New Orleans MLS is Making Agents Do What They Should Have All Along

If there is one thing that is a certainty about most REALTORS®, it’s that they don’t like change.

  • They complained when they had to start putting their listings online
  • They complained when legal descriptions became mandatory
  • They complained when they were required to upload disclosures to the MLS so agents didn’t have to chase them down for the information
  • They complained when they were required to add a single photo to all listings
How hard is it to take a few pictures?

With so much resistance to change, you can only imagine the uproar that they are in with the newest requirements put out by the New Orleans real estate board last week.

  • Properties listed in Excellent condition now must have a minimum of 10 photos, including the front and back of the house, living room, kitchen, bedrooms and bathrooms.
  • Properties in less than Excellent condition now require a minimum of 5 photos, with similar mandates for what must be displayed.

What’s the big honking deal?

Well, if you are to believe the loudest naysayers, the sky is falling as the real estate board tries to tell professionals how they should run their business and how to market their listings.  There’s even a petition circulating that calls on the MLS to get rid of the changes.  Yeah.  That’s in the best interests of buyers and sellers <insert eye roll here> and will help sell a house.

I think what each of them is forgetting is that home buyers are no dummies.

Most buyers skip past listings with just one or two photos, eliminating them from consideration during their home search.  Or, they call and ask for someone to provide them with more photos so they can decide whether or not to add a house to their list of must-sees.  We really don’t have time to run all over town taking pictures of houses when the listing agent should have done that already.

In an informal poll (completely non-scientific since I just asked some of my friends), consumers said that if there is only a picture of the outside of a house, they assume there is something wrong with it and wouldn’t schedule an appointment.  This negates the common agent impression that buyers are willing to waste time on the unknown or that photos are not a critical part of marketing a home.

Agents are screaming that you can’t take good bathroom pictures.  Um….yes, you can.  Maybe not with an old cell phone and certainly not with the toilet lid open, but it’s possible.  I don’t believe that home buyers are necessarily looking for works of art in photography, but knowing that a master bath has a shower and no tub might be the deciding factor in whether or not a house works for them.  Hiding that is not going to result in a sale.

However, there’s an out for agents with no camera skills or access to a professional photographer.  With the seller’s written permission, they don’t have to supply the required number of photos.

I’d love to be a fly on the wall for that conversation.





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