As I was previewing one of my automatic emails of home searches for a client, one home came on the market and I remember it because of one particular photo in the listing. No, it isn't their beautiful kitchen, bathroom or yard. It is a picture of a cat. Usually all of the photos in a listing are of the home - the exterior and the interior, plus possibly pictures of the community and conveniences, such as gyms, pools, lakes, parks, shopping centers and beltways/trains --if you are selling the home as a commuter home. The pictures do not tend to include 'personal photos', such as pictures of the family and/or their pets.
The picture of the cat stood out to me because pets tend to be something that people love or hate and there are people who are allergic to cats. If a buyer has an aversion to cats for any reason what so ever and sees a picture of a cat in a listing, he or she is more likely to remember that picture than the pictures of the beautiful kitchen, bath, etc. In other words, that buyer is probably focussed on the pet and not the home and has ruled the home out as a possibility.
It is quite possible that the sellers and their agent thought it was a good idea to show a picture of the cat in the listing so people will either immediately be excited (if they love pets), ambivolent (they don't care one way or another about pets) or turned off (if they hate and/or have pet allergies), Some people also assume that homes with pets are not neat, are more likely to have rodent issues, which could turn potential buyers away. You never know. Pictures put a lot of good and bad ideas in people's heads. If I was a seller and had pets, I would strongly consider having mets pets stay in a 'pet hotel', at a friend or family member's home during the listing period because people either love or hate them and you want buyers to focus on the home, not your pets. So I understand if it is a way of disclosing, but think it would be better to say in the notes to agents and buyers that there are nice cats in the house --- which this listing does.
To me, the best ingrediants to a successful home sale are a clean home that is priced well, easy to show and uses photos in their listings that are most likely to positively grab buyers' eyes, as they do their internet home searches, possiblydeciding from the online search which homes are worth seeing and which ones to pass on. We don't want buyers to pass on homes because of photos. But, the reality is a picture is worth 1000 words. In MLS, you can currently post up to 30 pictures in MD& DC listings (and possibly more with virtual tours). Make your home shine in every way possible, And, remember, sometimes more is less. If between your home, community features and items of interest there aren't 30 great photos to display, choose the photos that are most likely to help sell the home. On the other hand, listings with too few photos, no interior photos could be perceived by buyers as homes which don't show well, have issues. Let your realtor guide you.
Anytime you or someone you know is thinking of moving, needs help preparing to sell and wants the full service they deserve, contact me for a free no hassle consultation, which includes a complimentary market analysis of the home. Even if you aren't thinking of moving but have a real estate question or want to talk about the real estate market, call or email me. I always appreciate and have time for your referrals.
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