So, you got the listing. You loaded it all up online. And it looks pretty good, right? A “nice” description with “nice” pictures might make a “nice” first impression. But that might also be its last impression, given buyers’ approach to ruling listings in and out.

Buyers’ approach is, in a word, ruthless. Buyers have lots of online listings to get through, and very, very limited time. They review online listings against a backdrop of lots of priorities and considerations battling for their mindspace: their financial priorities, family plans, space needs, aesthetics and the must-haves and deal-breakers of anywhere from 1 to 4 people—or more. So, when they peruse the hundreds of listings on Trulia in your area, maybe yours will make it into the 40 properties they favorite.
But then they cull the list. And narrow again. And narrow again to get down to, say, 15. They send those to their agent. And the agent cute those in half to get to the list of homes they want to show that weekend. Both buyers and agents are prone to cutting properties that look “nice,” but may or may not have critical deal-making features, when the features simply aren’t photographed.

So, your job is not just to get your listing noticed, or onto the list of 40. It’s also to make sure your listing is not one of the 25 that gets cut before Madame Buyer ever gets in the door. Trulia listings can have unlimited photos each, so shoot away! Here is a short list of oft-omitted pics that should make it into every single one of your online listings.

1. Front of House

I know. Seems super basic. But the truth is, there are lots of listings on the interwebs that don’t include any sort of image of the home’s exterior elevation, for a variety of reasons. Sometimes the agent’s rationale for not including a front exterior image is as simple as a telephone pole or electric lines obstructing the view of the home or that there was a dumpster or construction truck blocking the house the day pics were taken.

Nonetheless, today’s increasingly savvy online home buyer interprets the lack of a front of house pic as a red flag that they should be afraid of the property: very afraid.

2. Backyard

You only need to house hunt with a couple of clients with backyard musts to begin to understand how many otherwise well-crafted online listings, some which contain literally dozens of interior images, lack images of a home’s outdoor space. Buyers who have pets, children, hot tubs, urban farming fantasies or some combination of the above will want to narrow down the online listings they decide to visit to those which seem likely to suit their outdoor space needs.

Failing to include images of the backyard is a shortcut to having your listing de-prioritized or even cut entirely from the viewing lists of some serious buyers, especially if there is ample inventory of properties with abundant yard space among your competition.

3. Bathrooms

Bathrooms, and the amenities they have or lack, rise to deal-breaker level for a surprisingly large number of home buyers. Buyers come to listings and to their property viewing wish list with all sorts of questions about bathrooms on their minds:

  • spa-like or spartan
  • shower, bath or both
  • single or dual vanities
  • how suitable is the space for kitties—or kiddies?
  • can it be modified for family members with disabilities or decreasing mobility due to age.

4. Curb appeal

What does the house look like from the curb? Sometimes, curb appeal pics are the same as pics of the front elevation of the home. But many, many times it’s not, as with homes that are situated uphill, downhill or significantly set back from the street. Inquiring buyers want to know what the house looks like from the curb. Show ‘em.

5. Kitchen pics showing islands, counters and appliances

Kitchens make and kill deals all day, everyday. Buyers who are specifically looking for updated or high-end appliances, family-style islands and chic countertop materials like concrete or quartz are highly likely to opt in to seeing properties that showcase them, even if they don’t screen out every home that doesn’t have them.

6. Built-ins

Built-in closet organizing systems, recycling centers, desks, drawers, dining room hutches, breakfast nooks, garage organizers and the like can be major selling points and differentiators, especially in the minds of order-craving buyers. Make sure your listing pics show them at their best advantage.


Tara-Nicholle Nelson WRITTEN BY Tara-Nicholle Nelson
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