And 6 simple solutions to do it effectively

Key Takeaways

  • Don’t be tempted to do photography and staging on the cheap — invest in quality help.
  • Constantly evaluate how your presentation measures up against competing listings, and strive to improve yours.
  • Stand firm with opinionated clients and explain the value of investing in professional presentation.


Every day I see agents screwing up the critical step of “presentation” — how a home comes across to buyers when they browse online or walk through for the first time. In some cases, it’s because the agent is battling with an uncooperative seller. The vast majority of times, however, it’s because the agent fails to recognize the importance of presentation.

Here are six reasons why listing agents fail at presentation:

1. They’re broke or afraid to spend money. Agents work long periods of time without a paycheck. When they get a new listing, they need to get good photography and possibly help with staging — and it all costs money. Agents can try to do it on the cheap, taking pictures with their phone or camera and staging the home themselves.

If you’re going to list homes, invest in doing it right.

2. Arrogance or ignorance. Agents might assume that the efforts they’re making are good enough. Agents should constantly evaluate how they’re performing compared to the listings they’re competing against. If they’re being outmatched on presentation by other agents, it ultimately could be costing their sellers money and affecting the agent’s reputation.

3. Lack of ideas or lack of research. A lot of times, agents may not have any idea how to improve their presentation. If agents want to improve, they should study the competition. When they see a listing that catches their attention, they should find out if that agent is using a particular photographer.

What else are they doing that makes their listings look amazing? Sometimes it’s a unique way that agent is delivering the message about that property. Agents can also look outside their market and see what techniques are working elsewhere and then be the first to bring those to their market. Innovation grabs attention.

4. They’re afraid to speak up to a client. A client might be tough and opinionated. They might dismiss their agent’s suggestions. They refuse to make adjustments to minimize the impact of their home’s shortcomings. An agent might be too afraid of losing the listing by standing firm on what needs to be done to improve the presentation of a property.

Sellers can be tough and intimidating, but if you can stress that your only goal is to maximize what they net when they sell, and you can articulate the problems with not following your recommendations, then you’ll find that most sellers will get behind your strategy.

5. Agents believe that a passing grade is good enough. Too many agents do the minimum work with their listings. They put them on the MLS and feel like they did their part. Now they just wait idly for a buyer. An agent needs to constantly reevaluate a listing.

If the home looked great the first time you saw it, have you been back over there recently? Maybe since the sellers moved out, the yard looks horrible and the house has a funky smell. Or the home might be clean and well maintained, but the furniture and décor are old and worn out.

Agents too often say it’s good enough, but in reality they may need to hire a professional stager or a contractor to help resolve an issue.

6. They’re too anxious to get the home listed. Instead of getting the details right and getting everything ready up front, either the seller or the agent is too anxious to get the listing online. They are convinced they need to get it on the market fast and make adjustments later.

Listings shouldn’t be rushed if they’re not ready. An agent may need to take time to tweak photos even after they come back from a professional photographer, or add elements to the listing to make the property appear more attractive. The extra effort will make the home sell faster and encourage the best offers from buyers. That’s what the client is paying for.

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