Realtor.com has launched their redesigned website today.

As a homeowner who has actually picked a house based on an Internet Listing (I didn’t see it until we moved in), I totally get the value of the online MLS thing. While we stagers proclaim that the first impression starts at the curb, in reality, it starts on the computer.

Many Realtor friends I’ve spoken with are not crazy about Realtor.com, they feel as if they are overcharged with few options. There are many other more regional MLS services available that are picking up steam. Perhaps that’s what motivated Realtor.com’s updates to their site (don’t you just love free enterprise?).

Anyway, what I like best about the new site is the improved presentation of photos. In fact, they’re 140% larger than before. So what does this mean to the savvy Realtor? Better step up the quality of your photos!

Make sure the home is at its absolute best before scheduling the photo shoot. Homeowners are signing up to get “hot off the press” updates of new listings…so listing it before it’s ready misses this lucrative group altogether.

Bring a professional home stager through the property (you’d be surprised how little it costs for a staging consultation). A motivated seller (and really, do you know any who are NOT in this market?) will most likely complete the suggested updates with enthusiasm! Most stagers would also be available to assist during the actual photo shoot as well.

Ok, so I’m assuming you’re using a professional to get those shots. Are you? If not, your listings will pale in comparison to others with pro shots. Even if you slept at a Holiday Inn Express last night, that doesn’t make you a professional photographer (LOL).

If it’s totally not in your budget to hire out, then at least make sure you use a wide angle lens, use a tripod, use good natural light and take a lot more shots than you think you’ll need. Then take the time to fine tune those photos with editing software like Picasso.

So is the new Realtor.com everything it should be? Time will tell. But regardless, photos are becoming an increasingly critical component of the marketing mix.

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