The attached article from Anastasia Wilcott, a frustrated real estate consumer, points out the pain that is created when listings are published without any photos.  I read the attached article on RETechnolgy this week and it inspired me to talk about a big issue that could be remedied very simply: lag time in listing photos.  Every MLS has their own rules about requirements for posting photos. Some require a photo within 24 hours, some are as long as 7 days after the listing is live. The current rules harken back to a time when a photographer was needed to take the shot,  develop the film and print the image.  But now, in a world of digital imaging at the click of a button on most phones, there is no need for this rule.  When listings are pushed to IDX feeds and listing syndication channels in as quickly as 15 minutes after a listing goes live, the disconnect between publishing time and photo posting requirements are creating a big mess. Consumers and the websites that they are using to search for property listings, are suffering for it.  The fix is simple: change the rule and enforce it.  Make it a requirement that agents and brokers upload at least one photo of the property while adding the listing to the MLS system, and you immediately eliminate the problems that Anastasia and countless other consumers are facing.  There are many required fields when entering a listing, make “insert image” one of them and you kill two birds with one stone: one, you automatically enhance the experience of consumers and two, you enliven the listing which will ultimately draw more attention from potential buyers. 

Read the attached article and see if you can be inspired to update your photo upload timing requirements…… Enjoy.

Bag over man's head imageThere are two very large investments I need to make during my lifetime.  The first, to find a man.  Now I am not shallow by any means (well, maybe just a little), but when I was shopping for a man, I wanted to find someone with a good sense of humor who was easy on the eyes.  Okay, I admit, I wanted to find someone smoking hot, it’s true.  And lucky for me, I found him.  I don’t think there is anything wrong with being picky, after all, I would be spending the rest of my life with the guy (and we all know good looks make morning breath a little more tolerable).  Point being, I had to inspect the goods before I invested my life in someone.  Understandable, right?!

One very large investment down, one to go!  Which brings me to the point of this article…

The second very large investment I need to make during my lifetime is to buy a house.  So, I did what most people do when they are looking to buy a home; I called a girlfriend who is an agent, got hooked up to a super cool email feed that pushes listings from the neighborhood that my husband (investment #1) and I want to live in, directly into my inbox, and the search began.

Since then, every time my inbox announces a new email,  I grab my phone and look at the listing photos.  I imagine my Danish modern furniture collection resting easy on the hardwood floors, my rustic reclaimed wood headboard sitting snugly beneath two open windows-perfect for lying in bed reading or daydreaming.

And then the unimaginable happened.  I started getting listings without photos!  The more listings I got, the more it happened!  I called my agent (gal pal) and asked her what was up. How was I supposed to put myself in these houses without photos?  How was I supposed to turn an empty house with a sign hammered into the lawn into a home-my home?

“We have a few days before we have to put in photos,” she responded.

“Who else gets these ghost listings?”  I asked.

“They get pushed to all agents and their websites,”  She responded.  “I think it’s really a shame, too.  It takes away from the whole experience.  Especially because it diffuses the excitement and hinders our ability to connect with our customers in an immediate way.”

“I don’t get it!  Doesn’t everyone have a phone with a camera these days?  Especially REALTORs?” I asked.

“I do.  But old habits die hard,” she concluded.

And how!  Imagine dating online without any photos- I mean if I am going to go dancing with Danny DeVito, I want to know that I shouldn’t wear my favorite ALDO heels, you know what I mean?  Honestly, I don’t even buy underwear online without looking at how they look from five different angles.

Of course I am being snarky-I realize I can always call my agent and set up an appointment or do a drive-by, but honestly, I work full-time, take night classes and have a 5 year-old, so well, I don’t have to tell you where my time goes.  Fact is, I don’t want to waste my precious time setting up an appointment just to be disappointed.  In terms of house hunting, I want to “feel it out” before I “check it out”.  I think in a world full of visual information, this is not too much to ask.

In other words, I bought those heels to dance, baby, and I want to know I’ll get to put ‘em to good use before the music starts!