1. Unfortunate Photos
Just because your phone has a camera doesn’t mean you should use it to take your listing photos. Seriously. Not all mobile phones are made equal.
While some may take listing-ready pics, many, many phones have resolution or lighting issues that produce low-quality, low-resolution images. Even if you outsource your photos, make sure you actually view them, versus letting your photographer or a team member handle this uber-essential step. I’ve seen agents pay for MLS photos that were clearly taken on trash day, because the dumpster was squarely blocking the home’s exterior.
Other listing photo blunders that are still surprisingly common include: poor photo selection, photo fraud (see #3, below) and failure to upload (see #2, below). It’s essential that you ensure there are photos of all the major features buyers use to screen properties in and out of their ‘must-view’ list. This includes the kitchen (and appliances), bathrooms and the frequently neglected front and back yards.
2. Failure to
The web is a highly visual medium, and also happens to be virtually every buyer’s house hunt starting point. In fact, today’s buyers’ brains cannot even process listings without pictures. I mean, they literally won’t even click on them.
I’d guess that most of the listings I see with no photos online at all are due to some sort of glitch in a team’s workflow. Maybe one assistant thought someone else was uploading the images, or someone started to upload them but got distracted by an incoming client call and forgot to click save. Marketing assistants can be life-savers. But this is YOUR business, and your role is to delegate, not totally abdicate all responsibility for your listings.
Even the most professional team needs diligent oversight. When it comes to listings and photos, the best practice is to double-check every listing as it appears on your local MLS system, on Trulia, and on every other online site you’ve promised sellers you use in your marketing. You can’t afford to have even one interested, qualified buyer scroll past your listing because it registers ZERO images.
3. Flat-out Fraud
One (in)famous TV agent was fired last summer and investigated by law enforcement when his franchise’s HQ found out that he’d been boldly photoshopping hardwood floors, marble counters and bookshelves into an otherwise unlovely home. While you might not be tempted to go this far, there are hundreds of listings online featuring photos with a remarkable disconnect between the space and proportions displayed online, and those you see when you get into the house.
Photo manipulations? Fraud? Don’t be tempted.
Much more common than fraud is the phenomenon of “fluffery.” Fluffery is using adjectives to fill out your word count and make a place sound slightly better than it truly is in an effort to just get people in the door. Here’s the real deal: there’s someone for every home, and a home for every type of person. And you can’t trick someone into buying a home. They will see it before they buy, and you run the risk of irritating buyers and buyer’s brokers if you develop a pattern of posting misleading or overly fluffed listings.
Instead, aim for highlighting the home’s best features and accurately representing the totality of the property in your listings, with the goal of helping the buyer that’s looking for just those features find their way home.
5. Typo No-Nos
Spell-check isn’t foolproof, especially when (as with most listings) there are acronyms and shorthands sprinkled throughout your text. There is nothing like a second, third and fourth read-through to reveal awkward sentence structure or the wrong version of “hear” (you probably mean “here”). It’s not overkill to simply set up a policy of having another pair of eyeballs read everything before you post it to your MLS.
Typographical errors and syntax snafus are not that difficult to make, but they are bad form. Conversational and correct listing copy is a sign of your professionalism, not just to buyers and their brokers, but also to the seller who has entrusted you with their biggest asset.
6. Skipping Social Media
Social media sites like Facebook, Pinterest and Twitter can be time sucks or revenue streams depending upon the attitude you take towards them and your execution. But more than half of Americans have a Facebook account, so it behooves us all to figure out a time-efficient program for socializing our listings.
Thoughtfully constructed listing photo albums, insider insights on the neighborhoods you serve, and even the occasional ad are worth a bit of time and investment on an ongoing basis. It’s entirely possible that your existing friends and past clients might just know the right buyer for your new listing. Facebook is a free way to loop them in and keep them up-to-date on what you have on the market.
7. Neglected Flyer Boxes
Some say that mobile apps will render flyer boxes obsolete. It’s possible, but that day has definitely not come yet. Empty flyer boxes reek of neglect and send the wrong message to the right people: neighbors who might be considering calling you to list their own home, buyers who’ve seen the place online and are doing a drive-by preview and even neighborhood passers-through whose heads have been turned by your listing.
8. Long-Distance Listings
I know buyers in several hot markets who are getting amazing deals on homes. How? They are all homes that are listed by out-of-area brokers, who probably don’t know how to fully market a listing in the area and might just be struggling to find the time to get to the property and show it. These homes all lagged on the market, compared with the average listing in the area, before selling.