Area, price and number of bedrooms are some of the first filtering criteria buyers use to narrow down what listings to look at. However, it is clearly professional listings with quality images that sell the prospect of actually viewing the property in person. Therefore, estate agents will likely want to avoid providing a self-service option that gives vendors the choice to create their own listing.
For instance, as all estate agents will know, quality images are a key component of a listing. Using a professional freelancer or agency provides a level of quality that in most cases won’t be matched by an inexperienced amateur, who at worst might use a smartphone. A poorly lit, badly framed image can make individual rooms and the property in general look dingy and smaller than in reality. Furthermore, poor images will not help in the marketing of the properties themselves and will undermine efforts to sell it. Even if a vendor has paid a fixed-fee upfront, the agent’s ambition should still be to sell the property in the optimum time.
A poorly put together listing with bad images will also mean that if the property does stand out against the competition, it will be for the wrong reasons. Most people can tell the difference between a good and bad image, but the difference is especially highlighted on an agent’s website and on property portals, where there are images for multiple properties sat alongside each other.
Whether the property is being sold via self-service or full service, an estate agent’s website is the front door to its business. As such, it is vital to maintain a consistent quality for the sake of the agent’s brand. If the content and pictures misrepresent the property this could also impact the brand and reputation of the estate agent.
Due to the above, it is ill-advised to allow self-service clients to take their own pictures as the detrimental impact on the agent’s brand image will cost far more than a professional photographer. Specifically, visiting vendors and buyers are unlikely to know that the poor listing’s copy or images are due to the vendor of that listing taking a cheaper package.
The agent will likely want to retain full control over the property listing throughout the process. Even if the viewings are managed by the vendor, they should not be able to modify their listing once it has been approved. If a vendor continually meddles with the listing, there is the risk of them writing errors into the wording and the client not benefitting from the agent’s experience in this area – the vendor is unlikely to have listed property on a regular basis like the agent.