A Real Estate Discussion Blog


Even More Reasons To Add Multiple Photos To Your Listings

We all know that people want to see lots of photos on online listings (Zillow lets you upload up to 50 per listing).  There was a small update made to Zillow this week that makes the number of photos on a listing more obvious.

Take your Realtor hat off for a minute and put your consumer hat on.  Say you did a search for listings and this is what you got back.  Knowing that people usually have a finite amount of time they spend online and won't look at every house on a page, which of these do you think will get more looks? 

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Comment balloon 14 commentsSara Bonert • August 26 2009 02:49PM


Thanks Sara.  I didn't realize that Zillow had made this change.  Thankfully I tend to take a lot of photos on my listings anyway.  I even got an offer on one of my listings sight unseen with the usual contingencies and one not so usual.  The buyer wanted to confirm the pictures on the Internet were in fact actual recent photo's of the house.  Fortunately they were and we closed 30 days later.

Posted by Bob Murphy (Keller Williams Realty Consultants) over 10 years ago

I agree. Photos make a HUGE difference. If someone does not know how to use their digital camera, invest some time in learning. It will pay off. And that goes for Zillow, Multiple Listing Services, Flyers, etc. The cameras take flawless pictures these days, use the technology available.

Posted by Patricia Greco (Hacienda Home Sales) over 10 years ago
Patricia- I agree and should have made it more clear and more photos applies to EVERY website. They definitely affect the user response to an online listing.
Posted by Sara Bonert, Real Estate Internet Marketing (Zillow) over 10 years ago

So glad we did this - I still have absolutely no idea why every single listing in the country doesn't have 10+ photos. There is no reason whatsoever that a listing ANYWHERE on the internet should have zero photos.

Posted by Drew Meyers, Drew Meyers (Geek Estate) over 10 years ago


As a buyer agent I hate the listings where there is only one or two photos. I silently say to myself, just what are they hiding. Thanks for the information.

Posted by Dave Humphrey, Broker, Real Estate Advice You Can TRUST! (RE/MAX Marketplace) over 10 years ago

Hi Sara,  Lots of good quality pics are essential to promoting a listing.  Too few, or none, or poor quality pics reflects on the agent.

Posted by Bill Gillhespy, Fort Myers Beach Realtor, Fort Myers Beach Agent - Homes & Condos (16 Sunview Blvd) over 10 years ago

When I'm working with buyers, they'll usually rule out any house with only 1 photo without ever setting foot in it.  Those pictures are SOOO important

Posted by Kate Wheeler, CCIM - Murphy NC Real Estate for Sale (Country Homes and Land Murphy NC Realtor ) over 10 years ago

My buyers always want to see more photos.  The more photos the better as far as they're concerned.

Posted by Christine Donovan, Broker/Attorney 714-319-9751 DRE01267479 - Costa M (Donovan Blatt Realty) over 10 years ago

Yes its true that many realtors do not take advantage of posting photos, and this is just plain puzzling to me.  Our MLS expanded the photo positions from 6 to 16 and STILL folks only have one or 2 photos up. What are they thinking?

But for aggregators it may be a case of a less than optimum software interface from the source data.  I draw custom floor plans for high end homes and the photos are embedded into the floor plan. While I don't expect the floor plans to transfer (PDF files),  as a service to my realtors I occasionally do go over and check to see if the photos made it when Houston's MLS data streams to various aggregator web sites. Frequently, only one or two photos "make it thru", sometimes none of them do ... so they have to be manually loaded (if that is allowed) ... and the Realtor may not be aware of that... so it remains undone.   Actually, usually the Realtor is totally clueless ... if they can "see" them on their MLS they figure they've done all they can.   So, if you're a realtor, you may check to see what your listing actually looks like on an aggregated site that collects data from your MLS source... I think you may be surprised that pieces of it are missing, and from my experience the pieces most likely to be missing are several photos.

Posted by Judith Sinnard, The SMARTePLAN Lady (SMARTePLANS; Houston, Texas) over 10 years ago

Judith- This is a great point, thanks for bringing it up.  A misconception that a lot of Realtors I talk to have is that Zillow automatically works with their MLS.  In fact, we only take direct feeds from two (boston and houston).  About another 200 work with Point2 or Listhub for syndication, but often those services have some sort of opt-in button that needs to be clicked by the agent or broker.

You second point about syndication services, outside of the MLS, is notable too.  We work with a number of service that indeed only send one photo over.  If we aren't getting information from another source, like a franchise or MLS, then that is all have to post.  This is why it is important agents know that they can come on to Zillow and add more photos to their listings, if they would like.  Thanks for bringing this up!

Posted by Sara Bonert, Real Estate Internet Marketing (Zillow) over 10 years ago

Sara, thank you for your response and few Realtors understand how it all works and yes most believe that websites outside of their MLS "hook up and suck the information thru the line and display it on their site".  I think its important for them to understand it may not work the way the think, and since they know what THEIR stuff SHOULD look like, they may want to  follow it and see for themselves... otherwise most viewers will just assume the Realtor didn't care enough to post photos.

Even with a direct feed from Houston ... zero photos come over. Since there is a prominent link to the original website (HAR.com), at this time my Realtors trust that interested parties will click the link to get more info, as it is tedious and time consuming for them to visit each agrregated site and load photos.  Last time I checked, Zillow had no provisions to upload PDF files .. I'll keep checking because thats what my floor plans are. If /When I can load them for the realtor I can/will also load their photos for them .. but that is a future occurrence as presently you cannot take PDF files on a listing ... but someday I'm guessing you will.

Posted by Judith Sinnard, The SMARTePLAN Lady (SMARTePLANS; Houston, Texas) over 10 years ago

This is terrific, but let's not forget what is even more important - the quality of those photos!

Poor quality photos can be worse than no photos!  Buyers are making decisions and eliminating properties based on what they see on their 15" screen at 2am in their bunny slippers - like it or not!  Yesterday I saw a photo of a sideways TOILET.  Yes, just a toilet.  You just have to scratch your head sometimes.....

Curb appeal of yesterday is WEB APPEAL today - it's where the buck starts and stops.

Running around and quickly taking 'snaps' of your listing in 15 minutes is not good enough.

Take the time to compose your photo.  Learn how to use your camera.  Get the proper tools to do the job correctly (with only a few exceptions, NO point and shoot cameras have a wide angle lens suitable for real estate!!!)

If taking good photos is not an afterthought, you'll find that you not only have more showings, you get more listings as well!  If you're not interested or capable of taking quality photographs, hiring a professional will make a huge difference in your business!


Posted by Fred Light, Real Estate Video Tours for MA and NH (| Nashua Video Tours) over 10 years ago
The more photos thee better, and it only takes a few minutes to fix them with a good program. Nothing worse then bad photos, except, of course no photos at all. When theer is only 1 photo, I tell my buyers that there is usually a problem with the rest of the house and if they want , I can find out what it is before we go see it.
Posted by Jirius Isaac, Real Estate & loans in Kenmore, WA (Isaac Real Estate &TriStar Mortgage) over 10 years ago

Good one, Sara - will go do some Zillow edits!  I think I still have double listings there, with my company auto-inputting with their format and links to their page - it is really a conflict.

Posted by Virginia Hepp - Mesquite NV REALTOR, Mesquite NV Homes and Neighborhoods - Search MLS (Desert Gold Realty - Mesquite NV Homes For Sale) over 10 years ago