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Why Do Some Realtors' Listings Sell Faster than Others?

Published: 27/05/2017
By: larry

Mike in Kentucky says:

I’ve noticed over time how some agents properties sell faster than other agents properties. I've asked them what they do with their marketing that other agents aren’t doing. They mostly say they don’t do anything different.

I've always felt it was my job to help sell their properties. I provide a good photography, I use a good tour service (, who help as much as they can by pushing out the tours to as many places as they can, I get the tours out quick, I place images on social sites with a little remark and so on. I’m interested in your thoughts about this and all the others who read PFRE. I want my clients to think my work sells their properties and not to use anyone else.

It's good marketing to get your customers to believe that the services you provide play a key role in selling their listings. Keep it up!

However, it's important to understand the whole selling process. Here are things that are more important in selling a listing than great photography:

  1. State of the local market: The two factors that characterize a market are inventory (properties on the market) and inventory absorption (the number properties sold). Both of these factors change rapidly over time and are very different from place to place.
  2. Location: Location is a big factor that no one has control of.
  3. Pricing: If the listing is priced too high for the neighborhood it won't sell as fast. It takes an analysis of recent sales in the neighborhood sales to get this right. This is why listing agents specialize in neighborhoods. Listing agents need to understand the neighborhood and history of sales to price right.
  4. Preparing the property for sale. This is stuff like cleaning the place up and making it presentable. Fixing the problems, making it physically look great. Getting most sellers to do this is hard and only a few listing agents can do it well.

All these things are more important than photography and listing agents vary widely in their ability to do these things. That's why some agents listings sell faster.

So focus on your job, not the listing agent's job. Sure photography is a big help but competent listing agents understand all the things that need to be done and know that the above 4 items are more important than how the property is presented. If you can get your clients to believe it's what you do that gets the property sold great! Just know there are other factors at play too.

9 comments on “Why Do Some Realtors' Listings Sell Faster than Others?”

  1. I think what Larry says above is right on. There are many variables at work most of which we as photographers have no control over. My clients (few but faithful) all say that my photos help them sell their properties faster and for higher prices and really grab the attention of viewers. That to me is my goal - to stop the viewer and make them want to see more and then pick up the phone and call my client. We produce the honey and the lure, it is then up to the realtor to handle the actual sale.

    I use TourBuzz as well. But it is up to the realtor to put its URL on MLS, on their sites, on the flyers they leave, ConstantContact eBlasts and whatever sales/marketing efforts they make. We provide the visual content for their marketing efforts. More than that we cannot do and probably should not step on their toes either. We can offer ideas but it is up to them whether they will pick up on them. WE just want to make them look good. If we do that, we can feel good about our efforts.

  2. Wow, the idea of it's "your job to help sell their properties" almost snapped my head off. If I were expected to help sell their properties, than I want a part of their commission! Screw your head on correctly, you're there to help market their property.....nothing more. If you want to get more involved, then go get a RE license and hang out your shingle.

    As Larry pointed out, there are many factors in the speed of the sale of the property and I would add that some agents who seem to have a super success rate are actually under pricing the properties for what they could have sold for if given the chance. Turn and burn...screw the homeowner.

    Bottom line, photography can be a very important factor in the visibility of to the property, but don't think that you, the photographer, are even close to being the main factor of the sell. The agents are the deal makers, you the photographer are just a tool...

  3. What Jerry said.
    I would add that a study showed that realtors selling their own homes averaged 90 days on the market while homes for clients averaged 45 days.
    Average selling price was 8-11% higher than the market.
    Note that a $20,000 drop in price means only a $1200 drop in revenue at most for the agent. But a REAL drop for the homeowner.

  4. Larry’s answer is perfect. The only thing I will add is, we need to understand that there are factors beyond the control of either us or the agent that make a property hard to sell. Pricing is probably the most important, but all the factors Larry listed matter. So, there are times an agent may not want to make the investment in photography and we need to see it through their eyes.

    Our job is to generate showings. If we can create enough visual interest to move people to want to see the property, we’ve done our job. The rest is beyond our control. I have agents that will tell a client, although more tactfully, “We’ve had XXX showings and nobody has made an offer. I’ve done my job, let’s look at why it’s not selling”.

  5. While I would not put it that way: " job to help sell their properties.", I feel that my photos, tour presentation, and brochures do help sell their properties. My agents use my work as part of their listing presentations to get listings. The agents I work with that have the most success are the best at market analysis and pricing new listings at the correct market value, and good at aggressively making price reductions based on agent feedback and market conditions.

  6. I've spent 20 years in Real Estate Franchising and the last 2 years as a full time real estate photographer. I would use a fishing analogy to describe my view of our role as RE photographers. It's our job to present the bait. When fishing, the first step is all about having the right bait and presenting it properly to the fish. With the Internet today, having the right bait and presenting it properly when marketing a home is of utmost importance. Our bait is the high quality images, videos and/or 3D Virtual Tours we create to accurately portray the home in its best possible light to attract the fish...oops, I meant to attract the buyers! If we do a good job, we'll attract a lot of fish/lookers/potential buyers and it's the agent or homeowner (FSBO) that's responsible for setting the hook and reeling them in! In the end there are many factors to getting a home sold...most important of which is pricing it right!

  7. @Mark

    "I would add that a study showed that realtors selling their own homes averaged 90 days on the market while homes for clients averaged 45 days.
    Average selling price was 8-11% higher than the market."

    Would you be able to provide a link to the details of that study please?

    I disagree that the longer a property stays on the market it somehow goes up in value - our experience is to the contrary.

    We find photography a critical step in increasing the 'perceived' value of a home - homes don't have a 'recommended retail price'.

    Buyers are scanning for homes on their smart phone with their thumbs - if we don't get them to stop they'll just move onto the next one.

    One of the reasons we encourage our sellers to invest in twilight photography is to make them stand out from the rest and to try and get that all important 'money shot'. We consider our photographer a member of our team.

    A good agent uses marketing to help their sellers get the best price possible.

    It may come as a surprise to some that there are agents out there who achieve success by acting with integrity and are seeking to establish their reputation by helping their sellers achieve the best result possible as opposed to 'turning and burning'.

  8. Lyndon, just to be clear, I know there are a ton of ethical, hard working and professional agents out there. I have the pleasure of working with them everyday. But, just like every other profession, there are those that have none of those values and skew the results by taking advantage of naive homeowners.

  9. I'm only guessing, but, like you, I want my agents to believe I come and photograph there investments in a way that makes them feel I'll do my best work so they can market and sell their properties and attract new clients to build up their work so that next week I get another phone call wanting my services! Isn't that what marketing is suppose to do? I want them to know I have their best interest in mind. That's what I do, that's how I help them sell there properties. I agree with all the points that Larry has made. But, I believe the way I present myself goes a long way in my getting work. I bet those who charge $100 or less probably dont care a lot about if the house gets sold or not, and I bet they probably don't let their clients know how they really feel. I've got a lot more competition now than I had, even a year ago. It's my way of offering More than others. Seems like it works for me. Smiles. Also, for the record I'm in Knoxville,to

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