These days approximately 80% of home buyers use the internet to research homes. An important part of that research is pictures, as it allows the prospective buyer to get a sense of updates, layout, and room sizes in the home. However, often these pictures can be deceiving, or at least deliver a message. Here are some patterns I’ve seen after looking at hundreds of pictures online, and then actually viewing those homes in person.
1. On Realtor.com, if there is only 1 picture available, it doesn’t necessarily mean that the house needs a lot of work. Realtor.com charges agents thousands of dollars a year for an “enhanced” package, which allows us to post multiple pictures. If the agent doesn’t pay for the enhanced package, they only get one picture fed in from the Multiple Listing Service, and that’s usually an exterior shot of the home.
2. If you are looking at a company-specific website, say Raveis.com, and there is only 1 picture, the house may need a lot of work. Company-specific sites let the agent upload multiple pictures. If you don’t see multiple pictures on a company sponsored website, the house could need a lot of work, or the agent may be lazy and didn’t take more than 1 picture.
3. If there are no pictures of the yard, it may not be usable or it might be undesireable in some way. For example, it may be very close to the neighbor’s house or sloped and rocky.
4. If there are no pictures of the kitchen or bathrooms, they may need to be updated. Kitchens and baths sell homes. If the agent didn’t take pictures of these rooms, they are sending a message.
5. If the bed appears to be taking up the entire room in a bedroom picture, it most likely is. You can confirm bedroom sizes by looking at the dimensions which are usually provided.
6. If there are multiple photos of the kitchen and not many other pictures, the kitchen may be the nicest part of the house and other areas may have been sacrificed to fund the kitchen improvement.
These are some general rules of thumb that may help you narrow down house choices when you’re searching online. Or, it may be the starting point for a conversation with your agent. S/he may have seen the house and could provide some insight on whether it might be a good fit for your needs.