Thursday, October 13, 2011

It Doesn't Snow In October

Even in the Chicago area, it doesn't snow in October. Looks like I need to point that out to some realty offices in the area.

It so happened that I was doing some market research on some residential properties in a specific northern suburb of Chicago this afternoon. As part of that, I went onto Realtor.com to check on the status of a couple of listings. This is October 13th, and to the best of my memory, there hasn't been any measureable snow in the Chicago area since late March.

Yet, there I was checking listings within one zip code and within $150,000 on a price range. I'm sure many of you are familiar with Realtor.com and its listings, which include a thumbnail primary photo to attract attention.

To my amazement, I saw four, that is FOUR, primary photos which had snow on the ground on the photo which is supposed to make me want to click on the listing. What makes this even worse, if that is possible, is that these four listings were from three separate realty offices.

Yes, it wasn't as though there was one careless and incompetent agent or office making the other agents in the area look bad.

Instead of an outdated photo, they might as well have posted "Been on the market so long there is no urgency - Wait for still another price reduction!" instead. Sorry, but that's how it looks.

Suppose I was looking to purchase in that area. My first impression before clicking on ANY of the listings would have been that these listings are stale, there has been no interest, and even the local agents have given up on updating the information. Since it is not one agent or office being careless, it makes the "good" advertisements look like part of a lackluster effort to make the area's homes look like hot items.

Over the past couple of years while the real estate market has been in dire straits, I have preached over and over about the need for more effective marketing by agents and sellers. Yes, the sellers too.

You see, I'm not only putting the blame on careless and thoughtless realty agents for not so much as taking a few minutes to swap out photos and keep the information fresh. I can't believe a truly motivated seller isn't checking his/her/their ads online (especially on the busy Realtor.com site!) every couple of weeks if not more often.

A motivated seller should be watching other similar local listings to see if and when there are price reductions, new listings, and what advertising strategies are being presented. And since the agent is supposed to working for them to sell, the sellers should be alerting their agent to anything and everything that could be improved.

This is why I would be completely discouraged from buying in this zip code. Seeing FOUR photos with snow on them the next October tells me that the sellers AND the agents have given up hope. And chances are those are nice and attractive properties.

Those agents keeping the snow photos up there should be glad they aren't my agent. (Although that's not going to happen after seeing this.) I would be asking him/her how they expect me to pay them thousands of dollars to represent me when they don't have time to update an important photo.

Frankly, some of these realty agents are pulling a "snow" job on their clients, and on the neighborhoods they work.

2 comments:

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