extra quality.

We created a website called www.HomesinHD.TV  Basically it’s our homes shot in High Definition.  We take professional photographs and edit them then combine them with full HD video and aerial photography.  The result is a Hi Definition video we use to market each of our listings.

Not only are these videos available on our website, but the high quality still photos and aerial photos are available on national sites like, Trulia, Zillow, etc.  We have the ability to place these photos into MLS so these aggregating sites pickup on our photos.

The photos your Realtor provides to MLS makes all the difference.  Buyers today are deciding which homes they want to see based upon their impressions from photos.  Many Realtors show homes online in their office and narrow down which homes their customers want to see.  This is one reason why each showing matters and many times buyers buy on day 1.

Buyers today are more informed.  They do their homework before contacting a Realtor.  They’re more ready to make a decision.  Just another reason why you don’t want to turn down showings and keep your home ready at all times, but that’s fodder for another article in the future.

Bottom line, hire a Realtor that takes photos seriously.  Your sale depends upon it.  The buyer takes them seriously, and so should the seller.

View our July 2014  SW Florida Real Estate Market Update

To view our Listings in Hi Definition, visit www.HomesinHD.TV or click on our playlist below

Visit our Google+ Business Page

Feel free to view our Virtual Tours .

By Brett Ellis

Fort Myers Real Estate Agent

1520 Royal Palm Square Blvd #160

Fort Myers, FL 33919

For Sale By Owner Pitfalls

For Sale By Owners are at a big disadvantage and it’s not really the seller’s fault. There are several reasons why it’s hard to sell a home By Owner. The number one factor is Fear. Buyers have a fear about the process of buying a home and without an agent all those fears bubble up. They fear they don’t know the area as well as the seller. They don’t know the neighbors. Buyers may not know the schools, etc. They don’t usually know how to structure a contract, and they don’t know financing. Buyers have never lived in the home, but the seller has. Buyers feel at a big disadvantage, so their fear leads them to the second biggest issue, which is trust. Buyers become skeptical because they realize they’re not holding many of the knowledge cards; the seller is. The seller knows much more about the home and the neighbors than the buyer. There isn’t an agent as a go-between so there is a lack of trust. This lack of trust is born out of fear.

For Sale By Owner Fort Myers
Pitfalls of Selling By Owner

When you have fear and lack of trust, any potential transaction is shaky at best. The seller has fear and trust issues too. The seller also does not understand financing, insurance, etc. The seller is fearful that the buyer may not be able to qualify or is telling them the whole story. There is no agent to verify certain facts, so the seller must ask the tough questions themselves. Buyers don’t like to divulge confidential financial information to the seller as they would a seasoned professional like an agent. Buyers trust their agent; they don’t trust a seller they don’t know. The seller doesn’t trust a buyer they don’t know, and there begins the cycle of distrust, which elevates fear. Buyers and sellers don’t negotiate with other buyers and sellers everyday, all day long. The questions they do ask come across as personal, so they get evasive answers. Buyers and sellers treat each other at arms length because they know whatever they say could be used against them in the course of negotiation. Some buyers and sellers get cute and try to Buffalo their way with the other side. Even if they are better Buffalos, the other side typically reads they’re not getting the whole story. Complex issues arise in a transaction. Inspection issues can be sticky, not to mention insurance, survey, financing, HOA, and past permit issues, to name just a few.

For Sale By Owners Net Less Money at Closing

Recent studies have shown For Sale By Owners sell on average for 12% less than what a Realtor gets for a home. The only way a buyer would buy a For Sale By Owner is if they can save the commission and buy it under market. If they have to do all the work themselves and face that fear on their own without the help of an agent, they better get a bargain. However, the reason a seller wishes to sell By Owner is to also save the commission. Both the buyer and seller cannot save the same commission. If the seller is going to take the time to show it, advertise it, make signs, place ads, and pre-qualify each buyer they better get more than fair market value for their efforts. They must fight bank appraisers and they have nobody in their corner if they get a bad appraisal. They just lose another deal. So if sellers get on average 12% less for a home, why would they try on their own? A leading For Sale By Owner company CEO recently sold his home through a Realtor. If their company is so great, why did he resort to hiring a Realtor? Every seller wishes to maximize their bottom line but selling By Owner isn’t it. If it was easy everyone would do it. Not only is there a cost to taking less, there’s also a cost for losing deals and selling it over and over. And doing it all yourself can get discouraging. Buyers and sellers are also emotional. They don’t have a 3rd party intermediary keeping things real. Facts and logic get blurred and they can convince themselves of almost anything. If you’re thinking of buying or selling, do yourself a favor and hire a good agent. You can do it right the first time, or do it the hard way and try on your own. Hey, you might get lucky, but then again, it could turn out badly. It’s your choice. We don’t see a lot of FSBO’s today but they will always exist. We hope this article helps you analyze your options. Good luck and Happy House Hunting! View our July 2014  SW Florida Real Estate Market Update To view our Listings in Hi Definition, visit www.HomesinHD.TV or click on our playlist below Visit our Google+ Business Page Feel free to view our Virtual Tours . By Brett Ellis Fort Myers Real Estate Agent 7910 Summerlin Lakes Dr Fort Myers, FL 33907