How Important Are Photographs?
(Photo to left is an example of a great photo. Click on photo to see detail.)
True story. My clients arrived in town from another state, and they only had two days to look at homes. Of course, like 84% of all home buyers today, they already viewed many homes before they ever got here, all on the Internet.

The first day we viewed seven homes they had identified as possibilities from their Internet search. The second day, we talked at breakfast for a couple of hours, because the seven did not make it through their second set of filters. The photographs that the listing agents had posted on the MLS for each of those seven homes did not adequately represent the homes. You could not tell from the photographs what the area outside the homes looked like from different perspectives, you did not get a complete view of the exterior of the homes, and there were only three or four photographs of the interior of the home. Most of these photos were so poor in perspective and lighting, you definitely were not getting a good “picture” of the homes.

On the second day, we searched our MLS one more time before these good clients headed back to their home state. I decided to take them on a tour through a few of our neighborhoods that I thought might appeal to their interests. There was a listing in one of these areas that was within their general parameters, but the photos painted a picture in our minds of an owner built home with insufficient windows, and even a little ugly. The living room was dark and did not appear comfortable or welcoming. The RV barn looked like it might have been old with ancient siding.

Near the end of the day while driving past this last listing, we decided to give the owners a call and see if we could take a quick peak at it, expecting to see the house depicted in the photos. Alas, the home was not at all like the photos. In fact, the living room had a gigantic window with a gorgeous water view. Can you imagine that not being highlighted by a listing agent?

The rest of the house was so beautiful, I could go on and on, but I won’t. The RV barn was actually brand new, but the photo was so distorted, it made the exterior of the barn appear old when it was really beautiful. The Accessory Dwelling Unit for guests was the cutest little cabin my clients had seen in a long time, but it was never depicted in any of the photos on the listing either.

While my clients and I are pleased the photos were so bad, it probably discouraged many other ready, willing, and able buyers from even viewing the home, it is too bad for the owners. Most owners don’t know the importance of good photographs, and simply do not know whether their real estate agent has done a fabulous job promoting their home with great photos or not.

It is not difficult to learn to take good photographs, but for any owner who wants to sell their home and get the best possible price in the least amount of time, it is absolutely critical that their agent understands the importance of outstanding photos. After viewing thousands of listings over 30 years, it is my estimate that 70% of all MLS photographs are terribly insufficient and do not adequately promote the best features of the homes. If that one buyer never looks at your home, you still own it. It’s something to think about when you hire an agent.

Chuck Marunde, J.D.
Sequim & Port Angeles Real Estate
Port Angeles, Washington

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