Reader Question: Why Aren’t There More Pictures?

avatarthumbnail.jpgA couple from across the county calls because they’re planning to move to the Valley, they’re searching online for a home and they stumble across this site. (Not hard to do, since I do my level best to throw this site out there like stop sticks with the expectation either the search or Tobey will keep them here.)

Soon they discover a problem … only one photograph is available for many of the listings. So they call asking me if there are any other photos available, which there aren’t because the listing agent has opted for the path of least resistance.

“But how they can they expect to sell a home without any photographs?”

They do because they can, at least when it’s a bank owned home in a market where there are buyers jockeying for position on the few homes available like Tobey and his beagle brethren thrusting their snouts into each other food dishes looking for the last piece of Beneful when the bowl’s almost empty.

That doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s right. In my office, where we have a contract with Freddie Mac and a handful of other lenders, woe be the agent who doesn’t take 20 photos of every listing – the maximum that can be entered on (there is no upper limit for the local MLS, not that many test the system that much.)

It’s sometimes challenging. On a basic 1,600 square foot house you tend to need to get to be a bit creative in trying to get to 20 photographs. But it’s what we do because we have a standard of practice that we’re trying to uphold. That’s not always the case, and the lack of effort is rewarded right now just as often as those trying to provide the most possible information for a buyer.

And though it’s less noticable, the lack of effort extends to the basic listing data as well. Is there anyone out there who doesn’t know what a vaulted ceiling looks like? Apparently there are more than a few agents who don’t … a buyer and I recently toured homes where that was his main requirement and half the homes had 9-foot flat ceilings, not vaulted.

There once was a panel discussion where one of the agents said he wants fields for everything – granite countertops, outdoor grills, water features on pools, plantation shutters, you name it. That way, he said, we’d be able to sort by whatever we choose.

Except you’re likely to miss more qualifying homes than you find, for the simple reason that there’s a segment of the local agent population who feels they’re too busy to enter information and photographs in the MLS beyond the bare minimum.

And the current sellers’ market we’re seeing on the bank owned side is affirming their laziness.

[tags]Phoenix real estate[/tags]

Jonathan Dalton

Jonathan Dalton is a 40-plus-year resident of the Valley and has been helping folks buy and sell homes since 2004. He can be reached at 602-502-9693 or info at