We have a new listing, and it’s not yet in the MLS. Why not? We don’t enter a listing into the MLS until it is 100% ready to go. For us, 100% ready means the home is ready and staged, the yard mowed, walls painted, carpet cleaned, house is professionally makeready cleaned, maintenance items handled, all photos taken, the virtual tour completed and online, flyers ready, and the sign and lockbox are up. On this one, we don’t yet have the photos, flyers and Virtual Tour, which we’re having done today.
Why not enter the listing when it’s “almost” ready, perhaps with one photo of the front of the house? Because first impressions matter. Not only do they matter, they matter A LOT.
Every buyer we work with has an online portal with automatic notification of new listings that match their search criteria. Sylvia and I also have various portals set up for ourselves, which we use to monitor and keep and eye on certain areas and neighborhoods we like. Each morning, us and our Buyer clients, receive notification emails for new listings that match the different search parameters being watched.
I’m amazed at how many agents enter listings into the Austin MLS with no photo, or worse yet, crappy photos. Those listings are at a disadvantage from day one.
Which listing, upon initial preview online, would you be most interested in learning more about?
This one?.. or this one?..
When we or our Buyers get the aforementioned email notifying us of a new listing, and we click on that listing link to view the property, that is our first impression – either a nice photo of the home, or the ugly default “no photo” image shown above.
It is within about 10 to 30 seconds that I will decide if a new listing warrants further investigation, or if I’m going to drive over for a preview look. For some listings, I know instantly that the home will be sold within days, based on the location, price and the photos. Many of our Buyers, especially if they’ve been viewing the portal on a regular bases, are savvy enough to spot a good new listing right away also, and they call us immediately and ask about it. First impressions matter!
Listings that have all 8 photos plus a virtual tour get a longer, harder look than the ones with no photo. If there is not a photo, or multiple photos, it diminishes our first impression of the listing because we can’t see what it looks like. Great photos of beautiful homes can generate an instant emotional attraction that result in further interest in the home.
In addition to no photo, some new Austin MLS listings have comments such as “work still in progress”, or “new carpet coming”. In other words, the house is NOT ready for the market but the seller and/or agent are in a hurry to put it on the market anyway. This is not a smart way to sell a house. I’ve walked through a bunch of these ill-prepared homes and we usually walk right back out unless there is some other over-riding merit, such as a very low price. There is nothing you can do as a Seller to hurt your chances of receiving a good quick offer, at or above your asking price, than to not properly prepare your home for its first day on the market.
As a Seller, you know, or should know (and your agent as well), that your new listing is going to pop up on hundreds, maybe thousands (I don’t know for sure) of Buyer and Agent search portals, as I’ve described above. You want your listing to be studied at that moment by as many potential buyers and/or agents as possible. Research shows, people look at photos first and foremost to decide if they’re interested in a home. You keep their eyeballs on your listing, as their interest grows, by making sure your listing represents a beautiful property, priced right and ready to go. You can’t do that when the photos are missing.
Then you want those interested buyers to call their agents, or vice versa, and start talking about that listing. Then you want the agent to go preview the listing, or better yet, meet the Buyers at the home to have a look. When that first walk-through happens, you want the home to be clean and staged and to show beautifully. If you’ve done that, you increase the opportunity for the buyer to have continued interest that hopefully culminates in a quick, full price (or better) offer.
And this process all starts with that first online look at the listing and photos, either by the buyer sitting at home viewing a search portal, or the agent through the Austin MLS at that day’s new listings. That first impression determines whether the ball gets rolling toward a quick offer, or your listing gets a quick glance and passed over. First impressions matter!