Big Island

Every Picture Tells a Story When Selling Your Home

Pictured home: 15-1711 1st Avenue, Kea`au

Note to Agent:

“Sorry the house isn’t exactly ready for photos. My kids had two soccer games and three parties to attend over the weekend. Too much to do! I’m sure the buyers will understand. After all, we are selling the house, not the stuff, right?” Or, “The market is so strong, that buyers will overlook anything.”

Response to Seller:

“Dear Mr. & Mrs. Seller, here’s the thing. If you don’t care about how your home looks, why should I? I’ll just take the photos with the toilet seats up and junk piled everywhere; you know kind of an “HGTV Gone Wild” photo album. Before I broadcast your son’s BBDs and your dirty dishes worldwide, there are a few things you’ll want to consider.

Reality Check

Your bottom line is directly tied to how a buyer “feels.” Your house should look like a magazine picture because, trust me, the competition will. Over 90% (almost all) buyers choose the homes they want to view by looking online. They enlarge photos and study each one. They learn the smallest details just from the photos. So, the question is this; how are they going to study details if they can’t see them?

Another Response:

Dear Mr. and Mrs. Seller, you are right about one thing. The buyer will understand. They’ll understand that you are unrealistic and unmotivated about selling. They’ll assume distress or problems with the property. They’ll be looking for problems.

For instance, you know that small stain on the kitchen ceiling. Yep, I know you repaired the leak; the buyer doesn’t. I can put a note in the listing but even if the buyer reads it, this small issue will set the tone for showings. We want buyers to be excited about seeing the property.

Unfortunately, your buyers will be trying to figure out what else you couldn’t afford to fix…and how low you will go. Trust me, it’s not easy to talk to you this way because we are such good friends. Truth is, I might even hire a professional photographer if the house was really ready.

It’s Part of My Job…

Remember me telling you about a home I listed after another agent had it for a year with rare showings and no offers. We got the home ready, took professional photos, drone photos, an amazing Matterport Virtual Tour, and got two offers over full price in a week!

This isn’t the only time this has happened. It’s a small investment that makes a huge difference. Our listings are syndicated all over the internet. If I post the photos I’m able to take today, the only thing that will attract attention is the Victoria’s Secret underwear hanging in the shower!

Look, it’s your choice. You can either get ready to sell or you can get ready to take a beating on your bottom line. I love you but I think I’ll save my marketing dollars for now. Call me after your listing expires again. In the meantime, here’s a tip. Take some digital photos on your own when you get home. See what the camera sees. There’s a story there because, after all, like the song says: “Every picture tells a story, don’t it?”

About the Author

Denise Nakanishi

Denise Nakanishi is a REALTOR Broker with Hawai'i Life. Denise Nakanishi is one of Hilo's most acclaimed real estate agents. She reached the rank of Major in the US Army and is now known by many as "Major Mom." The nickname fits–not only does Denise bring the discipline and mission-oriented attitude you'd expect, she's also caring and compassionate, always looking out for her clients like they're her own family. Having made the Big Island her home since 1987, Denise combines her extensive knowledge of the area with a sharp focus on customer service and the results speak for themselves. She's the recent recipient of the Best East Hawai`i, Best of Zillow, Chairman's Circle Award, President's Circle, Top Producing Agent since 2001, and Realtor of the Year awards. Denise stays ahead of the curve because she's passionate about education–she served as Education Chair for Hawaii Island REALTORS® for many years. She's one of Big Island's best real estate resources, known for her weekly article in the Hawaii Tribune Herald. Denise leads Team Nakanishi for Hawai`i Life, who is committed to their family, work, and community. In her little time away from work, Denise is a committed runner and Grandy. She also devotes many hours to various Veterans' Organizations, the East Hawaii Cultural Center, and the Hawaii Island REALTORS®. You can email me at or via phone at (808) 936-5100.

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