The power of the Internet

94% of home buyers start their search online. That’s an impressive number and I think it’s probably an underestimation. Neither of us can remember the last time we came across a buyer who didn’t use the Internet in their home buying search. It’s an efficient and effective way to browse through the listing inventory. A good online listing entices buyers to schedule an appointment, so it makes sense that Realtors should make sure their listings look great, right?

I ran a search of active listings in just one town (Bethlehem) today and within ten minutes of scrolling through pictures I came up with actual examples of the following – cluttered rooms, blurry shots, people and pets in the frame, the photographer reflected in a mirror, photos with snow (and it hasn’t snowed in seven months), front yard pictures with signs advertising a local power washing company, crooked photos, and cars and garbage cans in the driveway. It surprises me how prevalent sub-par photos are – haven’t we all heard the adage “a picture is worth a thousand words?” Have you seen any truly dreadful real estate pictures? If so, please share them on our Facebook page. And if you get tired of checking out the dog shaming photos, google “bad real estate pictures” you’ll uncover a whole new procrastination opportunity.

To be fair, taking photos of rooms is a lot harder than it looks. And some rooms are simply more challenging to showcase than others. But that’s not an excuse to post bad pictures and sellers shouldn’t accept less than the highest quality photos on the Internet, representing their property. Because the reality is buyers will discount homes that don’t appeal to them online.

The other opportunities realtors have, in addition to posting photographs, are written descriptions of the home and virtual tours of the property. Both are effective in providing additional information to interested buyers, assuming they are done well. Which description is more enticing to you –

Don’t miss out on this 5 bedroom, 3 bath home located in a desirable Slingerlands neighborhood. Move-in condition, lots of storage, and two fireplaces


Cherryvale – a distinguished, yet comfortable place to live, where kids meet on the front lawn to play ball and neighbors become friends. Located on a private, treed lot with almost 2 acres, this sumptuous home offers every amenity one could want – you’ll be impressed by the thoughtful and interesting design details throughout. The large rooms, open floor plan, gorgeous walk-out basement complete with full bar, and the tiered deck with patio make it ideal for entertaining.

We want our descriptions to paint an image that will appeal to buyers because we believe that if buyers can imagine themselves living in a home, they are halfway there to buying it.

Virtual tours are pro forma; most listings will include the same still photos that are posted on the MLS (multiple listing service) set to music. We strive to offer more, by providing additional photos as well as a voice over describing in detail the extra features that set the home apart.

When we meet with potential seller clients, we encourage them to check out our current listings online and compare them to other listings in the MLS. Which companies have high quality photos, with the maximum number posted? How do they describe the home? Are the virtual tours regurgitations of the still shots or do they offer more information? There’s no reason a seller should settle for less; that’s the power of the Internet – it’s all out there and anyone can see it.