A picture is worth a 1000 words but curbside is where it really counts

Photos with a listing are valuable and in this day and age necessary. But a drive by tells a truer picture.

With a camera on every phone it becomes very easy to take and add photos of a new listing and place the listing on the local MLS or online web service. With around 80% of home buyers starting their first search on the internet, photos are a must. However, let me share with you a recent experience that has made me take another look at web photos and showing property. This might save both you and your buyer a lot of time and increase your productivity.

I was recently relocating to a new area and wanted to buy a home. Like everyone else I went on line. I put in my price range and other wants and desires and started my search. I pulled up about 10 properties that looked like they might fit the bill and then I contacted my local Realtor.We set up a time to drive around and preview properties. I am sure that the agent planned for a long day but she was willing to go along. My wife and I got in her car and off we went. When we arrived at the first home we didn’t even want to go inside. The view from the curb didn’t look anything like the photo on the listing. To make a long story short of the 10 properties we thought we wanted to see we only went inside 2 of them. The other 8 had zero curb appeal and did not look anything like what was on the listing. Most were not even close. In my earlier days of selling residential real estate it always amazed me when buyers would tell me what they wanted in a home and yet ending up buying something else because they liked the way it felt when we would drive up. Me included!

We felt bad about taking up the agents time. It was not her fault. I thought to myself – what a waste of everyone’s time. What could an agent do to reduce this time waster? I came up with an idea and I wanted to share it. I am still a licensed Realtor but currently deal in commercial real estate as a consultant. but, I do have two family members that are residential agent and I shared my experience and idea with them. It has worked well for them so I want to share it with you. This will not work with everyone, most things don’t, but I think it has merit.

When meeting with a potential buyer and they have either told you about some homes they have found on the internet or you have helped find on your system you might want to try this. Tell them that you would be very happy to show them any and all of the properties but suggest that they might want to do a drive by on each property on their own and then come back and tell you which homes they would like to preview inside. Again, make sure that they understand that you are giving them both options and they can choose which option they prefer. Suggest to them that while they are driving around if they see a property with a sign on it that they like you can add that to their list. You might be saying at this point that I am nuts but consider this. Many buyers are uncomfortable with any one who’s title is “sales person”. They might be more relaxed and feel less pressure if they are alone. They might also take the time to check out the area for drive time to schools, work and shopping. What if they see or talk to another agent (a buyer agency agreement might be helpful) and don’t come back? I am sure this could and will happen but how many times does that happen to you now? It has worked for Chris and Berna (family members) and they say that it has saved them a lot of time and has allowed them to be more productive. They have felt that the buyers seem more comfortable and like the process. About 75% have chosen the drive by option.  Think about it. Would this help you be more productive and increase your income?

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