So, now we shop for homes from our hand-held devices…it’s wearing me out. For those of you who have listed a home recently, you are aware of the laborious amount of paper work that is required in order for us to enter a listing into the Multiple Listing Service. There’s the 4-page Listing Agreement, the 11-page MLS Data Entry Form, the Seller Disclosures, Sink Hole Disclosure, HOA and, or Condo Disclosures, the Wire Fraud Disclosure and finally, the Broker Disclosure Forms. Agents, like me, will spend a good amount of time writing their public remarks (a description of the property in a concise 1530 characters as allowed by the MLS) to entice buyers to schedule a showing, taking room measurements, and finding out every detail of the home so they can be educated representatives for the Sellers.
When I started in Real Estate, some 10 short years ago, the paperwork was a little less cumbersome but the notable difference was the number of photos that we were allowed in the MLS; it was 8. Shortly after, the amount rose to 10 and then 12 and eventually 25; where it held for a bit.
I have always, as a listing agent, and even a buyers’ agent, been a strong proponent of quality listing photos. It’s the thing that wets the taste buds and gets buyers excited about buying a new home. And, with realistic photos, it eliminated the need for buyers to request showings on certain homes.
With the changes in technology and the increasing number of people in possession of a hand-held as their only source of information, we have come to the age where the majority of buyers are shopping for homes on their smart-phones. We have all heard the saying “don’t be fooled by pictures”…………., yet, buyers are shocked when they walk into homes that are nothing like the photos – “this room looked so big in the (distorted) picture on-line”. Yet, we all know, if you look at a picture on your hand-held and then open the same photo on your laptop, or cast it to your High Definition Flat Screen TV, it looks a heck of a lot different.
Regardless of the quality and accuracy of the pictures, sometimes these photos on a hand-held, are the majority of information that buyers have access to. Depending on the website they are viewing from, they don’t have any, or easy, access to a link with the detailed information regarding the home. Otherwise, they would have known that this 10 x 9 master bedroom with a 3x2 clothes closet wasn’t going to work for them. And the taxes are how much? And the HOA fees are what!?! Simple information that Buyers should have better access to.
A few short months ago, the “powers to be” within the MLS, decided it would be a good idea for us Realtors to be allowed up to 40 photographs in their website. In my opinion, this just furthers the denigration of information that Buyers should have easy access to.…….more pictures for Buyers to look at with less room for the important information Buyers need so they are not wasting their time looking at homes that won’t work for them and getting frustrated and even put off by the home shopping process.
So why are we spending hours writing and putting data into the MLS that the majority of people never sees or reads? Your guess is as good as mine. The best thing a buyer can do is find a Realtor, tell them what you are looking for and let them sort through the information on the MLS and set up showings for suitable homes. Put your trust back into your Realtor and let us do the work for you…it’s what we do!