I just finished adding one of our new listings to the Austin MLS. Years ago, this took about 15 minutes. There was far less data included and only 8 photos with no comment space for photos, no pdf attachments, and far less space to type the general description of the property.Today, a nearly overwhelming amount of data, photos and attachments must be included with a properly entered MLS listing, and it takes a while to enter it all in.
How long do you suppose it takes today to enter a real estate sales listing into the Austin MLS, from start to finish, sitting down at the computer with photos, files and info all ready to go? This includes 25 photos to upload and type in comments for, several pdf attachments, 512 characters of description (both agent-only and another 512 for the public sites), and (I haven’t actually counted) what must be well over 100 fields and data-points, including driving instructions to find the property right down to trivial data such as whether the 2-car garage has one door or two and which compass direction the property faces.
The one I just completed took me about 70 minutes. I started at 7:42AM and completed it at 8:50. It’s best to do it late night or early morning to reduce interruptions. Sometimes it can take as much as 2 hours, or longer if interruptions occur, or sometimes we have to save as “incomplete” and finish later before posting live.
But it’s important to get it done, start to finish because not all of the listing feeds update properly. This means that if I add a half dozen photos to start with and decide to finish the rest later, the initial data feed that sends listings to the vast array of public facing websites will send out an incomplete set of photos.
Some photos will update later, but others will not, and those sites will retain only the initial set of pics. So, in the case of adding a new listing, first impressions are literally the only impression in many instances. So it’s important that your listing agent knows how to gather everything needed ahead of time, including all 25 of the best photos to be used, virtual tour links, and all of the data points needed so that every photo and every field on your listing is correct right out of the gate.
An impatient seller might ask, “what’s the big deal. Can’t we hurry up and get the listing in this weekend and add the better photos later?
Not a good idea. Remember that many buyers also have “search portals” set up by their agents which notify them daily, or sometime instantly, of new listings that match their auto-search. When the buyer clicks that listing link from inside her email inbox, you want the buyer to see ALL the photos, not a temporary shot of the front of the house with a car in the driveway and a trashcan sitting at the curb. This might be the one and only look they have of the home, at which time they dismiss it as not interesting enough.
Sad but true. Buyers are often ADD with short attention spans, and they give undeserved weight to the initial perceptions created by the photos. Your listing better capture their attention immediate if you want them to look further and call their agent to schedule a showing instead of getting back on Facebook or sending their next tweet.
So how long does it take, all tasks included, to actually list a home, including appointments, phone calls, CMA time, staging, scheduling virtual tours, downloading via ftp the photos and tour, gathering the data and making sure it’s right, chasing down the seller for loose ends, namely missing disclosures, the survey, survey affidavit, HOA info, utility company info, drives to the property, walk-throughs, etc?
I’m just guessing since I’ve never actually tracked it, but I’d say by the time a listing goes live in the Austin MLS, we probably have 8-12 hours of time invested, and about $500 in professional photos and staging, for a typical home.
I once spent about 5 months helping a seller prep the home, including hauling multiple loads in my truck to Good Will, scheduling repair vendors, landscapers, etc. Other listings are fairly easy and quick and are almost ready to go as-is, just because the seller takes great care of the home, keeps it clean, and has nice furniture. Those are nice but rare. In the end it all averages out.